How To Become A Virtual Assistant – A Step By Step Guide

If you're looking for ways to make money from home, one option you may want to consider is becoming a virtual assistant. Virtual assistants provide administrative, technical, or creative services to clients from their home offices. Virtual assistants in the US make an average of $32/hour.

man learning how to become a virtual assistant
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So if you're ready to get started, use this guide as your resource for everything you need to know about how to become a virtual assistant. In this guide, we'll cover the following topics: how to get started as a virtual assistant, what skills you need to be successful, and how to find clients. By the end of this guide, you'll have everything you need to get started as a virtual assistant and earn money from home.

What is a Virtual Assistant?

A virtual assistant (VA) is a self-employed person who offers services or assistance to business owners in exchange for an agreed-upon fee. Since your work is done online, you can work from anywhere worldwide.

The best part is that you don’t need a degree or certification. You just have to develop a skill and have enough experience to do it well for your clients. Many business owners hire virtual assistants so they can focus on growing their business. 

What Does a Virtual Assistant Do?

Theoretically, a VA can do anything that a support staff does. However, virtual assistants' duties are not limited to clerical work. Many VAs provide accounting, marketing, and other services.

Most VAs focus on a specific skill set. For example, a virtual administrative assistant only does clerical work. Other VAs perform a variety of services but within a particular field or industry. For example, a real estate virtual assistant assists real estate investors in various tasks.

Virtual Assistant Services You Could Offer

You might be wondering what services you could offer your potential clients. Obviously, this will depend on things such as demand and your skill set, but here are some ideas for services that you could offer.

woman with a bookkeeping virtual assistant business
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If you’re good at keeping tabs on bills and receipts, then you might consider offering assistance to small businesses with their bookkeeping. Many small businesses choose to outsource their bookkeeping with a virtual assistant who can take care of tasks such as invoices and billing. 

Customer Service 

Every business wants to keep their customers happy, but they don’t always have the time to devote to them. That’s why they often seek a virtual assistant to outsource their customer-related issues. If you’re detail-oriented and good with people, then consider becoming a customer service virtual assistant.

Market Research 

You can easily offer to do Internet research for businesses. Researchers often look up information on corporate websites, gather relevant market data, and screen potential employees. 

Administrative Tasks

These services are usually pretty easy to do and some of the best tasks for businesses to outsource. Virtual Assistant duties in this category could include anything from data entry and spreadsheet creation to calendar management and making travel arrangements.

Data Presentations

If you can turn raw data into a PowerPoint presentation or summarize research findings into a Word document, then you can help entrepreneurs save time when preparing for meetings. 

Managing Email

You can help people stop wasting time with their email; some virtual assistants filter important emails and respond on behalf of the client. Email management is easy to do remotely; you just need a little guidance from the client on how to pick out key emails. 

Social Media Management 

Social media management is a more specialized area for VAs. Tasks usually include posting, or scheduling posts, engaging with followers in the comments, and anything else you’re comfortable with. Premium services like managing a Pinterest, Facebook, or Instagram account come with a premium price. Time to polish up your social media skills!

Website Management 

Don’t think you’re tech-savvy enough to manage websites — think again, you don’t have to know how to code or be super tech savvy. 

If you have experience with WordPress or a blog, you can offer website management services. You would do things like edit posts, reply to comments, monitor links, and perform general website maintenance.

Virtual assistant websites can be big or small, simple or complex. Regardless, you could create your own site and display a portfolio of your work to clients as you become more experienced.

Video Editing 

Video editing is a highly sought-after service for business owners. Editing is a great service for a virtual assistant to offer in addition to current services or as a stand-alone service. More and more businesses are using video to market their services. Currently, editing videos and written content are in demand. 

