Thanks to this amazing era of technological innovation, especially with the growth of the internet, there are many more opportunities to make money available for those who know where to look. Luckily for you, becoming a virtual assistant is a superb option that requires just: your knowledge, a laptop, and an internet connection.
What is a Virtual Assistant?
A virtual assistant simply put is an administrative assistant that works remotely. In business, an administrative assistant is necessary for those jobs that keep the company running efficiently.
However, there are a number of problems with hiring an assistant in the traditional way because it will cost the business office space, the business will need to pay out for the assistant’s equipment, the business must budget for a salary, and the business must pay for the admins services regardless if there is work to be done or not.
Nowadays, people are choosing to outsource this task to virtual assistants because hiring a virtual assistant doesn’t require permanent staff, no equipment will need to be bought, and the space in the office can be used by someone else or leased out.
The Role of the Virtual Assistant
Before we look into the earning potential and various other details for becoming a virtual assistant, what are the key skills that are needed in the first place?
In truth, virtual assistance can involve a number of different jobs and can range from promoting something on social media to completing research on products, the industry, or even competitors. In addition to this, it could include; customer service management, responding to emails, arranging travel plans, web design, email promotions, planning an event, transcription, or even editing databases. Essentially, it can be any small task that the business needs help with while they concentrate on other important tasks.
What Skills Do I Need?
If you don’t have the requisite skills already there is no need to panic because you will either get helped along the way or you can develop the skills. For example, you will normally be sent a list of responses to emails or you will be told how to make changes to a database rather than just being thrown straight in at the deep end.
At times, you might want to diversify your services and write press releases or even articles but there will always be help for these types of things online. As well as classes nearby, the internet will have ample information for you to improve your skill set and, in turn, the service you offer.
As you develop more skills, you become more valuable to businesses because there are more ways in which they can utilize your service. Over time, you can then increase your pay; before we get too ahead of ourselves though, let’s take a step back and assess whether there is earning potential for virtual assistants.
How Much Can a Virtual Assistant Make?
Before you jump into a career change, is there actually potential to earn good money? In truth, the simple answer to this question would be ‘yes’ because you wouldn’t be limited to just one client. If you were to get a part-time job, you would have to travel to the office and this would restrict how many businesses you could work for. However, this completely opens up once you work remotely. For the most experienced virtual assistants in the industry, they will have multiple clients that they help on a daily basis while still working normal business hours.
At first, it might prove to be a bit of a challenge and you will need to work hard in order to reach a position where you have many clients. When starting, your first handful of clients will be essential and you will need to complete work to a high standard so that you receive good reviews and feedback. Of course, you might also start by earning a little each time.
As you progress, you will land yourself higher-profile clients and you could charge between $50-100 per hour. On average, the rate for virtual assistants within the US stands at between $20-40 per hour but the VIP clients will pay more as long as your service is worth it.
The virtual assistant market is worth millions and this is only set to increase as time goes on. Since businesses are always looking for ways to become more efficient, this is a sensible step that many are taking. As a result, some experienced assistants that have been doing the job for many years are even starting up as a virtual option. If you want to begin, now is a fantastic time to get started.
Finding a Virtual Assistant Job
So you have decided to take the jump, you set everything up perfectly, and then you sit there with an empty internet browser tab not knowing where to start. When first starting, the hunt for the first client can be a little daunting but this doesn’t have to be the case.
Immediately, you should look towards sites like Freelancer and Upwork because these will allow you to build a reputation and gain experience to become good in what you do. Remember, these are essentially ‘middlemen’ services which means that they will take a small percentage of what you earn.
At this stage of your business, you should be concentrating on receiving as many positive reviews as possible as opposed to worrying about the money. When you look back at your reviews in a year’s time, you will have no clue how much was paid or how experienced you were; every good review is equal regardless of how long you have been in the business.
Charge Low Fees
If you charge an extortionate rate from the start, you put yourself at an instant disadvantage because you are asking people to pay high for a service that has no credibility. Once you have great reviews, then you can think about increasing your price.
Work to Retain Current Clients
You need to try and keep hold of your early customers for as long as possible. If you can retain the clients that you have, there is no need to keep marketing yourself to find more. Once you keep clients for a long period of time, the positive reviews will do all the talking and you will soon find yourself inundated with requests.
Finally, the beginning stage is also perfect for learning new skills and defining the service that you want to offer. With early clients, you can have regular communication asking what they expect from a virtual assistant which will allow you to hone your service and perfect your offering. As you gain experience, you can decide exactly what people will receive for set amounts of money.
Building Credibility and Trust
When we talk about any type of freelance job on the internet, there are two key skills or characteristics that are required in any service – credibility and trust. When you spend time advertising your services, you need to show everyone that you are trustworthy. However, this is still no good without credibility because people need to really believe in what you are offering.
When you first start, you need to decide what your unique selling point (USP) is going to be. Because the market is incredibly fierce, you need to stand out in the crowd. Although every virtual assistant offers the same core product, what are you going to offer on top to ensure that potential clients choose you over everyone else? For example, you could offer a multilingual service and this would open you up to worldwide business. Furthermore, you could have the following;
- Regular face-to-face meetings for local businesses
- Phone conferences
- Positive attitude
- Flexible hours
- Fluency in Multiple Languages
- Knowledge of cloud-based platforms
Make a List and Specialize
If possible, write a list of all the key features you wish to offer and then see how these match up with the demands of the client. Often, you will need to choose a niche because clients would much rather choose someone who is an expert in one field as opposed to someone who spreads themselves across a variety of fields.
The more research you do at the very beginning, the better the results you will see. At all times, you need to be eager to show off your previous work to potential clients. If you aren’t willing to show your previous work, this could suggest that you aren’t doing a good enough job. If you aren’t proud of the service you are offering, there is no point doing it in the first place.
Be Ready to Expand
When starting, you need to always keep the bigger picture in mind and this will come in handy when it comes to progression. If you find that you always see positive reviews for your work, you may find that there is an opportunity to expand beyond the freelance websites we have discussed previously. Wouldn’t it be great to earn money knowing that there isn’t going to be anybody taking a percentage without actually doing anything?
Start Your Own Website
Once you find yourself earning good money online, you could attempt to set up your own website and make it by yourself. If possible, you could have all of your clients move over to your new website and keep in contact about future work. After settling down, the sky is the limit because you will have full control with regards to pricing as well as what people see of you online.
Although the likes of Upwork can be extremely useful, they can also be limiting in the amount of time you have to impress a potential client. With your own website, you could design a fancy homepage before, then encouraging potential clients to check out your portfolio. When all is said and done, they can contact you via a contact form if they have any questions or wish to hire your services.
Ultimately, becoming a virtual assistant couldn’t be easier because all you require is a laptop, internet connection, and a dream. However, becoming a good virtual assistant is a little harder and will require your attention. As long as you follow the advice we have provided, there is no reason why you can’t succeed, whether you choose to keep a couple of clients as an addition to your main income, or whether you decide to jump in full-time.