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.
How do I get started?
Diana Palmentiero says
I have been a virtual assistant for a little over a year now. One way to start is to find people that have businesses that they run from their homes. I now have 3 clients and all run their businesses from their home. You would be surprised how many people are doing that these days. As their businesses have grown, they realize that they don’t have time for the administrative tasks like researching projects, answering basic client emails and writing copy for their newly created websites. I hope this helps. If you have any other questions, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for sharing, Diana! 🙂
Hi Diana, I just came across this article and this seems very interesting. I’m currently a graphic and web designer for a corporate company but not making nearly as much as $3,000! I consider myself a pretty confident tech savvy person. I do a lot of web and vector work, write on the side (could brush up on it a little bit) social media assistance, etc. I do a wide variety at work here but not entirely happy with what I am making. Could you possibly email me more information about your position and what you do from home? Perhaps where I could start, etc? Thanks! my email is email@example.com
I am very interested in something like this. I have my own art business and I’m an art teacher full time, but need extra income! And let’s face it, art teaching jobs are the first to get cut, so I’m in dire need of something I can fall back on. I need to still be creative but also make money to support my son and I. Let me know how I can get this going.
Hi Diana – unable to contact you thru link given but am looking to invest some money in starting up a healthcare/assistance company aiding Individuals and seniors with dementia that either for various reasons does not qualify for state assistance and/or only needing minimal guidance or help with ADLs, safety training and/or planning and any other assistance that may be needed to allow a senior citizen to remain in their home and stay as independent for as long as they can avoiding the hard and sometimes the horrible demise alot endure by transitioning into a nursing facility or home , and need help with research in doing so if you could provide any information towards my goal in helping our golden ones of our time please email me at Staceybaker41@gmail.com. Thank you and God bless
Very helpful article. This is something I am looking into for at least a little period of time as I take a (hopefully) permanent sabbatical from Corporate. Thanks and I will be referring back to this info again.
So glad, Josh! 🙂
This is well written and has all the required information. I think there is lots of future in VA and more and more people and organizations will start using services from VA. The only requirement is that VAs start marketing their services, mostly through social media campaigns.
This is what I’ve had in mind for years, but didn’t know it already existed. I am going to research more and see what happens. Thanks for this article and the advice.
Tiffany Daniels says
If this is something I’m interested in, where do I go to get proper training?
I do not live in the US, so how do I get started
I am interested in becoming a VA here in Michigan. Would like to get some more information on starting my business, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
is it ok to try this when your still a student?
Yes, there are definitely opportunities for students to make money at home. Good luck, Marianne! 🙂 Kelli
Can you share how I how do I start the process please? Do I reach out the business owners I know or is there a site that advertises for them? Please share whatever you can. Thank you in advance.
Christy B. says
I am very much interested in this! If there is more information on how to get started, Please E-mail me at email@example.com. I would like to get started right away!
I have been working on human resources/customer service handling administrative tasks for 10 plus years. Where I have administered benefits of all kinds with employees. How can I find out how to become a VA. Is there a website?
I love to get started
Please email me I have questions on how I can start doing this. Thanks!!
Is it possible you can give me more details on how to start up? Thanks.
Jasmin Henriquez says
Hello, I’d like to start VA in California, could you please email me info how to get started, I’d greatly appreciate it. Thanks.
Hello. I just came across this article. I was just wondering how to become a virtual assistant. My name is Kimberly. Here’s my email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mary A Gibson says
How do I join? email@example.com
I have a question about the attorney and figuring out the whole taxes. I’ve been wanting to do this for a while, but I don’t know where to start.
Hi This is really interesting. could u pls e mail me how to become a virtual assistant . also m not living in USA. my email firstname.lastname@example.org
Stefan Ciancio says
A lot of people spend hundreds of hours over the internet to know how to earn money online. I agree with you in monetizing skills. You can really do a lot to earn money online. I would say if any new individual who would like to make many online starts to reads this informative article I am sure he is heading to get to to a big position since he save hours in research. Very Informative:)
Thanks for sharing, Stefan. 🙂 Kelli
I lost my full-time job as an admin assistant in 2011. I have not been able to find full-time work since then and can barely find part-time work that will pay good here in NYC. Also because I have no college degree(despite having over 25 years of hands-on experience)I cannot find anything worthwhile. All of that being said, what is the best way to contract yourself to businesses as a VA? I have been considering doing this for quite some time, but I have no time for nonsense and want to do it right. Thanks so much for the great article!
Hi Erica, I recommend looking into sites like Freelancer to find good reputable jobs. Hope that helps! 🙂 Kelli
Jennifer Buchholtz says
Hi my name is Jennifer and I am a mom to a 6 year old and 30 month old. I worked as an Engineering Assistant for both a Telecommunications company and a trailer manufacturer. I have an Associates degree in Office Technology and Computer Systems Technology. I currently am a Patient Account Rep for a healthcare company. Looking for something where I can be home.
Eva North says
Good morning all, I’ve just found this site and this post off of pinterest. I too am looking to do VA work, I live in Michigan, but I’m looking for work I can perform as a VA whether kids are in school or not and whether hubby is home, such as internet resesarch, patient advocate, stuff like that. I’m currently a stay at home mom and would greatly appreciate any suggestions, help, advice. I can be reached at email@example.com.
Please let me know more to get started
Hi Taysha, There are lots of online resources for virtual assistant positions and freelance work. I like fiverr and upwork. Hope that helps! 🙂 Kelli