On this post, you will learn how to become a virtual assistant even with no experience. I have worked as a freelancer and hopefully, what I have learned the last months can help you to get started online.
While there are many ways to start as a virtual assistant, this one will give you results if you use it properly. Let’s start with the basics.
What Is A Virtual Assistant?
A virtual assistant is usually a freelancer who offers his services to a business from his own place (home or office). They can do many different tasks but usually, VAs are specialized on a specific type of services.
According to Wikipedia, there are 25.000 thousand virtual assistants worldwide. In my opinion, this number will increase the next years because of the many new online businesses. So, there is a big demand for VAs right now.
There are plenty of available jobs on many online freelance platforms, classified ads, and I am sure there are many available jobs in your city or town. Of course, it depends on where you live but in Europe and North America should be able to find many job opportunities.
Why A Business Owner Needs A Virtual Assistant
A small business or a website has many tasks that need to be done daily. I can give you an example:
I own three websites, some social media accounts, accounts on freelancing platforms, etc. To run all of them properly takes a lot of time. It makes sense that I cannot be everywhere.
Some daily tasks are to write new content, make posts for the social media, find images, answer to comments, make applications, work for clients, etc.
It is obvious that I need to outsource some of the tasks if I want a personal life. Another option is to give up some of them which it was my choice in this example.
But some business owners prefer to outsource these tasks. Many of them have teams with many employees and freelancers. This is where you are needed.
It is easier to find some freelancers to complete some of their projects and pay them per working hour or project than hiring a new employee. Again, it depends on the type of work but most webmasters tend to prefer freelancers. They are more flexible, they have different levels of expertise to choose from and the cheaper cost are some of the many benefits.
How Much You Can Earn As A Virtual Assistant
There are many different tasks that a virtual assistant can make. The potential earnings depend on these tasks. The lower payment is at 5$ per hour on more freelance platforms.
However, this is only the minimum. If you have not any experience, you can ask $5 at the beginning and increase it later as you get more clients and feedback for your work.
Experienced and skilled virtual assistants make from $20 to $100 per hour depending on their expertise. In some cases, you can see some of them earn even more. It is on you to reach that level.
What Services You Can Offer
Virtual assistants can do a variety of jobs that are relevant to an online business. It can be anything from editing to management:
Social Media Management: Most websites have multiple social media accounts and it is time-consuming to handle all of them effectively. Also, many offline businesses get into the social media marketing with a Facebook page or a Twitter account so there are more job opportunities than before.
Email Management: Replying and sending emails can be an easy but important task for many businesses. Many job opportunities here as well.
Offline Tasks: It can be anything from bookkeeping to customer service. If you have some skills in any relevant job, it could work for you.
Editor: Big websites which produce content daily have many writers who work for them at the same time. The editor checks the content and edits it if he finds mistakes or parts that need improvement.
Proofreader: Similar to the editor, he just reads the content to check if everything is fine. It requires good grammar knowledge.
Research: It can be anything from researching the competition to finding ideas for new content. Some bloggers make research to find interesting facts and stats to include to their articles. No specific skills are needed, you only need enough available time.
Here are some examples only, there are many other tasks that you could do so make your research.
How To Choose Your Niche
If you have any skills already, it should be an easy decision for you. You just want to find something relevant to your skills. In any other case, you will learn something new.
In the beginning, do not focus on the money. All of these jobs can give you enough money to go full time if you become an expert through time but you must start with the lowest fees if you want to find a job with no experience.
Then, how will you make your decision?
Take a moment to think how you could help someone to grow his business. If you can help someone, he will be happy with your services and you can also help you develop your skills. It could be a win-win situation for everyone involved.
You can get some ideas on freelance sites. Check what people ask and what you can already do. For simple tasks, there are guides anywhere on the internet. They usually outsource simple tasks to save time from their working schedule so it does not have to be difficult or complicated.
Another factor to consider is what makes you motivated. If you really want to start with a specific job, just go for it.
