Working from home as a Virtual Assistant is a rapidly growing opportunity, thanks to the Internet and today’s approach to handling tasks on a segmented basis. Avoiding the cost of hiring someone full-time, providing health insurance and benefits and otherwise taxing the business is an appealing change to the way jobs are handled today. Therefore, becoming a virtual assistant is a great way to make money and be able to set your own schedule and work from your home, cutting out commute time and the hassle of a 9 to 5 in a city. This gives you freedom of where to live as well, and it cuts down on the stress of interactions with co-workers and being stuck in an unhealthy work environment. This job may seem complex and out of your reach, but really it is a matter of understanding what it entails and what to look for in the job hunt process.
What is a Virtual Assistant?
The definition of a Virtual Assistant is an individual who usually works remotely for someone else. This means working from a home office, a cafe or any other location with WiFi. This individual handles various tasks that the client is too busy to handle on their own. These tasks can include social media management, sending emails, uploading blogs, organising calendars and travel, handling research, transcription, coordinating with vendors or preparing presentations. This individual also might be the one to hire other employees for your business.
A virtual assistant is someone you hire with specific hours to work or tasks to complete. In this manner, you can be sure those tasks are handled, and your budget is still followed. Hiring a full-time personal assistant can be quite pricey. In order to avoid that financial burden, hiring a virtual assistant cuts down on expectations for pay and expected hours of work. This is a benefit to both of you, because that virtual assistant may handle tasks for others and make a full-time job out of handling tasks for multiple clients. Meanwhile, each client saves on pay and also on having to find work to keep that assistant busy full-time.
How to become a Virtual Assistant
Becoming a virtual assistant is not a simple endeavour. It is not likely that you can quit a full-time job and have enough work as a VA to support yourself in a matter of weeks or even months. Therefore, it is important to have six months worth of expenses covered by savings before you embark on this change of career.
It is also important to be prepared for self-promotion. It takes a lot of word of mouth and networking to get started as a virtual assistant. It is also necessary to motivate yourself. Personal responsibility and making an effort to get the work done when it needs to be completed are important to your reputation and your potential to maintain clients. Therefore, motivating yourself to complete tasks and to go out and look for more clients are both important to your success.
Necessary Skills and Requirements for a Virtual Assitant:
The beauty of becoming a virtual assistant is that your strengths can be the only skills you need to become a virtual assistant. The trick is finding a client that needs what you offer.Some clients need someone with extensive writing experience, as they need press releases, blogs or other content written for them on a regular basis. If writing is not your strong suit, then it is worthwhile to look for a virtual assistant or VA job that does not focus heavily on content writing. Scheduling appointments or keeping track of a calendar, handling contact with vendors, clients or other important individuals to the business and even managing social media are all important skills that can be useful to companies that need a VA. You can keep looking until you find a company that needs these tasks handled, rather than writing content, and you will be set.
How can you get hired as a Virtual Assistant?
One great way to get into this business is to see if anyone you know needs some help with various tasks that fit within the scope of a VA scope. This means a businessman or woman who needs their email handled, their calendar managed or even the follow-up calls to their clients completed by someone other than themselves because they are too busy to spend time on these tasks.
If you have someone that you already know who can hire you, then that will give you base experience that you can use on your resume when applying for other jobs. It can also be a great learning experience because as you handle the tasks you were hired to do, you can learn a lot about how they handle their business. Any of this can be useful for future jobs.
Use your current networks and social media as well. Sometimes, you have connections that are in need of a Virtual assistant to handle a few tasks, but they are not interested in hunting for one. If you reach out and let people know that you are available for this type of employment, it may benefit both of you. If a friend of a friend is in this situation and your friend can recommend you to that other individual, this is also a win-win situation that never would have occurred if you didn’t let people know you were able to handle VA tasks.
The next approach is to reach out to different business people you may see struggling. If you notice that certain businesses have potential, but they are losing out on business because their website is not updated, their emails are not answered, or their blogs are not updated regularly, it cannot hurt to reach out and ask if they are in need of assistance. Likewise, you can create profiles on some of the sites listed below and show that you are prepared to handle tasks that get put off because that individual dislikes handling them or he or she does not have the time doing it. Show them you can be a valuable addition to their team.
