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If you’re an organized person with a knack for time management, working as a virtual assistant could be an excellent way to work online and make money from home. But first you need to learn how to become a virtual assistant and get paid for your efforts.
Fortunately, there are a growing number of virtual assistant opportunities online for individuals with all levels of experience. As long as you know where to look — and have the right tools, skills, and mindset — you can become a successful virtual assistant in no time.
How to become a virtual assistant and make money from home
To help you get started, we’ve compiled everything you need to know about becoming a virtual assistant. Let’s start by taking a closer look at what the role entails, what skills you need, and the best virtual assistant websites to find jobs.
What are some common virtual assistant services?
A virtual assistant provides remote support to departments, companies, or individuals as an employee or an independent contractor. While the assistant title may conjure images of answering phones or setting appointments, virtual assistant roles have evolved beyond the calendar (though maintaining a schedule might be one of your responsibilities, too).
Here are a few of the most popular services offered by entry-level and experienced virtual assistants:
- Blog management
- Email management
- Graphic management
- Social media management
- Customer service
- Data entry
- Travel arrangements
- Calendar and schedule maintenance
The list goes on and on. Since each role will have different expectations, research various positions to find one that’s a match for your skill set. And remember you can always pick up new skills, whether through your first job or by taking an online training or course.
What do I need to become a virtual assistant? Key skills
The great thing about virtual assisting is the need for a wide range of skills and backgrounds. While the required hard skills will vary from job to job, here are some of the most important soft skills needed to be a virtual assistant. You’ll need to be,
- Clear and communicative
As long as you possess these qualities, you can successfully work as a virtual assistant.
Who will I be assisting?
Just about anyone can hire a virtual assistant. Small business owners, entrepreneurs, and busy professionals are all examples of busy people who rely on virtual assistants to outsource some of their work and free up valuable time.
For some companies, hiring independent contractors to be virtual assistants is the most cost-effective option, as they don’t need to worry about health insurance, office supplies or other employee-related expenses.
What are some perks of the job?
There are lots of benefits to working as a virtual assistant, but here are three of the most appealing:
- Flexibility: As a VA, you can work where you want, when you want, and for whom you want.
- Freedom: If you’re an independent contractor, you don’t necessarily have to be tied to a single specific job or employer.
- Unlimited income potential: You might also be able to choose your rates, raise your rates whenever you want, and set up multiple income streams.
If you prefer full-time employment to freelancing, you might work full-time for a specific employer and be expected to keep certain hours. But you’ll still have the freedom and flexibility to work from home and balance your workload in the way that works best for you.
How much money you can make as a virtual assistant
As a virtual assistant, your earning potential is essentially unlimited and can vary widely. Virtual assistants typically charge anywhere from $8 to $100 an hour. Your rate ultimately depends on your skill set, experience, areas of expertise, frequency of work, and the market.
According to Indeed, the average salary of virtual assistants with one year of experience is $15 to $16 an hour. ZipRecruiter has reported that the average annual salary of a virtual assistant is about $60,000.
Unless you bring very specialized skills to the table, you probably can’t expect to make $60,000 a year, at least not right off the bat. But as your experience grows, you can earn higher paying jobs.
Best virtual assistant websites to find a job
You can choose to work with a virtual assistant company, as an independent contractor, or as a direct hire. We’ve compiled a list of the most popular virtual assistant companies and websites to help you find a job.
- Remote Bliss — Head to the “Virtual Assistant category” of the Remote Bliss job board to find virtual assistant job opportunities.
- oDesk — Clients post jobs and freelancers bid on them to perform the work on oDesk. This site may not be ideal for seasoned professionals, but for beginners, it’s a great place to gain experience.
- VANetworking.com — This site offers resources for getting your first client, coaching, training, networking, and more. Every virtual assistant should check out this site at least once.
- Upwork — Upwork is the largest freelance marketplace, which means plenty of work. It works similarly to oDesk in that freelancers bid on jobs. However, clients can invite highly rated freelancers to interview for positions. Good reviews and consistent work through Upwork generally leads to more work at higher rates. Keep in mind that Upwork takes 10% of any payment you receive.
- Fancy Hands — This website is focused on smaller tasks that take about 15 – 20 minutes to complete, which means lower rates. But it’s perfect for beginners who need to gain experience or those who are looking to earn a little extra.
- Indeed — Although Indeed isn’t specialized for remote work, you can try searching for terms like “virtual assistant” or “remote assistant” to find the right kind of jobs.
- Your own social media — Leverage social media to network with local businesses, friends, family, and even influencers to find work. Don’t be afraid to slide in those DMs (professionally, of course) and offer your assistant services. You never know who needs an assistant.
Useful tools for managing your work
Before starting any work, look into these time and project management tools. They will help keep you organized, accept payments, track your time, and organize your work.
- Asana — This free tool lets you organize your projects, share documents, and keep track of your work.
- Google Drive — Access Google’s version of Word and Excel for free and easily share documents.
- Grammarly — This tool will proofread everything you do for spelling, grammar, and even tone.
- Lastpass — Securely store and share client login information.
- Freelancers Union — Access free contract templates that you can customize before beginning work.
- Quickbooks — Make tax season easier with Quickbooks. Track invoices, payments, time, and projects in one simple tool.
Hit the ground running in your search for virtual assistant jobs
Learning how to become a virtual assistant is the hard part. Once you’re familiar with the process, you’ll realize you have all the tools in your tool belt — you just need to hit the ground running.
As you find the right opportunities, you can enjoy the freedom and flexibility of working from home and perhaps even being your own boss as a freelancer. Although you might need to start with some entry-level gigs, eventually you can work your way up to making a decent income for your virtual assistant services.