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How to Become a Virtual Assistant: The Ultimate Guide

February 6, 2019

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When I first started blogging and becoming a part of the virtual world, I had no idea what a virtual assistant was. It wasn’t even in my mind that I could work-from-home and run my own business in the comfort of my pajamas or yoga pants.

When I reached out to a fellow blogger friend to see if she needed help with anything, she said yes and agreed to hire me. I didn’t know how to do half of the tasks she needed, but I was determined to learn quickly and put in the work.

From there, word spread, and the next thing you know, I was able to quit my job and work for myself full-time. 

While virtual assisting sort of fell into my lap, it did take four years of consistency, hard work, and planning on my part to turn my side hustle as a VA into a thriving business that continually earns $10k+ a month.

But I know that if someone would have taught me what a virtual assistant was, and how to leverage my skills to earn more in my business, I would have jumped at the opportunity to learn!

After being asked by so many readers how they could become a virtual assistant, I decided to pivot my business more in that direction.

I still work with clients as a VA, but a part of my business is also helping aspiring VAs get started with their own businesses through my course, my coaching program, and my content here on the blog.

That said, I’ve taken my knowledge from the past 4+ years and put it all into this ultimate guide on how to become a virtual assistant.

What Is A Virtual Assistant?

While the term virtual assistant is a bit more common these days (colleges have even started offering courses to become one) the virtual assisting industry is still fairly new. So what exactly is a virtual assistant?

The best way that I can describe a virtual assistant is someone who helps grow and maintain a business or company by offering their services virtually.

Most people think of a VA as being the same thing as an in-person executive assistant, only we work virtually. But that’s not the case at all!

VAs are diverse, and you can’t fit us all in one specific box, although many people try. There are so many different VAs, and the services that they provide vary. This can make it hard to come up with an exact definition for what a VA is.

What Services Can A Virtual Assistant Provide? 

This can be a tough question too because no two VAs are going to offer the exact same services.

Like I said, virtual assistants are diverse and so are the services we provide.

In fact, there are literally over a hundred different things you can offer to your clients as a VA.

While that means almost anyone can find something they’re good at, passionate about, or want to learn, it can also make it hard to decide what services to offer in your new VA business. That’s why I’ve created this free VA business planning kit to help you decide.

 

Here are a few services that are popular amongst virtual assistants: 

  • Technical Writing
  • CSS/HTML Coding
  • Podcast Editing
  • Editing
  • Proofreading
  • General Research
  • Customer Service
  • HR Management
  • Calendar Management
  • Bookkeeping 
  • Facebook Group Management
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Photoshop
  • Data Entry 
  • Excel 
  • Blog Management 

You get the gist. Basically, a virtual assistant can provide any service, as long as they’re willing to learn it.

This list could be stretched for miles if I listed all of the services that a virtual assistant can provide. Plus, VAs can offer services by categories, such as: general, admin, research, social media, or project management.

You don’t have to fit in a specific niche or area right away. As you learn and grow as a VA, you’ll discover what you love to work on and what you’re good at.

Plus, you can change the services you offer at any time. So don’t be afraid to try out different types of services as you become a VA and land your first few clients.

What Skills Do You Need to Become a Virtual Assistant? 

As a virtual assistant, you don’t need a fancy degree or a ton of background knowledge to become a virtual assistant. But you will need to know (or learn) how to work online, be organized, and be a self-starter.

As a virtual assistant, you work by yourself most of the time. If you’re not highly motivated or a fast learner, being a virtual assistant may not be the best fit.

If you also find yourself losing or forgetting things easily, or if you seriously lack general internet and computer skills, this most likely won’t be the side hustle or business venture for you.

(That’s not to say you have to a tech wizard. I’m not!)

How To Become a Virtual Assistant

If you Googled how to become a virtual assistant and stumbled on this post, or if find yourself reading this post and getting excited at the prospect of starting your own business, you’ve already taken the first step to becoming a virtual assistant.

The first step is to decide to start.

Yep! That’s it.

So many people get caught up in the planning, the worries, and the idea that they will never be able to make it work. 

I’m not saying becoming a virtual assistant will be a piece of cake. It does take work.

It’ll take education and investing in your skills. It takes motivation and dedication even when you’d rather be doing something else. Just like with all side hustles and businesses, if you aren’t willing to put in the work, this won’t work for you. 

However, if you’ve decided to start, let’s break down what you need to do to become a virtual assistant.

Side note: I go into more detail on all of these steps in my course $10K VA. Click here to check it out. 

1. Define & Decide What You Want To Offer

As a virtual assistant, you are in charge of the projects and tasks that you work on. So, decide what you want to offer potential clients.

Are you looking to be an admin assistant? Do you want to manage blogs? Are you looking to work with e-commerce stores?

Whatever services you decide to do, you can find the audience and clientele. The key is to decide and put yourself out there.

You can always change or hone your services later. But the broader you start out, the more you can learn and take on so you can then decide where your passion (and skill set) is.

2. Make Sure You Have The Right Tools 

While you don’t need much to become a virtual assistant, you will need a few things.

For example, a computer or laptop, internet, and possibly even a website (or blog) and email address.

You want people to be able to get in touch with you, and you’ll also want to build your portfolio for future prospective clients. These tools and resources can help with that.