Plan on being true to deadlines. It is important when you are hired that you handle tasks when you say you will. This creates a good relationship and means you will continue to be given work. Likewise, only offer to handle tasks you are confident you can complete. Taking on a job that you have no experience with gives you too much potential to fail and lose that customer because you weren’t honest about your strengths and abilities.
Websites where you can look for jobs as a Virtual Assistant
VA tasks are often posted in some of the websites that are mentioned below. These sites may make it for you to look for tasks that seem ideal for your specific skillset. Simply create an account with these sites and start applying for jobs:
Guru.com – This website hosts many different job postings. They include jobs a Virtual assitant would be the key to handle including blog posts, email creation and research tasks.
VirtualAssistantJobs.com – One helpful feature of this site is a 16-question survey to determine if you are ready to become a VA. This survey can help you narrow down areas you need to work on to improve your chances of getting a VA job. The site is one of the fastest growing in the field, and it reportedly has as many as 50,000 freelancers available for hire. Putting yourself out there on this site may be helpful to your success.
Upwork.com – Like Guru.com, this site offers more job opportunities than VA tasks. However, the search is easy to use and you can send proposals to the jobs that seem to fit your skill set.
Craigslist.com – A search of this site’s regional site that is local to you can bring up jobs that are in your area or are available for remote work. Tasks you can handle may be listed under part-time, web/info design, writing/editing or admin/office. It takes time and effort to search for potential jobs, and you have to be careful to avoid those listings that are scams.
WAHM.com – This website provides articles to read, job boards to browse and a forum to connect with other work from home mums, which can provide great assistance to learning how to do the job better and find better-paying opportunities.
HireMyMom.com – This site requires a minimum of one to two years of experience in the area you want to handle. They offer jobs in blog writing, administrative tasks, website and graphic design, legal and real estate assistants and many more. In order to get a job through this site, however, a membership fee is required. It can be paid quarterly or annually.
Equivityva– Working for Equivity means you have to be available during normal business hours, or 9 am to 6 pm Monday through Friday. They require you to have a four-year degree and be organised, dedicated, resourceful and pay close attention to detail, among other qualities. You need a laptop and smartphone with Internet access and should be familiar with various email platforms, search engines and Microsoft Office Programs.
Life Bushido – In order to work for this site, you need to be available between five and 20 hours per week. Tasks pay around $10 per hour.
OkayRelax – This company offers a personalised assistant to each client, with experience and professionalism to handle research, reservations, travel plans, schedule management and even recommendations of activities to complete so clients can enjoy themselves more and spend less time for making a plan or a schedule. In order to work for this company, you need to watch for openings. The careers and opportunities link at the bottom of the home page provides access to any available opportunities or lets you know they are not currently hiring.
You can also post a resume to these sites and see if an employer shows interest:
These sites offer connections to both remote jobs and onsite work, so it is necessary to make sure the job can be done remotely if one is offered to you. This can cut down on your job search efforts, though, as employers are looking to hire staff through these sites and may happen upon your resume during their search.
Websites where you can hire Virtual Assistants.
In addition to becoming a potential employer on the sites listed above, there are numerous other sites that provide access to people who are professional assistants and capable of handling all VA tasks. You can choose from a site that provides very specific assistance, one that provides you with an assistant that can handle all of the minutiae of running a business or assistance during a specific time of day so these tasks can be completed in a predictable time frame. These sites include:
PeoplePerHour.com – This site allows you to post your specific job and have it reach more than 50,000 freelancers within minutes of posting. It is primarily a site that hires UK freelancers. The potential for hire is great, and jobs will be completed quickly by reputable workers. This can be especially helpful if your business has international reach.
Upwork.com – As noted above, the jobs on this site are a wide variety and are listed in different categories. As an employer, you need to create an account and prepare to connect a bank account to the profile in order to verify that you can pay those you hire. From there, it becomes a process of sifting through proposals to find the person you want to complete the task you have advertised.
Guru.com – This site allows you to list specific tasks separately in order to be able to control what you are paying for each job. Potential employees submit proposals with their preferred payment scale.
Red Butler – This site offers plans that range from $450 per month to $1,850 per month. For the $450 plan, you get 15 hours of assistance for one user and have 12-hour coverage, a dedicated account manager and someone who handles your calendar, email and any calls for you. For the $1,850 package, you get 75 hours of assistance for five users, a dedicated enterprise manager, 12-hour coverage on weekdays, and someone to handle calls, emails and your calendar.