If you want to become a virtual assistant, then consider offering this service to your clients. This list above covers many online tasks that a virtual assistant can provide, but there are many other things that a VA can do.

woman looking for virtual assistant jobs
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How To Become A Virtual Assistant 

As a virtual assistant, you would work from home (or anywhere else with an internet connection) to help your clients with tasks they cannot do themselves. If you are organized, detail-oriented, and good at multitasking, becoming a virtual assistant may be the perfect work-from-home job. Here is a step-by-step guide to becoming a virtual assistant:

Step 1: Decide what kind of VA skills and services you will offer.

When starting out as a virtual assistant, it's important to decide what skills and services you will offer. This may seem like a daunting task, but it's actually quite simple.

First, take inventory of your skills and talents. What are you good at? What do you enjoy doing? Once you have a general idea of your strengths, match them up with the needs of your potential clients.

For example, if you're a whiz with social media, you could offer services such as content creation or community management. If you're more of a behind-the-scenes type of person, you could offer administrative support or project management.

The possibilities are endless! The key is finding a niche that you're passionate about, and that will be valuable to your clients. Here are some virtual assistant skills to consider:

  • administrative tasks
  • managing social media accounts
  • managing calendars
  • data entry
  • email marketing
  • creating content for websites
  • web design

Step 2: Create a portfolio of your work to show potential clients.

As a virtual assistant, one of the best ways to market your services is to create a portfolio of your work. This can include a website and social media networks devoted to showcasing your skills and highlighting your experience.

A well-designed portfolio can help you stand out from the competition and attract potential clients. When creating your portfolio, highlight your unique skills and strengths. For example, if you have experience managing social media accounts, be sure to showcase some of your previous work.

You can also use your portfolio to highlight any blog posts or articles you have written. By showing potential clients what you are capable of, you can increase your chances of landing new clients and growing your business.

Step 3: Find potential clients. 

Create a list of possible markets that might need your virtual support services. For example, real estate professionals, bloggers, and entrepreneurs often hire virtual assistants. 

You can tailor your services to fit an industry, such as realtors or lawyers. Another option is to provide the same service across multiple industries, such as website management for bloggers and small business owners. 

Determine what market you will serve – where is your ideal client? What struggles do they have, and how can you help them? Finding potential clients can be difficult for any new business, but here are a few places where you’ll likely find success. 

Find virtual assistant jobs on freelancer websites.

There are many different freelancer websites that you can use to find virtual assistant jobs. Indeed, many businesses now prefer to hire virtual assistants rather than traditional office-based staff, as it can save them both time and money. Here are just a few of the most popular freelancer websites for finding virtual assistant jobs:

  • Upwork: Upwork is one of the largest freelancer websites in the world, with millions of users. You can search for virtual assistant jobs by keyword, category, or location.
  • Fiverr: Fiverr is another large freelancer website focusing on creative and digital services. It's a great place to find virtual assistant jobs in social media management and customer service.
  • PeoplePerHour: PeoplePerHour is a UK-based freelancer website with a wide range of businesses and individuals looking to hire virtual assistants. Jobs are typically short-term or one-off projects.
  • Freelancer: Freelancer is a global freelancer website with jobs available in various industries. You can use the search function to filter results by location, skill set, or job type.

You can also find jobs online at Fancy Hands, Belay, Time Etc. The pay is low, but once you gain experience and become more valuable to your clients, you can raise your rates.

Social Media Platforms

Spend some time in forums and Facebook groups and offer helpful advice for free. Don’t try to sell your services in the beginning; take time to build your credibility. 

Post on social media and let people know that you’re offering virtual assistant services. Networking is a great way to find new clients. Even teens as young as 15 can find a job as a social media manager.

Send email pitches to your target market.

Reach out to blog or business owners and see if they need a virtual assistant. Send an email that is brief and friendly and explains your area of expertise. 

Let them know that if they don’t need help right now, they can always contact you later. Be sure to include your web address and contact information in the emails that you send. 

Make sure you sign up for a potential client's email list. A lot of times, online business owners will send out email requests when they have positions to fill.

woman with virtual assistant job
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Step 4: Decide how much to charge for your services.

As a virtual assistant, you have the freedom to set your rates. However, that doesn't mean that setting your rate is always easy. There are a few factors to consider when setting your rates.

