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Virtual assistants are increasingly in high demand because more and more busy business owners and entrepreneurs understand the benefits of hiring virtual personal assistants who can not only help them save more time but also allow them to stay focused on growing their businesses and increasing their revenue.
So, how do you become a virtual assistant even if you have no experience?
Also, where do you find legitimate and well-paid virtual assistant jobs?
Most importantly, how do you make yourself stand out from other job candidates, and get hired?
In this article, I am going to share with you EVERYTHING you need to significantly increase your chances of getting the virtual assistant job even if you are just a beginner.
What Is A Virtual Assistant & What Exactly Do They Do?
So, what is a virtual assistant?
A virtual assistant is basically an online assistant who provides support services to businesses or entrepreneurs from a remote location.
One of the perks of being a virtual assistant is that you can work anywhere in the world as long as you have a laptop and a good internet connection.
As a virtual assistant, what exactly do you do?
This actually depends on the client you are working for and what your clients need you to help with.
For example, if your client hires you as a general personal virtual assistant, you are usually required to provide the following virtual assistant services:
- Responding to emails and phone calls
- Booking flights and making hotel reservations
- Calendar management
- Scheduling meetings
- Booking appointments
- Following up with clients/customers
- Maintain contact list
- File management
- Project management
- Data entry
- Online research
- Expense reporting and organization of expenses
- Purchases- ensuring specifications of the purchase meet the client’s satisfaction
- Personal errands
There are also specialized (and highly paid) virtual assistants.
Type #1: Virtual assistants with Industry-specific knowledge
When it comes to specialization, it could be that you are required to have some industry-specific knowledge or certain qualifications.
For example, there are businesses in the medical or legal industry that prefer to hire virtual assistants with highly specialized knowledge.
For law firms, they might be looking for virtual paralegals or virtual legal assistants.
To be considered for a virtual paralegal job position, you will need to either have a degree in paralegal studies or have obtained a paralegal certificate.
This is because you might be asked to do legal research or draft legal documents which all require knowledge of the law and legal procedure.
Type #2: Virtual assistants with in-demand skills
There are also virtual assistants with “in demand” skills such as graphic design, social media marketing, bookkeeping, copywriting and SEO.
Generally, the more skilled you are, the higher your rate and the more likely you get hired for the same job position.
For example, there are Pinterest virtual assistants who are specialized in helping business owners manage their Pinterest accounts to get more traffic to their websites and their business.
As a Pinterest virtual assistant, they will help do the following tasks:
- Design and create visually appealing Pins that attract clicks and shares
- Pinterest SEO (i.e. optimize pins to get more search traffic from Pinterest)
- Schedule Pins using a Pinterest scheduling and analytics tool such as Tailwind
- Reach out to popular group board admins and ask for an invite to join the group board
How Much Does A Virtual Assistant Make?
So, how much does a virtual assistant actually make?
Typically, virtual assistants are hired as independent contractors or freelancers and are paid an hourly rate that depends on your skill set, experience as well as the project you are assigned.
In some cases, you might be hired as an employee who is required to work normal office hours from your home.
As an employee, you will be paid an annual salary and also offered some form of employee benefits such as insurance and paid leave.
Below is an estimate of how much a virtual assistant makes as a beginner virtual assistant, experienced virtual assistant, and expert virtual assistant.
Who Is Suitable To Become A Virtual Assistant?
So, who is suitable for a virtual assistant job?
A virtual assistant job is suitable for you if:
- You prefer to work from home
- You want a flexible work schedule
- You enjoy doing administrative work
- You are organized and have good time management
- You have good communication skills
How Do You Become A Virtual Assistant
If you are completely new and want to become a virtual assistant, there are many ways to do it.
The good news is that you can do this job even if you are a complete beginner.
It’s very easy to learn the ropes to become a general virtual assistant.
Most of the tasks are simple and you should be able to handle them after a few hours’ training.
But, if you want to earn more as a virtual assistant, the way to do it is to upgrade your skills and learn new skills that your potential clients are looking for in an assistant.
So, as a beginner, how do you get started working as a virtual assistant and get your first paying client?
