How do you become a virtual assistant? Learn how to become a certified virtual assistant and start setting up a virtual assistant business.
- What is a virtual assistant?
- How to become a virtual assistant
- How does a virtual assistant find clients?
- What skills does a virtual assistant need?
- How much money can a VA expect to earn?
- How to create value for your clients as a VA
- Grow your income by starting a VA agency
- Build a virtual assistant website that attracts clients
What is a virtual assistant?
A virtual assistant is a person who provides administrative, secretarial, or creative assistance to clients remotely from a home office. They work as independent contractors for clients who prefer outsourcing virtual assistant services, usually on a project basis.
The market for virtual assistants is growing, and many companies are looking for virtual assistants as part of the outsourcing business trend. Many small businesses hire a virtual assistant online as an alternative to outsourcing virtual tasks to another country.
Entrepreneurs, bloggers, authors, and even accountants who need help with day-to-day tasks, but do not have the time or resources to hire a full-time employee, prefer hiring virtual assistants online to outsource admin work as they are typically paid hourly or per project.
A growing number of independent contractors are stepping up to offer virtual assistant services, and many full-time employees are also choosing to become part-time virtual assistants as a side gig.
Being a virtual assistant offers the advantage of working remotely, location independence, flexible schedules, better work-life balance, increased productivity, and more.
Read this article on how to become a VA, learn about the things a virtual assistant can do, and know what a day in the life of a virtual assistant looks like.
How to become a virtual assistant
You can learn everything you need to know about setting up a Virtual Assistant Business with HorkeyHandbook, which has been providing education, training, and community for virtual assistants since 2014.
The best online course that offers virtual assistant certification is Horkey Handbook’s VA Foundations course. It helps new and aspiring virtual assistants start and grow a VA business from scratch.
Start your virtual assistant business off strong with the VA Foundations course – where you’ll get everything you need to build a rock-solid foundation and start a virtual assistant business offering services online.
The VA Foundations course covers everything from:
- What services to offer and who to offer them to
- How much to charge and where to find clients
- How to effectively pitch clients, interview and onboard them
- All things invoicing and contracts (including templates)
- Working effectively with clients and efficiently in your business
In addition to that, you also gain access to:
- VA certification
- Weekly office hours, access to their team and your peers
- Proprietary and non-proprietary client leads
- 5 skills courses to dip your toe into specialization
- 5 specialization tracks to help you achieve expert stats and command top-tier rates
Learn how to start applying for virtual assistant jobs and find those first clients, so you can earn income as a VA as quickly as possible with a fully booked client roster. Specialize your services and level up your skills to command top-tier virtual assistant fees.
Once you’ve done the VA Foundations course and passed your final exam, the HorkeyHandbook virtual assistant hub will give you access to all of the resources you’ll need to start building out your client roster (including client leads and skills courses) and grow your income.
After you’ve completed VA Foundations, you’ll be a Horkey HandBook Certified Virtual Assistant. Now you can share your VA certification with the world to let everyone know that you’re a legitimate, self-employed virtual assistant and open for business!
How does a virtual assistant find clients?
There are numerous efficient ways to locate and draw in high-quality clients. But it’s crucial to know what they are, which one you’re best suited for, and how to approach them correctly.
In the VA Foundations course by HorkeyHandbook, you’ll learn almost a dozen methods for prospecting and building effective client relationships, such as:
- Using social media
- In-person networking
- Tapping into your natural market
In addition, in the HorkeyHandbook virtual assistant hub, you’ll get access to qualified client leads from small business owners who want to engage trained and certified virtual assistants.
To have their students completely booked in no time, they also frequently compile the greatest remote and freelancing assignments available and distribute them in the HorkeyHandbook virtual assistant hub.
What skills does a virtual assistant need?
One of the most frequently asked questions that aspiring VAs ask is, “I want to become a virtual assistant. What skills do I need?”
