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How to Start a Virtual Assistant Business From Home

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  • Do you have strong digital skills?
  • Is your work ethic and adaptability strong?
  • Do you have a good sense of organization?

Answering yes to the preceding questions may qualify you for starting a home-based virtual assistant business.

Working as a virtual assistant allows you to support businesses from anywhere in the world, and on your own schedule.

The demand for virtual assistants has soared in the last couple of years due to remote work becoming more prevalent due to the pandemic.

Moreover, hiring virtual assistants will allow businesses to avoid the costs of establishing an office and the need to hire full-time employees.

Within a wide range of industries, demand for virtual assistants is expected to increase exponentially in the coming years.

A virtual assistant business has never been more in demand.

What does a Virtual Assistant do?

A virtual assistant is a freelancer or independent contractor who assists businesses online with administrative and digital tasks, such as managing email and social media accounts, online marketing, admin and data entry.

Business owners and entrepreneurs who hire virtual assistants can free up their time so they can focus on running their companies instead of dealing with mundane tasks.

What qualifications are required for virtual assistants?

The majority of clients prefer virtual assistants who have some higher-level training or education, but education does not need to be a prerequisite.

The following skills are essential for a virtual assistant:

  • Effective organizational skills
  • A proficient communicator, both in writing and verbally.
  • Multitasking skills. You may be asked to perform a variety of tasks by clients depending on what you specialize in.
  • Ability to work well under pressure.
  • Motivation to work independently and meet deadlines
  • Tech-savvy – proficient with commonly used software and business applications, such as Microsoft Office.

Services you can offer:

Because virtual assistants primarily work online, the range of skills and services they offer is a lot more than what a traditional office assistant can offer.

The jobs vary based on the field in which they work. Virtual assistants may perform the following tasks:

  • Social media set up, maintenance and management.
  • Forum commenting/monitoring.
  • Data entry
  • Blogging
  • General admin
  • Customer service
  • Online marketing
  • Social ad creation
  • Content production
  • Graphic design
  • Basic bookkeeping
  • Blog commenting
  • Project management
  • Schedule management
  • Competitor research
  • Create presentations
  • Manage contact list
  • Internet research.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Web design and development
  • Data mining
  • Ecommerce: Writing product descriptions
  • Video creation/editing/uploading.
  • Creating, monitoring and analyzing social ads
  • E-commerce Products Listing
  • Diary/calendar management – scheduling meetings, syncing with devices, adding upcoming events.

Online Virtual Assistant Training

If you are interested in becoming a virtual assistant, here is a free and complete course that will guide you step-by-step through the thought and learning processes involved.

How much can you earn?

As with most jobs, the type of company you work for, your experience, and your digital skills will significantly impact your salary.

Moreover, a virtual assistant who has been in business for over two years will naturally charge more than one who is just getting started.

According to ZipRecruiter, one of the largest recruiting US companies, virtual assistants worldwide can make anywhere between $7 and over $63 per hour.

How to Get Started

Are you a specialist in any particular field?

The first step is to determine what services you will provide based on your skillset.

Even though you can benefit from being a generalist, overstretching yourself is not advantageous. When you focus on your core set of specialized skills, you can build a reputation in a specific field much more quickly. Specializing in your core skills will also make you more marketable.

Your offerings should be crystal clear, no matter what services you choose to offer. This will keep clients from expecting you to do things for which you have no experience.

Set a price for your services.

You may have difficulty setting the price of your services when you are just starting out, especially if you are unsure of how long a particular task will take. You should make sure you’re earning enough from your freelance work to be profitable, while not scaring clients away by charging too much.

In this industry, three main methods of charging are used:

Hourly rate. It may be preferable to charge by the hour if the scope of the work isn’t clear from the beginning. This is because you may be uncertain of how long it will take to complete the project. If you’re a beginner, you should charge no less than $15 per hour.

It is important to consider how long it will take you to complete a task when determining your hourly rate. Therefore, if you take 30 minutes to complete a task, your minimum rate should be $7.50 per hour. On the other hand, if you take 15 minutes to complete a task, your minimum rate could be a mere $5 while your hourly rate would be $20.