There are two ways to approach this.
Option #1: Start your own virtual assistant business and find clients yourself
Option #2: Work with virtual assistant agency and get job assignments from them
So, what is the difference between these three?
Which one is right for you?
The main difference between them is that you have to actively look for clients yourself if you work on your own as a freelance virtual assistant.
The advantage of starting your own virtual assistant business is that you can choose who you want to work with and you get to keep 100% of what you earn.
But, if you work with a virtual assistant agency, you don’t have to worry about getting clients because the agency will give you work.
The downside of working with a virtual assistant company is that they will take a cut in your pay because they are essentially a matchmaker that matches talent with hiring companies.
There are also two types of virtual assistant companies:
- Hire virtual assistants as independent contractors
- Hire virtual assistants as employees
When you work for them as an independent contractor, the amount of work is NOT guaranteed because it will depend on the demand as well as whether you are a right fit for the clients.
On the other hand, if you work as an employee for them, you will get a fixed annual salary and are also required to work full-time office hours from home.
So, working as an employee for the virtual assistant company, your income is stable but you won’t get paid as much as working independently as a freelancer or contractor.
The reason is that these virtual assistant companies have their operating costs and they also have to make a profit on their business operations.
And that comes from taking a big percentage of whatever the clients are paying for your services.
So, to sum up, if you start your own virtual assistant business, you get to earn more but you will have to find clients yourself.
If you choose to work with virtual assistant companies, you don’t have to worry about finding clients on your own but you will certainly get paid much less.
Here’s my recommendation.
If you are a beginner, you can start out working for a virtual assistant company first to gain more experience.
Once you have more experience and build a network of contacts, you can decide whether you want to start your own virtual assistant business and work for yourself.
Now, where can you find these legitimate virtual assistant companies that are hiring?
Also, what can you do to increase your chances of getting hired?
Jump Start Your Own Virtual Assistant Business
Where To Find Virtual Assistant Jobs For Beginners
Here, you are going to find a list of legit virtual assistant companies that hire beginners.
If you want to strike out on your own, you will also find a list of websites where you can find potential clients for your services.
Legitimate Virtual Assistant Companies That Are Hiring
It only hires college-educated virtual assistants in the United States with less than 2% of the applicants hired.
To get hired, you also need to pass a background check and have to be available to work office hours (9:00 am to 6:00 pm EST) Monday to Friday.
Once hired as a beginner, you will be professionally trained in administrative tasks as well as in using Microsoft, Google, and most popular productivity suites.
How much do you get paid?
You will be compensated as a 1099 independent contractor.
And you are paid 47% of their client’s monthly plans with hourly rates averaging $14 – $20 per hour depending on the client mix.
After 6 months of tenure, VA’s revenue split can increase to 50%.
How do you apply for a virtual assistant job?
Zirtual accepts US-based applicants and is only accepting applications for the positions and locations posted under the careers section.
2. Virtual Gal Friday
Virtual Gal Friday hires virtual assistants as employees instead of contractors.
And it hires a few different types of virtual assistants:
- Virtual Executive Assistant
- Virtual Medical Assistant
- Virtual Receptionist
- Virtual Paralegal
To be considered for the job position, you are required to be available during regular business hours to accommodate client requests.
You need to take note that they only hire people with the experience and skills required for the job.
How many hours can you expect to work?
You can expect to work anywhere from 5 hours a week to 35 hours a week, depending on your client list.
How much can you make?
You are paid for the hours you work on the tasks or projects assigned to you.
So, the more hours you work, the more you will earn.
You can expect an hourly rate ranging from $5 to $20 per hour. If you have more experience, you can negotiate for a higher rate.
3. 24/7 Virtual Assistants
24/7 Virtual Assistant is one of the companies that provides virtual assistant services to clients around the world.
So, they also hire people who are not based in the US to accommodate clients who are in different time zones.
So, how do you apply?
If you would like to join their team, you can send your resume to email@example.com.
Their human resource department will go through your resume.
If they have an immediate client need that matches your skill sets, they will contact you right away.
