How to Become a Virtual Assistant Even Without Experience

How to become a virtual assistant even without experience

Becoming a virtual assistant is a great way to kick off your work-from-home career. 🤩

In fact, this is one of the easiest ways to start working from home as a freelancer even without experience.

This is also perfect for those who think they have no “marketable” or “technical” skills that would allow them to earn money online.

I should know — I, too, did virtual assistant services during the first year of my freelance business.

Believe it or not, I have earned thousands of dollars by being a virtual assistant. 😉

Earned more than $3,000 by being a virtual assistant

The screenshot above just came from a single client only.

In this article, let’s talk about how to become a virtual assistant even without experience.

Let’s go!

What is a virtual assistant?

Virtual assistants or VAs are individuals who provide administrative, technical, or creative assistance to clients remotely.

The good news is, anyone could be a virtual assistant. 🙌

Yes, even if you think you have no talent or skill that could be of value to clients.

The range of work that a virtual assistant could do is virtually limitless.

My first job as a virtual assistant was to research different churches in Aurora, Colorado.

My first virtual assistant job: researching churches in Aurora, Colorado.

To put it simply, as long as there’s a task that has to be done, someone somewhere is doing that task for someone.

Why?

Because CEOs, small business owners, solopreneurs, professionals, and even bloggers would rather choose to focus on their business’s growth rather than working on repetitive and routine tasks.

In short, many clients are looking for virtual assistants — and you can see that by looking at the number of virtual assistant jobs on Upwork.

There are more than 3,500 virtual assistant jobs on Upwork.

In the eyes of clients, hiring a virtual assistant is more efficient rather than doing the tasks themselves.

That is why the world will never run out of virtual assistants. 😊

Takeaway: Virtual assistants, in a simple sense, helps clients with their needs remotely. As it stands now, the world will always need virtual assistants and that the tasks VAs could do are almost limitless.

Why become a virtual assistant?

There are many benefits to becoming a virtual assistant, especially if you’re still starting out on your freelance career.

Here are a few reasons why you should consider becoming a virtual assistant:

The freedom to work anywhere (and anytime).

As a virtual assistant, you aren’t confined to an office. 😎

Clients don’t really care where you are working from as long as you have internet strong enough for you to be able to complete the tasks.

Depends on the tasks, you could also choose the time when to work.

In some cases, as you would later read below, there are certain tasks that would require you to work in a fixed schedule.

The pay is good.

Virtual assistants typically earn anywhere from $10 per hour to $50 per hour. 😄

Typically, the harder the tasks you have to do, the higher the pay too.

As you learn more skills and you gain more experience, you could increase your rate and earn more.

Low-barrier to entry.

Lastly, you don’t need specialized education to become a virtual assistant.

There are no exams or certifications you need to get so clients would want to work with you.

Most of the time, all they require is your willingness and commitment to help.

However, there’s a negative side to this.

Reasons why you may not want to become a virtual assistant

Let us be real here and consider the reasons why becoming a virtual assistant may not be for you.

Because of the low barrier to entry, you could expect plenty of competition.

In fact, according to The Week, there are more than 110,000 virtual assistants registered on the top freelance platforms in 2017 alone. That number doesn’t yet include all the virtual assistants who didn’t sign up on Upwork, Guru, Freelancer, and PeoplePerHour.

Before, when it was still easier to get an Upwork profile approved, the number of freelancers competing for a single virtual assistant job post could reach 20 to 50 within the three hours the job was posted. 😱

Looking at some of the VA job posts on Upwork now, there are still others that ramp up lots of proposals — though not as much as before.

A virtual assistant job post on Upwork receiving 15 to 20 proposals.

Yikes! That is a lot! 😲

But don’t treat this a discouragement. Just because the competition is high, it doesn’t mean you can’t land a single client.

All it means is that you will have to work harder to stand out from the rest.

For example, if you’re finding clients on Upwork, then you need to refine your cover letter and make it more effective at winning clients.

Related: How to write an effective Upwork proposal cover letter

Takeaway: Becoming a virtual assistant sure has a lot of benefits like having the freedom to work anywhere and anytime (if the work permits it), decent pay, and that anyone could become a virtual assistant. The downside to this is that the competition is high. That is why you would need to make yourself stand out from the rest.

