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Nearly every single day I get asked some derivative of the same question:
What sort of work from home job can I start that 1) doesn’t require significant experience, and 2) doesn’t require an advanced degree?
And every day my response is exactly the same. Become a virtual assistant.
Why? Because it’s the most realistic way to make good money from home, all while leveraging skills you already have (or by learning ones that are easily attainable).
In this article I’m going to walk you through how to become a virtual assistant (VA), where to find your first clients, and how to scale a VA business so you can eventually escape your 9 to 5.
Or make a little dough on the side. Whatever floats your boat.
What is a Virtual Assistant?
Virtual assistants (VAs) are self-employed individuals who provide administrative and technical assistance to businesses. Since all the work is done online (hence the term “virtual”) virtual assistants can work from anywhere in the world.
The best part is that you don’t need any kind of degree or virtual assistant certification. You simply need to hone in on a skill and have enough experience to do it for various clients well.
Many small business owners outsource work to virtual assistants so they can focus on the most important thing in any business: growth. Outsourcing to a VA also keeps them from having to pay employment tax — music to every business owner’s ears.
But what does a virtual assistant actually do?
Well, a lot. Check out these…
5 Virtual Assistant Services in High Demand
The potential tasks for a VA are virtually limitless. (See what I did there?) As a virtual assistant, you get to decide which tasks you offer. So if there’s something you really hate doing (like proofreading blog posts), then you don’t have to offer it as part of your VA package.
This list covers five of the most popular and in-demand online tasks that virtual assistants can offer, but it still only scratches the surface. Gina Horkey over at Horkey Handbook put together a list of 150+ Services You Can Offer as a Virtual Assistant, so we didn’t feel the need to.
1. Customer Support
Happy customers are necessary for the success of any business, but they can take up a lot of time. There are always questions to be answered, orders to process, and comments to moderate. That’s time that small business owners just don’t have.
That’s why they often outsource customer-related tasks to detail-oriented, quick-to-respond Virtual Assistants.
2. Administrative Support
These services are pretty straightforward and usually some of the easiest tasks to outsource.
Virtual Assistant duties in this category could include everything from entering data and creating spreadsheets to managing calendars and booking travel arrangements.
3. Social Media Management
Social media is a more specialized area for Virtual Assistants. It can be a great way to move beyond administrative type duties and onto something more creative and engaging. Tasks can include posting on social media, responding to comments, updating profiles and anything else you’re comfortable with.
Premium services like social media management come with a premium price. Time to up your Pinterest game!
4. Website Management
Don’t let virtual assistant websites scare you away — you don’t have to have coding experience or be uber tech savvy.
Virtual Assistants with experience using WordPress or other CMS (Content Management Systems) can provide blog or website management services. This could include editing posts, replying to comments, updating broken links, and general website maintenance.
Virtual assistant websites come in all shapes and sizes. In fact, you can even start your own so that you can display an online portfolio of your work to potential clients as you gain experience.
5. Email Marketing
This is my personal favorite genre of tasks (autoresponders are cool). Email marketing, like social media management, requires a bit of specialized knowledge. You’ll need to know things like how to set up autoresponders, segment email lists, and design email templates using software like MailChimp or ConvertKit.
How To Become A Virtual Assistant With No Experience
So, are you ready to start making money from home with your own VA business?! Awesome. Here’s what you need to do:
Determine what services you’ll offer as a VA
The first step in getting started as a Virtual Assistant is to determine what tasks you’ll offer.
Do you manage a website or blog of your own? If so, blog/website management might go on the list. Are you an online influencer? Then maybe social media management is a good fit for your virtual assistant repertoire.
Go through Gina’s list of VA services and choose the ones you’re comfortable offering starting out. You can add services as you learn new skills and software.
Next, the easiest and fastest way to get started with any new skill or business is to learn from someone who’s done what you want to do.
Seek expert training
Starting a business can feel overwhelming. Lucky for you, you’re not alone.
When it comes learning how to become a Virtual Assistant, Gina is nothing short of an expert. She started her own VA business back in 2014 and was making $4,000 per month within 6 months. With a toddler and a baby!
All I have is a dog and I can barely find time to brush my hair!
Once she realized how high the demand for virtual assistants is and how lucrative a career (or side hustle) it can be, she put together a course to help others follow in her footsteps. Gina teaches aspiring virtual assistants how to start their own VA business and land their first paying clients in her best-selling course 30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistant Success. If you’re looking to expedite your VA business, this is where to start.
But if you’re confident you’ve got what it takes to go it alone, then you can move on to the next step: setting up your website.
Create your website to promote your VA business
While creating a website isn’t necessarily a requirement for landing your first client, having a website will make you look more professional. And it will give you a place to direct prospective clients.
Setting up a website is easy and cheap. You can get your website up and running today with HostGator for only $2.75 per month (save 42% with code BTOP42). We’ve also put together a guide on how to set up the perfect freelancer website to help you get started.
Where to Find Virtual Assistant Jobs
Now that you’re feelin’ and lookin’ all confident and professional, it’s time to find your first client.
Finding clients is often the hardest part for any new business, but there are a few places where you’re likely to find more success than others. Here are the four places you’ll want to look first.
Related: 24 Best Work From Home Jobs for 2019
1. Try freelancer websites for finding your first VA job
Virtual assistant positions are relatively easy to come by on freelance websites like Upwork and People Per Hour. This could be a good route if you’re looking to get in the game but don’t have much experience or training.
Be warned: these sites are usually not going to pay all that great. So if you take this route to start, you should expect to raise your prices as you get more experience and become more valuable to your clients. You can always renegotiate pricing with clients at a later date.
2. Social Media
Put it out there in the world! Post on social media and let your friends and family know that you’re offering virtual assistant services for small business owners or anyone in need of extra hands. Networking is a powerful tool. You may be surprised at who knows someone that knows someone who may be able to hook you up with a client.
3. Companies That Hire Virtual Assistants: Local Businesses
Reach out to small business owners in your area and ask if anyone could use assistance with the services you offer. Virtual assisting is still a relatively new field, so a lot of brick and mortar business owners have never really considered outsourcing to a VA. Let them know what they’re missing out on! Companies that hire virtual assistants never go back!
4. Network with Influencers
Do you have a favorite blog (or several) that you follow religiously? Email the blog/business owner and see if they need assistance in any area of their business. Be brief, friendly, and confident! If they say they’re not looking for help right now, then give them the address to your awesome new website and ask them to keep you in mind for future positions.
And if you’re not already on their email list, get on it! Online business owners often fill virtual positions by sending out an email to their fan list.
If you want to become a virtual assistant, be prepared to put in the work!
The opportunities out there to make money as a virtual assistant are endless — and how much you make is totally up to you. Starting out, most VAs make around $20/hr or so, but as you become more skilled, you can increase your rates. I know some VAs who are making upwards of $50 an hour!
Don’t forget to grab this list of 150+ services you can offer as a virtual assistant to give you a bit of inspiration.
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