A virtual assistant is a relatively new career that has gained much attention. All due to new technological opportunities and rising demand for flexible work schedules. This might be valuable if you’ve always wanted to work from home. But before you start looking for a virtual assistant with no experience, it is important to know what it entails and what you can expect.
In partnership with Jooble, we’ve prepared the ultimate guide on what VAs do, what skills they need, and how you can become one.
What is a Virtual Assistant?
A virtual assistant is a professional that provides support to a business or individual remotely. This requires a reliable and fast internet connection, organizational skills, and excellent communication. Today such specialists are in demand because they are cost-effective for businesses, and technology allows the majority of administrative tasks via the internet.
For VA, the advantages include a flexible work schedule, the opportunity to work from any place in the world, and reasonable salary expectations. One can work as a contractor or self-employed professional. The duties are mostly administrative, from schedule and contact management to content creation.
Every virtual assistant offers different services based on their interests and skills. So you can decide what niche you are going to specialize in. Narrow specialization is great for professional development and focusing on a particular industry.
The common specializations for virtual assistants are listed below:
- Sales representative
- Administrative assistant
- Financial support
- Marketing support
- Work with documents
- Personal assistance
- Customer services and relations
- Graphics design
- Content creation
There are also plenty of services one can offer. Let’s cover the most popular ones.
1. Social media management
A lot of businesses rely upon VA with their social media presence. If you are good at this, it can become your primary service. This includes creating and posting content and engaging with the audience. To master this, you need to be knowledgeable of the popular platform, guidelines, and rules. It is also good to learn about social media marketing and copywriting.
2. Administrative assistance
General administration might not be as specialized, but many companies very demand it. If you have experience at office jobs, this might be a great place to start.
You’ll be responsible for common administrative tasks:
- Scheduling and calendar management
- Email management
- Booking appointments and meetings
- Arranging travels and business trips
- Managing files and documents
- Working with data entry
Overall, it is similar to a traditional general office assistant but without being on-site.
This niche is an excellent choice for those who have experience with finance and bookkeeping. It does require particular knowledge and competencies. A professional can manage bookkeeping, create and send invoices, process payments, or take care of payroll.
Small businesses often need help when it comes to running an eCommerce store. As it is a digital endeavor, it only makes sense to work with remote specialists. To cover this niche, one must have experience and competency in digital marketing, eCommerce, and website management.
The typical responsibilities include the following:
- Customer support
- Tracking orders, invoices, and shipping
- Managing returns or exchanges
- Managing inventory
- Marketing support
- Website maintenance.
In such a case, you will work with bloggers or companies that need their blogs to get advanced. You’ll need previous experience in this field, excellent writing, and SEO and digital marketing knowledge. As for duties, assistants can write, edit, or proofread posts, moderate comment sections, and maintain a posting schedule. Some can also create authentic graphics or multimedia for blogs, improve SEO performance, and manage the site.
6. Content production
It is somewhat similar to the previous one but has its specifics. If you have a passion for creating texts, videos, or pictures, this might be the right option. Creating content is time-consuming, so a huge number of businesses and individual entrepreneurs delegate this task to professionals.
Steps To Become a Successful Virtual Assistant
Step 1. Define your niche and services
Analyze what you like to do and what you are good at. Consider your previous work experience and what services you can offer. Narrow down it all to one or two niches you might focus on. General administration is always a valuable choice if there is nothing specific yet.
Step 2. Create a work environment
It is great to have a designated place where you work. This helps with focus and staying professional. Make your space comfortable and add anything you need – from devices to notebooks and pens. You might also need a set of headphones with a microphone and an excellent internet connection.
Step 3. Set your business
Decide how you are going to run your business right away. This includes:
- Setting a business bank account
- Deciding on rates you are going to offer
- Setting up LLC or other legal entity that works for you
- Drafting a service provision contract
- Taking care of taxes.
Also, identify your priorities and interests when it comes to clients you are going to work with.
Step 4. Build a portfolio
This might take different forms. You can craft a winning resume or CV, create a professional website listing your services, or build a social media presence. You do not have to select just one of them – all three are possible to combine. And the more presence you have, the easier it will be to find clients. Showcase your skills, expertise, and previous experience.
Step 5. Apply for jobs
Besides waiting for potential clients to find you, you can take a proactive approach. As soon as your business is ready, it is time to find prospective customers.
You can do it via
- Social media (LinkedIn particularly)
- Marketing your professional website
- Contacting small companies directly
- Joining freelance platforms to find gigs
- Looking for open positions on job boards or sites like Jooble;
- Trying cold emailing.
When applying for an opening, adjust your resume and cover letter to the specific company. Highlight your competencies and how you can help them solve particular problems. Establish great communication, clear boundaries, and a transparent set of responsibilities.
It might take some time to land the first job if you are a beginner, but the result is worth it. Do not get discouraged by rejections, and work towards your goal.
Virtual assistance is a great opportunity to establish your own business with a flexible schedule and comfortable work conditions. It requires strong organizational and communication skills. But with the right approach and constant professional development, it offers great prospects in terms of career and salary.