What exactly does a virtual assistant do?

At the end of the day, a virtual assistant is simply someone who helps with tasks from a remote location.

Tasks could be as simple as organizing documents to complicated ones like editing images. 😊

That is the reason why anyone could be a virtual assistant. There are no rules that define what a virtual assistant couldn’t help a client with.

But to give you an idea, here are some common examples of services a virtual assistant usually does:

1. Admin tasks

Tasks that belong to this category are those that involve in managing and distributing information for the client and/or the team.

These are the easiest services a virtual assistant can do such as:

  • Email management
  • Calendar management
  • Internet research
  • Reaching out to people involved in the client’s industry (like leads or influencers)
  • Documents and files management

Here is a good example of a job that needs a virtual assistant to do general admin tasks:

An Upwork job post looking for a virtual assistant to handle admin tasks.

This is actually the first job I got on Upwork. Pretty easy, right? 😄

All I had to do was do research and copy-paste the information to an Excel spreadsheet.

2. Social media tasks

I’m certain that you have accounts on different social media platforms yourself.

You could be posting twice a day, every day, on all your social media accounts.

You may enjoy it. But some small business owners who have a hundred items on their to-do list would want to outsource social media tasks to others.

Examples of this include:

  • Posting on social media
  • Responding to queries from customers on social media
  • Using social media marketing tools like Hootsuite and Buffer
  • Stalking competitors’ social media accounts (yes, this is allowed)
  • Managing ads

Here’s a good example of what I’m talking about:

Someone looking for a virtual assistant for social media tasks.

Tasks involving social media are usually easy.

If you think you don’t have any technical skills you could offer to clients, handling social media tasks may be perfect for you.

After all, who in this age doesn’t know how to use Facebook? 🤔

3. Graphics tasks

There are many clients who are looking for virtual assistants to help them with their images and graphics.

Graphics tasks include:

  • Light editing on images
  • Downloading and/or uploading images
  • Creating infographics

Here’s an example of a job post looking for a virtual assistant to do graphics tasks:

Someone looking for a virtual assistant with flair in graphic design.

In my own opinion, a lot of clients in this area are actually looking for graphic designers and editors.

But still, if you’re still starting out and you know your way with Photoshop, this is a good opportunity for you. 😮

4. Ecommerce tasks

Running an online store is hard.

Those running an ecommerce store will have to deal with hundreds, if not thousands, of products.

That’s why many ecommerce store owners hire virtual assistants.

Some of the tasks include:

  • Writing titles and descriptions for products
  • Uploading images for each product
  • Answering customer queries
  • Tracking customer orders

Here’s an example of a job post looking for a virtual assistant to help with ecommerce tasks:

A job post looking for Shopify virtual assistant.

With what’s happening in the world right now, more and more people are entering the ecommerce scene.

Some businesses that are traditionally running their stores are now looking for people to assist them in their online transition.

In short, this virtual assistant niche is hot right now. 🔥

5. Real estate tasks

Real estate firms and realtors seek the help of virtual assistants for all the task involved in buy and selling a property.

If you have a background in real estate, then you must know there are a lot of things happening behind doors during buying or selling a property.

Common tasks that realtors and real estate firms pass on to virtual assistants include:

  • Writing listing descriptions
  • Managing appointments of realtors with buyers or sellers
  • Reaching out to prospective sellers and buyers
  • Managing the listings on a website

Here’s an example of a job post looking for a real estate virtual assistant:

A job post looking for a real estate virtual assistant

Although most of the tasks are actually easy to do, most of the clients in this niche are looking for those with experience in real estate.

However, if you don’t have any, you could try applying for one.

As long as your proposal gets the right message across, you would get the contract.

6. Content tasks

Content creators have a lot on their plate.

Bloggers, YouTubers, podcasters… Without help, they would drown themselves with all the things they have to do from creating the content itself to marketing. 😨

Some of the tasks that they outsource include:

  • Publishing the content
  • Writing and posting social media snippets
  • Reaching out to influencers
  • Optimizing the content

Here’s a good example of a job post looking for a virtual assistant to help with content tasks:

A job post seeking a WordPress blog assistant.

I had a few clients who are bloggers. Now that I’m blogging myself, I’m able to use everything I have learned from those jobs.