If not, we will keep your resume on file and contact you when we have a need that matches your skills to see if you are available at that time.
How much do they pay?
Your hourly rate depends on skill level and client’s requirements.
But, the average pay for a US virtual assistant is between $10-$12 per hour.
Equivity provides US-based virtual administrative, marketing, paralegal and bookkeeping services to businesses.
They only hire people who are college-educated with a four-year bachelor’s degree.
Also, Equivity VA prefers to hire people who are specialized in a particular field such as bookkeeping, graphic design, marketing, writing, and paralegal support.
They require their virtual assistants available to work part-time from 9 AM to 6 PM Monday to Friday.
All applicants must have a laptop and smartphone with broadband access to the Internet and a quiet location in which to take phone calls.
Check out the latest job opening here.
5. Virtual Assist USA
Virtual Assist USA has been in business for 12 years.
All their Virtual Assistants are native English speakers, U.S. citizens and work right here in the States.
They only hire college-educated Virtual Assistants with a minimum of 10 years of experience.
Also, all of them are hired as employees.
When you work for them, you are required to work normal business hours and are readily available to their clients.
Where To Find Your First Paying Clients For Your Virtual Assistant Business
If you prefer to find your own paying clients for your virtual assistant services, then you can try these few proven ways to get clients:
- Create a profile and list your virtual assistant services on the freelance marketplace
- Apply for virtual assistant jobs advertised on employment websites
- Reach out to potential clients that you want to work with and pitch your virtual assistant services
Method #1: Find virtual assistant jobs on the freelance marketplace
Below is a list of all the popular freelance marketplaces where you can market your services even if you are a beginner:
Method #2: Apply for virtual assistant jobs advertised on employment websites
Below is a list of the best employment websites where you can find all the latest online assistant jobs:
- FlexJobs (Highly Recommended)
- Skip the Drive
- Remote OK
- Working Nomads
After trying all the other job portals out there, I highly recommend Flexjobs for the following reasons:
- It has been successfully helping people find jobs for 10 years with tons of success stories
- It’s the largest job website for curated remote work-from-home and flexible jobs.
- It hand-screens every single job and company for legitimacy to give you a clean, ad-free and scam-free job search.
- It has professional job listings in over 50 career categories ranging from entry-level to executive, freelance to full-time, and local to global.
- It works with all the reputable and well-known companies such as Apple, Dell, PWC, SAP, and Salesforce
- It also offers you excellent job searching resources such as one-on-one career coaching, resume review, expert skills tests, video introductions, and more to help you find your dream job
Here are just some of Flexjobs’ customer reviews:
“I was hesitant to subscribe considering the cost relative to other job boards, but it worked out well. FlexJobs was well worth the subscription price. It provided the best selection of telecommuting positions, and I ended up getting hired within the first month.” – Paul C, Bainbridge Island, WA
“I applied to over 130 jobs online (on other sites) and had given up trying. I honestly had no success despite having what I considered related experience, an accredited course, and a national certification exam. I only applied to approximately 10 to 12 jobs on FlexJobs. It is the best resource for flexible work. I’ve never been happier with my career! ” – Jean B, Jefferson Township, PA
“I have found two well-paying freelance editorial positions through FlexJobs. I have been a freelance writer/editor for about 15 years, and there are myriad of job boards out there flooded with people looking for work. Many companies also offer terrible rates for highly skilled work, which undermines the publishing industry. I see very little of that on FlexJobs. I can understand why people are reluctant to pay for job boards, but I think the small fee is well worth it. I highly recommend it.” – Meghan G, Frederick, MD
However, Flexjobs operates as a paid subscription service compared to other job portals.
The main reason is that there are TOO MANY SCAMS out there when it comes to online jobs.
To make sure that ONLY legit online job opportunities are listed on Flexjobs website, its employees will personally verify each and every job listing.
For me, I would rather pay a small fee to access all the verified legit job listings than have to do my own research on every job listing that I see.
The time saved is worth so much more.
On top of that, it can help me get hired much faster because I can focus on how to perfect my resume and prepare myself for the job interview instead of worrying about if the company I am applying for is legit or not.
