What Is a Virtual Assistant?

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If you’ve been looking into working online, you’ve probably seen the term ‘Virtual Assistant’ around. Are you here trying to figure out what it means? You’re in the right place!

I get this question almost every day, and I get why. Most people have never heard of a virtual assistant. Would you be surprised to hear that the first virtual assistant actually started in the ’90s? The industry has grown so much since then. Much improved and affordable technology have made this way of working possible for a much wider public. 

That’s why virtual assisting has now exploded in popularity, both for people that are looking to work from home and for business owners looking for help. Trust me, there’s massive potential for good virtual assistants out there! 

So let’s take a look at what a virtual assistant really is, what they do, and who it’s for!

What Does a Virtual Assistant Do?

A virtual assistant or VA is someone that provides administrative, creative, or technical assistance to clients (usually business owners) remotely. This can be done from home, from a coworking space, or even while traveling. 

So what does a VA actually do? It totally depends on the agreement they have with their client. As a VA, you’re usually an independent contractor, not an employee. This means that you decide how much you charge, what services you offer and who you work with. That’s the wonderful thing about being your own boss, you get to decide!

There are so many different services you can offer as a VA, so here are some really popular ones:

  • Admin tasks
  • Social media management
  • Writing services
  • Podcast management
  • Graphic design
  • PR services

Let’s look at these in a bit more detail!

woman on couch working online

1. Admin Tasks

As a VA, you could offer basic admin services like data entry, transcription, email management, appointment setting, bookkeeping, and much more. Customer service is also a very popular and needed admin task.

These usually require very little training, and you might have already done some of these in your 9-to-5. Just keep in mind that tasks like these are at the lower end of the pay scale because they don’t require a lot of experience. 

2. Social Media Management

Social media management is a huge help to a lot of business owners. Most of them start their business because they have a great product or service, but marketing it can be a challenge. Social media marketing takes up a lot of time, so it’s a great field to specialize in as a VA. Business owners will love you for it! 

There are lots of different tasks involved in social media management, but the main ones are creating social media posts, scheduling posts, and engaging with your client’s audience. You could also manage your client’s Facebook groups or other communities.

And don’t forget about Pinterest! Using Pinterest can drive extra traffic to your client’s website, which is very valuable! 

If you love being on social media, this could be a perfect niche for you!

3. Writing services 

If writing is your jam, there are lots of options out there for you! How do you think all those blogs, newsletters, and social media posts go out all the time? Business owners hire VAs to do that. 

Ghostwriting is a very valuable skill to have. Here you adapt the client’s voice and write the content like you are your client. You can ghostwrite social media posts, blogs, or even whole books! 

Content repurposing is another skill that business owners swoon over. When you repurpose content, you take one piece of content (like a YouTube video) and you turn it into other pieces of content, like blogs and social media posts. That way, the client only has to create it once, and the VA takes it and repurposes it for other platforms. It’s a huge time saver! 

4. Podcast Management

Can you imagine how much work goes into creating a podcast? You have to record, edit, write show notes, and publish every episode. Then you have to promote it. Taking some or all of this off your client’s plate will make you a huge lifesaver! It’s a very diverse job that incorporates a lot of different parts, which makes being a podcast manager super fun!

5. Graphic Design

Do you love to make things look pretty? There’s a lot more to graphic design than that, but it’s a great start! All those pretty graphics you see on the internet all need to be created, and you could be doing that as a graphic design VA.

Canva is a great easy-to-use and free graphic design program that is highly loved by VAs (and us!), so if this interests you, you can start practicing now! Later, if you truly want to niche down in graphic design, you can learn some more advanced programs. 

6. PR Services

Most small business owners can’t afford to hire a big PR firm, but they do want to have some help reaching out to magazines, podcasts, tv or the likes to be featured. A client wants to expand their reach and connect with a new audience, and what better way than to be seen on someone else’s show or publication? 

This can take a lot of time. A business owner has to reach out and follow up with potential opportunities all the time. That’s why they hire a PR VA! You can take over those time-consuming parts of PR and just present the accepted opportunities to your client.

