Imagine what it would be like to grow a profitable business while being able to manage your own schedule and work from anywhere.
This was a dream of mine and a few years ago I took the step from being a corporate nurse specialist to become an entrepreneur and start my own virtual assistant business.
In this article you’ll learn how to become a virtual assistant with no experience.
Sometimes we reach the point in our life when we want to find a work-life balance. Having my own VA business made this possible for me and I have more time to spend with family. As a current stay-at-home mom of two toddlers, working as a VA is priceless.
For me, it all started out as a side hustle, but in a short period of time, my business grew so fast that I decided it was time to focus on my VA business full time.
Within a year I had been growing a six-figure business.
Is virtual assistant a good career?
Becoming a virtual assistant could be a great career move.
If you’re dreaming of becoming a business owner and being your own boss while building your own freedom, learning how to become a virtual assistant might be perfect for you.
Virtual assistants are on top of the recession-proof businesses list in 2020. The global pandemic has caused many people to lose their jobs and a high unemployment rate. This means becoming a virtual assistant is a great decision for 2021.
As a virtual assistant, you get the ability to choose your clients and what tasks you take on.
Becoming a virtual assistant can finally give you that flexible lifestyle you are dreaming of. It’s the perfect remote job or work from home job.
You just have to trust yourself, know your skills, learn the basics, and you will be able to create your VA business in a short period of time! It will of course require hard work, especially at the beginning.
You’ll need to be focused and don’t give up. The freedom that will come with being your own boss and have control over your life is going to be wonderful.
What is a virtual assistant?
A virtual assistant (VA) is a person that supports other businesses and entrepreneurs with different tasks from a distant location.
Virtual assistants are in high demand by small business owners that want to scale and need help but don’t want to hire full-time staff in a specific location with the advantage of saving money for other business-related expenses.
Hiring a VA for their business gives them more flexibility and more time to scale. In fact, hiring a virtual assistant saves businesses up to 78% more on operating costs compared to having one full-time employee.
Simply, virtual assistance means you will help businesses with office- and administrative tasks from a remote location.
How To Become a Virtual Assistant With No Experience
So, how to become a virtual assistant with no experience and where do I find a VA job? Is it even possible?
YES! Definitely, let me show you how.
You don’t need to be a veteran virtual assistant or have any past experience to start a VA business. In fact, many VAs start from zero and build a successful career.
It’s quick and affordable to set up a VA business, especially if you already have the skills and equipment to do the work. All you need is a laptop or computer and a fast internet connection.
You don’t need any specific licenses or college degrees to get started.
A great way to start out if you don’t have any experience is to take a virtual assistant course. Personally, I recommend the Fully Booked VA system by the amazingly talented Gina Horkey. I took the course myself when I was starting out my business and it helped me so much. The membership will provide you with everything you’ll ever need to start your VA business and onboard your first clients. You will receive a Horkey HandBook VA-Certification and unlock access to client leads that you can pitch as well as five skills courses – starting you down the road of specialization and commanding higher rates. There are also monthly trainings to dive deeper and you have access to a private community. This amazing course will help you with everything you need to achieve virtual assistant success.
What exactly does a virtual assistant do?
There are plenty of services you can offer as a freelance virtual assistant:
Virtual Social Media Assistant
Using social media is a great way to market your business today, but most business owners don’t have the time it requires for social media management and to create quality content and engage with their followers.
Social media managers are in high demand. If you enjoy the idea of managing Facebook pages, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter accounts, the social media manager niche might be perfect for you.
As a virtual social media assistant, you help free up a client’s time by managing their social presence. This can include content creation, finding share-worthy posts, creating and finding click-worthy info-graphics, and responding to messages.
Also, specialized social media virtual assistants are in high demand, many businesses are for example specifically asking for a Pinterest virtual assistant to handle their Pinterest marketing.
The social media management niche has exploded in recent years and shows no signs of stopping. There are constantly new social platforms to master and different strategies to follow.
As a social media manager, you can be the expert that helps businesses, bloggers and brands attract new followers and grow a loyal audience with potential customers.
Related article: How to become a freelance social media manager
Pinterest Virtual Assistant
The demand for Pinterest virtual assistants is really high. More and more business owners have realized the amazing marketing potential of Pinterest. They want help creating click-worthy pins and growing their Pinterest accounts to drive traffic to their sites. This is where a Pinterest VA can help.
Related article: How to become a Pinterest VA
Blogger’s Virtual Assistant
As a blogger’s assistant, you might do everything when it comes to creating, updating, and maintaining blog posts and online presence.
