The Complete Guide to Becoming a Virtual Assistant in 2020

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New year, new… career? 

If you have been waiting around for the right time to quit that 9-5 corporate job and finally start working on your terms… what better time than a new decade? 

It is 2020, and online careers are slowly taking over traditional employment options. 

According to The Modern Workplace, 43% of US employers said they plan to allow their employees to have more remote working opportunities in the next year. Only 9% said they plan to offer less. 

Kate Lister, President of the Global Workplace Analytics, also reported that by 2025, an estimated 70% of the workforce will work remotely at least five days in a month. 

Technology has made it possible for anyone to have a dream career while also working from home in some cozy pajamas. 

And what career allows you to snuggle up on your couch with your dog, work poolside, or in a cafe halfway across the world?

Two words: Virtual Assistant

Whether this is a completely new concept for you or you have been considering joining the work from home revolution for a while, this guide is the answer to all of your questions about what a Virtual Assistant is, what they do, how much money they can make and of course, how to successfully become a virtual assistant (in just 4 easy steps!). 

Curious about working from home but not sure how to start?

I’ve got a FREE class that walks through ALL the basics of working from home plus comes with a fun, free bonus!

What is a Virtual Assistant? 

Short definition: a Virtual Assistant (VA) is basically just a virtual personal or admin assistant.

Long definition: a Virtual Assistant is someone who offers anything and everything that a regular personal or admin assistant might provide… but they just do all of their work and their correspondence with their clients virtually.

That means that most of the services, if not all, that are offered by a virtual assistant are done completely online.

What do Virtual Assistants Do?

A virtual assistant can wear many hats or just one special hat… and the best part about being a virtual assistant is that you get to choose what services you want to offer. 

Some services a virtual assistant can provide for clients: 

1. Email and Calendar Management 

… like simple organizational skills. 

Keeping track of the little things becomes too overwhelming when you have multiple big things to juggle. This can include things such as keeping an inbox organized, possibly replying as the client, scheduling appointments, and creating meeting reminders.

You don’t need 4 years of experience or a college degree for that.

2. Content Repurposing

This is the number one skill requested for a virtual assistant in 2020. Content repurposing is the ability to take ONE piece of content, for example, a 5 minute Facebook live, and turn it into a variety of things, such as one or more blog posts, social media posts with captions, email newsletters, and even podcast audio. 

This might sound complicated, but trust me, anyone can learn this skill. I teach a step by step process on how to do content repurposing in my program 90 Day VA. Once you learn this vital skill, you can start signing clients immediately. 

3. Social Media Management 

This is another HUGE area of work that has been blowing up, especially this past year. With the importance rising for businesses to have engaging, fun, and friendly Instagram and Facebook accounts, this market is booming with potential clients. 

This niche can cover the basics of simply posting and engaging on an account as a client to designing a month’s worth of content based on a strategy with corresponding hashtag research. This is perfect for people who love consuming this type of content and have a great eye for aesthetics.

There are even virtual assistants that specialize in ONLY managing and growing Pinterest accounts. 

4. Podcast Management

You get a podcast, you get a podcast, And YOU GET A PODCAST! I think Oprah came out in 2019 and handed out podcasts to every business owner/influencer/entrepreneur – including me. (Check out my podcast here if you’re looking for more tips on online work!)

As of December 2019, over 30 million podcast episodes have been released worldwide. But with all those episodes also comes great responsibility, such as editing, writing show notes, uploading, creating graphics, and promoting the podcast… and doing it all again week after week.

Podcast management is super fun and an awesome skill to offer as a virtual assistant, and a great area to niche in. 

5. Graphic Design

Have you met my friend Canva yet? Well, get ready, because she is about to be your newest virtual assistant BFF! 

Along with content repurposing and social media management, having some sort of graphic design skills is vital for a virtual assistant. I am not talking about being an expert in Adobe Illustrator, but you do need to know how to create blog images, beautiful quotes, Pinterest pins, and whatever basic graphics your client’s heart desires.

I have a former student that is currently making $30 an hour to “play on Canva.” 

These are just a FEW of the many areas of work a virtual assistant can start working in right away. 

Some other popular virtual assistant niches include:

  • Website creation/management 
  • Project managing 
  • Content writing, editing or proofreading
  • Customer support
  • Email marketing/funnels
  • Public relations (PR)
A virtual assistant at a computer

Who Needs a Virtual Assistant?

As we enter into a more and more digital era, almost every business has some form of a digital branch. Whether it is a Facebook page or an Instagram profile, customer support done via email, fulfillment of orders electronically, a simple or complex website or software… all businesses are slowly migrating into the online space.

And with that move into the digital realm comes an increasing need for digital help.

More so than ever before, a business owner that may not be as interested in learning about the newest technologies or may not have the time to sit down and figure out what their Instagram strategy should be… suddenly has a use for a virtual assistant.

The Virtual Assistants in our community work with all different types of clients including:

  • Traditional companies needing extra admin support
  • Online businesses who need customer support, social media, writing help
  • Entrepreneurs or solopreneurs who are looking to grow their businesses and side hustles
  • Brick and mortars who are looking for an online presence
  • And so on and so forth.