Mostly, you just need to be motivated and disciplined and have the desire to become a self-employed virtual assistant. While most clients are looking for a virtual assistant who can offer a few specific services, their key priorities are finding someone who has the qualities below:
- Good communicator
- Well-organized remote worker
- A self-starter who is self-motivated
- Reliable and delivers on time
- Works independently
- Willing to learn new skills
In addition, you must have access to a computer (desktop or laptop) and steady internet. Independent virtual assistants may use many different types of technology to perform their job, which may include video conferencing, internet research, email management, and social media.
They may also learn specialized skills that help them offer services such as becoming a virtual assistant for real estate investors, or a virtual assistant for dropshipping tasks.
Most clients will give you access to other own cloud-based tools and software programs you need to finish your work for them, so you won’t need to buy any fancy programs or applications.
How much money can a VA expect to earn?
Based on the rather scant research available, the typical virtual assistant in North America makes between $25 and $40 per hour, although experienced VAs can charge over $100 per hour.
“The typical virtual assistant in North America makes between $25 and $40 per hour, although experienced VAs can charge over $100 per hour.”
This will vary widely based on your background, aptitude, and areas of specialization; the more specialized your offerings are and the more experience you have, the higher the virtual assistant rates you can charge.
In the HorkeyHandbook virtual assistant hub, you’ll learn how to scale your VA business and take it to the next level with specialization tracks and forums specifically designed to help you drill down on the most lucrative and in-demand VA services.
- The Email Management for VAs course teaches you how to offer an in-demand and high-value skill. Your future clients are out there, waiting for your help — desperate to get their inboxes under control and their lives in order.
- The Social Media for Virtual Assistants course will help you learn the foundational skills you need to start offering social media services right away — including the ins and outs of marketing for small businesses using social media.
- The Project Management for VAs course will help you develop (or enhance) your own project management skill set into a lucrative service that you can offer as a virtual assistant.
- The Real Estate Virtual Assistant specialization teaches you how to help overwhelmed real estate agents with closing deals, lead generation, social media management, and organizing their calendars.
- The Virtual Assistant Agency course will teach you how to scale your VA business and earn more income by serving more clients without doing everything yourself.
In the end, it all comes down to doing what you do exceptionally well and attracting clients who appreciate what you have to give.
How to create value for your clients as a VA
As a virtual assistant, becoming valuable and indispensable to your clients is crucial to keep your clients happy. So how can you go about producing value?
#1. Ask questions
Find out as much as you can about your client’s business. Most of them will be flattered that you care enough to ask about their work and why they do it. You will gain knowledge and become more valuable to them.
By learning more and asking more, you’ll be able to answer questions about the client to their potential clients. If you can help them by learning all about them and preempting their needs, you can make yourself indispensable.
#2. Make suggestions
If you see ways to improve a particular process or task – whether it creates greater efficiency or saves money – suggest this to your client, and if it works, you’ll look like a hero.
Your client will appreciate the value-add and the intelligence you bring to your work and see you as an invaluable part of their business, even coming to you for advice on other tasks.
#3. Offer to save them money
Everyone, no matter how rich or poor they are, likes to save money. So if you know a better, cheaper, more efficient option to help your clients save money, don’t hesitate to suggest it to them.
#4. Create goodwill
Creating goodwill goes a long way in building trust with clients. For instance, if a client asks for a referral for a task that you don’t do, you can offer to research it for them and find someone who can help them do it, even if you don’t earn anything from it.
#5. Let them know what else you can do
Listen to your clients rattle on about their thoughts, ideas, and business philosophies. When you hear an aspect that you can help them with, mention it! You’ll get more work and they’ll have more faith in your virtual assistant abilities.
#6. Have an attitude of service
This one’s a no-brainer. Don’t whine! When a client asks for something, just do it. If they think they have a whiner on their hands, they won’t want anything to do with you.
So put yourself in the other person’s shoes and ask yourself, “How would I want this done and what response would I expect from someone working for me?”
Your answer to that question is exactly how you should handle the situation or request. If you work as a virtual assistant of any kind, you must have an attitude of service and enjoy serving other people.
