Are you interested in learning how to become a virtual assistant?
Virtual assistance is a fast-growing and high in-demand industry. It is also a work from home job that you don’t need any experience to start.
In fact, it is one of the few work-from-home jobs that I recommend for moms because it can actually be done with your kids in the home.
Not only does it provide flexibility—allowing you to set your own schedule—but it is a legitimate and sustainable source of income.
In this post, I’ll share exactly how to become a virtual assistant (or VA) and earn up to $75/hr! I’ll even share information from a real virtual assistant who was able to quit her job and run her VA business full time.
So, if you’re interested in learning how to become a virtual assistant and work from home, keep reading.
What is a virtual assistant?
A virtual assistant is someone who provides administrative support to a person or business remotely.
Online businesses and entrepreneurs hire virtual assistants as a lower-cost alternative to full time staff. Since many online entrepreneurs work from home themselves, it’s only fitting that their support staff is remote.
Virtual assistants are able to leverage document sharing, project management, and video conference tools to support their clients.
What do Virtual Assistants Do? (Virtual assistant services)
VAs can do a number of tasks depending on their skill set and what their client needs. Virtual assistant services can include, but aren’t limited to:
- Account management
- Team management
- Project management
- Client onboarding
- Systems set up
- Email inbox management & customer service
- Facebook group management
- Strategy & planning sessions
- Newsletter formatting and scheduling
- Blog post writing, formatting, and scheduling
- Blog & social media support
- Email opt-in formatting & integration
- Facebook live/blog content repurposing for social media channels
- Social media scheduling
- Metrics tracking
- Sales funnel maintenance
Don’t worry if you’ve never heard of some of these things. In many cases, clients will give instructions on how they would like for their specific tasks to be done.
However, if you would like to get a head start on learning new skills, I recommend checking out courses on Udemy. It’s my go-to source when I need to learn something new for my business.
Udemy.com is an online learning platform that provides courses on any subject that you can imagine. There is always a sale, so you’ll be able to grab some really great courses for as little as $10!
How much do virtual assistants get paid?
Pay for virtual assistants can vary based on your skills, expertise, the niche you’re serving, and the client you’re working with.
In my interview with Kelley Wasson, online business manager & VA, she shares how you should go about setting your prices. (More on that later).
Nonetheless, based on her experience, US-based VAs can expect to make anywhere from $10-$75 dollars per hour. These rates can be much lower for other countries.
I have paid close to $30/hr when contracting a virtual assistant; however, as someone who has freelanced as a technical virtual assistant, I have charged upwards of $85 per hour.
As a technical VA, I offered advanced technical services such as website design updates, automation, and advanced system integrations.
Again, what you charge will be based on a number of factors, with your skills playing a huge part.
How to become a virtual assistant
Becoming a virtual assistant is literally as simple as marketing yourself as one. However, you’ll want to make sure that you have the right business structure in place before doing so.
Although you can work as a VA without having a formal business, it looks much more legitimate and professional to potential clients when you do.
Here are some steps that you should take to start a virtual assistant business:
- Create a list of VA services that you will offer & your rate
- Decide on a business name and ensure it isn’t already trademarked or taken
- Secure website domain, email address, and social media accounts with the business name
- Register your business with your state
- Acquire an EIN number for your business from the IRS website (US residents)
- Open a business bank account (This is important for when you’ll have to file taxes)
- Market your business and services
Virtual Assistant Course
She is pretty much the go-to person for all things virtual assistance and starting a VA business. Abbey started her own virtual assistant business in 2016 and was able to double the salary from her full-time corporate job, working only 20 hours a week.
Since then, she’s grown into a multi-seven figure business! She now helps others start their own VA business.
She also has a free virtual assistant checklist & starter kit that you can grab as well.
How to get hired as a virtual assistant
After becoming an official business, you can start marketing your services to potential clients.
The easiest way to do so as a new VA is through freelance sites and social media.
Let’s talk about freelance sites first.
Where to find clients for your VA business
These sites allow you to look for jobs and create profiles advertising your services so that potential clients can find you.
FlexJobs is specifically designed to connect job seekers with freelance, remote jobs. It’s simply a job board that you can search for opportunities that match your interests and skill set.
Unlike the other two sites, the hours and pay rate are set for the jobs offered through FlexJobs. But, if you’re a new virtual assistant, you may consider them as a way to get your feet wet and gain some experience.
Upwork is probably the most well known and respected site for businesses to connect with freelancers and independent contractors.
As a freelancer, you can create a profile outlining your services and listing your prices. You can bid on open jobs and connect with businesses looking to hire.
If you haven’t set up your business bank account just yet, Upwork allows you to get paid through the platform to a PayPal or bank account. This means that all contracts and payments can be handled in one place.
Fiverr is very similar to Upwork, in that you can create a profile and post your services. Potential clients will come to you if they want to inquire about your services and ultimately work with you.
Other sites that you can check out include:
How to Find Clients with Social Media
Another way to connect with potential clients is through social media.
Consider joining Facebook groups that your ideal clients are in. You’ll find that there will always be someone looking for help in their business.
