The perks and benefits of remote work has attracted millions of experts to consider switching from the draining 9-5 jobs to more flexible career options like choosing to become a virtual assistant.
In the same way, more businesses are looking towards outsourcing and freelance options to plug in expenses thus creating an increasing demand, opportunities and prospects for virtual assistants.
One of the major advantages that comes with becoming a virtual assistant is that you don’t really need to have a ton of experience to get a job. In fact, compared to your favorite 9-5, you can start out as a freelance assistance or start with just your basic skills.
You can also work part time, combine work with school or other jobs or even work remotely if you choose. Yet, you will still earn a decent income.
Compared to twenty years ago when it was nearly impossible to work with individuals without formally employing them, today; most companies and businesses in need of staff without the commitment of full time employment are increasingly demanding for Virtual Assistants.
In fact, according to a recent report, the virtual assistance industry is set to reach the 5 billion dollars bench mark globally, between 2021 and 2025.
So, there’s a huge prospect there. And if you’re thinking about launching your own Virtual Assistant Career, then this guide is for you.
What is Virtual Assistant?
A Virtual Assistant is a self-employed worker, expert or entrepreneur who provides specialized services to clients from a remote location.
The primary role of a Virtual Assistant is to work remotely with clients like companies, businesses and even individuals, to provide specific services for them in exchange for a profit.
Why You Should Become a Virtual Assistant?
Over the years, growing adoption of technology by businesses and individuals has led to a surge in the demand for virtual assistant service providers.
Unlike many years ago, today many businesses prefer to cut cost in some areas by employing virtual assistants over permanent staff.
With this increase in demand for VA roles, many have stepped in to provide Virtual Assistant services either as a full time job or part time job and they are getting paid for it.
Also, the flexibility it offers in terms of working hours, work-life balance, choice of jobs etc. are some additional factor that keep attracting people to take up VA roles.
What a Virtual Assistant Does
Initially, the job of a virtual assistant was typically administrative in nature. But with advancement in technology, the most in-demand virtual assistant skills recently are in the areas around technology.
There are also some less popular tasks which include: Payroll Management, Proof Reading, Editing Documents, Database Entry, Email management etc.
Although these are some of the top in demand virtual assistant services, there are still a lot more and you can always create a niche and market your own unique services, based on your competence and market need.
That said, the following are the practical steps you can take to become a virtual assistant starting today…
Sort Out your Skills
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You don’t necessarily need to have a specific experience before you can become a Virtual Assistant but you need some skills to get started.
In fact, the first thing to do before starting a Virtual Assistance Career is to sort out your skills. Find out, what professional, specialized or general skills do you have? List them all out.
If you don’t have any relevant skill, find out what skill(s) you want to learn and how long it’ll take you to gain mastery in that skill.
Doing this will get you to identify your skills and choose the relevant ones that will be useful to your target audience seeking the services of a virtual assistant.
Where you think you don’t have the right kind of professional skills, start with enrolling in an institution to learn digital skills professionally or any other skills as relevant to your goals.
With this you can get proper certifications and get yourself all prepped for a robust freelance virtual assistance experience.
PS: Even where you already have the requisite skills, it is still important to brush up your skills as this will give you more confidence in your work.
Choose a Perfect Niche
Choosing a niche is a very important aspect of your journey to become a virtual assistant because your success to a large extent is going to depend on the market niche you choose.
So, before you choose a niche, take note of things like,
- Market Demand. Are there a decent number of people currently in need of this service you’re planning to offer?
- Your level of Expertise in that niche. Do you have adequate competence to work in this field or will you have to attend some training to build on or brush up your skills? And if you have to embark on trainings, how long will it take you?
- The level of Competition. Are there a high number of already established experts in this niche? If yes, will you be able to compete with them profitably, as a beginner?
These are some of the key things you need to consider before deciding on any particular niche. As whatever you decide here will influence your success as a virtual assistant.
Create a Unique Brand
If you want to become that virtual assistant that stands out from the crowd, then you choose and create a brand that stands out from the crowd.
Starting with your brand name, carefully select a brand name that will pass across the kind of message you want it to send across to your audience without mincing words.
I have seen VAs choose brand names like SEOExpert, Brandchick, SocialMediaBabe etc., based on their niche and target audience.
You can always do something close to that. You can build your brand name around services you provide or go all out to choose a brand name that suits you based on your own business name or whatever you want to use as such.
