Naomi Shah
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How to become a work-from-home virtual assistant
Last updated: August 13, 2022
Naomi Shah
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How to become a work-from-home virtual assistant
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Work-from-home occupations are pretty popular right now, with more than 70% of us working from home at least some of the time.

And perhaps one of the most popular positions that you can perform from your own home office is that of a virtual assistant (VA).

Virtual assistants often get to pick their hours, work wherever they like, and even choose to work part-time if they wish.

For some, though, this line of work can be challenging, particularly for those who easily feel isolated.

So, is the role of work-from-home virtual assistant right for you? And, if so, how do you go about becoming one?

We'll provide answers to those questions (and many more) in this comprehensive guide to becoming a work-from-home virtual assistant.

What is a work-from-home virtual assistant?

Let's start by defining the role of a virtual assistant.

Virtual assistants provide administrative services to an organization (invoicing, answering phone calls, and data entry).

They complete their work from a location different from the company's physical office (that's where the "virtual" part comes in). Because virtual assistants don't work in a company's office, most VAs work from home.

Of course, some prefer to work from other locations, like a coworking space or local coffee shop.

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Traditionally, there have been three styles of working as a virtual assistant:

  • Freelance virtual assistant, where you're working as an independent contractor

  • In-house, where a single company employs you

  • Virtual assistant firm, where you work for a company that provides VA services to other businesses

Since the pandemic and subsequent rise in remote work, many administrative assistants working in offices are now working from home.

As a result, the title of the virtual assistant is less likely to be used for an in-house role and more commonly describes a freelance position or a job at a virtual assistant firm.

What does a work-from-home virtual assistant do?

Virtual assisting is a highly varied job, with VAs typically handling a variety of responsibilities.

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Often, these responsibilities change daily to suit the requirements of the firm you're working for.

Some companies will provide tasks on an ad hoc basis, while others will give you set responsibilities to complete each week.

Here are a few everyday administrative tasks you'll find in a virtual assistant job.

Making and answering phone calls

Virtual assistants often take on a pseudo-receptionist role, where they are the first person a customer speaks to when they call a company.

Others may work specifically for one senior leader on the team (in an executive assistant-style position), making and answering calls on their behalf.

Managing emails

Virtual assistants are routinely responsible for managing email inboxes, either for the company's contact address or for individuals at the business they are contracting for.

Scheduling meetings

A virtual administrative assistant might schedule important meetings on behalf of the business owner, liaise with stakeholders and other meeting attendees, and even arrange catering and refreshments for conferences.

Booking travel and accommodation

A VA working as a personal assistant to the CEO will often be required to make travel arrangements, book flights and accommodation, and build itineraries for traveling executives.

They may also be asked to do the same for company events such as annual conferences.

Assisting company employees

Some VAs may provide virtual assistance to employees regarding administrative issues, helping them solve problems or advising them on how to follow company procedures.

Performing clerical and bookkeeping tasks

Certain virtual assistant positions require accounting knowledge, as VAs are often involved in financial data entry, bookkeeping, and basic financial reporting.

Performing research

Virtual assistant services can also involve research on behalf of the company you're contracted to. For example, you may be asked to perform some form of market research, which the company directors can use to inform changes to their business strategy.

Doing social media and content creation

Some VA jobs require experience in digital marketing fields, such as posting on social media, writing blogs or articles, or managing online chats.

This responsibility is more likely to be on behalf of small business owners, as larger corporations tend to have marketing teams take care of this.

Creating presentations and reports

A common task for virtual professionals is to prepare reports, presentations, and documents on behalf of executives.

For example, if a sales leader needs to present last month's results to the board, they may instruct you as the VA to pull the relevant data from their sales software platform and build a Powerpoint presentation.

Looking for and pitching to potential clients

If you're working as a freelance virtual assistant, part of your job will be to hunt down potential new clients and convince them to use your services.

This might involve some cold calling or pitching via social media and browsing for opportunities on job boards.

What qualifications do you need to be a virtual assistant?

Strictly speaking, you don't need any specific qualifications to become a virtual assistant, as long as you have a high school diploma or equivalent.

However, some virtual assistant responsibilities require specific expertise, experience, or education to complete, as we've just seen.

For example, suppose you're applying for VA work that involves bookkeeping or handling financial records and transactions. In that case, it may be helpful (or required by the company) to have a bachelor's or associate degree in a relevant field.

Similarly, some virtual assistant jobs include some social media and digital marketing responsibilities, so you'll need to have some experience or education in this area.

