From time to time, people ask if I provide help or guidance to those who would like to get started as a Virtual Assistant. Some are intrigued by the line of work, might have seen when I was featured in FIRST for Women and Women's World magazines, or have heard of H.O.P.E. Unlimited from another source.
I've been in the field of administration/office management for most of my career (since around 1986 or so). I've also had several opportunities to speak and write. I've been part of the online world for many years, and my career as a VA developed over time, at first as a complement to traditional part-time jobs. My business became my singular professional focus near the end of 2015.
My career as a virtual administrative assistant, continuous improvement coach, and author/content creator has developed slowly over time. As with any small business, it has its fair share of ups and downs. There isn't a set of steps that will allow you to suddenly start making money from home, although a few principles can help. For example:
- Research the industry and what it takes to run a small business like this. There are several books available on the topic of virtual assisting. The one that I read and was helpful to me is unfortunately no longer available. However, you are likely to find a helpful resource here.
- Develop a reputation for responsiveness, respect toward everyone, and excellent work no matter what you are currently doing. You never know what networks others have that may benefit you, but above that, treating people with dignity is a positive character trait. All this may help you stay top-of-mind for when someone has a lead.
- Get involved with at least one networking-type organization, preferably those that cater to your ideal client. For me, Platform University and the (now defunct) Platform Conference were major parts of getting my business on its feet. While networking with other assistants is helpful, it's wise to network with people who need assistants, such as online business owners, authors, etc.
- Maintain a professional and well-rounded presence on social media -- in particular, craft a well-written Linked In profile, and then utilize Facebook and Instagram to stay top-of-mind in your personal/professional network.
- Consider applying to services that offer virtual assistance/virtual tasking. One of my colleagues has built a steady business as a provider in Fiverr, for example. For me, my business has grown mainly through word of mouth. I also worked for a time with Worxbee and am available to Office Angels. They regularly add qualified assistants to their pipeline to be ready for work, and you may find that a good place to apply.
While I don't officially coach potential VAs, I am willing to discuss this topic via a coaching conversation where I will try to answer your questions and you will be asked to Give What You Can in exchange. Before booking a session, I require that an individual have an up-to-date profile on LinkedIn and has read at least one book or a few articles on the topic of virtual assisting. After that, we can discuss any further questions you may have. While this may feel like a challenging approach, it is intentional. I feel that a successful VA will be disciplined about web presence, research, and commitment to being a business owner. If these suggestions are not of interest to you at the beginning, it is likely you will find it difficult to create and maintain a successful business as a virtual assistant. If you have already established a LinkedIn presence and have done some reading on the topic, feel free to book a session with me here.
I wish you well on your research and career journey!
PS: You may also want to connect on social media with me. If so, click here for options.
You Might Make a Good Virtual Assistant If...
- You don't mind working alone.
- You have self-discipline.
- You have an entrepreneurial spirit.
- You are willing to keep learning.
- You are patient...clients can be hard to come by and your client roster takes time to build unless you happen to land one client that can provide you the bulk of your work.
- You have the resilience to persevere through inevitable lean times.
- You have attention to detail.
- You are willing to keep treat your work like a business and keep good business records.
- You have the equipment and services you need to work efficiently and quickly.
- You understand that what you charge needs to cover your overhead, self-employment taxes AND your salary.