One of the excellent online businesses is to start a virtual assistant agency and tap clients. You help them organise their work, respond to emails, and attend and block their calendars. It can be started from home, and you can take control of your work and clients and the way you manage them. Though you have to understand the client’s few protocols, you do not have to break your work pattern and attitude. Just work the way you want and fulfill client expectations.
To become a virtual assistant with little or no experience, you will require to possess organisation and communication skills as you will interact with clients and related parties and take care of this work. We have a short, exclusive guide for you to become a virtual assistant in the least possible time and earn regular income out of it.
So, this is the time to take charge of your finances and work-life balance and become a fantastic virtual assistant for your clients.
1. Know yourself
This is a fundamental step needed to become an online assistant. You need to know what’s there in you and what you can offer to your clients. If you have many skills, it is the best thing to happen. If not, you will have to learn a few to give your best.
List out all the skills and abilities you have, any accomplishments (not related to virtual assistance but life in general). Then, you can browse for any more skills that you need to add to the list. But as of now, cherish this list, and we will take you to the next step.
2. Learn new skills
We all are not born with perfection. Hence, do not expect to be a born-virtual assistant. It will take time to understand the process and incorporate a few skills into yourself. For instance, you might be excellent at managing emails and responding to them in a formal language, but you do not know how to block calendars for your client. This skill gets added to your ‘Skills to learn’ list, and you have to go for it anyway.
You can sign up for some courses to get acquainted yourself with the new digital technology. Or a close friend might also mentor you in the process. Even blogs and YouTube channels are great places to learn without spending a dime on the information you seek.
3. Create packages with suitable prices
Now, this might sound too fast, but you have to do it. If you do not display packages on your website and do not create them beforehand, you will be confused about how much to charge. In addition, clients will instantly believe that you are not into it and are not willing to take up jobs. Hence, take your time to create virtual assistance packages before you launch your business.
Moreover, doing this looks more professional on your side. Clients can select services easily, and you can even offer discounts properly. There is scope for confusion here.
4. Launch a simplified website
We will never say no to a website. But, you have to create, no matter what you serve or sell. And when it comes to virtual assistance services, a website looks credible and displays your authenticity and identity in a concrete way. It doesn’t have to be too comprehensive, it needs to be precise, and the future clients should know you instantly. The content can be as follows:
Information about yourself – You need to introduce yourself, narrate your experience and skills and the work you have done in the past. It could be as simple as supervising a home renovation project or assisting in curating content.
Packages with prices – This should be a mandatory component of your website. The clients can select the required packages easily, without calling you or asking for assistance. As we said earlier, listing this aspect looks more professional.
Contact details – Of course, clients will contact you. Hence, provide your email address, contact number, and mailing address (if required).
5. Network on social media
Now, we don’t say that you have to be on Instagram posting pictures of yourself working as a virtual assistant. But being on reliable platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook is a great way to start and network with like-minded professionals. You can join Facebook groups and check for someone having a similar requirement. You never know how you can land on your first client or clients.
You don’t need to play the trumpet all the time on these platforms that you are starting out as a virtual assistant. Just be casual. You can do it nonchalantly and express your desire to work as a virtual assistant. Networking on social media platforms helps a lot, and many virtual assistants have sought their first clients.
6. Work for free
Hey, did we sound too liberal and careless while saying that? Not at all. We do not say you have to work for an unlimited period for free. Instead, we infer that you have to work for definite and limited periods of time and provide a certain service for free to seek experience and confidence. Following are the benefits of working for a few clients for free:
Expertise – When you work for 3-10 clients for free and provide different types of services, you seek to experience in each sector. You can confidently flaunt your skills to future clients and tell them that you have a variety of those.
Experience – Of course, experience matters a lot, and while starting out, it is crucial. You can gain it by working for free. You can seek confidence and improvise on your existing skills and abilities.
Testimonials – It will be a wonderful thing to post client testimonials on your website. When future clients check it out, they are sure that you will provide the desired quality of work. People can be convinced easily.
Referrals – As we said, you cannot predict that you will seek your first clients in a certain manner. When you work for free for a client, they understand your attitude and performance level. They might ask you for a paid assignment or hire you for the long term. Similarly, they might also refer you to other clients.
7. Tap your first paying clients
Once you have the desired confidence, your next job is to get your clients in place. You can tap them in the following ways:
Register yourself on the freelancer websites – Plenty of freelancing websites help you out. It could be freelancer.com or upwork.com. But you will have to create your profile and bid on various projects till you find a suitable one. It could be time-consuming, but you will surely get the hang of it soon.