99 Dollar Social – This site offers social media content management. Content specialists are all located in the US and not outsourced to other countries. There is a 14-day free trial to make sure they handle your social media in a satisfactory manner.
Team Delegate – This site offers a consultation to determine your needs that are handled over the phone, a follow-up email that discusses the needs you outlined and the proposal for cost and the plan to assist your business, a welcome packet with forms to fill out and courtesy calls that are placed regularly once they begin handling tasks for you to be sure you are happy with their service.
The Admin Center – This site offers “live receptionists that complete work for as low as $1.77 per task. These include bookkeeping, payment processing, business consulting, printing, marketing, phone calls and various tasks like email management and others that would be handled by a virtual assistant.
Vicky Virtual – This site was created to fill a void for a pair who were losing sales for their business because they did not have a receptionist. A setup has been created that provides four to six receptionists to cover all hours your business would need someone to answer the phone, making sure you don’t miss any calls.
Worldwide 101 – This business prides itself on quality talent that is the ideal match for each customer. Everyone who works with Worldwide 101 gets exceptional customer service and has access to a 100% satisfaction guarantee. From customer service to project management, bookkeeping and social media management, the services you need are available through this site.
Virtual Gal Friday – Social media management, paralegal and medical office virtual assistants are the speciality of this site. A free consultation can determine whether they are the best service to provide answers to the needs you have.
Advantages of hiring a Virtual Assistant for your work
If you happen to be running a business and considering the hire of a VA to help with tasks that keep you from the more important focus of your business, you may wonder if it is worth the money to hire someone to handle tasks for you. There are actually multiple tasks that could be handled by someone outside the company and yet take up a significant portion of your time. These tasks are the best options to outsource to someone else.Consider the following as possible tasks to have handled for you. That will allow more time to focus on the parts of the business that bring in new clients or that are key to making better profits.
These tasks are all key elements that need to be completed but can be outsourced to a Virtual Assitant.
Research – Time spent on researching for upcoming blog posts or important presentations you need to give to clients takes up valuable time you would be better off spending elsewhere. Hiring a VA to handle the research and provide you with the necessary information to complete these tasks helps you to get other jobs done in a timely manner as well.
Bookkeeping – Very few businessmen and women enjoy doing the bookkeeping. However, if invoices are not sent and bills are not paid, then the business folds. Therefore, hiring someone to handle the bookkeeping and follow-up.
Email Management – This involves not only sending emails, but creating autoresponders and filtering out the non-important emails that tend to clog up the Inbox.
Data Entry and Presentation – Managing your network means a lot of updating of contact information and input of new information following an important conference or networking event. A VA can handle all of this. Meanwhile, they are also valuable when creating presentations based on data you have been gathering over a period. Those presentations of data can be the difference in gaining new clients or losing them because you were not prepared for the meeting.
Schedule Management – Keeping the calendar up to date, scheduling various meetings and conference calls and making sure that nothing overlaps or interferes with important meetings or trips is a key to successful business. Hire a VA to make sure everything goes smoothly, and you only have to follow the schedule set out for you.
Social Tasks – Thank you cards and correspondences are still important in today’s world, especially to keep networks alive and show you value relationships. However, writing a card or a note regularly to keep communication open can take valuable time that can be spent on other tasks. This is where a VA can be important to help you keep the business alive and networks and relationships current at the same time.
Social Media Management – Facebook and other social media platforms are a good way to get your business name out there. Maintaining a presence on these platforms, however, is another time-consuming effort. This is where a VA can be pretty helpful. Once they have an idea of how to represent your brand, you can be sure things are going to be going in your favour.
Taking Down Minutes for Meetings – It is important to give your client your full attention in a meeting. However, it is also important to have an accurate account of the topics discussed and decisions made at a meeting. Having a VA take down minutes means you have the chance to focus on the client during the meeting and revisit all the important topics discussed once you are back in your office with time to consider how to move forward.
Participation in Discussion Forums or Message Boards: This is a great way to promote your business. However, handling it with finesse and effort, so the impact is maximised means a lot of time spent on the posts. Hiring a VA to handle them means you can get the best of both worlds, intense focus on your business and maximum effort in promoting it at the same time.
If you are into blogging for a long time, I hope many of my readers have the skills to become a Virtual Assistant. In case if you are intererested in becoming one, please feel free to leave a comment so that I can be able to find out a Virtual Assistant jor for you.
Hope you enjoyed reading the post!
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