Remembering that branding is not only about your name and logo, you also need to be sure that your marketing paraphernalia, website, social media and other items are also on brand and people can recognize your brand, whenever they come across items that belong to you.
To further accentuate your brand, you also need to create and share content that positions you as the expert that you are in that niche.
PS: In whatever you do, be sure your target audience can actually relate to your brand.
Check out a complete guide on how to set up your brand here
Setting up your Business
As you prepare to launch your business, you may decide to become a virtual assistant as a solo entrepreneur, freelancer or give your business a face by having it registered as a limited liability company.
Whatever you choose, it is always best you go for something that works for you based on your current realities and long term goals.
Usually, registering your business has a way of giving you that corporate outlook notwithstanding, if you don’t have the resources to register the business immediately, you can always get started (in most countries) and then register your business at a later time.
While setting up your business, also remember that this is a good time to decide where you’ll be working from. It’s a good time to ask the question, am I going to be working from home or an office space?
Of course you can always work from either of the places, provided you have all the needed resources that will make your work convenient at both locations but if you can afford it, it is always better to work from a personal or shared office space, where you get your job done without needless distractions.
After you’ve sorted out your preferred working location, the next thing you need do is to provide all the necessary working devices including the necessary applications, softwares and hardware that you’ll be needing.
Choosing a Pricing Model
Now that you’ve set up your business, the next thing you want to do is to set up a pricing model and decide how much you’ll be charging clients for your services.
Usually, you can decide to charge you clients either collectively for all services provided if you’re providing more than one service to a client or to charge them on an hourly, weekly or monthly basis. The choice is always yours.
As a beginner, if you’re offering more than one service to a client, it is always best you charge them collectively as this will give you the chance to give them a wholesome discount that can also serve as an incentive, in some cases.
Where you’re charging on a per service basis, you can offer to charge them on an hourly, weekly or monthly basis, depending on what works for the both of you.
In some niches, pricing is a deal breaker. And to successfully become a become a virtual assistant in such niches, you have to be very flexible with your pricing while giving your clients good value for their money.
Promote your Services
So, you’re all set up to become a virtual assistant. Your next goal is to get the jobs. And to do this well enough, you need to promote the hell out of your business. Yes! Get the word out so people know you exist.
Get a Website: The first step to promote your VA business is to get a website. The reason you need a website is to showcase your services, your portfolio, reviews, clients and content.
Getting a website and putting all these things in place will go a long way in building your credibility as well as getting you the visibility you deserve. And we can build a website for you, if you reach out to us here.
Get on Social Media: After setting up your website, the next step to promote your VA business is to get on the social media. Get your brand all set up on the important social media platforms that have a good number of your target clients.
Create & Share Content: Create content and share on both your website and social media handle from time to time. This content should include your work, case studies and other valuable content that will benefit your target audience.
Work on doing this consistently, so people can get to know you.
PS: Here’s a complete guide on how to promote your business online here.
Growing your Business
It is not enough to become a virtual assistant, it is important you maintain a consistent level of growth if you really want to be successful in this business.
So, the first step you need to take to grow your business is to promote it so you can get a better visibility and clients.
Apart from the steps I listed above, to further promote your business, you can use paid advertising either on social media or search engines like Google Ads, to drive traffic and visibility for your business.
As soon as the clients starts coming in, work on providing excellent customer service that will earn you both referrals and return clients.
Automate: Set up automation tools to automate certain aspects of your business and get the work off your desk.
Engage: Show up consistently to post and interact with your audience online. Also, join and share your content to platforms and groups with a good number of your target client.
Get Reviews & Testimonials: Finally, be sure to actively ask for testimonials and referrals. And when you get them, showcase them on your platforms and social media handles.
In conclusion, starting a virtual assistant business is not just doable it’s one of the most popular online businesses that’s providing employment for a lot of individuals out there. And you can actually use these steps to start your own virtual assistant services business.
While at it, always bear in mind that building a successful business will demand a consistent effort, time and persistence.
So, there you have the step by step procedure to become a virtual assistant. With these tips, you can start a virtual assistant service business, anywhere, with or without any experience.
Now, that you know the steps you need to take, do you feel you need to learn some specific skills so you can become a more confident virtual assistant? You can start by signing up to learn a digital skill professionlly, here.
Now it’s over to you. What do you think is your biggest challenge towards becoming a virtual assistant? Join the conversation in the comments section.