I didn’t even want to become a virtual assistant. There I said it! Really it kinda just happened.
It started when took a very popular course called Become a Pinterest VA Today, now you’re probably wondering why I would purchase this course if I didn’t want to become a VA. Well, the answer is simple, I wanted to know the ins and out of PINTEREST for my own Pinterest business accounts (I have 3).
I always knew that the traditional career path just wasn’t going to work for me. I graduated high school and went into a full-time job straight away, I stayed there for 2 gruesome years, working weekends, holidays, and evenings, that job did nothing for me past making me miserable daily.
After getting married, I made a change, I quit! And a couple of months later I became an online English teacher with Landi English. I was able to work from home, choose my hours, and work part-time making the same money I made working my full-time job, to say the least, I lOVED it!
However, I was still working for someone else and I did NOT love that. I wanted to stop working for someone else’s vacation, and stop lining “the man’s” pockets.
I was determined to be MY OWN BOSS.
So after seeing countless income reports such as these…
How Chelsea from Her Paper Route made $12,972.00 with her blog in June 2019. Click here to find out how!
How Caroline from Caroline Vencil made $25,000.00 with her blog in January 2018. Click here to find out how!
How Michelle from Making Sense of Cents made $1,000,000.00 with her blog in 2018. Click here to find out how!
I started my very own blog! I was determined to make it work, even though I knew the odds.
I was not going to be a hobby blogger, I was going to be a successful blogger. My blog was going to be my business. And it is! So when I took the course, How To Become A Pinterest VA Today, I realized my blog now had another way to make me money.
I could offer up my Pinterest services to people who needed to up their Pinterest game but didn’t want to take the time to learn it for themselves. Which is totally respectable. I know how hard it is to grow (and create) a budding business from scratch, while ALSO learning how to market it and how to drive traffic.
If you are interested in the services I offer, you can check them out here. Also, if you send me the code “VIRTUALASSISTANT10%” in the email you send me to discuss my services I will give you 10% off your first 3 months of my services. YOU WILL NOT FIND THIS CODE ANYWHERE ELSE.
These days I am a busy stay-at-home wife who is growing my blogging business and my Pinterest Virtual Assistant side business while my wonderful husband is supporting my online business goals. He really is amazing!
So between juggling my blog, creating epic content for my readers, I am also giving my all working for my Pinterest VA clients.
If my personal story resonates with you, and you want to learn how you can follow in my footsteps by creating your own online biz then you will love the remainder of this post.
Buckle up it’s gonna be a ride, and we’re gonna have fun!
This post is not about how to become a Pinterest Virtual Assistant, it is about becoming a Virtual Assistant altogether.
We will go over the individual steps you will have to go through, and I will point you in the right direction of some of the BEST resources out there. I am determined to provide you with a solid understanding of your next steps to getting your Virtual Assistant biz off the ground.
First, let’s cover…
What is a Virtual Assistant?
There is no doubt that the VA industry is seeing tremendous growth, but I can assure you there are many individuals out there that still don’t have a clue what a Virtual Assistant (VA) is or how they can actually play a huge part in the growth of small businesses.
You may think that virtual assistants are just for online companies, however, that is not the case. Traditional brick and mortar businesses oftentimes need Virtual Assistants just as much as online businesses. Extra hands never hurt when it comes to a company’s growth.
Maybe you are currently thinking of a VA as someone who is simply more than an executive assistant.
Trust me, it is more complicated than that.
But, it is true in some cases that we (VA’s) do handle some of the tasks normally thought of as administrative work.
A Virtual Assistants job does not stop at administrative tasks. In fact, you may be surprised to learn that a VA can offer a very diversified list of services.
For this reason, I prefer to think of a Virtual Assistant as someone who offers their services and professional expertise to another business owner for an agreed-upon fee.
It doesn’t get more straightforward than that, hey?
As you read and learn the information in this post you will come to understand why I choose to think of a Virtual Assistant in that light.
What Does It Take To Become A Virtual Assistant?
If you are contemplating if you need a certain level of formal education in order to make it as a virtual assistant, the answer would be no. Many different backgrounds and work experiences will actually end up being a great asset as a virtual assistant.
