Do you dream of working from anywhere?
Perhaps you want to be able to do work and get paid while at the beach, or not have to take PTO when you decide to get away for a few days. Maybe you’re out of work and want to work from home but with powerful entrepreneurs to make a difference.
If any of these are true for you, then you might want to look into becoming a virtual assistant, or VA, and start earning money online for your skills right away. It can be a lucrative way to start making money from home
In this article, we’ll dig into how to become a VA, how to leverage and market your skills, where to find your first clients, and how to earn money. We’ll also talk about the best ways to scale your business, and what the pros and cons of becoming a VA are. Now is the time to create your home based business to make money online.
What Does a VA Do?
A virtual assistant is someone who gets paid to help another person with tasks that they do not want to do or do not have the bandwidth for. Sometimes a VA works on a part time basis and has many clients, or they can get paid to work for one client full time.
Most people think of virtual assistants as people that just do administrative tasks like data entry to take some of the heavy lifting off of an executive’s plate. This then helps executives and entrepreneurs to focus on more critical tasks. However, VA’s can do so much more than that.
While administrative tasks often make up the bulk of what an executive outsources, a VA can help entrepreneurs and executives to streamline and integrate their businesses and take on more specialized projects if they have the expertise.
Some VA’s will also help with personal administrative tasks, such as reminding their boss about events on their personal calendar, booking travel, or sending out gifts.
First Steps to Becoming a VA
While many corporations will hire executive assistants for their high-up employees, many executives and entrepreneurs are responsible for hiring their own assistants or deciding if they want one. Here's how to start your legit virtual assistance business.
Take a Virtual Assistant Training Course
Depending on how high-ticket of clients you want to take, as well as your current level of experience, you may want to consider taking a Virtual Assistant Training Course.
There are plenty of courses on the market, so we recommend finding one that helps you to market yourself and book clients. This will guarantee an outcome of creating an income for yourself.
Decide What Services You’ll Provide.
You might already have a good idea of what services you’ll offer as a VA. The more services you offer, the more valuable you will be to your clients.
It is important to note that some services are highly sought-after, and others are easy for anyone to learn. The services you provide will determine how much you can charge.
Refine Your Skills
Before you start marketing yourself, you might want to take on a few projects that help you build a portfolio. For example, if you plan to offer proofreading, blogging, graphic design, tutoring, or freelance writing as part of your VA skill set, you might want to have a few samples available to showcase your skills. For example, a mom won't want just anyone to tutor their child!
Becoming a virtual assistant is not a get rich quick plan, but freelancing can help you work from home and earn extra cash in your spare time, or compile until you make it a full time income.
Choose Your Business & Pricing Structure
To protect yourself, you may want to set up an LLC for your VA online business. You should also decide on how you want to price and market your business to ensure it is profitable.
For example, some VAs connect with potential clients via a search engine or LinkedIn, whereas others market themselves via a personal network. Some virtual assistants choose only to work with people in a specific industry, whereas other freelancers just take any gig.
You should also decide on your pricing structure before you start marketing yourself. For example, if you plan to offer social media management as one of your skills, you should take the time to understand what other people are charging, and if you want to charge per project, per month, or by the hour.
However, keep in mind that there are many ways to make money. Some tasks may require a lower hourly rate than others.
Here are a few ways you might want to price yourself:
- Hourly – In an hourly fee schedule, you will set your base rates. Then, your clients can have you work for them, and you will bill them periodically.
- Project-based – In this payment structure, your client will pay a flat fee for a one-time project. They may have repeat projects, and this payment feature can be added as a complement to a retainer or hourly payment structure. For example, if you are working for a client on a retainer basis, but they need a new website designed, you can add a project-based add-on.
- Package of hours – Some VAs protect their time and income by having their clients pre-purchase hours. For example, a client whose needs fluctuate on a month to month basis might like to purchase 40 hours upfront, and then buy more hours from you when they need them.
- Retainer – If a client knows that they will need you to do consistent work for them every month might want to put you on retainer. This means that you retain a set number of hours in your schedule to do work for them. In exchange, they pay for the hours you set aside, whether they use them or not.
Start Pitching & Sign Clients
Once you have your business structure and pricing structure planned, you can start marketing yourself. The goal is to create an income for yourself as well as to work with people that you enjoy. You can begin to reach out to people in your network, post on job boards, or find clients in other ways.
You should also draft a client contract. This contract will help protect both you and your clients, as well as set any expectations that each of you may have of each other.
How to Market Your Skills
To start pitching clients, you will first need to find prospective clients in order to sell your skills. When starting a VA business, it is a good idea to create a marketing strategy for yourself. This may include how you will use social media, your network, and more.
Many VAs use social media for marketing themselves. Some choose to offer general VA services, and others specialize in things such as coding, web design, course creation, social media management, and more.
When using social media, you can join Facebook groups for VA’s and remote workers, influencers, and more.
You may want to use your existing network to find gigs. If you know entrepreneurs or executives, let them know what you are doing and what kind of clients you want to work for. If you have a mailing list, you could send everyone in your network an email.
Alternatively, be sure to ask around in your professional circles. Many accountants, lawyers, and other professionals work with lots of small business owners that might be on the lookout for a great VA.
If you have other VAs in your network, they may have people that have approached them about their services but been unable to take on extra clients. If you have friends in your niche, it will be easier to find jobs and refer your clients to people that have different skillsets than you.
Virtual assistant positions are common on freelance websites like Upwork, Fiverr, or flexjobs. If you are new to being a VA, this could be a great place to start, or to start building your portfolio of work examples. These websites are typically more general, and the competition is high, so you might not find your highest-paying gigs here.
You may want to reach out to small business owners in your area to see if they need the assistance you offer. While being a virtual assistant typically means you won’t be physically in the office or business, being face to face can help business owners see how they’re spending time on tasks that they can outsource.
How Much Do VA’s Earn?
The pay of a VA varies drastically depending on the person’s location and scope of work.
For example, a VA in India may charge $5 per hour to manage email inboxes, make appointments, and handle other basic tasks.
However, someone in California that can help a startup CEO with coding and automating other tasks might be able to earn over $65 per hour.
Should I Become a VA?
It is always up to you if you want to pursue a new career path. However, being a VA can have a million different definitions. Here are some things that you might find attractive, and a few things to watch out for:
Here are our favorite things about being a VA:
- VAs can set their own hours.
- VAs get to decide what tasks they’ll take on, so they never have to do something they don’t want to do
- You can work from anywhere that has Wi-Fi.
- VAs are always in high demand.
- You can learn new skills and continuously adapt to your business.
Although being a VA offers a lot of freedom, there are a few setbacks.
- It can be challenging to get started, and marketing yourself can be difficult for many people.
- It may take some trial and error to get your pricing and business models down.
- The pay may be inconsistent, depending on the industry and clients.
The Bottom Line
Deciding to start a VA business can be exciting. It is a way for you to showcase your skills and earn extra money for doing what you love. If you sign up for a course or have someone guide you through the process, it can be easier to get started. Just make sure not to fall for any online scams.
However, if you have marketable skills and aren’t afraid to give some push back, your VA career could take off quickly!
Michael launched Your Money Geek to make personal finance fun. He has worked in personal finance for over 20 years, helping families reduce taxes, increase their income, and save for retirement. Michael is passionate about personal finance, side hustles, and all things geeky.