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how to become a virtual assistant tips resources

Virtual assistants can be a life-saving resource for companies and entrepreneurs that can’t keep up with the high demand for customer service.

A recent survey by Clutch found that nothing annoys customers more than being kept on hold.

customer service frustration

Virtual assistants can help save time and money by handling professional tasks, like customer service, that are crucial to businesses.

If you have good communications skills and know your way around a computer, you may consider working remotely as a virtual assistant.

In this article, we’ll explore the following questions:

● What does a virtual assistant do?

● How can you become a virtual assistant?

● What resources can help you succeed as a personal assistant?

If you’re interested in remote work that pays $20,000 - $60,000 annually, you can use this article to learn how to get started.

What Does a Virtual Assistant Do?

The role of a virtual assistant (VA) is shaped by the needs of the client and abilities of the person assisting.

Traditionally, VAs helped with basic tasks such as scheduling, data entry, and online research. However, as the remote workforce has grown, the role of virtual assistant has expanded. Many VAs offer higher-skilled services, allowing them to take on more valuable roles within the company.

Some of the additional skills offered may include:

● Customer service by phone, text, and chat
● Social media
● Light marketing tasks
● Graphic design
● Website maintenance

According to blogger Rhonda Bavaro of VAElevated, the most in-demand skills for virtual assistants are administrative, technical, and creative:

• Administrative VAs handle tasks such as customer service, email, online research, and data entry.

• Technical VAs may help with websites, webinars, social media, and SEO.

• Creative VAs may pitch in on projects like graphic design, writing, or marketing.

Developing additional skills as a VA can also be an excellent way to break into a specialized field because you can build skills and experience along the way.

How to Become a Virtual Assistant

There are many ways to approach finding work as a virtual assistant.

For example, you can work through a freelance agency like Upwork or PeoplePerHour. The benefits of working through an agency include:

● Plenty of job listings

● Client reviews by other freelancers

● Payment handled by a 3rd party

The benefits of working through an agency don’t come free.

At Upwork, for example, you’ll start out paying a 20% commission, which scales down per-client as you continue to work with them.

Also, once you get a client through an agency, you’re bound by law to run all contracts for that client through the agency for as long as you work together.

For some, the benefits of working through an agency far outweigh the obligations. However, you can also find clients directly without working through an agency.

Finding your own clients takes more work but allows you to keep 100% of the money you earn.

Some of the places you can find work as a virtual assistant are:

● Job boards
● Local businesses
● Social media sites

Many freelancers find clients using both methods. You can work through an agency and still find clients directly, which may help you build a broad base of steady clients. It’s an excellent way to start a side hustle and get experience as a solopreneur.

Best Resources for Virtual Assistants

If you’re interested in becoming a virtual assistant, the following resources can help you get started: 

● Find out more about getting started as a VA at VA Networking’s resource library (includes training videos, contracts, and checklists).

● Find work as a virtual assistant through Upwork, Remote, Guru, or Freelancer.

● If you’re interested in specializing in customer service, you can get customer service training at Lynda.com.

● If you’re interested in a marketing specialty, get free marketing and social media training at Hubspot Academy.

● If you’d like to specialize in tech, you can learn technical skills at TreeHouse Academy.

● Take university courses through Coursera and EdX.

Follow virtual assistant blogs and forums to stay connected with your peers and keep up on the latest industry trends and changes.

Virtual Assistants Help Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses Succeed

To enjoy the kind of stability and rewards that make virtual assistant work worthwhile, consider enhancing your skill set through ongoing training and education.

Whether you work through an agency or directly with clients as a solopreneur, a career as a virtual assistant can be personally rewarding and a great way to start your own business. VAs make a real difference in the success of entrepreneurs and small businesses, and the position is an excellent starting point for anyone wishing to grow professionally.

Riley-Panko-headshot-300Our guest author Riley Panko is a Senior Content Developer and Marketer at Clutch, a Washington, D.C.-based research, ratings and reviews platform for B2B services.

She conducts relevant research that aims to help consumers enhance their business and select the services and software best-suited to their needs.

You can find her on Twitter @RileyPanko.

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