These are also not focused on a specific niche; VAs can work with just about any industry. The VAs from our community have worked with anything from the beauty industry and the pet industry, to digital product businesses and the finance sector.

The possibilities are endless.

And the good news? Even though virtual assistants are becoming more and more well-known, most businesses still aren’t even AWARE that they can hire a virtual assistant yet… 

Just wait until everyone realizes that they can hire virtual help!

How Much Can a Virtual Assistant Make?

Great question! 

According to Indeed.com, virtual assistants are making anywhere from $7.25 an hour to $38.40 an hour in the United States. More specialized virtual assistants report making up to $60 an hour. 

While Indeed is a great source, wouldn’t you rather read from real virtual assistants about what they are really making per hour? Check out the case studies of Andie, Clare, Taylor, and Stephanie to get the inside scoop on what they are charging. I promise it’s a lot more than $7.25. 

Real talk though: offices are going out of style. 

Who wants to show up, dressed up, to a cubicle every day to sit and do work that you can do at home? A virtual assistant handles anything and everything online, especially for businesses that do not physically own office space. 

If you would like to learn more about exactly what a virtual assistant does and how to get started immediately, watch this FREE CLASS that explains everything in-depth and includes a surprise at the end. 

So now you have some background on all the possibilities a virtual assistant offers and you are curious… maybe this is exactly what I am looking for. 

But how on earth do you know where to even begin? 

Here is your step-by-step guide to becoming a virtual assistant in 2020. 

A virtual assistant writing down skills

4 Easy Steps to Becoming a Virtual Assistant in 2020

Step 1: Get the Right Virtual Assistant Skills

First things first, you need some skills!

Before you give up immediately and say “I don’t have virtual skills, I was a stay at home mom/military spouse/waitress/teacher/etc for x amount of years….” Let me just stop you right there.

Everyone has skills. Even if you think you have no skills, I promise, you have at least one skill that you can start using right away. Plus, you have a brain and can always learn new skills. 

No one started in this career having all the skills that they needed and never learned anything new.  

In my program 90 Day VA, I have helped countless women and men that had employment gaps, no degrees, and “no skills” become FULL-TIME virtual assistants. 

Just remember, everyone has to start somewhere

Start with looking at what skills you DO have and then pick out a few skills that you need to learn. If you are starting from scratch, do not worry. We teach all of these skills and more in my program 90 Day VA

If you already have some experience in the admin and assistant world but are unsure of how your skills transfer over to the virtual assistant world, read this post all about transferring your admin skills over to the online world.  

If all of this information sounds highly intimidating to you, or maybe you are just tired of reading, I highly suggest watching my FREE CLASS that will explain exactly how to figure out what skills you already have and how to learn new ones. 

Step 2: Price Your VA Skills

Ok future Virtual Assistants, let’s talk about money… ya know, the stuff you need to actually sustain your life, business, and what will make this dream a reality. 

I’ll say it- talking about money can be awkward. Especially when trying to pinpoint your first hourly rate…

How do you even know where to begin? 

No worries, we know the struggle is real

There are a lot of aspects that go into pricing your services that you might not even think about at first, which is why we have you covered in this step by step guide on How To Price Your Services

It covers FOUR different types of online service pricing models, FOUR factors that impact your pricing, and a 5 step guide on how to set your rates. 

PSA: You really want to take the time to analyze your own personal situation and price based on YOU. 

Do not copy your bestie from 90 Day VA and charge $x amount per hour just because she is. If you really want this to be a career, take the time to do it right. 

Remember, the more experience and skills you have, the more you can charge. 

If you are starting from ground zero, taking a course such as 90 Day VA will start you out with the skills you need to charge at least $15 an hour. 

Keep in mind, pricing isn’t a one-time decision. You should always be increasing your prices as you are upleveling and improving your skills. 

Now that you have decided what services to offer and how to price them, it is time to put yourself out there! But wait… how? Where?? WHAT?

A virtual assistant pricing the skills

Step 3: Market Your VA Skills 

For starters, you are going to need a kick-butt resume and application kit.

If you have your Microsoft Word template resume pulled up, ready to apply for jobs, I have some bad news for you. 

Your old school resume isn’t going to cut it anymore. 

Making a remote ready resume, killer application kit, and complete, diverse portfolio is a seriously intimidating task when you have no idea what you are doing. When applying for remote jobs, this is the most important step. 

This is literally your “first impression” you are giving the company. You ideally want to show them from the get-go you know how to use a computer and have some design skills.  

If you are struggling with making a stunning remote ready resume, check out our Remote Resume Blueprint kit that provides you with everything you need to make a killer first impression. 

If you have no idea what a remote resume, portfolio, or application kit is, do not fear! 90 DAY VA is here! 

In my course, 90 Day VA, we go step by step in teaching you how to make real professional pieces for your portfolio. We also teach you how to make a beautiful application kit and remote ready resume so you can enter the virtual assistant world like a boss. 

