Work at Home as a Virtual Assistant
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Last updated: March 4, 2021
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Work at home employees are an ever-growing option for 21st-century businesses, especially during the quarantine caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Allowing workers to perform their jobs remotely significantly lowers the overhead necessary to run a business. As more and more business owners realize the money they are able to save by employing remote workers, the alternative to work at home will become a more common and accepted option.
Within the remote workforce is another ever-growing option. Some business owners, especially small businesses and solo entrepreneurs, utilize workers called virtual assistants to help with routine and specialized tasks. Virtual assistants, often called VAs, help to free up business owners from repetitive responsibilities like checking and responding to emails or bookkeeping, or handling phone calls so they are able to focus on other aspects of their businesses.
What is a Virtual Assistant?
When I first heard the term “virtual assistant,” I imagined office administrative assistants who worked from home performing standard office tasks like writing memos, setting appointments, and handling phone calls. Many VAs do carry out these types of functions, but there are other VAs who do so much more!
A VA is not an employee of the business which hires them but a contracted worker hired to perform a specific job which may be a long-term or a short-term or temporary project. However, there are companies that hire employees or contract workers to provide services as virtual assistants to their pool of clients. At the other end of the spectrum are VAs who choose to start their own businesses by freelancing and offering their services directly to their own set of clients.
What does a Virtual Assistant Do?
Common tasks that VAs perform are much like those done in the typical office, such as handling scheduling, creating documents and presentations, or writing letters and emails. They are also able to carry out just about any other administrative task you can think of – such tasks as data entry, managing databases and files, handling travel arrangements, and even personal tasks like online shopping and sending greeting cards or gifts.
In addition to these, there are numerous specialized tasks performed by virtual assistants who are skilled in other areas such as customer service and support, social media management, marketing, content creation, and web design and management.
VAs with specializations help business owners with functions like processing online orders, creating graphics or videos, setting up and maintaining social media accounts, designing a blog, or creating marketing campaigns. These are only a few of the potentially hundreds of tasks that virtual assistants accomplish for businesses. I have to mention specializations like Real Estate VAs as well as Virtual Paralegals and Legal Secretaries which are potentially high-earning vocations.
Is Virtual Assisting for You?
You may be wondering what skills you possess to become a Virtual Assistant. More than likely, you already have some experience or training that would help you in a virtual assisting career, and if not, many needed skills can be easily learned. Please note that having a degree or formal education is not a common requirement for this type of career, although it certainly does not hurt your chances.
While you often need to have some experience in the service you choose to offer, or at least a demonstrated aptitude for it, there are also certain preferred traits that help a lot in becoming a successful VA.
- Effective verbal and written communication – You should be able to relay information or request needed information in a way that causes minimal confusion and misunderstanding.
- Detail-oriented and organized – The ability to notice and focus on the small details of tasks in order to catch errors is an essential trait in any virtual assistant position. Equally important is being organized, having the ability to bring order to a client’s business, or your own assigned tasks.
- Self-starter – You will need to be able to work independently without constant supervision.
- Fast learner – Clients often do not have the time or ability to teach an assistant every necessary detail about their business. You may need to adjust to some new aspect or even pick up a new skill to adapt quickly to the client’s needs.
- Professionalism – Demonstrate competency and efficiency in your performance while also acting in a respectable and sophisticated manner especially when issues like conflicts with clients arise.
- Trustworthiness, dependability, and discretion – Simply put, a client wants to be able to trust a VA to perform necessary tasks in a timely manner as well as not disclose aspects of their business to outside parties.
- Working computer knowledge – Assisting a client “virtually” is virtually impossible without a computer. It will be your main tool. Also, since you will be working at home, you often have to act as your own IT department.
How to Get Started as a Virtual Assistant
First, assess the skills you possess already. Look at past jobs and training that you’ve had to get ideas on what you might want to do as a virtual assistant. Having previous experience in a certain area or profession or at least a well-honed skill can be a great starting point.
If you aren’t able to come up with any potential skills that you would like to offer as a service, think of one you might want to learn. There are lots of online learning resources. Online courses can be found for just about anything you want to learn. Websites like Udemy.com and Skillshare.com offer lots of affordably priced as well as free classes to get you started in your virtual assisting career. Online learning can also be a great way to build up any skills from your background that could use a stronger foundation.
Next, after deciding on your skill(s), decide where to offer that skill. You have a couple of options.
- You can sign on with a company that hires virtual assistants to work with their roster of clients. This option likely has more stability with the potential of benefits. Take a look at the list of Companies that Hire VAs below.
- You can freelance and offer your skills to your roster of clients by signing up with a website for freelancers or starting your virtual assistant business. Check out my list of websites for freelancers below.
Where to Find Work as a VA?
21 Companies That Hire Virtual Assistants
Because so many businesses have found the value in working with virtual assistants instead of hiring actual employees, there are companies that hire workers to serve this growing clientele. Below I have listed some of those companies.
- $99 Social
- 24/7 Virtual Assistant
- Assistant Match
- MY BTLR
- Profit Factory
- Smith A.I.
- Team Delegate
- Time, Etc.
- VaVa Virtual
- Vicky Virtual
- Virtual Assistant USA
- Virtual Gal Friday
Be a Freelance Virtual Assistant!
The companies listed above hire virtual assistants to work for them. However, a huge segment of the virtual assisting workforce is made up of freelancers. They start their own businesses and offer their special skills to their own clients. By working for themselves, they enjoy flexibility by completing their tasks on their own schedule and setting their own pay rates.
You don’t even have to possess any special skills to become a freelance VA. You can learn new skills to start your own business. Like I stated above, online courses are available for almost anything you want to learn. Check out websites like Udemy.com and Skillshare.com that offer affordably priced and free classes to get you started on your freelance journey.
You might be tempted to provide multiple services in order to make more money. However, some more season VAs will advise that you should specialize in one area and become an expert because trying to do too much can burn you out and may not necessarily result in a bigger payoff.
5 Top Trending Services that Freelance Virtual Assistants Offer
Any skill that can be performed remotely can be offered by a virtual assistant as a service. However, some skills are more in demand than others. If you offer these services, there are clients looking for you.
Social Media Management – Managing a business’s social media involves much more than posting regular content. Social Media Managers also help grow the number of followers, actively engage those followers, run ad campaigns, research hashtags, and manage online communities.
Website and Blog Management – Managing a website or blog is a time-consuming affair, especially if a business owner is not particularly tech-savvy. VAs with this skill helps businesses with editing, replying to and moderating comments, site optimization, Search Engine Optimization, and content creation.
Writing – Many bloggers and online marketers do not write all of their posts. Instead, they hire freelance writers to complete articles. Some writers also offer copywriting services.
Podcast Management – A fast-growing trend, Podcasts need help with researching topics and guests, booking guests, marketing, and technical support.
Email Marketing – Email marketers help businesses grow their email lists, send out email newsletters, and set up auto-responders.
Websites that list jobs for Freelance Virtual Assistants
While you can start your own business to offer the services mentioned above, if you aren’t ready to take on that level of commitment or need help finding clients, there are a number of websites that cater to freelancers by allowing them to post listings offering their skills and/or allow listings from clients who are looking for skilled freelancers. Below is a list of some of those sites.
Becoming a virtual assistant is a great way to earn money working at home. Whether you sign up with a company or decide to freelance, you will likely find more flexibility earning potential as a VA than you would in other types of work at home jobs. Please check out the helpful links above to see if virtual assisting works for you!
Have you worked as a VA before? Are you interested in working as a VA? What interests you most about this type of opportunity? Share in the comments below!