As a blogger’s assistant you may:
- Help finding new topics to write blog posts about.
- Write and edit SEO optimized articles as well as optimizing existing content.
- Create or find graphics for the blog posts
- Respond to reader emails and comments
If you’re a new blogger or have always wanted to start your own blog this can be a great learning opportunity. You’ll get an inside perspective on how to manage a successful blog.
Podcast management is another virtual assistant service you can offer, and a great area to niche in.
The podcast industry is rapidly growing and with this, the demand for help with tasks like editing, uploading, writing show notes, transcribing, creating graphics, and promoting the podcast.
Running an online store requires a lot of work. Online store owners may have a large inventory, orders, returns and customer service inquiries to handle. As an ecommerce VA, you will help with these daily tasks.
If you have a previous specialized skill in finance or bookkeeping, this niche could be beneficial for you to look into. You could offer services like bookkeeping, payments processing, invoice creation, or payroll.
Working as a general virtual administrative assistant might not be a highly specialized niche, but if you have previous experience in an office job, offering virtual assisting administrative support is a great way to start.
As a general admin VA or executive assistant, you can offer services like data entry, managing e-mails, transcription, calendar management, scheduling appointments, and travel arrangements.
These are just some examples of services you can offer, but there are many more.
What skills do you need to become a virtual assistant?
One of the great things about becoming a VA is that so many diverse backgrounds suit well to virtual assistantship. Of course, anyone with admin or clerical experience is benefited from knowing the tricks on how to provide standout professional support. Also, nurses, stay-at-home moms, teachers, and accountants possess many of the skills you need to succeed just to mention a few.
Some of the virtual assistant skills that generally make for virtual assistant success include:
Word processing is one of the basic virtual assistant tasks and can include data entry and typing.
Communication and writing
Communication and writing are important skills for tasks like sending reports, social media management, managing e-mails, or making presentations.
As a VA you must be able to communicate well, both verbally and through writing, with your clients.
Most VA tasks are performed with the use of a computer. Your computer capabilities should include knowledge in programs like Microsoft Word and Excel.
More advanced skills may also be required if the client needs support and maintenance for his website or digital system.
Self-motivation and discipline
Self-motivation and discipline are essential skills to have as a virtual assistant. Getting out of bed and getting ready to work for yourself requires self-discipline.
Sometimes, there are distractions a virtual assistant need to handle while working on their admin tasks. Organizational skills and being able to prioritize is crucial to be able to keep deadlines.
The job as a VA allows a lot of freedom which means you must stay focused in order to succeed.
Problem-solving and decision making
Having the ability to make fast and intuitive decisions is vital when your client isn’t around to answer questions.
You need to take initiative to do your own research and find answers from available resources for possible solutions instead of wasting valuable time for the client to respond.
Being a VA means you constantly have to stay up to date about many topics related to your business. You will have multiple clients ongoing at the same time and it’s a constant learning to be able to be successful.
What do I need to become a virtual assistant?
Now you know you’ve got what it takes to start a successful virtual assistant company! But where should you start? You want to make sure you get started the right way so you can gain your footing and grow your business. You need to get started with a well-thought-out strategy and with a plan in place.
Choose your business niche
I always recommend new virtual assistants with no experience to start small and pick a niche. It makes it so much easier to find clients and establish yourself as an authority when you’re specialized in a specific niche.
You should be focused on becoming an expert. As an expert, you can charge higher rates and will have clients coming to you rather than constantly chasing them.
Everyone has skills. I promise that you have at least one skill that you can start offering as a service. Also, you can always learn new skills. No one started as a VA having all the required skills, everyone has to start somewhere.
The legal side of starting a VA business
To be able to operate and offer your virtual assistant services you might need to have a business license, depending on where you live.
You need to research whether you need a license or any other formal paperwork for your new business. Your local government should be able to answer this question.
Furthermore, you’ll need to decide your business structure. This means choosing whether to operate as a sole proprietorship, corporation or as a limited liability company (LLC). Again, check with your local government if a specific business structure is required.
A corporation or LLC can provide wider legal protection if your business gets in economic trouble or gets sued.
Whether you need to create an LLC or not might also be dependent on the services you offer and the clients you work with.
Another important part is to have a client contract. It will help to avoid any confusion about what tasks you have been hired to do, your payment conditions, timeframes and defining confidentiality.
You can later refer back to the contract you both signed if there are any problems or discussions.
Along with the contract I always recommend including your terms and conditions. Personally, I e-mail them to the client before any work is agreed upon so they know how I work and what is expected from us both.
Decide on your pricing structure
Being self-employed as a virtual assistant means you’re able to decide what to charge for your services.