Based on each individual project. As soon as you are experienced and know the exact length of time it will take to complete a particular project, a fixed project rate will offer several benefits. For instance, you’ll earn at least $100/hr if you complete a $500 project within 5 hours. It’s unlikely that you will be able to find someone who is willing to pay you $100/hour flat out. You have already negotiated a price upfront, so there won’t be any debate about billable hours.

By retainer. Retainers are typically a fixed set of payments made periodically by a client to remain on call for a set period of time. Through this payment, clients can access that worker’s or service provider’s skills and experience on demand, within a specific time frame. In general, you’ll need a track record in order to charge by retainer. Therefore, if you are just starting out, it is best to quote a project rate or hourly rate first.

Legalize your business.

Freelancers usually register as sole traders, limited companies, or partnerships. You’re personally responsible for your business’s debts if you set up as a sole trader.

It is also possible to set up as a Limited Liability Company. This safeguards your personal assets in the event of litigation.

Get professional advice before starting your business so that you can set it up the right way.

Determine who you want to reach.

This is an important step. It will be easier for you to engage potential clients with a consistent message when you identify and understand who you prefer to work with.

You cannot reach everyone, and trying to do so will only dilute your message’s relevance, effectiveness, and utility. You’ll have more success attracting your dream clients if you define your target audience more precisely.

In order to help you identify and reach out to your target audience, here are a few questions to consider:

  • Who is the target audience for your business? Small business owners and entrepreneurs.
  • What challenges and problems do your target audience face? What can you do to solve them?
  • Are there any sites where they can be targeted online?
  • How do you set yourself apart from the competition?

Identify your unique selling proposition.

Your unique selling proposition is what people like about you. In the crowd of similarly qualified candidates, it’s everything that makes you stand out and gives you a competitive edge. It’s what sets you apart.

What makes you stand out is what you do that no one else does. Your unique set of skills makes you a better candidate than your competitors. Although your competitors may provide a “similar” service, they aren’t you, and can’t perform the services in the same way as you.

Make yourself credible.

A blog is one of the best ways to engage your target audience and establish credibility in your field. You can showcase your knowledge and experience through a blog. As you establish yourself as an expert, you will increase your influence and strengthen your reputation.

Write about industry trends and things that inspire you.

Blog about something you are passionate about, such as high fashion. Create attractive images and videos on Instagram and Pinterest to attract your target audience. Keep your audience updated on the latest trends. Show your target audience and the public generally that you are knowledgeable and passionate about what you write about. Great blogs attract more attention and improve your visibility online.

Make yourself visible.

Making yourself visible is the key to building a successful brand. When you are more visible to your target audience, more opportunities will present themselves to establish your personal brand in their hearts and minds.

If your audience only hears from you occasionally, it will make no difference if you offer an incredible service or are highly qualified in your field. Even though ability is absolutely vital for developing a strong brand, being visible is just as significant. Your brand will be more trustworthy if you’re well-known to your audience.

Be memorable.

Your personal brand identity should be unique and memorable so that you can clearly differentiate yourself from everyone else, and stand out to your audience.

The key to becoming memorable is showcasing your expertise. Also, it means doing something different and going further than your competitors.

Rather than simply sending your pitch when bidding for a job, you’ll be much more memorable if you provide a detailed proposal on how the company can resolve an issue you found as part of your research.

As an example, if you are applying for a position as a social media manager and have noticed that the company’s followers don’t engage much with it on Facebook, you could write a short summary identifying problems with their engagement strategy. Briefly explain how the company can generate more engagement with its followers.

Develop an effective personal brand statement.

This statement should reflect what your audience can expect from you. This must instantly convey who you are, what value you provide, who you serve, and how you are unique from your competitors. Getting your audience excited should be your goal.

Personal branding statements answer three questions directly:

  • Who are you?
  • Why do you do what you do?
  • What makes you important to your target audience?

It is important to always keep your target audience in mind when creating your branding statement. Your statement is about you, but not necessarily for you. It is about what you can do for your target audience.