If you want to read a little more about specific services a VA could offer and what they entail, I’ve compiled a list of 50+ in-demand services a VA can offer here

woman behind laptop

Who Can Be a Virtual Assistant?

The good news is that anybody can be a VA! And you don’t need a degree or experience to get started. Anybody can learn the skills that are necessary to work as a VA, and as you saw before, there are lots of services you can offer! However, not everybody will succeed.

I’m going to be real with you here. There are certain things that you need to have to be successful as a VA. Not everybody is cut out for it, it’s just that simple. 

The most important characteristic you need to have as a VA is that you’re a self-starter. You’re responsible for your own time management, so you need to be motivated to actually get your work done. Nobody will be looking over your shoulder to see if you’re getting things done, but your client is expecting great work from you at the end of the day. 

You also need to love to figure things out. Google and YouTube will be your best friends as a VA, because you’re probably going to spend a lot of time figuring tasks out on your own. You can’t go to your client for every little question, like when you don’t know how to do something on Facebook. Nope, you google it!

We really can’t stress this enough. Always try to look something up or figure it out before bothering your client. 

You also need some perseverance. Getting your VA business up and running can take a little bit of time and you will get some rejections. That’s just the way it is. If you push through, you can make this into a very successful career.

If you know WHY you’re doing this and you work on having a good mindset, you can definitely make it happen! 

Last, you need to have a good working computer or laptop, a solid internet connection, and preferably a work station that you’re comfortable working at. Without a good computer and internet, you won’t be able to deliver good work or you’ll be frustrated all the time because things are moving too slow. This might be a small investment if you don’t have the tech! 

working from home with child

Why Do Business Owners Hire Virtual Assistants?

Now you’re probably wondering, why should I even try to work as a VA? Is there work out there for me? Isn’t the market saturated already?

In my experience, there is so much work out there! More and more people are starting small businesses, and they (eventually) all need help! You might need to educate potential clients on the benefits of hiring a remote assistant instead of an in-office one, but after reading this, you’ll be all prepared!

A VA is usually an independent contractor, which means that they have their own equipment and they take care of their own office. This means that your client doesn’t have to pay for an office for you to work in.

It also means that you’re responsible for paying your own taxes, your client doesn’t do that for you. You should always take this into account when determining your rate! Hiring a VA can work out to be a lot cheaper versus an employee, especially if you only work for them part-time. 

The biggest reason why a business owner hires a VA is this: You’ll save them so much time by taking over those tasks that they’re not good at or don’t enjoy. You’re going to have to find those clients that fit with the services that you offer and your area of interest. Once you do, you’ll love your work and your client will love how much time you free up for them! 

They’ll have more time to work in their zone of genius, allowing them to grow their business and become more successful. This can totally mean extra work for you, allowing you to grow and learn new tasks too!

Becoming your client’s right-hand person can be really beneficial to both of you. So always make sure to put your all into your work! 

working online next to fountain

Want to Get Started as a Virtual Assistant?

Are you getting really excited about this new career path you’re learning about? Are you a self-starter that would love to work from home? Becoming a VA could be just that thing to get you to your dream life! There are so many different services you can offer, so there’s bound to be something that you’ll love.

So how do you get started?

If you already have the necessary skills, you should create a portfolio and a nice remote resume so you can start applying for jobs! I recommend networking on Facebook groups and in real life to find clients. Don’t let your fears hold you back from moving into a life that you love!

If you’d love to live the remote life, but you don’t have any online skills or you just don’t know how to get started, then I’ve got just the thing for you!

My signature program, 90 Day VA, will open for enrollment on October 1st!

This program will teach you all the hottest in-demand skills that you can offer as a virtual assistant and build a portfolio to show of your new skills.

You’ll also get access to my VA Starter Pack, full of everything you need to get your business up and running. On top of that, there is a great community of students where you can get that support you need and you’ll get live Q&A calls with me and my team! You can check out everything that’s included in the program here.

If you’re not 100% sure on 90 Day VA just yet, you can check out my totally free masterclass on how to become a VA to see what it’s all about!

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