One of the easiest ways to work from home is by doing virtual assistant (VA) work. Virtual assistants are skilled, home-based professionals that offer companies, businesses, and entrepreneurs administrative support.
Virtual assistants perform a wide variety of tasks … in fact, the services that you can offer are endless and all depend on your background training, experience, passions, and skills.
Here are some common tasks that virtual assistants complete:
- Making phone calls
- Email management
- Internet research
- Data entry
- Scheduling appointments
- Blog management
- Project management
- Graphic design
- Tech support
- Customer service
- Event planning
- Social media management
Employee or entrepreneur — which route is right for you?
When you work as a virtual assistant, you can choose to work as an employee or you can set up your own business. There are pros and cons to each arrangement. When you work as an employee, you don't have to invest any money upfront or find your own clients, but your pay rate, work hours, and how you work will be more restricted. Please note, if you're hired as an independent contractor or a freelancer — you are considered self-employed and will need to pay quarterly self-employment taxes.
When you set up your own business, you have more flexibility with scheduling, choosing clients, and setting your rates, but you'll also have to find your own clients, set up your business, and pay self-employment taxes. Setting up a virtual assistance business is easy and has relatively low start-up costs. Some items you'll need to get started are a phone line or cell phone, a computer, high-speed internet access, a printer, a scanner, and a website to market your business. Don't worry — you can set up a website in a few easy steps for little to nothing by using WordPress.
For a complete checklist of steps — check out this article.
Where do you find virtual assistant jobs?
- Fancy Hands
- People Per Hour
- Red Butler
- Team Delegate
- Time Etc.
- VaVa Virtual Assistants
- Virtual Assistant USA
- Virtual Staff Finder
- Worldwide 101
How much do virtual assistants earn?
Depending on what services you offer, how long you’ve been working in the field, and your experience, virtual assistants can make anywhere from $12 – $60 per hour. If you're running your own VA business, there are a few different ways that you can charge for your services; by the hour, by the task, project, or package – explore what options work best for you and your clients.
What training do you need?
While you don't need any special training to work from home as a virtual assistant, you do need to have good organizational and time management skills, as well as excellent communication skills. There are some virtual assistant training programs and certifications, and these can be helpful in establishing your credibility in the field; especially if you don't have any prior job experience.
Virtual assistant resources and courses.
- 30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistant Success
- Become a Virtual Assistant
- International Virtual Assistant Association
- VA Networking
Want to start your own VA business?
Like any other home business, you will need to educate yourself on the best business practices, file all of the appropriate paperwork, and get your legal and financial ducks in a row. Once you set up the preliminary business framework, you can start working on the fun parts of your business.
1. Choose a niche.
There are many different services you can offer, but even something more to consider is who would you like to work for? While some VAs are generalists and work on a wide variety of tasks, it's easier and more lucrative to choose a specialty. Figuring out what niche you want to focus on can be a challenge, but if you mind-map your passions, interests, experience, and knowledge you can narrow it down relatively easy.
Still uncertain? This list has a bunch of services you can offer that can help you determine your specialty.
2. Build a website.
To be competitive as a virtual assistant, you need to have a website. Having an online presence will help you attract more clients, it gives you a place to showcase your work, list your services and testimonials, and it makes you look more professional. Don't worry, setting up a website is easy and affordable. This post has step-by-step instructions that will have you up and running in no time — and it's affordable!
3. Market your business.
There are tons of ways to promote your VA business; the thing you need to remember is consistency is key. Choose two to three methods that you think you'll enjoy doing and spend time each day working on those methods.
Not sure of your options? Here are just some of the ways you can market your business:
- Social media
- In-person networking
- Email marketing
- Lead generation
- PR opportunities
- Public speaking
- Guest blogging
- Print advertising
- Forum participation
- Email prospecting
- Facebook groups
Now that you've got your website in place and you're actively marketing your business, it's time to connect with potential clients. Some experts believe you should follow up with five to ten new prospects a day until you have a constant flow of clients in your pipeline.
4. Invest in your VA business.
As your cash flow builds, you’ll want to reinvest some of it into professional development. Luckily, they are events, conferences, webinars, teleconferences, online courses, books, membership sites, mastermind groups, and coaching sessions – there is something to fit every budget and every niche. By investing in yourself and your business, you gain the knowledge, information, and skills to make your freelance business a success.
Starting your own VA business may seem like a far off distant dream – but if you take the first step, you can make it a reality. Good luck on your journey!
You’ll Also Love These Posts:
Studies have shown if you like this blog post — you will also love the following articles.
- How to Stop Charging by the Hour and Create Packages to Level Up Your VA Business
- What You Need to Know About Starting a Virtual Assistant Business
- How This Single Mom Became a Virtual Assistant from Home
Originally published March 26, 2009. Content updated February 26, 2019.
Holly Reisem Hanna is the publisher and founder of The Work at Home Woman, which has been helping individuals find remote careers and businesses that feed their souls since 2009. Through her unconventional career path of holding over 30 jobs and obtaining two college degrees, she's been able to figure out how to find a career path that you're truly passionate about. Holly's had the pleasure of sharing her expertise on sites like CNN, MSN Money, Huffington Post, Woman’s Day Magazine, as well as being recognized by Forbes as one of the “Top 100 Websites for Your Career.” Holly resides in Austin, Texas, with her husband and daughter and enjoys reading, traveling, and yoga.
This page includes some affiliate and referral links. Please be aware that we only promote advertising from companies that we feel we can legitimately recommend to our readers. Please see our disclosure policy for further information.