(If you missed Part 1, click here to catch up!)
Here’s my story on how I became a Virtual Assistant: My first job as a Virtual Assistant was a part-time contributing writer for ILoveToGossip.com (nka CouponKarma.com). This was one of my FAVORITE blogs to read, and one day I noticed the owner of the site was advertising for contributing writers. Although I had never been a Virtual Assistant before I was familiar with WordPress, I had writing skills, and I loved couponing and bargain shopping. I sent in an application and got hired! I worked for this site for several months before I became engaged and had to take a step back to plan our wedding. Fast forward to early 2014 when I decided to leave my 40+ hour a week job to pursue work from home opportunities. I reached out to my former Client and although she didn’t have any room left for writers on her site, she was able to point me in the direction of a few Facebook groups where Virtual Assistants and Clients interacted. I began advertising my services and made sure to reply to every single inquiry. I also sent out e-mails to people who were seeking a Virtual Assistant, knowing that even if I wasn’t the right fit at the moment, I could be down the road. My Client list has changed over the past few years, but I have a few steady Clients who have been with me since practically the very beginning and I just feel like we’re the perfect fit!
There are several steps that I’d recommend taking if you’re wanting to become a Virtual Assistant…
- Define your service list.
- Set your hours and pricing.
- Start a blog & become familiar with WordPress.
- Research and learn as much as you can about the field.
- Start networking and getting Clients!
Define your service list. Set your hours and pricing. I’ll cover both of these bullet points at once because they go hand in hand. One of the best parts about being a Virtual Assistant is you’re your own boss. You’re not an employee to anyone – you’re an independent contractor. You get to pick and choose what services you’re going to be offering, what hours of the day you’ll be available, and how much you want to be paid for these services. Over time I have tweaked my services, hours, AND pricing as I started to get a more solid client base. When I first started out I just focused on competitive pricing. I charged what appeared to be the going rate for the services I was offering so that I could get my foot in the door. Over time as I started refining my skills and becoming better and better, I was able to increase my rates because I knew how long each task took me, what I wanted to make on an hourly basis, and I knew that my quality matched up well with what I was charging.
I love this list of 25 Tasks You Can Outsource to a General Virtual Assistant from ChrisDucker.com:
1. Email Management/Filtering
2. Setting up Autoresponders (Aweber, Mailchimp)
3. Booking appointments with clients
4. Following up with clients/customers (sending thank you and other reminder emails)
5. Receptionist duties (answering occasional calls)
6. Calendar Management
7. File Management (organizing files using Dropbox etc)
8. Database building (eg. updating email or contact lists on your CRM)
9. Research on certain topics for blogposts, newsletters or others
10. Personal errands (purchasing gifts for loved ones / family members online)
11. Hotel and Flight Booking
12. Transcription (transcribing voicemail, video or audio, podcasts etc.)
13. Taking down minutes of meetings
14. Creating basic reports (reports on weekly tasks, deliverables, sales)
15. Preparing Slideshows (Powerpoint Presentations)
16. Liaison between you and other team members
17. Recruitment (source for other team members like writers or graphic artists)
18. Set-up Social Media Accounts (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube)
19. Manage and update Social Media Accounts
20. Manage your Blog (Basic WordPress Skills)
21. Publish posts on your Blog (content you provided)
22. Filter and reply to comments on your blog
23. Answering support tickets (with the use of Zendesk)
24. Blog commenting (to increase links to your site)
25. Participating in discussion forums or message boards (more promotion!)
Pick out your favorite tasks from that list and decide what you would charge someone to take those on as part of your job. You might have to revise your service list and price list over time but it is good to have a starting point. Also make sure to not take on too much work. Although I could probably line up enough work for a full 40 hour workweek, I choose to just have part time hours so that I still have time to take care of the house and I don’t feel too overwhelmed.
Start a blog & become familiar with WordPress. If you plan on doing any type of writing, a potential Client will want to see examples of your work. I think that having a blog is a great way to showcase your different skills. Make sure to use proper grammar and spelling and pay attention to detail as that is what a potential Client would expect you to do for them. A blog can also advertise your service list and pricing list and give you a great platform to market yourself.
Research and learn as much as you can about the field. There are lots of great blogs and eBooks out there to give you information about being a Virtual Assistant. Here are just a few that I highly recommend:
- The Bootstrap VA – $9.99 (This eBook also gives you access to an exclusive Facebook group that is really helpful!)
- The Virtual Assistant Solution – $2.99
- How to Become a Virtual Assistant by Amy Lynn Andrews
The final step, Networking & Getting Clients, requires getting a little creative so we’ll discuss that next week. Thanks for stopping by and as always, leave any questions you have in the comments section. I love hearing from you!