That’s one of the beauties of being a virtual assistant. You never know, you might be able to use the skills you have learned for your own projects in the future. 😊

Takeaway: If you decide to become a virtual assistant yourself, there are a lot of niche or types of services that you could offer. Whatever you choose, learn what you can. Someday, you might find yourself making use of whatever you have learned from helping your clients.

What skills do you need to become a virtual assistant?

As you can see from the section above, there are different services a virtual assistant can provide.

The specific skills you would like to master should depend on those services you’re providing.

However, there are a few skills you should take up especially when you’re still starting out…

1. General computer skills

No matter what type of virtual assistant you will end up, you will always be dealing with your clients online. (That explains the “virtual” in VA. 😉)

It will make things easier for you if you know general computer skills and you’re at least proficient on some of the most commonly used software programs.

A few software programs you should be familiar with include:

  • Word processors (Microsoft Word, Google Docs…)
  • Spreadsheets (Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets…)
  • Graphic design platforms (Canva, Microsoft Publisher, Photoshop…)
  • Note-taking programs (Microsoft OneNote, Evernote, Google Keep…)
  • Communications technology (Zoom, Skype, Google Meet…)

If you have been using a computer for some years now, you may already be familiar with them so there shouldn’t be any problem here.

But if you don’t know them, I suggest you search this blog for any tutorial or hit up YouTube and starting watching related videos. ✍

2. Communication skills

As a virtual assistant, you should be able to communicate more effectively especially that all of your dealings will be done online.

Communication skills are essential — there’s no turning away from it if you would like to be a good VA. 🥶

But when I say communication skills, it doesn’t mean you should be perfect in English or in any language your client speaks.

At the very least, you should be able to understand your client really well and convey your thoughts in the same manner.

This also calls for proficiency in basic communication tools like Gmail, Outlook, Zoom, and even Skype.

I don’t mean to scare you, but you should also be able to make and give presentations really well. 👻

It’s not really a requirement but your clients would love it if you’re able to do so.

3. Focus

You probably expect this last skill (or is it an ability?) to be “multitasking”. 🤔

However, being a multitasker could actually give you more errors and failures than benefits. (Not counting the fact that “multitasking” is probably a myth.)

On the other hand, the ability to focus on a certain task is gold. Being able to do so would mean you’re able to put more effort into the task you’re doing.

One of the solutions to this is what others call “batching”.

Batching is a concept where instead of switching from different tasks (multitasking), you do the same task (for one client or more) in one sitting.

By doing so, you would be able to improve your productivity and concentration. 😊

Takeaway: Although you will need to learn and master specific skills based on your services, you at least need to learn general computer skills, communication skills, and the ability to focus.

How to become a virtual assistant

Now, let’s get down into the main reason why you’re here — how to become a virtual assistant even without experience. 😊

Keep in mind that these steps will require hard work.

You could learn everything about being a virtual assistant overnight, however…

Finding clients and landing on a contract isn’t always that easy.

But truthfully, all you need to do is push on and continue improving.

With that, let’s start with the first step:

Step 1: Determine who your clients are

Confused? Here’s what I mean:

Before you start working as a virtual assistant, consider first who you want to work with.

Who are they? What businesses do they have? Where do they live?

In short, create a client persona — the more specific the better. 🧑

You might think… “Doesn’t this limit the clients I could work with?”

It does and that’s the point!

Narrowing down your preferred clients will help you focus more on them and be able to better provide those services that they need.

In addition, you will be able to find clients faster and easier since you will not be hitting on every duck that flies.

Here’s what you need to do for this step:

Write somewhere (digital or on paper) the type of client you want to work with.

Consider answering the questions:

  • What businesses do they have
  • Where do they live
  • Where will you be able to find them
  • What could be their interest
  • Are you looking for a solopreneur or someone who works with others

Step 2: What services you will offer

The second step is to figure out the services you will be offering to your clients.

Yes, some may argue that it’s better to talk first to prospective clients and come up with a solution.

That’s quite good. However, you should have pre-selected services you would like to offer. 🤠

Believe it or not, some clients would shut the door on your face (if they can) if you show up on their front door with a blank face. 😒

Consider your strengths and experiences if you have any.

If not, try out different services on your own and see which one you like and which one you think you’re good at.