On the whole, though, the role of the virtual assistant is an entry-level job with no previous experience or qualifications required.

How much does a virtual assistant charge per hour?

As with all freelance work, the amount you can charge as a virtual assistant depends largely on your experience, expertise, and qualifications, as well as the type of tasks you'll need to complete.

On average, virtual assistants in the U.S. earn about $16 per hour.

For beginners, this rate is likely to be closer to $8 an hour.

If you bring specialized skills to the table, you'll be able to increase your earnings up to $45 an hour, with top earners having expertise in copywriting and graphic design.

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Note that these numbers are overall averages. As a general rule, you'll earn more as a freelance virtual assistant than you will from being employed by a VA firm.

However, you'll need to balance this increased income with the various difficulties of being a freelance worker (having to source clients, unpredictable income, no holiday leave, or other benefits).

How do I become a virtual assistant at home?

Want to become a VA? Follow these seven steps:

1. Understand your strengths and weaknesses

Make a list of things you're great at and things you need to work on.

Then, ask yourself, how do your strengths play into the VA role? Are any of your weaknesses going to get in the way of performing well as a VA? What can you do to improve here?

The same goes for your skills and experience. Do you have the relevant abilities to perform VA work? What skills do you need to gain, and how can you do so?

2. Determine whether you want to work for a company or go freelance

We've described above the subtle differences between working as a freelancer and working on behalf of a VA company.

Before you start looking for jobs, decide which kind of virtual assistant position suits your situation best.

3. Decide which services you're going to offer

Some VA responsibilities (like data entry and booking travel arrangements) are non-negotiable. They're part of the job.

With others, you'll have some say in whether you offer them or not (such as bookkeeping, copywriting, and social media assistance).

Make a list of the services you're open to performing and those you'd prefer not to.

4. Obtain the required equipment to work as a virtual assistant

Make sure you're set up to do the job well.

Common VA equipment includes:

  • Computer

  • Desk

  • Wireless keyboard and mouse

  • Quality internet connection

  • Ergonomic office chair

  • Wireless headset

5. Search for relevant jobs

This is the fun part! Jump on Jobcase's job board and start looking for opportunities.

6. Focus on building your portfolio and experience

Whether you've decided to take the freelance route or you're looking for a job working for a VA firm, it's important to focus on building your experience and portfolio of work.

If you're freelancing, you'll also want to capture customer testimonials and display these on your website or portfolio page.

In any case, make sure to keep a record of the kinds of services you've performed, companies you've worked for, and any achievements you've gained along the way.

This will help you sell your services to prospective customers in the future.

7. Develop specialized skills to increase earnings potential

Lastly, suppose you'd like to continue increasing your potential to earn as a VA. In that case, you should focus on developing specialized skills (such as graphic design, copywriting and marketing, and financial skills).

You can do this by undertaking further study or by asking your boss (if you're working for a VA company) to give you new responsibilities and coach you along the way.

What makes a great virtual assistant?

Many skills, competencies, and characteristics make a great virtual assistant.

The most important include:

  • Time management

  • Communication and people skills

  • Organization

  • Proactive mindset

  • Computer skills

  • Word processing and typing

  • Self-motivation

  • Reliability

  • Creativity and problem-solving

  • Detail-oriented

  • Data entry

  • Sales skills (if you want to be a freelancer)

Is there a demand for virtual assistants?

Growth in demand for virtual assistants is tough to predict because there are many factors at play.

First of all, demand for remote roles is growing in general, as many companies are switching to work from home and hybrid models. This means that a lot of traditional administrative functions are being outsourced to VAs.

On the other hand, automation, artificial intelligence, and machine learning are getting rapidly better at managing repetitive administrative tasks, so software solutions handle many of the responsibilities traditionally in the VA domain.

This might not mean that the VA will be wiped out altogether, but that the role is likely to become more technical and specialized, with many virtual assistant jobs relying more heavily on expertise in marketing, design, and financial matters.

On the whole, however, demand for virtual assistants is expected to grow in the short term, with current estimates predicting an annual growth rate of ​​11.79% for the VA market in the next four years.

Ready to become a virtual assistant?

So, now you're in the know.

You're armed with all the details, from typical virtual assistant responsibilities to important data on industry growth and earning potential as a VA.

What's next?

Well, if you've made it this far and you're convinced that becoming a virtual assistant is the right career path for you, it's time to start looking for jobs!

Check out jobcase.com and start hunting down virtual assistant positions today.

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Naomi Shah
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Naomi Gelicame

Can you helped me to find one of this job?

2w
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