In fact, I was able to find my VA from a recommendation within a Facebook group. I simply asked others in the group for recommendations and received a list of virtual assistants who came highly recommended.
You’ll also want to use hashtags on your social media posts and profile. Hashtags like #virtualassistant or #virtualassistantservices may get you found by prospective clients.
Click here for a list of virtual assistant hashtags that you can use on your social media.
Tips on How to Become a Virtual Assistant and Work from Home
Let’s jump into my interview with Kelley of Kelley Wasson & Co. so that you can learn a bit more about what it takes to become a fulltime VA and work from home.
How long have you been a Virtual Assistant/OBM?
I’ve been a VA/Online Business Manager (OBM) for 3 years this year! Time is flying.
What did you do prior to becoming a VA?
I was an Executive Team Coordinator (fancy title for an Executive Assistant for multiple executives) for an established nonprofit organization.
I really loved the work. This is where I got my first real taste of remote work. I worked remotely for 3-4 days per week.
What made you start a VA business?
I started a VA business about 2 months after having my youngest daughter.
She refused to take a bottle and, while I found creative ways to feed her while I was required to work in the office, they weren’t sustainable. I knew that I was going to have to find a non-negotiable way to work remotely and care for my kids from home.
A friend who worked in the online coaching industry and always gloated about making 6-figures, how easy it was, and how much time and freedom she always had. I wanted that same freedom and I really loved the business administration field, so I started to think about ways I could do both.
After doing research, I stumbled upon an overwhelming amount of online resources for working as a virtual assistant.
I found that virtual assistants all over the world and across hundreds of industries were in high demand! The best part about it was that they were responsible for almost everything that I was responsible for in the non-profit space, only they were working on their own terms.
I knew then that this was the industry for me, and that that is what I would work toward.
When did it become a fulltime business?
I took the big leap from my corporate job immediately! I was offered full-time work with my very first client and she was happy to match (and exceed) my salary!
How did you find your first client?
My very close friend that was already working full time as a business coach was my first client! She found me 🙂
How do you continue to get clients?
All of my clients come to me by word of mouth and my services are completely booked out.
I am currently a one-woman show (which I’m hoping to change in the near future) and I currently don’t have an active website promoting my services. My social media channels hint around that I am an Operations Professional, but I do not do any active marketing.
The online space is relatively small, and business owners talk and connect! When they do, they tend to share game changers for them behind the scenes. That is almost always admin support professionals that help streamline and automate key systems and processes in their business.
I tend to speak genuinely and authentically about what I can do for clients on the initial discovery call and get booked that way.
What skills do you need to become a good VA?
This really varies from industry to industry but in general, I would say the following skills are absolutely non-negotiable when it comes to being a “GREAT” virtual assistant:
- Highly Organized
- A love for providing great customer service
- Have exceptional leadership skills –
- A quick learner
- Excellent time management skills
- Amazing attention to detail
Is it easy to be a VA?
This is very subjective because some things might be easy or challenging to me and not others.
While most of the tasks come fairly easily to me, I would say running a VA business is not easy!
I have challenging seasons and especially when multiple clients are launching or working on a big project at the same time.
I found it challenging to manage learning all of the nuances to every account and setting up custom systems & processes for each client.
It can also be challenging to balance operating your VA business and executing tasks and projects for your clients.
Even on my most challenging days, I breathe and power through it! It’s important to have grace with yourself and to approach difficult situations with confidence.
Do you need any training to become a VA? If so, what would you recommend?
Unlike other industries, “training” is not necessarily in the VA industry.
While rare, I do know of some business owners that would be happy to train and pay a VA with no experience or previous training. However, for the best results, I do recommend VA training by a VA or OBM with at least 1-year of experience in the industry.
No matter the niche, they can walk you through how to set up a solid foundation for your business, how to navigate through challenges, and what you can do to set yourself apart instantly without having to DIY everything which can take months – years!
**Fo here! Let me chime in on this question as someone who has hired a VA.**
Although you technically don’t need experience as a VA, there are some industry tools and applications that you should at least be familiar with using.
Virtual Assistant Tools
Most online entrepreneurs use these tools or some variation of it. So, definitely familiarize yourself with them.
Ok, back to the interview.
How much can a new VA expect to get paid?
When setting your prices as a VA there are a lot of things that should be taken into consideration.
- The value of your time
- The value of your services (i.e What ultimate benefit does your client get?)
- Your experience level (even if its “offline” experience)
- Your niche
- The current market/demand (i.e. What are others charging as industry-standard?)
- The quality of your service
- Education required to know how to do your services
- If subcontractors needed
- Overhead (home office, software, etc.)
- Taxes (You’ll need to save 30% of your profit.)
All of these factors must be considered in order to price yourself appropriately no matter if you are just starting out or seasoned.
In my experience, I have seen US-based VA’s paid anywhere between $10 – $75 dollars per hour depending on their skill & niche.
Become a Virtual Assistant and Work from Home
As you can see, becoming a virtual assistant gives you the ability to work from home while making a decent income. There are literally no limits to what you can make and how you can grow your business.
It doesn’t take any experience at all and you can start immediately!
Don’t forget to take advantage of social media communities to network with other VAs who can help you learn along the way.