We get a lot of questions over time where people want to know the best or easiest way to make an income from home. So many people are now actively looking at Working from Home oportunities. Some are just looking for ideas in general while others do have specific ideas in mind. So I thought I would address the situation in this post.
Some of the more specific questions are about how to become a Virtual Assistant.
This term has come to encompass so many things over the years and is no longer just secretarial work. So let’s have a look at what a virtual assistant actually does.
What Do Virtual Assistants Do?
Both online entrepreneurs and small local businesses may have the need for remote help.
The assistance needed runs the gamut and can be entry-level or require someone with
One business may simply need someone to answer their office phones a few hours each week while another may need someone to perform blogger outreach for their upcoming product launch.
If you are a beginner, here are a few in-demand services you can offer when you’re an
entry-level virtual assistant:
1. Email Management
Email management, sometimes called inbox management, involves you accessing your
client’s email inbox (or inboxes) and getting things sorted and organized for the client.
You may end up setting up folders for the client to use.
If something comes through that you can process, you go ahead and process it — like renewing a subscription, approving a comment, or confirming an appointment.
You may even pick up some customer service responsibilities by replying to common
inquiries, processing refunds, and doing that sort of thing.
2. Blog Management
A lot of entrepreneurs and small businesses that hire virtual assistants run blogs on their
websites, and there’s a lot of every-day administrative tasks that come along with
managing the blog.
Much of it is time-consuming but not very high-level stuff, making it perfect for outsourcing to an entry-level VA.
These tasks could include of the following:
- Proofreading the drafts
- Approving and replying to comments.
- Formatting posts (adding headings, etc.)
- Adding links to posts
- Setting up the pins and images within the post
- Drafting new posts
- Adding information to any extra plugins (like putting the keywords into an SEO
- Scheduling posts to go live when they’re ready
- Updating plugins
- Organizing and updating past posts (adding categories and tags, etc.)
There’s really no limit to the work that could be done on a blog, but these are some of the
tasks that are well suited for a beginner VA.
3. Graphic Design
Many people who are in business online understand the importance of good graphics, but
they have no idea how to go about creating them.
If you’re visually oriented and you know your way around free graphic design services like Canva (or you can figure it out pretty fast — it’s fairly intuitive!), you can make a real difference by offering graphic design for your VA clients.
The key to getting work doing graphic design as a new VA is to have a portfolio ready to
go. Once you understand the kinds of graphics your ideal clients will need, you can do 2
or 3 samples for each of them to build yourself a solid portfolio, relatively quickly.
So what are these in-demand graphics?
Here are just a few things to get you started:
- Blog post featured images (with the post title included)
- Pins to circulate on Pinterest
- In-post “ads” that entice the reader to click
- Facebook and Twitter covers
- Instagram posts (this is HUGE in some markets) and other social media posts
- Facebook ad designs
As more and more entrepreneurs are doing things like live videos, podcasts, webinars,
and courses, the need for transcription services is growing.
Transcription is something that many people can do — it doesn’t take any specialized skills, though you’ll do better if you can type quickly and pick up some helpful transcription software like oTranscribe (free) or Transcribe ($20/year).
5. Customer Service
Customer service is a HUGE area for working at home, whether you want to work for a
company or start your own.
Customer service skills are ones that many people possess naturally, and there are tons of sales-based online businesses that need customer service reps. This is a great role to outsource to a VA, and it’s a great role for an entry-level VA to pick up.
6. Social Media
If you enjoy social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, and you feel
you have a knack for producing posts that are interesting, you might be interested in
adding social media to your initial virtual assistant service offerings.
There’s a strategy to using social media effectively, and social media marketing is a solid
niche you can choose if you decide you really like it and want to focus on it as a VA.
But many times there are clients who just need you to post on a platform regularly, and they’ll
provide the content or give you guidelines for what you should share. One of the most indemand platforms at this time is Pinterest.
How Much do Virtual Assistants Make?
According to ZipRecruiter, the average annual income for Virtual Assistants in the US is
around $60,000 as of June 2019.
Your income potential will be greatly determined by your skill set and whether you choose to work for a multi-VA firm or go into business for yourself. Working an entry-level position for a multi-VA firm like Time Etc., for example, may only pay $12 to $15 per hour.
If you have an in-demand, specialized service you are offering to direct clients, on the other hand, you may be able to charge $25/hr, $40/hr or even $60/hr depending on the market.
How to Become a Virtual Assistant
1. Determine your skills and service packages
2. Create a website or landing page describing your service packages and experience
3. Establish your target market – who is your ideal client? What industry are they in?
What’s their budget?
4. Find your market – Where are they hanging out?
5. Establish yourself as an expert
6. Apply for virtual assistant jobs and send pitches to your target market.
7. Conduct an online interview to determine if you are a good fit professionally.
8. Sign a contract outlining the job description and payment terms.
9. Get to work! Provide results and meet deadlines.
Where Can I Find Virtual Assistant Jobs?
Many new virtual assistants opt to work for someone else before going out on their own
and getting their own clients. Companies that hire subcontractors are often called multiVA firms.
These companies are usually started by a virtual assistant that has amassed enough clients that they can no longer handle the work on their own. They then hire virtual assistants of their own to outsource that work.
Working for someone else usually comes with a lower wage. Eventually, you are probably
going to want to break out on your own working from home.
When you are ready to start building your own business and getting your own clients, here are some great tips to get you started:
Know who your ideal client is – what’s their industry?
What type of services do they need?
Where do they hang out online?
What’s their budget?
Can they afford to hire help?
Know the services you want to offer and have a few packages to choose from.
Luckily, there are so many places to find clients – both online and off. Once you know who
your ideal client is you will have a much better indication as to where to start looking.
Try Virtual Assistant Courses.
What if you’re just getting starting and don’t yet have a booming business of your own?
Simple. You learn the skills you want to offer.
There are all kinds of courses, ebooks, and other resources you can use to strengthen your skills and start finding better clients (with bigger budgets).
Don’t Stay Entry-Level.
At the entry level, you get lower rates, steep learning curves, and sometimes doing work
you don’t necessarily enjoy simply so you can get the experience.
There’s no limit to the services a VA can offer, so it’s a matter of finding someone who needs the type of help you can provide.
There’s nothing wrong with entry-level work, but you should “level up” as quickly as you
can. Pick a new skill to add to your offerings and take a course on Udemy or FreeU so you
can master it quickly.
Dive into a specific service that you really enjoy and develop an expertise in it so that you can command higher rates for that service.
Good luck with your new venture and working from home.