So, how much does Flexjobs subscription plan cost?
It has four different pricing plans:
- 14-Day Full Access at only $2.95
- Monthly Access at $5.95
The best part is that all Flexjobs’ plans come with a 14-day money-back guarantee.
If you are serious about finding an online job, this might be the best investment you could invest in yourself.
If you are applying for a virtual assistant job through the employment websites, here are a few things that you can do to improve your chances of getting hired:
- Study your potential employer and identify specific areas which you can help save time or money (e.g. if you have design skills, then you can help them save money by not having to hire a separate graphic designer to do the design work)
- Highlight the relevant skills that a potential employer is looking for in a job candidate
- Provide sample work to showcase your skills (e.g. writing samples for writing skills, design portfolios for graphic design skills, etc)
- Customize your resume for each employer to show how you are the right fit for the job position
Method #3: Reach out to potential clients that you want to work with and pitch your virtual assistant services
The first two methods are rather passive. You have to wait for potential clients to contact you.
Personally, I don’t like this.
It is uncertain and you are not in control of when you will get any paying clients.
So, I prefer the method of going directly to your potential clients and pitch your services.
To increase your chances of getting a reply and finally getting the job, you have to write your outreach emails in a way to get a positive reply from them.
There are many specific techniques that you can learn to do this.
For example, instead of ending your email pitch with “Looking forward to your reply!”, you change it to a question that invites a response.
Here are some examples of how you can end your email pitch with a question:
- Would this be something that you will be interested in?
- Would you be open to a quick 5 minutes chat to find out how you can save more time and reduce your costs with my services?
- Would you like to discuss a $1 dollar trial to see if it is a right fit for both of us?
What Skills Should You Pick Up To Get A Virtual Assistant Job?
So, how do you increase your hourly rate and also improve your chances of getting hired even if you are just a beginner?
Here are a few important skills that you should invest your time (and money) to learn.
Social Media Marketing & Management
For almost all businesses (big or small, online or offline), social media marketing is part of their marketing strategy to increase brand awareness, build customer loyalty and get more customers.
So, if you know how to do social media marketing, they don’t have to spend time to hire a separate social media marketing specialist to do the job.
That’s one of the value-added services that virtual assistants can offer to get higher pay.
So, where can you learn social media marketing?
Is it easy to pick up this new skill?
How long does it take to learn?
Here are some paid social media marketing courses that you can check out:
- Social Media Marketing Made Easy Beginner Master Class 2020
- Social Media Marketing – Complete Certificate Course
- Social Media Management – The Complete 2019 Manager Bootcamp
Graphic design skills are in demand, especially if you are required to help with marketing side of the business.
For example, you might be asked to design Pinterest pins, blog banners, posters, Instagram post, Facebook post and etc.
Don’t worry if you don’t know how to use the professional photo editing softwares such as Adobe or Photoshop.
There are other useful and FREE tools such as Canva that you can use to create stunning images with just drag-and-drop.
If you are going to be an executive virtual assistant working for C-level executives, chances are that you might be asked to help manage projects.
For example, you might be asked to help keep project deadlines on track.
Also, you might need to liaise and coordinate with staff and clients to ensure tasks are carried out and delivered in a timely manner.
Virtual administrative assistants are often required to be proficient with Google (e.g. Google docs, Google calendar, etc)and Microsoft applications(e.g. Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint presentations, etc)
This is because preparing documents, reports, spreadsheets and presentation is usually one of the duties for virtual assistants.
With virtual meetings gaining popularity, it’s good to become experienced with the setting up and management of virtual meetings and tools e.g., GoToMeeting, GoToWebinar, Google Hangouts and conference calls.
Here is a list of other software tools that you should get yourself familiar with to improve your chances of getting hired:
- Task management program such as Trello or Asana
- Communication program such as Slack
- CRM platform such as SalesForce, Hubspot, or Zoho
- Expense reporting program such as Quickbooks or Expensify
- Travel management program such as Concur
- Social media management program such as Hootsuite and WordPress
Jump Start Your Own Virtual Assistant Business