Administrative assistants, secretaries, receptionists and other roles along those lines have direct experience performing types of clerical tasks that are associated with becoming a virtual assistant. Not to worry, many other professions also offer a great experience when becoming a VA.
Put simply if you enjoy helping others grow their businesses, are great at working under deadlines, get things done with minimal supervision, and are able to prioritize tasks in a way that is most efficient – then you will like to make an exceptional virtual assistant no matter your previous experience.
What Types Of Services Does A Virtual Assistant Provide?
What are the services a Virtual Assistant can offer?
Sorry to say, but there is no cut and dry list of services a Virtual Assistant can offer businesses.
To prove the wide range of available services, and to get you set on the right path I would like to share with you a Master List of services a Virtual Assistant can offer.
Depending on your current skill level and what you are interested in will largely determine the services you decide to offer. I can almost guarantee you that you will find something on this list that will catch your potential clients’ interest. Below are a few examples for you to consider:
- Content creation (ghostwriting for bloggers)
- Data Entry
- Lead Generation
- Editing Videos
- Website Design
- Email Management
- Customer Support
- Social Media Manager
- Keyword Research
- Graphic Design
The list could go on and on, but I think you get the idea!
A good thing to remember when deciding which services to offer is many busy entrepreneurs will hire you based on the variety of services you can take on and handle. The more the better in this case. I will discuss more in-depth general VA services and specialized VA services later on.
Services are something to consider, but you may still be wondering what skills do you really need to become a kick-butt Virtual Assistant?
A general understanding and knowledge of all things the internet is a good idea if you’re planning on running an online virtual assistant business would be an ideal place to start. However, having specific skills and expertise will make starting out a whole lot easier. And it will definitely give you an edge when trying to land your first couple of clients.
You could classify experience to include many business activities. Yes, online and offline.
At the same time though it is important to remember that a lack of skills should NEVER be a deterrent, as long as you are willing to diligently learn new skills.
Lack of skill is nothing to worry about as long as you have amazing communication skills, a great degree of self-motivation, and a burning desire to learn is equally if not more important than having a mastered skill.
Are you ready to get started?
How Do I Become A Virtual Assistant?
Wow! Here we are, you are wanting to know how to become a Virtual Assistant.
Plain and simple I am a huge fan of keeping it as simple as possible but taking huge actions to move towards your desired results.
Psst…if you are here looking for the big secret to be revealed let me just say, there isn’t one. All it takes is hard work and determination.
You just have to take the plunge, get started, and believe that you can make it happen.
Now here are the first basic steps you will need to follow:
- Choose which business structure you would like to operate with.
- Decide on the services you are willing to offer up to your clients.
- Now it’s time to decide on the pricing of your services.
- It’s time to start creating your online presence and launch your website.
- Network your heart out and pitch yourself.
- Start nurturing and building relationships.
Just keep in mind as you read through that your main objective is to start, pitching, promoting, and practicing as soon as possible.
Locking down clients should be one of your top priorities as a new online business owner. After all, you need to start earning an income somehow!
VA Business Structure
This is something nobody else can decide for you. And it is definitely not a decision someone else should make for you. It is personal!
It is likely your decision will strongly vary based on a variety of different laid out criteria such as:
- What is your personal risk tolerance?
- What are the different business structures available in your area?
- Where is your physical business located?
- Why types of clients do you plan on working with.
- What type of VA work are you offering up? (email management, project management, or graphic design, etc.)
- Your personal situation (spouse, children, family, and liabilities).
This aspect of your new business is not something you should rush through, it is definitely worth your time to speak to someone knowledgeable such as a lawyer or accountant. The value they can provide you will be specific to you and your situation. That may mean you going with a sole-proprietorship, LLC, or a corporation such as an S-Corp or C-Corp in the U.S., or possibly a partnership.
Sometimes it may be possible for you to decide based on the location of your business, providing you are able to meet specific requirements.
Look and see for yourself the importance of some of these questions, in the future they may play a big role in your financial health, life, and business plan. That is why you must get this part of your business right.
Can you change your business structure?
Sure, you can change it.
However, it is likely that it will cost time and money, so I strongly suggest that you aim to make the right choice from the very beginning.
