How To Become a Virtual Assistant

How To Become a Virtual AssistantHow 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.

linkedin

Networking

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?

 

Comments

  1. Shovellicious says

    I haven't worked as a VA before but your posts about extra online income motivated me (big THANK YOU for that!). I signed to oDesk, completed some registration forms and I took some tests to increase my job application quota and I've already applied to different job openings. I concentrate more on some simply tasks like data typing, etc. to get good feedback and check it if it'll work for me. I really don't expect great income from that, I know I need to get some more experience now but I'm already happy that I started :) Good luck with your extra income goals!
    My recent post Where is Poland?

  2. DC@Young Adult Money says

    I think with any sort of freelancing the first job is the hardest to get. Once you have a portfolio, it really helps put clients at ease and makes it more likely that they will hire you. Networking is huge, as you pointed out. I got my first freelance spreadsheet job through a friend who thought of me when they had a project in mind. I didn't ask him for work, he asked me, but he knew of my skills beforehand.
    My recent post How to host a great Super Bowl Party on a Budget

  3. Fred says

    I worked as a VA back in the day, established some great connections and now have a VA working for me. Linkedin is definitely the best place to start finding prospects you can work for!

  4. John S @ Frugal Rules says

    Thanks for all of the info Michelle! I would be interested in being a VA, but like Holly said I have little extra time to do so. I am actually wanting to be a staff writer for a couple of sites though as I am a pretty fast writer and am doing it for one already. I think the "Hire Me" page is a great idea, one that I put up last week actually. :)

  5. Ashlee says

    You delivered with the post today Michelle! :) I think becoming a virtual assistant might be something I need to look into a little more. I'm constantly on a computer, so I should obviously being doing something to put a little extra income in my pocket, right? I've taken note of the websites you listed. Headed to check those out right now!

  6. Joanna@OFB says

    Thanks for the info, Michelle! All your side income blows me away, so I love learning about it. Like Holly said above, I'd look into being a VA or doing more freelance work if I had a tad more time. I hope as Baby Girl gets a little older, I'll be able to pick up side jobs again!
    My recent post One-Car Family in a Two-Car World

  7. Anne_UGifter says

    I considered trying to do this, back when I was earning minimum wage. I never did get around to it, but I think after building up a few clients it would be a really good way to get some income!

  8. Sam says

    Thank you for the info Michelle! I think I want to try more towards freelance writing, but I can totally see how this would be a great fit for some! I've applied for a few real estate themed freelance positions on problogger, thanks for recommending!
    My recent post On Comparing…

  9. @MsBubu26 says

    Thanks for these tips! I'd like to know the ratio of hours you do your full time job vs the extra income. Would be interrested to know which one is more worth it :)

    • Michelle says

      I work around 45 hours a week at my full-time job. For my virtual assistant work, I don't really do a lot. It all depends though. Most of my income is blogging/advertising and affiliate income, not virtual assistant income.

      I do think there is money to be made with freelancing, such as with website design and staff writing. However the effort and talent definitely need to be there in order for it to be sustainable.
      My recent post How To Become a Virtual Assistant

  10. @cisricha1 says

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us, this will helps a lot. Surely people taking so much interest in the concept of virtual assistant and here we came to know what is it and how it works.

  11. Babbs says

    Peter,

    Zirtual Assistant is again hiring. Genuine Jobs had a posting on September 3rd. I went to their website and sure enough, they are hiring.

  12. Ashley says

    Hi, I just graduated with my bachelors and recently got married. My husband is in the army and I have been trying to figure out how I can actually use my degree to start a career as we move around. Your post have given me a lot of ideas on how I can use the writing, research, and computer skills to start my career online. Thank you, you have been an inspiration.

    • Michelle S. says

      Hello Emily! Do you mean how you collect payment? Just want to make sure that I’m clear on your question. I always just collect payment through PayPal. You can send and receive invoices on there.

  13. Susan Osborne says

    Once I decided to use my experience to create a virtual assistant service, my income and my business took off! I was working a full-time job when my son was about to head off to kindergarten. I desperately wanted to be available to pick him up from school and volunteer in his class.

    Becoming a virtual assistant made that possible for me. I picked up 5 new clients by contacting past business coaches, friends, former bosses and telling them what I was doing. I had referrals come in pretty steadily and quit my job (and made more money too) within a very quick time period. Leverage your skills and your experience and start envisioning what you want your business to be like – then tell everyone you know about it! You’ll be surprised at what is possible :).
    Susan Osborne recently posted..3 Tips for Getting Your First Few ClientsMy Profile

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