Here’s what you need to do for this step:

List out all the potential services you could offer to your clients.

Note that this isn’t your final list since you’re just starting out.

If possible, rank them according to how good you are on each task.

Step 3: Set your price

There’s really no perfect way to know how much you charge for your services.

So don’t worry if you will have to do this step plenty of times throughout your career. It’s totally normal. 😊

In fact, I must’ve changed my price more than 30 times already since I started taking on freelance work.

However, you should make sure that your price is fair and competitive — not too low and not too high either.

There are different ways too to charge clients. It could be:

  • Hourly
  • Fixed-price or project-based

After a few months, you may also want to shift into retainer pricing. That way, the client will continue to pay you monthly for a certain number of tasks or hours.

Here’s what you need to do for this step:

After figuring out who you want to work with and what service you’ll be offering, figure out how much you would charge.

The easiest way for this is to start by hourly pricing. If you can’t pick a number, check out your competitors.

By the way, don’t be afraid to charge yourself higher than your competitors. Just make sure you’re able to deliver the best service your client could possibly find. 😉

Step 4: Find clients

You can’t be a virtual assistant without assisting someone. 😅

However, as you may know, finding clients is easier said than done.

Thankfully, there are platforms that could help you during your early phase.

Examples of platforms you could try on include:

  • Upwork
  • Fiverr
  • Indeed

Related: Upwork review: What is Upwork?

You could also try and network on your own using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or even in person.

There are plenty of business owners out there who are always looking for someone to help them.

Here’s what you need to do for this step:

Start finding clients on freelance platforms as well as on social media. What’s important here is you get used to it so you will get better as time passes.

After a hundred tries and you still can’t get any client, try not to feel too discouraged. Look into your services and offers and adjust them.

Step 5: Build an online presence

While searching for clients, build your online presence on the sideline.

The previous step focuses on you getting to clients. Doing this step right will bring the clients to you.

Who wouldn’t like that? 😀

Two ways to do that is by creating a website or a blog and keep on posting helpful tips on social media.

Having a website makes you look more professional and legit. It’s a safe place where you can communicate who you are, the working you’re doing, and who your potential clients are.

In addition, your website is a good place to host your portfolio. 😊

Pair it up with social media where people could see your posts. Write helpful tips that your potential clients will love.

If you’re blogging at the same time, you could post snippets of your articles on social media and link them to your blog.

Here’s what you need to do for this step:

Start putting your name out there by creating a website for your services and posting tips and guides regularly on social media.

Eventually, the time will come when you don’t have to find clients yourself. They will come to you. 🎉

Step 6: Keep on learning

After all that and you already have active contracts, is it over?

Is everything related to being a virtual assistant stop there? 🤔

Hate to break it out to you, but no.

In order for you to be relevant to the changing times and technology, you have to keep on learning and improving your skills and services.

New platforms and software programs may arise which is important on your chosen services.

Even if you’re already earning 6 or even 7 figures a month, keep on learning new things and improving the systems you already have.

Here’s what you need to do for this step:

Every day, set aside a few minutes to learn something whether by reading a book, enrolling on an online course, or watching a tutorial.

Never ever be complacent. 🙂

Start your career as a virtual assistant now

Do you think it’s possible to become a virtual assistant overnight?

Honestly, I believe it’s possible…if you put in the work needed.

Like I said at the start of this tutorial, it’s possible that you already have the necessary skills to start your career as a virtual assistant.

You could already be doing social media tasks, editing images, or even managing your own blog. These are tasks that you could do for someone else who badly needs your help.

All you have to do then is to know who your clients are, determine your price, and then, find clients.

While on the process of finding clients, continue building your online presence until such time the clients come to you.

Now it’s your turn. Here’s what to do now:

  • Start applying the things you have learned here now (not tomorrow or next week)
  • Get back here once you find any clients and share your experience (others would love to read your story too)

Let me know your thoughts by sharing your comment down below. 😊

About Alan

Alan helps different companies generate more qualified leads and increase their sales by educating their readers with strategic content and writing blogs. He's also the founder of Work Pajama.

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MYRALYN SOBRIO
MYRALYN SOBRIO
18 days ago

Very informative po. Thanks.. hope makakita din ako ng client.. newbie here..