This guide will show you how to start a virtual assistant business, even if you don’t have any experience yet.
Do you realize how many occupations and tasks have been retired over the years as technology advances? On the bright side, a bunch have been created.
One of the most interesting to me is the virtual assistant position, which allows you to work from home either full-time or part-time. Whenever I speak about virtual assistant jobs, there is a mix of optimism and doubt.
The reason for this is quite simple. It’s great to know that the option is there, but even, if you have been an administrative assistant before, being a virtual assistant is different.
Can you become a virtual assistant with no experience? Yes, you can. If you’re looking to become a virtual assistant and don’t have any experience, I’ll break down how to go about it.
Benefits Of Being A Virtual Assistant
The emphasis here is on the word “virtual.” The virtual assistant position brings a ton of flexibility. I’m not a fan of the rigid structure that many traditional jobs have, and you probably aren’t too.
Just think about it for a second. This is a job that you could realistically apply and be vetted for exclusively through social media without even providing an email address.
You could work from home for a boss halfway around the world that you never meet without ever leaving your kids. This is the very definition of flexibility if I have ever seen it.
So, why wouldn’t the experience aspect of it be flexible too? I’m here to tell you that you can become a virtual assistant with no experience. Let me do a bit of a deep dive into how this all works and what you can do to win potential clients.
What Exactly Is A Virtual Assistant?
A virtual assistant is a remote worker who helps their clients with tasks. It can include administrative work, email management, social media campaigns, graphic design work, and even content creation.
If you’re a virtual assistant for a blogger, your usual tasks may include Pinterest pin creation and management, roundup post curation, or email system management.
Who Hires Virtual Assistants and Why?
First, I think we should address the demand for these jobs, as virtual assistant positions are on the rise. Believe me when I tell you that people need virtual assistants.
Why is this? Well, the explanation is twofold. First, the amount of consideration and compensation that is associated with a physical worker, such as an administrative assistant, can be a deterrent.
If someone hires a virtual assistant, that person doesn’t necessarily have to make considerations for pension programs, health care, etc. I would say that you can chalk this one up to lower overhead costs to the employer.
Additionally, there has been a notable rise in the number of people who have become self-employed. Since there are more people who have less time from running their own businesses, it creates a need for virtual assistants.
Apart from the demand, there is also the matter of the roles associated with the position. When you hear the term “virtual assistant,” what comes to mind? I’ve spoken to several people, and they have the same general idea, which boils down to a remote version of an administrative assistant.
A potential employer may likely be looking for a person to fit that kind of role. However, I’d like to point out that it is just as likely that an employer may want something completely different.
For example, a lot of your time as a virtual assistant may be spent on social media management for various platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
If you prefer social media over admin tasks, learn more about becoming a social media manager.
The true defining factor is the ability to work remotely while making things easier for your employer.
How Do I Start A Virtual Assistant Business With No Experience?
The virtual assistant industry is one that is very accommodating to people who have no prior industry knowledge after they know how to get into the swing of things. Once you start right, it shouldn’t be too tough to get your virtual assistant business going.
The best piece of advice I can give you is to have a tunnel vision-like focus as you start. What I mean by this is that you should find a single thing and focus on it.
Remember that as a newbie, you must actively seek work out since you’re at the rookie level. Potential employers tend to only go after people who are at the expert level.
Since you are trying to become an expert with a thriving business, the easiest path is to gain recognition in one thing, as opposed to becoming a Jack of all trades and a master of none.
When you become an intermediate-level virtual assistant, you can consider branching out a bit, as you would have gained valuable experience. By the time you get to the expert level, you have a lot more control over what you do and the kind of compensation that you work for.
Now you may be wondering what kind of niches you can explore. Some of the top ideas are general virtual assistant, blogger, social media manager, and scheduler.
How To Get VA Clients
As is the case with any job, you must convince potential clients that you can pull off the necessary tasks. Having experience is a shortcut to this, but if you don’t, then you must rely on alternative means.
One of these is to learn the position profile. Once you understand what a position requires of you, then you can comment with confidence on your ability to get the work done.
For example, a social media assistant position may require that you make an engaging post daily to boost clicks on affiliate links. While you may not have experience with being this kind of virtual assistant, you may be good at navigating social media and creating engaging content.
The point I’m trying to make is that you need to relay how your strengths make you a good fit, by tying them to individual job requirements.
How To Start A Home-Based Virtual Assistant Business
The virtual assistant craze started way before this year. Therefore, the tips and techniques for getting this kind of business going have evolved for many years. You now have the advantage of access to the latest tools and technologies that are available.
Find A Job Search Platform
The first step is to find a suitable search platform. I think this goes double for people who have no experience. Chances are that you are the one who needs to hunt down a suitable position to become a virtual assistant. Even if you do, you may not get the first one you find, which means that you likely need to start your hunt again.
Whatever the case may be, you must find somewhere that is conducive to your search. Freelancer sites, such as Upwork, Fiverr, and Freelancer, offer amazing job search possibilities. Additionally, the workflow of each site removes troublesome stuff, such as figuring out things like payment arrangements.
