Articles

How to Get Started as a Virtual Assistant

There are many small businesses and organizations which require secretarial support, but they either can’t afford to keep a full-time assistant, they don’t want/need someone full time, or they prefer not to keep one on site for any number of reasons. This is where Virtual Assistants (VAs) come in. VAs provide secretarial/administrative services without being physically present at the workplace. Many companies are moving to this model and if you have the right skills you can make good money as a VA from the comfort of your home while sitting at your computer.

What you need

To be a good VA you need to have at least a little bit of real-life experience working in an office in an administrative/secretarial capacity. A VA’s tasks range from typing, transcribing, sending emails, answering phones, scheduling and taking part in meetings, bookkeeping, desktop publishing, and business planning to name a few.

1) Acquire skills
You need to acquire adequate skills in office software such as MS Office and an email client such as Outlook. You need to learn skills in note-taking, handling phone calls, customer service, and any other relevant skills. You can also go for formal training if needed. There’s no substitute for experience, but proper training can help to bridge the knowledge gap quickly.

2) Prepare your working tools

You need to have a good computer which is fast enough to handle the everyday tasks that you will be doing. Having a computer which is not in good condition can slow you down and kill your productivity. It’s also a good idea to familiarize yourself with basic IT troubleshooting in case your machine decides to go haywire.
You should also get a good broadband Internet connection which is efficient enough to handle Skype calls seamlessly.

3) Research the market

Once you have the skills and tools you can start researching the market. Take time to find out which companies need a VA the services they require, working hours, the amount they pay, pay schedule, etc. Try to find out as much as you can and leave no stone unturned.

4) Apply

Once you feel you’re comfortable, you can apply for some positions, and hopefully one of them will work out for you.

As a Virtual Assistant, you are a self-employed individual, and you are responsible for your taxes. The great thing about being a VA is that you can work from your home and the hours are typically flexible.

Where can you find VA jobs?

Though you can find VA employment in usual places like classified ads section of the newspaper, the vast majority can be found online. There are many websites which can help you secure a VA job. The following are just a few of these:
LinkedIn
Zirtual.com
VirtualAssistants.com
Upwork
Elance
PeoplePerHour 
FlexJobs