So What is a Virtual Assistant?
A virtual assistant (VA) is an entrepreneur who provides administrative, technical or marketing assistance to clients from a remote location, usually a home office.
A few years of office experience is expected, and workers take jobs on a long-term contract basis for customers. They communicate via phone, fax or internet services and sometimes may not meet the client in person.
If you run your own virtual assistant business, you want to have your own website where prospects can review information about your company’s background and services. You always want to be professional, finish jobs efficiently and meet the expectations of the client. Become the individual you would like to hire, because the “product” you are selling to your customers is yourself.
Write down a list of the services you offer, describe how you operate on the job and what you expect from the client. Always listen carefully and ask questions when needed and show the customer that you care, that they can trust you and that you can manage their projects professionally. Have professional business forms with you so you can demonstrate your expertise. You can develop a truly great client relationship this way. As you complete jobs, gather testimonials from clients that you can use in your company literature and your website.
What Equipment Do I Need to be a Virtual Assistant?
Virtual assistants will need a computer with internet access. Having document and spreadsheet software will also be essential. Other programs may be needed depending on what projects your clients need completed, but they also may supply the necessary equipment as well.
Communication is also key, since you will be working virtually but will still need to be in contact with clients on a regular basis. Having an all-inclusive phone system like these, which let you communicate by voice, fax, text and conferencing will be especially useful to you and impressive to clients.
What About Virtual Assistant Training?
You do not need to be certified to operate your own virtual assistant business. Nonetheless, certification is a great asset when prospects are deciding whether to do business with you or someone else. A certificate shows that you are knowledgeable and have the skills to get jobs done. Below are high-value VA training resources:
VA Classroom doesn’t just offer the standard training for virtual assistants. They put you “ahead of the competition” by offering three different training programs:
1. Social Media Marketing Specialist
Learn the skills needed for the most “in-demand” services today: Online Video Marketing, Social Network Profile Management, Twitter and Facebook Marketing, Social Media Strategy and Online Reputation Management.
2. Internet Marketing
Learn the latest internet marketing skills so you can provide your clients with the latest services they want. The information you learn can also assist you in marketing your own services…
3. Virtual Event Marketing
Find out how you can manage virtual meetings, presentations and conferences for your clients – they will be impressed.
Assist U Virtual Assistant Training
This is a comprehensive 20-week training program. You learn in both classes and one-on-one coaching sessions. You will also find out how to start your own virtual assistant practice work with clients.
How to Become a Virtual Assistant
Why go your employer’s office everyday when you can work from the comfort of your own home doing the same thing – virtually? Not only are entrepreneurs finding this a flexible and enjoyable home-based business, but employers can save money on hiring expenses and providing office space.
Virtual assistants do a variety of tasks, depending on the needs of their clients. These jobs can include appointment setting, customer service, database management, website design, word processing, project management, event planning, desktop publishing, travel arrangements, public relations, writing and more. As you can see, virtual assistants do more than just administrative work.
VIRTUAL ASSISTANT QUICK START GUIDE
VA expert Kathy Goughenour grew her virtual assistant business to over $100,000 a year, and she shares her secrets to success (along with 12 other VA Professionals) in the Become a Virtual Assistant start-up guide.
- Step-by-Step System to Get Started:How to do a client consultation with new clients to find out their needs, and multiple services that you can provide them.
- Specific Guidelines to Follow: How to price your services, invoice clients and what to include in job contracts (including sample invoices and contracts you can use).
- Low-Cost Marketing: freelance marketplaces, networking and getting free referrals, free promotional opportunities and even how to get VA work through staffing agencies.
How do Virtual Assistants Find Clients and Jobs?
VAs can work with large corporations, small companies or individuals. You can work full-time or part-time, arranging a schedule that works both for you and your client(s).
The Virtual Assistance Chamber of Commerce states that VAs charge between $35 and $70 per hour for their services. If you are unsure of what to charge, see what the going rate is in your city. Charge less if you have less experience and credentials, more if you are more.
Use Indeed’s online job listing search engine to find work by job type, name or location.
They have an online “database” of jobs for virtual assistants and other home-based administrative work. They also have a work at home newsletter [free].
- Virtual Assistance Chamber of Commerce
This group has a directory that can help you find work. You can become a member and post your business contact data for employers to view.
- FlexJobs provides information on telecommuting and online jobs. The site has freelance projects listed and also full-time work.