What Services Will You Offer
Deciding on what services you should offer up as a virtual assistant is a pain point for many newbies. However, I encourage you to not spend hours or even days deciding. Choose a few different services you feel comfortable offering, remember, you can also ways add and take away services as you gain experience and become comfortable in your role as a VA.
There is no rulebook, you are your own boss! You get to decide if you continue offering a service or not. Just because you choose something it does not mean you are stuck with it!
Typically when you think of a VA you think of services such as checking and replying to emails, making calls and returning messages, as well as managing your client’s schedule and calendar.
In quite a few instances in can include those things mentioned above as well as these many other VA services you can offer.
If you are looking for inspiration or some kind of a starting point then I suggest even just managing your client’s inbox. You can check their inbox, sort emails, reply on your client’s behalf, draft templated responses for common inquiries.
I also encourage you to learn as much as you can about your client’s business and game plan. The more you know the more you will be able to help them in an effective way to become an even bigger asset for your client. Even something as simple as scheduling a weekly call or monthly 30 min chat via Skype can go along way when it comes to showing personal interest.
Your job is to help in whatever way you can!
Like most entrepreneurs out there your client is very likely to be juggling many different projects all at once such as content creation, creating courses, coaching, email marketing, consulting, managing their blog, and inbox.
Most entrepreneurs have so many ideas and things on the go that oftentimes a VA can be a major asset when it comes to helping them stay accountable. For example, say email is something your clients just can’t stay on top of you should help them remember that even though they don’t like it the task still needs to be completed.
I just want to really encourage you to remember your business is your business, which means you can adapt it however you see fit. It could be something as simple as changing, eliminating services, or adding new ones based on experiences and profitability, as well as your time commitments and interests.
The freedom of being able to choose really is a double-edged sword so be careful. Many VA’s take way too much time deciding on what to offer when starting out. So like I mentioned above, choose a few you are comfortable with and start there.
If you need a hand tries these two things.
- Take a look at the above list of services you can offer.
- Pick 2-5 services you are interested in performing for clients.
Now it’s time to start!
Honestly, this is one of the most important steps to starting your VA biz. Once the first step is taken you will gain momentum which will only make the following steps easier.
Oh, and don’t forget to get excited about your new business!
Another great tip to remember is you should never be afraid to adapt. Things change in no time, so be flexible and willing to change. An example of something you may change is if you were working hourly before you may decide to switch to a monthly package or you may even decide to start billing to a retainer. The pricing structure is something we will discuss next.
Choose Your Price
So you want are thinking about becoming a Virtual Assistant but, your first question is “How much does a virtual assistant make per hour”? Or what is the correct price I should be charging? How do I know if I am charging enough? Or am I charging too much?
I wish I could give you a straightforward answer but that just is not the case. The role of a VA varies so much which means the price, of course, will vary as well. But that is not all your skill level also comes into play when deciding on your pricing.
You can check out this guide here to start setting your virtual assistant rates. However, below I will cover a few of the standard basics.
While setting your rates, you need to think about what would make the task worth your time. For example, if you are planning to charge out your time hourly (at the beginning at least) it is incredibly crucial that you consider the below factors:
- You are your own boss. You are no longer an employee. Meaning if you are living in the U.S. you will now need to cover both the employer and employee portion of taxes. This is referred to at times as self-employment taxes.
- You can say goodbye to benefits, and sick days, health insurance, retirement contributions, and paid vacations. All those things will be a thing of the past when you start working as your own boss as a virtual assistant.
- It is likely you will have some kind of overhead when you are starting out. A couple of things that will need to be covered are office supplies, some software, web hosting, and possibly some training.
Due to the expenses, you are responsible for, you are not able to even compare what you would make at a day job as opposed to working as a virtual assistant.
A suggestion for you is to take whatever wage you believe would make sense from the perspective of take-home pay and roughly inflate it by 20-30%. Many business owners will understand that you have costs to cover. However, if you need to break it down for them that is not a bad thing!
Remember that from a business owner’s perspective there are many perks to hiring a virtual assistant over a full-time or even part-time employee. This is because your client doesn’t have to pay the costs of setting up and training an employee or any of the additional costs and responsibilities that can add up when hiring an employee.
