Very few people really know what a virtual assistant is, much less how to make a decent living as one.
In a nutshell, as virtual assistant is essentially the online equivalent of a personal assistant. He or she is a person who helps business clients with a variety of administrative duties that can include drafting letters, handling accounts, setting up appointments, creating itineraries, and so on.
But before you jump into this particular career path though, you’re going to need to set yourself up first.
Starting Off as a Virtual Assistant
To become a virtual assistant, you need two things in particular: A computer, and an internet connection. It also helps if you have a telephone line.
Setting yourself up is simple, and here’s a list of some of the things you might need:
* Skype and other IM software so that clients can contact you via whatever means they see fit. Email is obviously going to be necessary too.
* Some form of word processor and spreadsheet software. Microsoft Office is popular, but otherwise try Open Office instead.
* A space that you can work in that is generally free of distractions.
Once you have that all sorted out, the only other thing you might need are the skills that make some virtual assistants more sought after than others.
Any past experience with administrative or secretarial work is a definite plus point in this regard. Similarly, if you know how to handle accounts, file taxes, and have any formal training that relates to handling a business – that would help you too.
Finding Virtual Assistant Jobs
Locating jobs as a virtual assistant may appear tough initially, but the first thing you should think about is setting up a basic website. It doesn’t have to be anything flashy, and should just cover who you are, what qualifications you have, the services you provide and how much they cost.
After that, you can start looking for work.
Freelance job boards such as Odesk provide a great place to start, or you could even use job searches such as SimplyHired.
When you do finally find your first client, be sure that you go over the terms and requirements of the contract before agreeing to it. Make sure that you fully understand what will be expected of you, and be certain that you’re able to fulfill it.
Over time, you’ll find that the more work you get and the more testimonials you collect from your clients – the more new clients will be interested in your services. This is why your reputation is of the utmost importance and you should advertise these testimonials on your resume and website.
Bear in mind that this job is no walk in the park. As a virtual assistant, you are literally working on behalf of someone else on specific jobs that often have very specific deadlines.
While you’re not going to get ‘rich’ while being someone else’s assistant, you could potentially earn a decent wage – and some virtual assistants who have lots of experience and highly sought after skill sets under their belt have even been known to bill up to $100 per hour.
Needless to say, it will be quite some time till you’re at that stage but for now the important thing is to work on getting more jobs and building up a solid reputation.