I never set out to become a virtual assistant, it’s something I pivoted towards and I pretty much fell into the business opportunity. A happy accident, if you will! What was once a side hustle soon turned into a full-time business which I not only love but that also gives me much more freedom than I ever had before.
With my husband already having a virtual design and marketing business, and me having previous experience in content marketing and admin, it was a natural fit, and I’m super grateful to have found it. I merged my skills together with my husband’s, rebranded his business and TEG Virtual was born. This happened shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic changed our way of living and working, and since then, the demand for virtual assistants has grown.
Virtual working has allowed me to create a rewarding business that offers a wonderful work-life balance, and I would love to help as many others begin their VA journeys.
With that said, let’s take a look at an overview of how to become a virtual assistant.
What Is A Virtual Assistant?
A virtual assistant is an independent contractor hired by individuals and small businesses to take on a variety of tasks, projects and processes in that business’s name. Virtual assistants can have very flexible hours and can work remotely or from home while managing their own schedules. Many VA’s have assistants of their own, hiring other virtual assistants to help them with larger projects and tasks beyond their own skillset.
A VA can offer pretty much anything an in-house professional would, except that they work with their clients virtually. This means that businesses can hire an assistant without needing to worry about overhead costs, such as renting office space or taking on the responsibilities that comes with having employees. As a VA, you’ll set your own hours and work from a location of your choice.
Do I Need Training To Become A Virtual Assistant?
To get started as a VA, you won’t necessarily need any formal training, but you will need to gain knowledge about the fields involved with working as such an individual, and understand how to get set up properly before getting started. You will first want to establish whether you’d prefer to take on an employed role as a virtual assistant (yes, these exist) or if you’d prefer to venture out on your own and start your own business, either as a freelancer or a company.
If you’d prefer to go the self-employed route, it is important to understand some business basics to make sure you are conforming to your country’s tax laws and regulations. I won’t cover this in this particular article, but it is vitally important that you do your own research and due diligence when it comes to starting a business. Remember to seek professional financial advice if necessary!
Becoming a virtual assistant is relatively simple, but that doesn’t mean it is easy. If you are starting your own business as a VA, there’ll be lots of time invested into training, research, learning, and setting up your business before you begin servicing clients. It is worth producing a business plan to help set goals for yourself and ensure that you aren’t missing any of the vital steps needed in order to become a successful virtual assistant.
Depending on your skillsets and experience, training isn’t always necessary, and you can learn everything you need with self-education and experience. That said, if you do decide to enrol on a virtual assistant training course, be sure to do your due diligence on the trainer. The UK Society For Virtual Assistants offers a list of certified VA coaches along with guidance on what you should look for in a trainer. Their guide was produced after a string of complaints about rogue VA trainers, so it is important to make sure that you are parting with your money in exchange for a legitimate and reputable virtual assistant coach.
What Skills Do I Need To Become A Virtual Assistant?
Virtual assistants can be found all around the world and offer much more than just admin tasks and diary management. VA’s can help with personal tasks, bookeeping, social media, consulting, or even run your business. In fact, you can find a highly skilled virtual assistant for almost any apsect of work. With this in mind, it’s important to think about what skills you have to offer your clients as a VA. Consider your previous experience, any particular skills you might have, and areas of interest and expertise.
As a virtual assistant you might choose to offer a broad range of skills, or choose to specialise in one or two specific areas. When you’re first getting started, you might find it useful to write out all of your skills and ideas, so you can decide how to position yourself which will help when it comes to marketing your services and business. It may be that you start out offering a variety of skillsets which you narrow down the more experience you gain.
In addition to what skills you will be offering your clients, you’ll also want to consider the skills you’ll need to work remotely, regardless of whether you’ll be employed or self-employed. You’ll need to develop skills such as time management, task and project management, be self motivated and be happy to work remotely for long periods of time.
If you decide to start your own business, you’ll need to understand the business basics and make sure you understand bookeeping and accounts, have your business policies in place, insurance, understand your business entity and other requirements relating to starting a business.
What Services Can I Offer As A Virtual Assistant?
As a virtual assistant, there is a whole heap of services you can offer clients. These range from admin tasks, such as document formatting, audiotranscription, email and diary management, to graphic and web design, digital marketing, social media management, organising travel, bookeeping, blogging, running the business, and even personal tasks such as managing the family calendar!
When you’re starting out, think about what skills you have to offer, your previous experience, and any relevant areas of interest. The beautiful thing about virtual working, is that you can quite literally work with clients all around the world, from anywhere in the world. Have a brainstorming session and note down as many ideas you can think of, then begin to pinpoint the services that you would enjoy offering to clients.
If you’re stuck for inspiration, start by doing some research on what services are most in-demand – you can always pivot and change your services offerings as you become more experienced and knowledgeable.
Steps To Getting Started
As I’ve said, it’s important to set up your business for success. You’ll need to do some of your own research when learning how to become a virtual assistant, but here are some steps to consider that will help you when getting started.
- Choose your business entity/structure.
- Decide which services you’ll offer your clients.
- Establish your pricing structure.
- Launch your online presence.
- Start networking and/or registering with agencies.
- Build relationships.
Finally, remember that there is no rulebook as such and you’ll want to build a business or career that works for you. Your primary goal as a virtual assistant is to support your clients and to help them grow their business. You’ll want to provide as much value as possible. The role of a virtual assistant is a very rewarding one, and the best relationships between client and VA are the ones that are mutually benefitting.
Good luck on your journey to becoming a virtual assistant! You’re exploring an awesome career path and I wish you the very best of success. I love supporting other VA’s, so feel free to reach out to me via my Instagram if you have any questions. I’d be happy to help!