The first is the type of services you offer. For example, if you're providing administrative support or customer service, you'll likely fall on the lower end of the pay scale. More specialized skills like marketing or copywriting will command higher rates.

It's also important to consider your experience level and demand for your services. In general, entry-level virtual assistants can earn $15-20 per hour, while those with more experience or in-demand skills can charge $30 or more per hour.

Finally, research the going rates in your area so you can price yourself competitively. You can set yourself up for success as a virtual assistant with a little planning. Try this hourly rate calculator to determine what you should charge.

Average Virtual Assistant Salary by Service Offered

  • Proofreading Blog Posts: Online businesses need to bring visitors to their websites. One way to do this is by creating blog posts. As a VA, you could proofread and edit the posts before they’re published. Estimated virtual assistant salary: $15 to $25/hour
  • Website Management: Use WordPress to format blog posts, answer comments, install plugins, and more. WordPress is easy to learn. Estimated virtual assistant salary: $20 to $40/hour
  • Create An Editorial Calendar: Create an editorial calendar of upcoming blog posts that a site will publish. Find topics and titles that help a website improve its search engine rankings. Estimated virtual assistant salary: $30 to $50/hour
  • Social Media Manager: A survey by Vertical Response revealed that one in three small business owners want to spend less time managing social media. That’s where you come in. You will need to research and draft content, engage with followers, create monthly reports on metrics, and keep social media profiles up to date. Estimated virtual assistant salary: $15 to $40/hour
  • Build Landing Pages: To get people to sign up for an email list, purchase a product, or register for a class, business owners need landing pages. You don’t need any special computer skills to create a landing page, just an understanding of software such as Leadpages. Estimated virtual assistant rates: $40 to $60/hour

Self-Employment Taxes

When you’re setting your rates, keep in mind that you’re a freelancer and not an employee. You will have to pay self-employment taxes, and you won’t have any benefits. Also, you’ll need to take into account your office expenses, things like website hosting and wifi expenses.

Business owners also benefit from hiring a freelancer instead of an employee. Your client doesn’t have to pay to train someone, and they don’t have to pay benefits, saving them money in the long run.

woman learning how to become a virtual assistant with her own business
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Step 5: Decide what business structure you will use.

When you're starting a virtual assistant business, there are many things to consider – and one of the most important is the legal structure of your business. Do you want to operate as a Sole Proprietor or a Limited Liability Company (LLC)? Both have pros and cons, so it's important to understand the difference before deciding.

As a Sole Proprietor, you will be personally liable for all debts and obligations of the business. If your business fails, creditors can come after your personal assets – like your home or savings account. On the plus side, Sole Proprietorships are easy and inexpensive to set up, and you will have complete control over all aspects of the business.

LLCs offer protection for your personal assets because the LLC is liable for debts and obligations – not the individual members. This can give peace of mind in case something goes wrong. However, LLCs are more expensive and complex to set up than Sole Proprietorships, and you may have to give up some control over the business to comply with state laws.

There's no right or wrong answer when choosing the legal structure for your virtual assistant business – it's just important that you take the time to understand all your options before making a decision. Consult with your lawyer and accountant, or follow these steps for starting a business from home.

Step 6: Consider taking a virtual assistant training course.

If you're interested in becoming a virtual assistant, you may wonder if you need to take a training course. The short answer is no – you don't need an expensive degree or training to start. However, taking a course can give you a leg up on the competition and help you provide better services to your clients.

Here's what you need to know about virtual assistant courses: what they cover, how much they cost, and whether or not they're worth it.

Jump Start, 5 Quick Steps to Your VA Business

In just five quick steps, you'll learn everything you need to know to start your VA journey. Each step comes with a video lesson to ensure you fully understand the content and action items so you can put your learning into practice. Plus, there's a workbook to help you keep track of everything – so you can stay organized and on track. The Jumpstart course is $97.

