Becoming a Virtual Assistant

You’ve long dreamt of working for yourself, of managing your own time but still generating an income. Maybe it’s the attraction of creating your own workspace, of being more accessible to your children, or not having to suffer through a long commute daily. Whatever the reason, advances in technology and the Internet have created many new opportunities that make working from home more accessible and easier than ever before.

One of these opportunities is that of a virtual assistant, something well suited to experienced office assistants and administrators. If you are an employee who is exceptionally well organized and you are always completing tasks professionally, accurately and on time, being a VA should come quite naturally.

A virtual assistant’s tasks could include secretarial and administrative work, scheduling and planning meetings, making travel arrangements even managing specific projects and coordinating events and logistics. The clients of VAs include small business and professionals in private practice whose operations do not justify having a full-time employee for these tasks.

Depending on your clients, and the services you offer, you may find yourself managing the personal schedule of an author or consultant, including arranging a pet or house-sitter, making appointments, managing a move, even calling out a plumber, electrician or other service provider. Start-up’s regularly utilize virtual assistants to coordinate office fittings, insurance and other essential tasks. More traditional administrative tasks might include billing and accounts, managing the content of a website, managing a client’s social media sites, market research and writing of proposals and marketing material.

Virtual assistants work remotely, so almost all communication with your clients will be through email, telephone or Internet calls and fax. Depending on the location of your clients, you would work according to your own set schedule, though you may find yourself with a client who requires you to be available “on call”. There are variety of web services and applications that make managing your clients tasks, and communicating with them, much easier, and this includes services that can assist you with your business billing.

Deciding on your rates is influenced by a few factors, including your experience, field of expertise, and the rates of competing virtual assistants in your area. Many VAs charge between $35 and $70 per hour, with higher rates charged by those who work within highly specialized fields. You could consider offering a discounted rate on retainer packages, where clients purchase a set amount of hours from you each month.

Holding virtual assistant certification is not a requirement, but it can raise your profile while instilling confidence in your clients. AssistU and the International Virtual Assistants Association (IVAA) both offer a certification program, and can assist you in getting started.  These are all excellent resources to land your first clients, while traditional marketing and word-of-mouth will take care of the rest.

About Out of the Office Virtual Assistance:

logo1bAt Out of the Office, we are committed to providing earth-friendly administration and offer ideas and ways to increase your productivity, decrease your workload, and work more efficiently. We nurture a successful business relationship, while continuing to grow as your business partner. We are focused on streamlining your administration, social media planning and execution, and offering creative solutions for your business success.

Image credit: Business woman by Christoph Lehmann | CC BY-ND 2.0