If you’re looking for a flexible work-from-home opportunity that allows you to work on projects that you enjoy, you may want to become a virtual assistant.
Working as a virtual assistant (VA) is an excellent option regardless of whether you are looking for a little extra money from some part-time work or a full-time income.
In this article, we’ll look at all of the details and how you can put it into practice to start making money
What is a Virtual Assistant?
“Virtual Assistant” is a pretty broad term that can cover a wide variety of things. Gina Horkey, an experienced VA and the creator of 30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistant Success says, “A virtual assistant is really just anyone that trades task for pay from afar. Or in other words, an individual that offers services virtually as a contractor or self-employed individual to clients. There are tons of services you can offer as a VA – check out this list of over 150 to learn more!”
Some common services offered by VAs include:
- Social media management – Many bloggers and businesses hire VA’s to manage their social media profiles. Some VA’s specialize in services like managing Pinterest accounts.
- Writing and content creation – Some VA’s will write articles and blog posts, or create other types of content.
- Customer service – Many website owners and entrepreneurs need help managing customer service requests, and this is an area where a lot of VA’s find work.
- Graphics – If you have some design skills, you could create graphics. Many bloggers and podcasters hire VA’s to design graphics that will be used with their content and on their social profiles.
- Administrative tasks – There are all kinds of stuff that could fall into this category. One common example would be editing and preparing blog posts.
How Much Does a VA Earn?
You may be wondering how much money you can make as a virtual assistant. It’s hard to say, because the pay varies a lot, which is the case with just about any type of freelance work. Just like opportunities for freelance writers and freelance web designers, jobs for virtual assistants can pay a little or a lot. There are definitely VA’s who work for very low rates, and others that are able to make a six-figure income as a VA.
Most of the lower-paid VA jobs are outsourced to people outside of the U.S., but don’t let that fool you into thinking that all VA jobs are low-paying. Some VA’s are able to make more than $100 per hour and have plenty of demand for their services.
On the subject of income, Gina Horkey said “From the little research that exists, the average North American virtual assistant earns between $25-40 per hour. This is going to depend on your experience, skill-set and areas of expertise. I.e. The more specialized your services and the more experience you have, the more you can charge. I’ve seen people in our community charge as little as $15 per hour and others earn more than $100 per hour (including myself). Ultimately it comes down to being really good at what you do and finding clients that value what you’re offering them.”
Why It’s a Great Opportunity
When it comes to making money, there are plenty of side hustle ideas and ways to make money that you can consider. Even with plenty of different options, working as a VA stands out as a great choice. Here are just a few of the reasons why you may want to consider it for yourself.
Flexibility – Working as a virtual assistant offers flexibility in a lot of different ways. You can work part-time or full-time, choose the hours the suit your schedule, work from home or anywhere with an internet connection, work on the types of projects that you enjoy, and choose the clients that you work for.
Plenty of Work – Because there are so many different things that a virtual assistant can do, there is plenty of work available. A lot of the common services offered by VA’s involve managing a website or blog. With so many new blogs being launched every day, and so many bloggers and businesses looking to use social media for exposure, the demand for these services should continue.
Recurring Work – As a VA, most of your work will probably come from clients who hire you to do repeat jobs for them. You could be managing their Pinterest profile on an on-going basis, providing customer support every day, or doing some admin work each week. Recurring clients are great because you won’t need to be looking for new clients constantly. With just a few regular clients you can have a nice, steady flow of income.
Good Income Potential – With some VA’s charging more than $100 per hour, there are plenty of opportunities to make money.
Paid for Your Time – When it comes to side hustles, blogging and online business seem to get the majority of the attention. While those are great opportunities, service-related side hustles are ideal for many people. As a service provider, you’ll be paid for your time and you can start making money quickly.
Limited Requirements to Get Started – You don’t need a college degree or any special certifications to work as a VA. You will need some skills related to whatever services you offer, but you can choose your services based on the skills and experiences you already have.
How to Get Started as a Virtual Assistant
If you’re thinking that becoming a virtual assistant is sounding pretty appealing, you may be wondering what steps you need to take in order to get started.