90 Day VA

90 Day VA is an online course that will teach you all the skills you need to become a successful virtual assistant, including content repurposing, content marketing, blogging, copywriting, social media management, podcast management, video editing, project management, and more. The Price is $797.

SEO Bootcamp

If you want to add SEO to your list of services as a virtual assistant, this course is for you! SEO Bootcamp will teach you the basics of search engine optimization so that you can offer your clients top-notch service. The best part? The course is free!

Easy Printables

This course shows you how to create stunning printables that your clients will love without stress. Even if you don't have any experience with graphic design, Easy Printables will help you create beautiful designs that are high-converting and easy to make. You'll learn everything from finding the perfect templates to adding finishing touches that will make your printables pop. The price is $37.

So, should you take a virtual assistant course?

It can be worth it if you have the time and money to invest. Taking a course will give you the skills and confidence you need to succeed as a virtual assistant. Plus, it can make you stand out from the competition in a crowded market.

However, if you're tight on time or money, don't worry – you can still become a successful virtual assistant without taking a course. Just be sure to read up on the basics and always be willing to learn new things.

Step 7: Grow your virtual assistant business.

As your virtual assistant business grows, it's important to ask your clients to provide reviews that you can share on your website and social media. Having testimonials available helps build credibility with prospective clients and can go a long way in building your business.

And, of course, happy customers are more likely to provide positive reviews. So, take good care of your clients and pay attention to the quality of your work. If you do, you're likely to find that your business will grow steadily over time.

What tools do I need to start my own virtual assistant business?

Becoming a virtual assistant is a great way to start your own business with relatively low startup costs. In addition to a computer and reliable internet connection, there are a few other tools and apps you might need to get started:

  • A phone line dedicated to your business. This will give your clients a way to reach you without giving out your personal number.
  • You will need a way to keep track of your client's information and deadlines. A customer relationship management (CRM) system is a great way to do this, and there are many CRMs available for free or at a low cost.
  • You will need an invoicing system to bill your clients for your services.
  • Trello is a great app for staying organized and keeping track of different tasks. With its sleek interface and easy-to-use features, Trello is perfect for helping virtual assistants stay on top of their work.
  • Slack is an essential communication tool for any virtual assistant. With Slack, you can easily communicate with clients and coworkers, exchange files, and keep track of important conversations.
  • Zoom is a great video conferencing tool for client meetings, team brainstorming sessions, or simply catching up with friends and family. Zoom is perfect for virtual assistants who need to stay connected with their clients and coworkers.
  • Google Workspace is a suite of tools that includes Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, and more. Virtual assistants can use these tools to stay organized, communicate with clients, and collaborate with team members.
  • Todoist is a great app for staying on top of your to-do list. With its simple interface and easy-to-use features, Todoist is perfect for helping virtual assistants stay organized and productive.
  • Lastpass is a great tool for keeping track of your passwords. With Lastpass, you can easily generate and manage complex passwords for all your online accounts. Lastpass is perfect for virtual assistants who must keep their client's information safe and secure.
  • CamScanner is a great tool for scanning and storing documents. With CamScanner, you can easily scan and save important documents, receipts, and business cards.
  • HoneyBook is a great tool for managing your client relationships. With HoneyBook, you can easily send invoices, track payments, and manage your calendar.
  • Canva is a great tool for creating professional-looking graphics. With Canva, you can easily create custom designs for your clients.
  • Calendly is a great tool for scheduling appointments and managing your calendar. With Calendly, you can easily send invitations and track RSVPs.

Are you ready to become a virtual assistant?

Congratulations on making it to the end of this guide! Becoming a virtual assistant can be an extremely rewarding experience, both financially and emotionally. You now have all the information you need to get started. But before you do, here are a few final thoughts:

  • Take some time to reflect on what you've learned in this guide and which steps resonate with you most.
  • Start small, and don't try to do everything at once.
  • Stay positive and patient; becoming a successful VA takes time and effort, but it is definitely worth it in the long run.

Are you ready to become a virtual assistant? If so, let us know in the comments below!