To give you some context on pricing an example is when starting out you could charge around $35 an hour. Once you have gained more experience and perspective you could more forward from charging an hourly rate to charging a monthly fee or even working on a fixed retainer.
For anyone starting out I would highly recommend charging a flat monthly rate or fixed retainer rate. This is because I would rather have a set list of tasks to perform on my schedule, instead of having to track my time hourly and feel like I am working on “on the clock” per se.
After all, working a “on the clock day job” is one of the reasons I decided to start working for myself as a Virtual Assistant and a blogger.
Take a look at the different pricing models:
Once you have considered your options, decide which one will work best for you based on where your business is at.
Hiring a virtual assistant is definitely one of those things that clients will get what they pay for. You should not be afraid to charge what you are worth. If you are someone dedicated to learning and are great at your job make sure you are being compensated according to your skill level.
When you are bidding for a job it is important to remember not to bid low just to get the job, even though you may be tempted to. When you decided on a price to bid you should add a little more to the number that pops into your head. Undercharging is not going to make you happy working for a client.
Start Building An Online Presence And Launch Your Website
From my personal experience of being a VA if you are going to be providing services from a certain location, you should also make sure that you are going, and building and established online presence.
In many cases when you are planning for a social media presence a website will go hand in hand with it. No matter how you cut it, the combo of a website and an online presence are both needed when attempting to grow a business from the ground up. Having those two items at your discretion will make it much easier to market yourself and your services to possible clients.
We have seen time and time again that a simple website can be a key role in establishing a young business. Direct mail, flyers, and phone calls are a thing of the past, nowadays people want to find their answers from one place, and that is Google. A small website that tells your story, and explains your services can go a long way when it comes to landing clients.
A few steps are:
- Deciding on your branding elements, such as colors and fonts.
- You committing to the slow process of gradual improvement.
- Why you should choose WordPress for your self-hosted website.
- Decide on your value proposition and communicate it well.
- Create or get someone to create a simple yet beautiful logo.
In terms of social media, I suggest you keep it simple because it can get overwhelming very fast. Don’t try to juggle many social media platforms, all you have to do is choose the one where your clients are, and then master that platform first. You can add on other platforms later.
In terms of VA business, you are likely looking at Facebook or Linkedin (but not always). But you should consider digging a bit deeper, you will also want to be in the same groups and communities as possible clients.
Leverage your social media accounts to create and nurture relationships that could turn into possible clients later.
A word to the wise, you should never jump into a group and immediately start self-promoting yourself.
Instead, you should look for ways you can genuinely be of assistance in the community, this will allow your work relationships to grow and happen overtime and naturally.
Network And Pitch Yourself
You want clients, don’t you? Then you should be willing to network, meet people, and promote your services because if you don’t, nobody else is going to.
A few things that I do to find clients is to Cold Pitch and Network online.
When I am looking for clients to cold pitch I hang out in business Facebook groups, search for small business’ on Google, look for influencers on Instagram, and search for a business on Pinterest.
For me, networking online looks something similar to have a Fivver profile, a Linkedin profile, and staying active in Facebook groups.
I am a part of roughly 12 really great Facebook groups and within them, I offer up my services and answer any questions people have about hiring a virtual assistant. This often requires you to check the platform a few times a day to make sure you don’t miss out on any job opportunities.
A Few Final Thoughts To Consider
Your goal as a Virtual Assistant is to help other people grow their businesses. This can be very rewarding work, you are helping a fellow entrepreneur and in a similar way, they are helping you grow yours. Remember you should always be most concerned about offering your clients the best possible value that you can.
Just don’t get lost along the way, you have to keep in mind you are also growing your own business. You may not realize this now, but soon you will have to set yourself some boundaries so you can run your business efficiently, in a way that represents you and most importantly in a way that makes you money.
If you don’t set clear boundaries then your growth will likely suffer. The sooner you set your boundaries the faster your business is more likely to thrive and become successful.
A Big Step: But One You Should Consider
Dedicated to starting your own online VA business? If it is something you are passionate about, you should consider investing in yourself and your new business. Check out Gina’s best selling course: 30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistant Success. This course will take you by the hand and walk you through all of the steps I have very briefly discussed above, as well as a whole lot more.
Pin this pin so you can look back later on how to become a virtual assistant!