Step 1: Choose Your Specialty
Because there are so many different types of services that can be offered, it’s important to think about the specific things that you want to do. What types of services are you going to offer your clients?
Promoting your services will be much easier if you have a clear definition or description of what you can offer. Some VA’s will even create packages that make it easier for clients to know what they will be getting. For example, if you offer services as a Pinterest VA you might have different packages that include creating a certain number of new pin images per month and scheduling and a certain number of pins.
Think about the skills and experience that you already have. What could you start doing right away that would bring value to your clients?
Step 2: Get Training to Run Your Business (Optional)
While it’s not completely necessary, taking a course or getting training can be extremely helpful. You may find that you get stuck with certain aspects of getting your business launched, and quality training can help you to get past those barriers and to run your business the right way.
Gina Horkey’s 30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistant Success can help you with every aspect of starting and running your business. Through the course, you’ll learn things like how to find clients, how to get hired, how to manage and grow your business, and you’ll even get templates that you can use for pitching your services.
Step 3: Create Your Website
Next, you should set up your own website that will be used to promote your services. This may sound intimidating if you’ve never set up a website, but it’s really quite easy. I have an article that shows how to set up web hosting and install WordPress that walks you through the simple. That article is geared towards blogs, but the process is the same for setting up a website to promote your services.
On your website, you should create a page that clearly lists the different services that you offer, along with an explanation or description. Make sure you also give visitors a way to contact you if they are interested in learning more.
Step 4: Look for Clients
The last step before you can start making money is to find your first client, or a few clients. Here are some ways to do this.
Start with Your Own Network – Chances are, you already know or have connections to some people who would benefit from your services. This could include family, friends, people you’ve worked with in the past, and any professional contacts that you have. Starting with people you already know is a great idea because it can be an easy way to quickly find a client or two.
Promote Your Services On Your Blog – The website that you set up to promote your services is also a great place to publish blog posts. You can right posts that are related to the services that you offer, and of course, mention your services in the post. If you offer services as a Pinterest VA, write blog posts about driving traffic with Pinterest, and promote your content on Pinterest.
Use Social Media – Use your existing social media profiles to find potential clients. Your personal profiles can be perfect for this since you already have friends and connections. Simply mention the services that you offer and give people a way to get in touch with you.
Facebook Groups can also be an excellent resource, just be sure that you’re not violating the rules of the group by posting about your services. Search for Facebook Groups that would be used by the target audience for your services and start to connect with people in the group.
Job Listing and Freelancing Websites – There are also a number of websites that you can use to find work. I’m not a huge fan of the websites where you bid on jobs because they tend to drive prices down, but some people have success with them. Even if the jobs aren’t perfect, it can be a good place to get started and get some experiences. Some of the sites that you can check out include FlexJobs, Upwork, and PeoplePerHour.
Cold Emails – You can also identify people or businesses that you could help, and reach out to them through their website to offer your services. You’ll have a much better chance with the people in your network, but if you’ve exhausted all of the options in your network, this is a decent option.
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Keys to Sucess
If you decide to give it a go as a virtual assistant, here are a few factors that can have a big influence on your success.
The highest-paid VA’s tend to focus on specific services rather than offering a bunch of general services that aren’t really related. Focusing on a specific type of service, or even a specific niche, can help you to brand yourself as an expert. Taking a more focused approach also helps you to improve your skills by getting more practice, which also makes you more valuable to clients.
Quality Over Quantity
In general, taking fewer clients for bigger projects will be a better approach than trying to take on a larger number of clients for small projects. Managing a lot of different clients can be a challenge, so if you’re able to manage just a few clients, it can make your life a lot easier. Some of your clients may start with small projects, but you can offer them more work, related services, or larger packages in order to grow that relationship.
It doesn’t matter what type of business you start, getting training and support from someone who has had success with the same type of business can be a huge advanatge. While it will cost you some money, getting professional training can pay for itself by simply helping you to find one extra client.
If you’re interested in working as a virtual assistant, be sure to check out Gina Horkey’s 30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistant Success. It’s an excellent program that has produced many success stories and can help you to get your own business off to a fast start.