How To Get Started Right Now
The fastest way to get a job is by applying for job offers. There are some specific places where you can take a look.
Upwork: A freelance platform with thousands of clients and freelancers. New jobs are posted every few minutes but it is also a competitive platform because of that number of freelancers. However, there are still undiscovered opportunities if you are ready to search a little deeper.
Freelancer: It works similarly to Upwork. Clients post projects and you apply to them. The good news is that on these websites, you get feedback for every job you complete which can be used as a proof of your experience and skills.
Craiglist: Many webmasters and offline business owners post for jobs on Craiglist. It has less competition than the freelance platforms but there is not any protection for your earnings as you contact directly with your clients.
Gig Sites: You may have visited sites like Fiverr and SEOClerks. They work with gigs. For example, you say: I will proofread your content for $5, and you post your gig. If a client is interested in your service, he will place an order. Of course, there are custom offers and requests to adjust your services according to your client needs.
Build A Website (optional)
You do not need a website to find clients but there are some benefits in the long term. You can get traffic from search engines and social media to increase your orders, add samples to show to your clients, write your opinion on a relevant topic, etc.
The only negative could be the time you will spend to build it. To create some content takes a few hours depending on how much content you want.
I think that most successful freelancers have a site where you can find them and read about their skills and strategies.
Lastly, it can help you to build an email list of potential clients and send them promotional emails and offers. Many times you will discuss with unsure clients or they will choose someone else for some projects. When you can make offers and they know where to find you, it makes sense that you will get more jobs.
Virtual Assistant Training
There are experienced freelancers who have created training programs and help beginners to get into freelancing.
Can they really help you?
Good training always helps if you are ready to take action. They show you a way that works, you learn some skills faster and get help when needed.
Of course, you should not buy the first ebook or training that someone will show you. Make sure that you get guidance from people that had success in the past as freelancers. Being a good teacher could be a benefit also.
I recommend the virtual assistant training by Gina Horkey. She has helped many students and made a lot of money as a freelancer the last years.
Is Freelancing A Business Or A Job?
There is nothing wrong to look for a freelance job. However, for those who want to start a business, there is good and bad news.
The good news is that you can make it work as a business. You have your own clients, it is scalable (increase price, find more clients), and you decide how to run it.
The bad news is that your earnings depend on your time. There is no way to earn a passive or residual income, and beginner freelancers need to work a lot of hours per day for a part-time income.
Also, the freelance platforms and gig sites help their clients to find cheap freelancers and not the freelancers to earn what they are worth.
While I have worked as a freelancer, it was not a business but a way to earn extra money. My business is my websites. However, If I wanted to start a freelance business, I would start an agency or try to master a skill. The top freelancers in almost every niche earn 50-100 euros per hour (50 euros to dollars). It is not easy to reach that level but it is achievable if you spend the time.
An Alternative Option
My alternative suggestion is to get into a different type of business. I am an affiliate marketer and recommend you to give it a try.
The main benefit is that you do not have to exchange time for money. For example, this article will be on my site for years and people will visit it many times in the future. Instead of getting paid once, I will keep earning money as long as it gets traffic.
Affiliate marketers usually build something (site, blog, Youtube channel, etc) and receive a residual income for years. Then, they can repeat the process to create multiple sources of income.
As a business model is scalable, you can outsource your tasks (you are higher in the pyramid than a VA), and you have a complete control of your entire business instead of a VA who really needs third party sites and platforms to stay in business.
Freelancing has benefits and negatives.
On the benefits are the facts that you can get paid for simple tasks and start quickly. If you start right now to make applications and you treat them professionally, chances are that you will find a job soon.
A negative is that it looks like a job. Many freelancers cannot see any difference between freelancing and a 9-5 job which is fine if that’s you are looking for.
If you decide to get started, take a look at the training by Gina Horkey here.
For any questions and feedback, leave your comment below. Thanks for reading!