#7. Improve your skills constantly
Clients do like to work with one VA who understands their business really well, so over time, you may want to develop new skills so that you can fulfill as many of their needs as possible.
For example, if you’re just so-so at using Excel, investing the time and effort to become a whiz at it will carry you far.
Most software programs have tutorials built right in. Use them to improve your skills and you’ll be able to increase your virtual assistant rates.
In your own time, run through the tutorials and practice, practice, practice. Join a chat group if you need to learn more about the software’s functions.
Take a course or two and get certified as a virtual assistant. Then let your clients know what you can do for them.
Grow your income by starting a VA agency
Most virtual assistants attempt to grow their business by getting more clients or contracts. But remember why you wanted to be your own boss; it isn’t so that you can spend all of your time doing what you do not enjoy.
You can always outsource tasks that you don’t want to do to other virtual assistants. In fact, the best way to grow your virtual assistant business is to build a team of VAs with different skills to subcontract or outsource projects to.
These VAs can provide services that will complement your services rather than compete with them. As a virtual assistant who subcontracts work, you become an entrepreneur yourself.
Of course, operating a small business requires much more than just knowing how to type or perform any other administrative task. However, it’s a win-win concept because a virtual assistant agency can offer more services by hiring up-and-coming VAs.
As a virtual assistant business owner, you can use one of your VAs to help you with your own administrative tasks and build redundancy, in case you need to take a break for any reason.
For example, if your core service is word processing services, your team services can include bookkeeping, Real Estate Virtual Assistant (REVA) services, transcription, and website and graphic design.
These services will complement yours rather than compete with them, and you can offer them to clients in addition to your current offerings. If for any reason, you need a break or assistance with your administrative tasks, any member of the team can take over.
Build a virtual assistant website that attracts clients
One of the most essential tools to help you promote your virtual assistant business is a website. Your website is your virtual ‘home’, and an important part of your marketing plan.
Your potential clients will want to know as much about you as they can find out before connecting with you or speaking to you in person.
While a large number of your client base will come from referrals, having a website address that you can refer them to makes you come across as a professional.
As you design your site (or have someone design it for you), put yourself into the position of a potential client. What would someone want to know about you, your business, and your services?
Make sure you provide complete contact information and make it easy to find. Here are a few key components that potential clients will be on the lookout for:
#1. Contact information
As mentioned previously this should be easy to find so when people want to hire your services, they can!
#2. Virtual assistant services offered
When potential clients come to your website, they’ll want to see what services you can provide. Have a clear, detailed list of all the tasks that you’re proficient in, and explain them in detail, if not obvious.
If you have an agency that offers a variety of VA services, mention that, describing each service in detail.
#3.Your virtual assistant rates
Sharing your virtual assistant rates is usually a personal preference. Many VAs post their rates while others don’t.
This may or may benefit you when a potential client is price shopping, but if you prefer to charge on a project-by-project basis this may not work for you.
#4. Your client portfolio
If you do any sort of web design or graphics work, freelance writing, copywriting, or ghostwriting, a portfolio of completed work is a must.
Potential clients want to see samples of your work before paying you to do something for them.
#5. About you page
Your clients are not only buying your services, they’re buying into a relationship with YOU.
So, let them know who you are, and share as much of your story as you’re comfortable with so they know why they can trust their business tasks to you.
With all the focus on privacy and internet safety issues, you want to assure your visitors that their information is safe with you and always will be.
#7. Client testimonials
So, you’ve got a great virtual assistant website with everything mentioned above. Does that mean your visitors will trust you? Probably not.
You see, they have no way of knowing what quality your work, is or even if you’re a real professional running an actual business.
Client testimonials help to prove your credibility by showing that you have satisfied clients who are happy to sing your praises.
Now that you’ve learned some of the essential elements of a virtual assistant website, take a look at your website and check if you’re missing anything.
If you don’t have a website yet, check out these website-building tools and get every advantage to create a virtual assistant website that attracts clients and sells them on your services.