So, finally we get to the how to become a virtual assistant aspect of the article. The answer to this question will vary slightly based on a few things including:
- Whether you want to be an employee or launch your own business.
- What niche (if any) you want to work in.
- What tasks your going to be offering.
Let’s look at each, shall we?
How to become a virtual assistant will vary based on whether you want to be an employee or start a business (be your own boss). If you want to be an employee all you need to do is find a company hiring a virtual assistant. For job listings check out sites like:
- Career Builder
On these job boards, use filters and keywords like “work from home” and “virtual” to find VA jobs. If you find a “traditional” (in house) job that you believe could work just as well if the duties were performed virtually, you can always apply and try to sell the company on a remote position. Be ready to fight though! Have lots of info on the advantages of an employee working from home such as less expense to the employer (because you aren’t taking up space, using their electricity, etc.).
If you want to launch your own business, there’s a little more prep work you’ll probably want to do such as:
- Building a website – you’re going to need to attract clients and a website is a great way to showcase your work and serve as a place for potential clients to contact you.
- Talking to a lawyer – you’ll probably want to consult with a lawyer on a few points such as whether you should be a sole proprietor, LLC, etc., if you need business insurance, and any legal issues you may encounter.
- Talking to an accountant – as a business owner, you’ll likely need to pay taxes quarterly instead of annually. However, you can also expense certain things that you otherwise can’t such as your home office. Talk to an accountant for more info.
Now, of course, there’s more you should do to maintain a successful business such as establishing a social media presence and networking, but those things don’t have to be done to get started. You’ll never accomplish how to become a virtual assistant if you keep putting more “to dos” in front of yourself.
If you’re going to launch your own virtual assistant business, clients are a necessity (duh). 🙂 Look for clients everywhere; including:
- Networking events – check out meetup.com for local gatherings.
- Social networks – join Facebook and LinkedIn groups based around services you want to provide, follow your favorite organizations (even blogs!) online in case they post anything about needing a virtual assistant, and participate. Answering questions can help establish you as an industry expert and someone to turn to when work needs doing.
- Job boards like Elance, oDesk, FlexJobs, etc.
You should also ask for clients. Word of mouth is huge when you’re launching a business. If you do good work for one client ask them to refer you to others.
How to become a virtual assistant may vary based on the industry (or niche) you want to specialize in. For example, maybe you only want to be a virtual assistant for real estate agents or lawyers. While specializing in a niche may require some additional legwork and time, there are advantages. Think of it this way, you’ll be a specialist versus a general practitioner, and specialists tend to command a higher wage.
The additional legwork you’ll need to do may include research. Certain industries such as legal, financial, and health care have strict regulations so you’ll need to get a grasp on those to ensure you never violate them. In addition, you may need more time to break into your niche via networking and referrals.
Keep this in mind, you can always start out as a general virtual assistant and move into a specific industry over time.
How to become a virtual assistant will also vary based on the services your’e going to be offering. Remember the list of 20 tasks way back at the beginning of this article? Using those as a reference, let’s break down the tasks a virtual assistant may complete into categories:
- Administrative – this would include tasks like data entry and calendar management.
- Marketing – this would including tasks like social media management and community building.
- Design and Creative – this would including tasks like graphic design, data presentation, and web design.
- Customer Facing – this would include tasks like customer service and sales.
- Other – this would include tasks like bookkeeping and event planning that don’t really fit into our other categories.
If you want to learn how to become a virtual assistant, I suggest doing some homework based on what type of services you want to offer. Here are some of the top books for each category.
General (for all Vas)
- The Bootstrap VA by Lisa Morosky
- Virtual Assistant by Diana Ennen and Kelly Poelker
- Virtual Freedom by Christ Ducker – This book turns the table. Instead of being about how to become a virtual assistant, it looks at it from the client’s point of view. However, this book is still valuable to you, the VA, as it can help you learn to work remotely and get the scoop on services you could be offering your clients.
- The Innovative Admin by Julie Perrine
Be sure to also master how to become a virtual assistant by reading other books you may need. I highly recommend those under the “customer facing” section.
The books you’ll want to read for marketing services will vary greatly depending on what marketing services your going to offer (ex. social media vs. copywriting). However, here are some great books to consider:
- Social Media Marketing by M.J. Brown
- Advanced Google AdWords by Brad Geddes – This book is geared towards individuals who have used AdWords before (know the basic interface).
- Social Media by Michael Richards
- On Writing Well by William Zinsser
- Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr.
- The Copywriter’s Handbook by Robert W. Bly
Design and Creative
- Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug
- Creative Workshop by David Sherwin – This book is great for those trying to improve their design skills.
- Color Inspirations by Darius A. Monsef IV
- Pictures on Kindle by Aaron Shepard
- Dotcom Secrets by Russel Brunson
- How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
- Peoplework by Austin Allison
- Ask by Ryan Levesque
- Just Listen by Mark Goulston
Other than these books, you’ll want to look for any books pertinent to your services and industry.