How do I become a virtual assistant? That is a question that many of you asked, especially after I wrote my post last week titled What Does a Virtual Assistant Do? Now that we’ve cleared up some of the roles that you can fill as a virtual assistant, we of course need to cover how you can become one yourself.
Many of you send me e-mails and leave comments saying that you’ll never reach the level of extra income that I have, but I definitely want to know that you are wrong. Just last year I was looking up at all the big bloggers and thinking the same thing “How nice that must be to have all of that extra income.” But now I actually have a decent amount of side income, and I’m still trying to increase my extra income even more. There’s always room for improvement!
Recently, I detailed all of the different ways that I make extra income and I also recently talked about how to get into freelance writing. I hope all of my posts have been helpful. I have many more planned still also. I plan on talking about starting your own blog, finding your niche and everything else. If there is anything that you would like me to cover, let me know.
A lot of you have asked how I found my virtual assistant positions. I will start off by saying that I am not an expert in this area, and I had to do research for this post in order to help you all. I am learning about everything at the same time as all of you. So, while I have not tested everything myself, I am almost 100% positive that these ideas should work for you.
Virtual assisting is something that I recently started doing. It doesn’t comprise a very big percentage of my extra income, but it is still something. I like to be diversified just in case anything does happen to one of my other extra income streams.
I found my virtual assistant positions by being contacted directly by blog owners. They found me through my blog and kind of knew the work that I could do by watching me work through my blog, which I’m assuming made it easier for them to choose me for the certain tasks that they needed done. Networking is key, as you can read below!
Here are my tips on how to be a virtual assistant:
Make your experience known
Without any experience in certain tasks, such as website design, it might be hard to find people who will hire you. You might have to start off doing a couple of cheap or free designs, jobs, etc., in order to build up your portfolio. Think of it more as an unpaid internship: until you have experience or the education, it’s kind of difficult for others to have faith in your work.
After you do start building up your portfolio, keep track of everything you have done. Also, every now and then, ask for a testimonial or ask if you could use that person as a reference for any future virtual assistant work that you may do.
Make sure to state any experience, education, statistics, improvements and anything else that you can think of. Did you help a company with their SEO and now the keywords that they wanted are ranking highly? Maybe you’ve helped a blog increase their readership by a large percentage. Don’t leave any important details out! Just like with a normal resume, highlight your achievements and show actual numbers and statistics that help prove the point that you are fit for the job. Create a professional resume that lists everything out.
Advertise your services
There are many boards/forums that you can use to advertise your services. You can advertise your services on Bloggers Classifieds and also apply for jobs on ProBlogger.
There are a lot of other websites that you can look at, such as odesk.com and elance.com, but you are very likely to be trying for virtual assistant jobs with people around the world. This means that the pricing will be very competitive and most likely a lot lower than what you would most likely accept.
If you have a blog or website, you can also advertise your services straight on your website. I think this is the best way for people to find you and potentially hire you for the work that they need to be done. Having your own blog or website makes you seem more professional, as others can search you and see what you have done more easily. Blogging is also connected to networking, as explained below. On your blog you can put a “hire me” section that details what exactly you can do. Having an online resume ready is key as well.
If you are interested in starting a blog of your own (which I highly recommend if you want to become a virtual assistant), I have a tutorial that will show you how to easily make a blog of your own in just minutes. You can find the tutorial here.
I think networking is the best way to find a virtual assistant position. Just like with finding a position in the offline world, networking can help tremendously.
Friending those in the online community that you know of can help a lot. If they already know of your skills, then you’re already a step ahead of others. Get involved in social media and reach out to those that might need help. If they don’t need help, they might even refer your services to others that they know.
Create a LinkedIn as well. Just like it would be helpful to have a LinkedIn profile for your offline job, it is also important for your online job. It makes you come across as more professional and is great for networking. List your skills, past jobs, and ask people to give you recommendations directly on your profile.
Virtual Assistant Websites
I didn’t find a lot of legitimate websites that were dedicated to virtual assistant jobs. I did look around and a couple of people did recommend Zirtual.com though. Zirtual is a website where you can apply to become a virtual assistant right on the website. Clients then choose who they want and need. Right on their website they have testimonials from people like you all who have found assistant jobs through them. On their website, they state that their assistants:
“Come from all walks of life, be it stay-at-home mothers who want to earn some additional income from the comfort of their home, or college-students looking to offset their tuition while setting their own hours. ZAs enjoy autonomy, ownership of their client relationships and virtual work that always offers a new challenge.”
On this website, virtual assistants perform a variety of tasks. The website does state that the typical job is a “concierge/assistant hybrid since you can handle anything from booking a flight to Paris, to researching chiropractors in Tampa, to managing a client’s busy schedule.” Zirtual also sets time limits on what your client asks you to do so that you are paid fairly.
Are you interested in being a virtual assistant? Have you ever done assistant work?
What are your extra income goals?