3. Get Covered

Once you’ve got your services decided, and your website and email created, it’s time to focus on your contract. 

For your contract, you don’t have to create anything too long. As long as it includes these main items, you should be covered. 

Payment terms

Of course you want to get paid! In your contract, you’ll need to state: the amount you are being paid, and the terms ($X/hour or $X per project), how you want to be paid, when you’ll invoice, and when payment is due. 

Termination notice

While your goal is to work with dream clients, sometimes working relationships just don’t work out. That’s just a part of running a business.

When you have to part ways with a long-term client, a termination notice in your contract will be helpful.

Your termination notice should include: How notice needs to be given, who can terminate the contract, how much notice is needed, and payment at the time of termination. 

Confidentiality Clause/NDA

As a virtual assistant, you’ll most likely have access to your clients personal information, including how they run their business and what they earn. Because of that, and to give your client peace of mind, create an NDA.

It should include: company logins, trade secrets, and how their confidential information will be stored and shared. 

Non-Competes & Non-Solicitation Clauses

With some clients, you may be asked to sign a non-compete or non-solicitation clause. Before you sign one, make sure to read it carefully (and have a lawyer read over it too if needed).

A non-compete can be OK if it’s very specific about what it covers. But, it can bite you in the butt if it’s too broad. 

A non-solicitation clause just means that you will not attempt to market to the clients of your client for work outside of your contract. While clients will sometimes give you connections, it’s always best to ask first if you didn’t have a non-solicitation clause. It’s just part of being ethical! 

Description of Work

To avoid doing more work outside of what you originally agreed on, include a description of work in your contract. It can be fairly general when you’re first starting out, like putting “blog management” instead of each task you’ll be covering. But it is important to write this down.

Independent Contractor Agreement

Since you’re a freelancer and not an employee, it’s important that you are treated as such.

This part of your contract should include: 

  • That you’re not an employee. You’re a contractor. Because of this, you’ll pay self-employment taxes, and your clients should not withhold any money from you for things like taxes, health insurance, etc. 
  • You aren’t entitled to any benefits such as sick days, paid vacation, or retirement matching.
  • As a contractor, you can work at any time and any where, as long as the work is completed on time. That means you’ll need to put your home base, your work hours, and how clients can contact you. However, potential clients should understand that you don’t have to respond to an email in 10 minutes, because you aren’t on their time. They’re on yours. 

4. Price Your Services

You’ve decided to start, you’ve narrowed down your services, and you’ve even create a website and contract. What’s next? It’s time to price your services! 

Many VAs start out by charging an hourly rate. Typical hourly rates are between $15-$30/hr, with specialized VAs or highly skilled VAs charging more than $30/hr.

However, other common types of pricing are creating packages (a specific amount of hours for a certain price), retainers, and project based pricing. I go into more detail about these pricing options in my course $10K VA.

But as an overview, if you want to earn more money, and spend less time on hourly work, you’ll eventually need to move towards a retainer or project based pricing. 

5. Find Your First Client! 

Yay! You’re pretty much ready to open shop and find your first client as a virtual assistant! But there’s only one problem… how in the world do you find your first client? 

There are many ways to secure your first client as a VA, but it all boils down to what you’re comfortable with.

Here are a few ways the students in my $10K VA course have found clients, and how I’ve been able to secure clients myself as a VA. 

Cold Pitching

If you find someone online and decide that you want to work with them, you can always pitch them directly. The worst they can say is no or not reply back.

In my course, I also include a cold pitching template, so you know exactly what to say to book clients effortlessly, even if they have no idea who you are! 

LinkedIn

I’ve known of many successful VAs who have found their clients via LinkedIn. Although it’s considered a platform for working professionals, many places look to hire VAs on the site, and are willing to pay a premium for you to work from home.

You don’t have to work in an office to make LinkedIn work for you. 

Facebook Groups

There are so many Facebook groups out there for virtual assistants, entrepreneurs, and more. Join a few and put your feelers out there. Be helpful and answer questions.

You never know, someone may reach out and ask to hire you! 

Start with your network

Of course, you can always start with the people you already know! That’s how I got my first few jobs. I reached out to my existing online network and blogging space and asked if anyone was hiring or knew who was.

Don’t neglect to ask your network, they may just be who your first client comes from. 

How To Become A Virtual Assistant 

See how simple it is to get started and become a virtual assistant? It really isn’t hard, promise!

The hard part is putting in the effort and work to build your VA business and create the life you want to go with it. Of course, this comes with time, investing in yourself and your business, and honing your skillset.

But, to get started, you don’t need anything more than internet connection and the motivation to start.

Plenty of people have started a VA business. Many do so even though they didn’t have a clue if it would succeed or not.

I’m one of those people. I can honestly say that it was the best decision I’ve ever made in my life. 

Make It Easy 

If you’re interested in becoming a virtual assistant, but still need a little guidance and knowledge, I highly encourage signing up for my course $10K VA.

Not only do I walk through the process of becoming a VA, but I take it step-by-step so you don’t have to worry about missing or forgetting anything.

Plus, I include the option to join my Pro Facebook Group, which includes job leads, and the option to work with me one-on-one to get your VA business up and running successfully in no time.

Becoming a VA has never been easier! If you really want to become a virtual assistant, this course is the best way to do it.

Have you thought about becoming a virtual assistant? What other questions do you have about being a VA?

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