Decide On A Niche
Once you find a search platform, you then need to decide which niche you intend to focus on. As I said above, someone who is browsing jobs as a virtual assistant with no experience will have the most success by focusing on one thing.
Create An Online Presence
Next, work on creating some form of presence for yourself. Apart from uploading your resume or creating an online one that shows off your relevant skills, make use of social media platforms or whatever other websites you may have access to.
You can even create your own website for your VA business. I use WordPress and show you how to set up a website here. This is a great way to establish your business.
Find A Mentor
Another great idea is to find groups or individuals who are already doing well at what you are trying to achieve. As you build your virtual assistant business, the idea is to learn from those who are already excelling at it. You can’t put a price on mentorship and the acquisition of knowledge.
Start Landing Jobs
A good thing about virtual assistant job postings is that they tend to point out the skill level that is being sought. Your best bet is to go for beginner-friendly jobs since work experience is not such a factor with them. However, these jobs typically pay less than those who seek people with a greater skill level.
One of the things that you need to come to terms with if you want to become a virtual assistant, is a potentially low payment rate when you start. Many of these beginner-friendly virtual assistant positions offer experience in spades, but they don’t pay very well.
This is a hard pill to swallow, but you must be prepared for the possibility of not being paid handsomely at the start of your virtual assistant journey. Remember that as you spend time getting experience, you better position yourself to choose who and what you work for in the future.
Do Virtual Assistant Requirements Differ by Country?
The good thing about the information that I have provided is that it is very much universal. Therefore, whether you are in the USA, UK, or even Taiwan, you can still get started as a virtual assistant by following my advice. So, as I said before, focus on a niche and use it to propel yourself to new heights.
The only difference may be the platform that you use to seek employment. For example, sites, such as Upwork and Freelancer, are great options in the USA or the UK, but there are others that may be more appropriate in other countries. Examples of these are Virtual Staff and CareerJet that would be better suited for people in places, such as the Philippines.
The experience aspect doesn’t change by country. You can become a virtual assistant with no experience, regardless of your location. You don’t need to live in a first-world country to land a job.
What Skills Do You Need to Become a Virtual Assistant?
Just like any other full-time or part-time venture, having a virtual assistant job means collecting relevant information and developing the skills required to do well with the position.
If I were your employer, and I offered you such a position, I would expect my life to become notably easier. If you want to evoke that kind of feeling, then be prepared to put in the required work. Learning never stops, and I don’t think that there is any context that can ever change that.
1. Professional and Personal Development
Complacency is the enemy of progress. Landing a virtual assistant position doesn’t mean that you should stop working on yourself.
You must continue to evolve into the best version of yourself that you can be, both personally and professionally. So, get started on becoming customer service-oriented, and always strive to reach the next level in your professional life.
This may mean doing courses and acquiring certifications over time. Not only do you become a better virtual assistant, but you also set yourself up for greater opportunities in the future. Take advantage of the work-from-home environment to invest in yourself.
Even if communication has never been a weak point for you, you can never be too good at it. Don’t ever think you don’t need to improve.
Virtual assistants don’t have the advantages that come with in-person communication, such as hearing the tone someone uses to call your name. Email may be your primary communication channel, which means you must maximize your potential in using it.
Remember that only half of the communication process is getting your idea across. The other half consists of actively trying to understand the other party. Applying this to your workflow is a key factor in creating satisfied employers.
Depending on what kind of virtual assistant you become, planning may be a part of your job description. Even if it is not, you cannot be good at your position if you don’t do it well.
You may not be planning your employer’s weekly schedule, but you still do need to do your due diligence to ensure that you carry out every task effectively. Much of this involves completing proper scheduling.
If you do end up in a position where you must plan for the person who employs you, this skill of time allocation becomes even more relevant.
I always say that this is a skill that everyone needs to have. There is no telling when a situation can pop up that requires you to apply some level of knowledge that you don’t possess.
Your ability to do thorough, independent research is always a plus. Even if you are comfortable with the tasks that you are assigned, the possibility does exist that you may be assigned something that is out of your depth. How do you plan to handle that without research?
Tools Every Virtual Assistant Needs
Depending on what your focus as a VA will be will determine what tools you need. These tools are a good general place to start.
- Canva – This is a free graphic design tool that is great for creating Pinterest pins or single page documents.
- Google Drive – Sharing documents with your client becomes a whole lot easier with Google Drive. You can use Google Docs to send and receive information about a project or Google Sheets to track hours.
- WordPress – If you want to build your own website where clients can find you and you share helpful information, then WordPress is your best bet. You can follow the steps for setting up a WordPress site.
Ultimately, to become a successful virtual assistant, you have to get up and go. It’s your responsibility to get clients so people who are self-driven and can work independently will find the most success.
If you’re ready to become a virtual assistant, follow the steps above. I’d love to hear about your journey on becoming a VA below.
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