Bad example:

‘My name is John Smith. I provide top-notch virtual assistant services and my rate is $20 per hour. You can reach me at johnsmith@gmail.com.

Good example:

‘My name is John Smith and I am a virtual assistant who resides in London.

Aside from having five years’ experience in digital marketing, I am experienced with Facebook marketing, Pinterest marketing, Instagram marketing, Twitter marketing and Google Analytics.

As a virtual assistant, I help small business owners increase their success by freeing up their time so they can invest it in the growth of their businesses.

On my LinkedIn profile [includelink], you can read what clients have said about working with me.

 Depending on your needs and requirements, my hourly rate ranges between $20- $25.

Please get in touch with me to arrange a complimentary call so we can discuss what I can do for you.

Finding clients

The following are the quickest ways to locate virtual assistant jobs:

Online job boards

A job board is a website that connects job seekers and employers. To avoid wasting your time while searching for a job, select a few carefully chosen job boards that are specifically tailored for the type of job you’re seeking.

The following are top job boards that specialize in remote work:

  • Flexjobs
  • Fiverr
  • Upwork
  • Remotees
  • Solid gigs
  • Jobscpresso
  • We Work Remotely
  • RemoteOK
  • Virtual Vocations

Virtual Assistant Agencies:

Below is the full list of companies. You can click on any of the companies to jump right into it:

MyOutDeskWoodBowsPrialto
Serve TeamTheTeamsHubPremium Help
JH Virtual AssistantPhoenix Virtual SolutionsUAssist.Me
24/7 Virtual AssistantMyTaskerTime Etc
Virtual EmployeeGetFridayArup Virtual Assistant
Virtual Assistant Job Boards

Choosing to Find Clients on Your Own

It is best to identify potential clients yourself if you want to find good paying clients.

Directly finding clients can be done in several ways.

Facebook Groups

A Facebook group is a great way to connect with people in a specific niche or industry. It is a very popular method of finding virtual assistant jobs online. The reason is that they offer small business owners the opportunity to hire VAs without paying fees to third-party websites. 

The following are dedicated Facebook groups for VAs where you can find virtual assistant jobs and advertise your services.

Facebook Ads

By precisely targeting your audience, Facebook ads enable you to attract the right people. You can, for example, segment your audience based on job titles, industries, companies, locations, etc. This will ensure that whoever clicks on your ad is highly likely to be a potential client.

Creating an ad that convinces business owners or entrepreneurs to click on your LinkedIn profile or website will allow you to present yourself as a compelling candidate. Additionally, Facebook ads are so cheap that you can achieve your ultimate goal for less than $20.

Cold pitching

The cold pitch strategy is a powerful tool for messaging potential clients. This method is also a more efficient way of finding potential clients than responding to job boards or browsing freelancer bidding sites.

Begin the process by asking the prospective company if they work with virtual assistants by sending a short email. After you have a received a “yes”, tell them who you are and how you are able to help them. 

Hi {{name}},

I’m [[your name]], and I’ll keep this short.

Traffic is the biggest challenge most small businesses face today. To solve this problem, I use organic and paid campaigns on social media sites like Facebook, Reddit, and Pinterest to generate targeted traffic.

In just 10 minutes, I will show you how I can achieve the same results for your business.

How to get paid

There are many ways to get paid. Most people use PayPal, Payoneer, or bank transfers to get paid.

If you have an international client, you may want to set up a Wise account for FREE, which gives you bank details for different countries.

For example, if you live in the United States and your client is in the UK, by using Wise, your client will not have to pay expensive international transfer fees. You will be able to provide an account number and sort code for payments in the UK.

Money will be deposited into your Wise account, and you can convert it to USD if you wish.

Final Thoughts

How do you feel about becoming a virtual assistant?

Today is the day to invest in your future! A virtual assistant business can provide you with the following:

  • Living a happy life
  • A business that gives you some flexibility and makes it possible for you to live comfortably
  • Enough time to spend as you like

It’s just a matter of believing in yourself and taking action!

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