Announce to the world – Hey, you don’t need to be a constant chatterbox of what you are doing. But you can simply drop an email to your friends and family about your new venture. Similarly, you can tell what you are doing when someone asks you, “What do you do?”
Seek referrals – Now, this is similar to the above step, but you have to be more specific here. You can actually pitch someone about your service if they have a full-time business. Or you can ask them if they know someone looking for a virtual assistant.
To summarize, you can become a virtual assistant by following the above steps. Of course, we assume you have a laptop or a computer with internet connectivity to handle the technical aspects. All the best!
Skills to incorporate as a virtual assistant
You are all set to be a virtual assistant or a VA, as everyone calls, but do you think you are good enough to start? Of course, you are good enough, but you can improve your skills and abilities and provide the best output to your clients. Well, certain skills can be developed gradually before you launch your virtual assistance business.
Hey, we are not simply talking about responding to emails or setting reminders, but we would like to emphasize the skills from a macro perspective. Being a virtual assistant is fascinating, but it is equally a huge responsibility. These skills will help you appear more credible in front of your clients and earn a reasonable income out of the profession. Here are the skills.
Excellent communication skills
Do you remember the communication process involving sender, receiver, encoder, decoder? Well, when you become a virtual assistant, you have to follow this process a thousand times a day. You need to communicate with your client and his clients as well, reply to them in time and be regular. These are the usual expectations that a client has from you. But apart from this, we have something more.
Communication needs to be regular while reporting your client regarding the updates and requirements. For instance, if you want more details regarding a contract or a client’s alternative number, post your requirement accordingly. Never hesitate in expressing what you want, as the client cannot read your mind. Moreover, you should also report to your client about project and status updates. The client needs to know, and he cannot ask you all the time. Instead, you have to be particular about the same.
Excellent organisation skills
These are the must; that’s why they call you a virtual assistant. You need to organize your client’s work-life in the best possible manner. In the digital world, we don’t rely on Filofax or pen and paper to organize stuff. Everything happens digitally. Hence, you should be well—versed with the different organization tools such as Notion, Todoist, Evernote, etc.
You should analyze client requirements properly and select an organization tool as per their requirements. Or else, you might have to depend on more tools than necessary. Don’t expect to be an all-rounder and try to remember every detail. It is okay; you are a human being and not a robot. Just utilize the tools, and you will get most of your job done.
Excellent time management skills
Well, time management is a myth, some say. One never manages time; one manages himself and finds time. As a virtual assistant, you have to be able to manage different projects as per client requirements. In short, you will be on your toes most of the time. Messing up is an excuse that lousy virtual assistants give, and we are sure you are not one of them.
Utilize time management tools, set reminders, use the Pomodoro technique, follow the 5-second rule. Anything will help, provided you know what to do in that time slot.
Always stick to your words
This might not sound like a skill to most of you. Let us give you another clue – Integrity. Yes, that’s what you need to be as a virtual assistant. Be integral in your work. What you promise to the client should not differ from what you deliver. You should be able to follow through with the client’s expectations effectively without deviating from the quality. It is challenging to find such diligent virtual assistants, and you will surely stand out in the race.
Hence, stick to your words, do not try to wrap it up or fool your client with misleading statements or output.
When you are a virtual assistant, you have to go beyond what your client expects. Remember the movie, ‘Devil wears Prada?’ how the newly appointed assistant goes beyond her capacity to be the best assistant of her Boss. Well, the movie must have exaggerated this aspect, but our point is to add value to your services.
If your client informs you about a certain supplier, make an effort to note down the details and remind him later. Such small things matter a lot for a business entrepreneur.
A virtual assistant does not come with problems and queries. He comes with solutions. Your mindset needs to be solution-driven and not ask more and more queries to your client. You are not an auditor. When a client tells you to respond to an email in a certain way, you cannot counter-ask, ‘Why so?’ You have to find a better way of interaction instead and suggest it to him.
It might happen that you will not find solutions easily. You will have to spend time and effort, and it is okay to do that. However, try to find answers on your own and not question your client all the time. Being resourceful will help you not only as a virtual assistant but also in other sectors of your life.
Stress is unavoidable these days. And when you manage multiple projects for clients, it becomes more evident. Being reactive doesn’t help to be a successful virtual assistant. On the contrary, it will add to your frustration level and mess up your life.
But when you are proactive, you can manage things more effectively and with ease. For instance, if your client sends you a last-minute update, you can be ready for it and not fumble up when he does that. You can talk to the client openly about how his approach disturbs you. Be subtle when you express this. We are certainly being proactive as it will help you.
In short, a virtual assistant needs to possess a lot of skills, including organisation and time management. We have listed them and briefed you. You cannot expect all the skills to be incorporated into your mind overnight. Some will just develop with time.