You need to think about how to value your time, skills, expertise, and services and what value it brings to your customer.
When you’re deciding how to set your rates for your VA services you need to ask yourself questions like; How much time will this project take me to finish? Do I prefer to charge an hourly rate or per project? What type of skills does the project require and what results are the client hoping to achieve?
There’s no such thing as one-rate-fits-all when you’re running a VA business.
As you set your rates, don’t underestimate yourself. Also, you shouldn’t go too high with your rates either. It might be a risk that you price yourself over your ideal client’s budget range.
Launch a website and create an online presence
If you’re going to work as a home virtual assistant or as a remote worker, you need to have an established online presence. Having a virtual assistant website is not a must but can make your marketing and online presence a bit easier.
Social media is another great way to market your business and increase your online presence.
In most cases, it might be beneficial to have both a website and a social media presence. The combination of having both makes it much easier to market your business to potential clients.
Start pitching and networking
You need to know your target market and who your ideal client is. Figuring out what types of businesses and markets that interest you is essential to be able to pitch new clients.
In the beginning, you need to rely on cold pitching until you reach the point where new clients are consistently rolling into your business.
Begin building a relationship with potential clients. This process will take time and effort. Cold pitching is the best way to start landing clients quickly.
Until you’ve established some authority and trust, clients don’t really know what to expect from you. I always recommend offering a short trial period to see how well you are able to work together with your client.
Find colleges in your niche
Working from home as a virtual assistant freelancer can, from time to time, become a lonely job. A great way to feel less lonely is o find a support group with other VAs that can help you by sharing tips and advice.
To find these types of groups you can look for Facebook groups and blogs within your niche. Find a group of people that have similar business goals as you, connect with them, and work alongside them to build a thriving business.
Make your clients happy & ask for feedback
Making your clients happy with your services is crucial to becoming a successful virtual assistant and small business owner. When you have found your first client, make sure to do everything you can to over-deliver.
If your clients are happy with your work they might recommend you to other business owners they know,
Make sure to continuously receive feedback. Ask your clients if there is anything you can improve. Also, ask if your best clients if they can write a testimonial for you, and if you can use them as referrals. This will make it so much easier for you to get new clients.
It can be very satisfying to help others to grow their businesses and provide as much value as possible.
But, don’t forget that you are also building your own business. You need to learn to set your own boundaries to be able to run your business in the best possible way that suits you.
If you don’t take care of yourself and your business, then the pleasure and ability to grow will suffer.
Where to find a virtual assistant job for beginners?
Now you might wonder, where can I find a potential client and where can I get a virtual assistant job for beginners?
Fancyhands focuses primarily on smaller tasks that take around 15-20 minutes to finish. While more experienced virtual assistants may not benefit from this site, it’s a great place for beginners to gain experience.
As one of the largest freelance platforms on the market, Upwork offers virtual assistant work for all experience levels. To find a prospective client, you’ll bid on proposals, and Upwork will charge a 10% fee of any payments you receive. With positive reviews and consistent work, you can build yourself a great reputation on the platform.
oDesk is another online job board where you can bid on proposals, which can sometimes lead to lower commission rates. But for a beginner with little to no experience, this platform is great for simple jobs that will quickly build your portfolio.
Indeed is mainly focused on traditional in-office administrative assistant or personal assistant roles, but they’re releasing more and more remote positions and virtual jobs. Try to include remote work or virtual related keywords in your search.
LinkedIn Jobs is still primarily focused on traditional roles, but also here there are more and more remote opportunities showing up. Reach out to anyone on LinkedIn that you believe would benefit from a VA.
- Virtual Assistant Forums
Virtual Assistant Forums is an online forum where you can find VA work on a job board. This forum is dedicated to connecting virtual assistants with potential clients. It’s also a great place to connect with other virtual assistants and independent contractors.
Create your own freelance virtual assistant business
It can seem overwhelming to become a freelancer but it’s honestly not that difficult. Many people become a freelance virtual assistant with no experience by starting their own freelance business.
All you really need to do is set up a freelance website and this is possible to DIY. Then you are ready to market your services to potential clients.
Social media, LinkedIn and the freelance platforms mentioned above are great ways to start. But, if you need a structured plan, support and proven strategies to establish yourself as a successful freelance VA, I highly recommend an online virtual assistant course.
Are you ready to invest in your future?
Now you know how to become a virtual assistant with no experience. Being a VA means you have the chance to build an online business and have an online job while you’re in charge of your own freedom and you’re able to work from wherever you want. This means more time to do other things you love.