So now you have services to offer, prices, and a killer remote resume, portfolio, and application kit. Now that you have all of the pieces of the puzzle, it is time to start putting it together. 

As in, time to set up a way for people to find and contact you. 

Rule #1: You should AT LEAST have a business Facebook page and LinkedIn profile that states you are a virtual assistant.

Rule #2: Always follow Rule #1.  

That is the bare minimum and there is no maximum here. Virtual assistants have everything from Facebook pages to Instagram to Twitter and even their own websites. This is not a necessity, but it is ideal and looks extremely professional. 

At the end of the day, you should be optimizing every social media profile you currently have to be ~professional~. 

For a complete step by step guide on everything from profile pictures to creating business Facebook pages, check out this post that is basically a step by step guide on exactly how to do that. 

Step 4: Find the People To Pay You for Your Skills

Now you have all these skills, a killer resume, and perfect prices, but you might be thinking… Who on earth is actually going to pay me real money for this? 

Trick question – it’s EVERYONE! 

Ok, maybe not your retired mother, but almost everyone.

First, you need to start with deciding which route you want to go: a remote employee or freelancer/independent contractor.

If you want to know the difference between being a remote employee and a contractor, this article goes in-depth on all the details to help you make the right decision for you. 

After you have decided (or not decided) which route might be better, there are TWO ways to get the ball rolling. 

#1: Apply for jobs 

Apply, apply, apply! 

And then when you get rejected, apply again! 

Applying for remote jobs can be extremely intimidating, especially if you have no idea how to stand out from the crowd of other virtual assistants that are also applying. The online world has no end of possibilities, but that also means a lot more people are applying for the same jobs. 

Lucky you, we have a detailed blog post about how to stand out from the competition in just THREE easy steps

I’ll tell you now, you will most likely hear back from about 1 out of 10 jobs you apply for… and that could just be in the form of a rejection email. 

These are highly competitive but can be worth the effort, especially if you are looking for something more along the lines of long term employment.

But wait… Where in the world do you find these magical online jobs that everyone keeps talking about? 

For starters, in our Work From Home Facebook group, we post remote jobs daily. 

You can also sign up for my free weekly email job pack that includes 7-10 of the top online jobs right in your inbox every Friday. 

There are tons of remote job boards, such as WeWorkRemotely, FlexJobs, and Remote.co that are perfect for finding remote employment in a company.

And for some icing on the cake, here is a full list of 20 remote companies that are hiring right now.  

If you are taking the independent contractor route, the best place to start finding clients is by starting with who you know. You never know who needs and wants your help. 

It can range from your hairdresser, your accountant, to your favorite Instagram influencer. 

Pick an ideal space you would like to work in and start networking in that community. Join Facebook groups, befriend other virtual assistants, and get yourself out there.

#2: Cold Pitching 

Wait, only pitching in the winter months? No, silly! 

Cold pitching is when you seek out your ideal clients and ASK THEM if they want to hire you. 

While this might sound awkward and scary, it is one of the best ways to land clients. 

Time and time again, a virtual assistant has started working for her dream client because of this tactic. 

This is one of the main strategies one of our former students used when she started making $3,000 in one month as a virtual assistant

This takes a lot of practice, confidence, and grit because a lot of these business owners might have no idea what a virtual assistant is or how you can help them. 

They will love you once you show them how much you can take off their plate. To get started pitching your dream clients, here is some help with writing the perfect pitch every time

A virtual assistant on a laptop sipping coffee

How Do You Deal with Contracts as a Virtual Assistant?

As a virtual assistant, you will get to see behind the scenes of many different types of businesses. 

You will get to work with some really amazing clients and some not so fabulous clients. 

When jumping into the virtual assistant world, it is so easy to forget your parachute- aka your boundaries. The relationship between you and a client should always be a mutually respectful relationship. Especially as an independent contractor, you are not obligated to be at everyone’s becking call. 

Maintaining a solid communication and boundaries with a client is extremely vital in stepping into this new life of freedom.

A signed contract is a necessity before you start working with a client. 

This is the best way to define boundaries to avoid those problems from the beginning. In 90 Day VA, we provide a template contract that can be adjusted based on your personal preference. 

Do not be intimated to take control and set yourself up for success. 

Does being a virtual assistant make sense for YOU?

CONGRATS! 

You officially have the low down on exactly how to become a virtual assistant in 2020.

Using all of the resources, tips, tricks, and inspirational stories there is no way you can’t succeed. 

Not to burst the excitement bubble, but take a step back for a minute and really consider if being a virtual assistant is right for YOU. 

If you are craving: 

  • More freedom,
  • Unlimited growth potential, and
  • Working in your pajamas cuddled up with your pup…

… then this may be the right direction for you to explore! If you are still unsure what a virtual assistant really entails, check out my FREE class on exactly what it takes to be a killer virtual assistant.


About the Author:

Samantha Headshot

Samantha Whisnant is a virtual assistant that specializes in content creation. She is a member of 90 Day VA and currently assists her clients with blogging and social media management. She thrives on adventure and is currently living a digital nomad life in Barcelona, Spain. For more information about Samantha’s virtual assistant services, click HERE.


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