The term “Virtual Assistant” has been around for several years now, but if you are new to the term a Virtual Assistant, or “VA”, it is someone who performs business related services from a remote location. VAs typically work as independent contractors or freelancers in that they set their own rates and work their own hours, as opposed to being an “employee” in which those things are set.
I’ve been a VA myself – off and on – for several years. One of the services I did was transcription work for both doctors and professional speakers, and other times I created brochures and cut sheets for real estate agents, and I also did administrative work for several entrepreneurs.
Being a Virtual Assistant is one of those careers that evolves with technology. As new software, technology, apps and the such come into play, there are services that a VA can provide with them. For instance, offering Pinterest Management as a service is something that didn’t exist a few years back but is definitely a lucrative service to offer now.
VAs can offer services like email management, content development, freelance writing, proofreading, travel arrangements, and a vast array of many other things. Grab my list of jobs you can offer as a VA here.
So how exactly does someone go about becoming a VA?
Determine Your Abilities
First off, you need to figure out what services you can offer by determining what you know how to do. Seems like a no-brainer but it really is the first step. What skills do you have? What services do you know how to do and what services do you like to do? There’s no point in offering a service like proofreading if you don’t enjoy it. No matter how much you get paid to do it, it’s not worth it if you hate every minute of it, or worse – if you aren’t overly good at it.
Download the Personal Assessment Worksheets to determine what skills you already have, which ones you are good at, and finally which ones you enjoy doing.
I got my VA jobs by reaching out to countless professionals and telling them about my services. Once I obtained a couple of jobs, I started to get other jobs through word of mouth of current clients. When I got my transcription jobs I was working at the Ethics Board of one of the local hospitals at the time and overhead one of the doctors saying he wasn’t satisfied with the service provided by the in-house transcription service. I spoke up and offered to do it for him. He agreed and that led to more doctors wanting my accuracy and quick turnaround time.
When it came to working with real estate agents, I contacted ones that I saw on signs posted around my neighborhood. Told them about my services and lo and behold, two of them were interested right away.
Next thing I knew, I had a side business on my hands.
Get A Website
I can’t recommend having your own website enough. Every good VA has one because having your own site showcases your professionalism and that you aren’t merely a fly-by-night operation. It shows that you are a serious service provider and it shows accountability as well.
I recommend getting your own domain name and paying for a website. If you are just starting out you can always go with an easy-to-use website provider like Wix.com, or if you have more experience with websites go for a self-hosted site with WordPress. I used Wix myself for many years, as it was easy to use and provided all I really needed for my web presence.
Blog about it
While I never had a blog when I was doing my VA services, I think it’s an important addition to just about any business. People can see your personal side as well as your credibility in the fact you know your stuff when you blog and it’s a great way to showcase your abilities. Blogging is a great way to teach potential clients about how to improve their businesses with helpful tips and hints as well.
Advertise your services
Once you determine what services you are going to offer, you need to advertise them through various channels like social media and by joining various groups (like Facebook, Pinterest, etc). Some VAs even start out with jobs on sites like Elance or Fiverr, but keep in mind that you will be vying for work with people across the globe and for much lower rates than VAs typically charge.
Wondering what services you can offer as a VA? Download my VA Job List here.
Build up a portfolio
Another great part of having your own website is that you can showcase your knowledge, abilities, testimonials and any people/companies you’ve done work for. If you’ve got testimonials, showcase them on your site. Don’t be afraid to ask clients for testimonials that you can use and keep track of all work that you do so you can use it in your portfolio. Even highlight proven results that clients have achieved thanks to your work.
Network, network, network
As with any business, it’s important to network as a way to be seen and get your name out there. Join group boards and other such social media outlets and don’t be afraid to reach out to others to inform them of your services. If they don’t need you directly, they just may pass your name along.
There are plenty of people making a great side income or even a full time income as a Virtual Assistant. If you are dedicated and hard working you can certainly do the same.