What Does a Virtual Assistant Do?

I found this picture on Pinterest and it turns out that ModCloth sells it :)How did you start with your virtual assistant work? This is something that I am asked often. I am definitely not an expert, but I do want to share what I know. My extra income posts seem to be a hit with everyone so far.

If you haven’t read them yet, please read a super long summary about my extra income,  Ways to Earn Extra Income Part 1, and then of course So You Want to Be a Freelance Writer?

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 (yes I realize that I am not fully diversified because a lot of my extra income is earned online – just in different ways).

Now even though it does not comprise a very large percent of my income, making some extra money by being a virtual assistant is nice. I can work from home and can see results immediately.

A virtual assistant or freelancer (for the sake of this post, the terms will be interchangeable) helps a business run, all while staying virtual (most likely at home or at their own virtual assistant business). You can be contracted for one project (such as blog design) or it can be a continuing job such as replying to e-mails and comments.

 

A lot of you have asked “Why would anyone hire a virtual assistant?

Well, why WOULDN’T someone hire help? A business is a lot of work, and if you can outsource some of the things that need to be done so that you can focus more on the end goal and direction of your business, then why not? Also, one person realistically cannot do everything. When help is needed, it’s best to look for it because your business could end up going downhill because of it.

A business owner also does not want to sacrifice quality. Quality tends to be sacrificed when one person is trying to do a 5 person job. That’s where a virtual assistant can come in!

 

A lot of you have also asked about pay

This is a hard question to answer. Pay can be anywhere from $15 to $100+ per hour. You can also get paid per project (such as per written article), instead of on an hourly basis. It’s really hard to say just because there are so many different tasks that can be done.

If any of you wouldn’t mind, please share what you generally make or request when you do virtual assistant work. It’ll be helpful to everyone! And I’ll also include you in this post if you do as well. Thanks!

A virtual assistant can be pretty much anything, but today I wanted to focus on how you can be a virtual assistant for a website. I’m not too familiar with other forms of virtual assistant work (such as online financial services, data entry, etc.), so I did not want to jump into that until I researched it some more.

 

Possible virtual assistant tasks/ideas:

1. Social Media Assistant. Have you ever felt like there are so many different forms of social media and it’s all very hard to handle? Imagine if you have a business or multiple businesses you are trying to handle. Working through all of these can be very hard. You might help with their Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Blog, etc., all in order to connect with the target audience.

 

2. Website Design. When I started FITnancials, I hired Andrea to design the whole blog. She did a great job. This is something that I never could have done myself. Website design is very important, especially for a new blog because it can set the tone for your blog and helps you with a good start. And if you’re like me, then you have no artistic or creative skills at all, so a website designer is needed badly. Now she wasn’t a “virtual assistant” and was entirely a freelancer, and this is where the interchangeable terms come into this post :)

As a website designer, there are so many things that can be done: whole website designs, social media icons, logos, banner advertisements and so on.

 

3. Editor. An editor does many things and can encompass many different industries. For this post we will talk about being a blog or website editor. A blog editor helps manage the actual writing of the website. Before articles are published, the editor may read through it, edit it, proofread, and then eventually publish the piece.

The editor may also handle search engine optimization (SEO) in order for the business/blog/website/etc. to rank higher in search engines and therefore be seen by more people. SEO will be talked about further in yet another post.

 

4. Market Research. Depending on the business and the market, research may be needed. A business needs to learn who it’s target audience is, and also how to reach this audience. If you don’t have any skills with doing this, then usually hiring someone is a lot more helpful.

A market researcher can find your audience, inform you on how to reach this audience, tell you what type of articles or products you should focus on and everything else. Have you ever wondered how to improve your business or how competitors are handling different things? A market researcher can help you with this.

 

5. Writer. As you all know, I have recently added on a staff writer to my blog. Jordann has been great. She adds a new perspective to my blog and I always enjoy her posts. Hiring an additional writer to your blog can make things a lot easier. You have one less post to worry about, and you can engage your readers with more than one viewpoint.

Also, with multiple writers, you can focus more on other things that are going on with your website. A writer can also manage the blog altogether. Many businesses do this that are not blogs. Such as a hotel that has a blog on the side. They are usually not focused on blog writing, so hiring someone who has a background in it usually makes it a lot easier on the company.

 

6. Personal Assistant. This is a category that I made up to encompass all of the other things that a virtual assistant can do. This includes: replying to emails, replying to comments, answering questions, scheduling meetings and so on. There are so many things that an assistant can do.

 

How do I start?

A lot of you have also asked how I find my virtual assistant work, and who employs me currently. I don’t feel like I should be stating who exactly I help because of privacy issues, but I do want to help you all find your own VA jobs! Instead of making this a whale of a post, you will have to come back next week to learn more about how to actually obtain the jobs.

Hopefully this post serves as a way for you to brainstorm possible ways to earn additional side income. Until next week, think about what talents you could offer! Right now, I’m sorry, hopefully this post wasn’t just a tease :)

EDIT: Read my follow up post on how to become a virtual assistant.

Are you a virtual assistant? Have you thought about becoming one?

On the flip side, have you ever hired a virtual assistant? Why?

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