July 18th, 2019 | Updated on July 31st, 2020
A virtual assistant is a person who is not in front of you but he is providing services to your business house from another location. He is virtually assisting you and not physically. Various services through which virtual assistant will help you are:
- Social networking applications
- Preparing relevant reports
- Managing personal and official calendars
- Personal booking tasks
- Regular digital marketing Jobs
- Event management
This is a unique concept because it allows the comfort of working from home. Virtual Assistant is called by different names like personal office assistant or virtual personal assistant. The person is known to provide various administrative services right from his home.
This involves different kinds of clerical and data entry works. Even real estate and telemarketing can also be added in this. To summarize it, this is actually any and every work which a client wants.
How Can You Be The Most Popular Virtual Assistant?
1. Getting The Skills Right
Some of the basic skills you need for a virtual assistant
- Pro with Windows / Mac.
- Typing speed of a minimum of 45 words per minute
- Pro with Internet and email
- Social media marketing savvy
- Proficient with time and resource management skills
- Understanding of correct communication tools
2. Getting The Correct Tools
Correct tools are something which will help you immensely in the long run. This is actually the devices which will help you to get the work done.
- Perfectly working computer/laptop
- Minimum 2-3 updated browsers
- An expert email client.
- Any recent chat software
- High-Speed Internet
3. Maintaining A Schedule
Virtual assistant definitely is a work from home job but even then schedule should be maintained.
Your schedule will depend on your client’s requirements and this is something which you should follow even when you are working in your pajamas. Plus, ensure that you have minimum distractions during this time.
4. Start Making A Plan/Strategy
Don’t rely only on PLAN A. Make a PLAN B too. Plan B is actually the backup plan which will come up when Plan A fails.
- Fix your working hours
- Decide your working place
- Plan your deductions and taxes
This will help you to avoid any kind of confusions or last-minute hassles.
5. Be Pro At One Thing
The virtual assistant field is extremely wide. Thus, in order to make a special niche for yourself try to specialize yourself in something. This will give you an extra edge over others.
Top 5 Highly Demanding Virtual Assistant Services
1. Customer Service
Customer service is a huge area and small business house don’t have time for the same. Thus, it is a virtual assistant’s job to address customer queries, order prioritization and likewise.
2. Admin Support
This is quite easy and can combine a number of official works. Some of the major things which are included in admin support are – data entry, maintaining calendars and spreadsheets, making travel bookings.
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3.Social Networking Applications
This is an innovative area for virtual assistants. Since social media comes with the advantage of staying connected from anywhere to everywhere. Similar is the case with virtual assistants too.
4. Management Of Website
This does not require any kind of technical expertise. Here, you should be pro with WordPress or CMS (Content Management System). This includes everything and anything related to the content of the website.
5. Email Marketing
Email marketing is also called as social media management. This one requires specialized knowledge. Here you should know – how to set up autoresponders, segment email lists, and design email templates using software like MailChimp or ConvertKit.
- Making phone calls
- Email correspondence
- Internet research
- Data entry
- Scheduling appointments
- Blog management
- Project management
- Graphic design
- Tech support
- Customer service
- Event planning
- Social media management
What Skills And Competencies Should A Virtual Assistant Possess?
Some of the most important skills of a virtual assistant should be excellent verbal and written skills. Good communication will enable you to be recognized as open and reliable which is highly valued by the clients. With this, time management and organizational skills are a must.
In case you are pro with cloud-based communication technologies like file sharing, password managers, and phone and video conferencing then that is an added advantage.
You might know some of these skills but it is always advisable to get an online tutorial for the same. This will help you stay updated.
Plus, when people go for a virtual assistant, then they are looking for someone who can reduce their workload and take care of the work on their behalf. So, try to understand your clientele requirements and do the work accordingly.
Some of the most important skills which a virtual assistant should have are :
- Superb Organizational Skills: Clients are mostly coming up to you to organize their work on their behalf. So, you need to be excellent at this.
- Excellent Communication Skills: Communication is made either through emails or phone. So, you need to be able to express yourself well.
- Technical Support: A VA must be proficient with the latest technical knowledge. They must also keep taking tutorials to update the same.
- Multitasker: You must be really good at multi-tasking, and that too at quite different jobs.
What Do You Choose – Employee Or Entrepreneur?
One of the biggest advantages with a virtual assistant is that you can choose if you want to be an employee or an entrepreneur. Both obviously come with its own set of pros and cons.
When you are an employee, there is no stress to find new clients because your employer does that job for you. You only get a fixed amount of salary without much stress.
In case you are hired as an independent contractor or a freelancer then you fall into the category of self-employment. And here, you will be required to pay quarterly self-employment taxes.
But the other way around is being an entrepreneur and starting up with your own business house. The flexibility and control of the work are immense here. But the client hunt is actually stressful and time taking.
Starting your own business in the line of virtual assistance is easy and less cost consuming as well. The main task is to hunt for clients and there should be a regular database of clients else the business will collapse. Some items which are mandatory for this business are – phone line or cell phone connection, fast working computer, high-speed internet connection, printer, scanner and likewise.
But in case you are thinking of starting your own business then you should also have a website of your own where you can list down these activities and also market yourself.
1. Advantages Of Starting A Virtual Assistant Business
Some of the most common advantages of starting a virtual assistant business are as follows:
- It is one of the fastest and most affordable business to start. You only need some minimal equipment’s, software and basic skills.
- Here you don’t need any specific license or any proper set of education to get started.
- You can decide on the niche or specialization you want to cater to.
- You can create your own timings and schedule.
2. Disadvantages Of Starting A Virtual Assistant Business
Some of the most common disadvantages of starting a virtual assistant business are as follows:
- Getting clients regularly is a major challenge. If you have good networking skills then fine, else clientele update is a big challenge in this business.
- Sometimes, virtual assistants charge quite low and thus cost justification and the benefit-cost ratio become extremely difficult in this case.
- Staying updated with current market trends and technology is very important.
- In order to manage a team of virtual assistants, time management becomes extremely important. And when you are working for overseas clients then that dollar adjustment becomes difficult.
How To Start Your Own Virtual Assistant Business In 12 Easy Steps
Since now you are aware of the advantages and disadvantages of this business. Let’s proceed to how should you start your own virtual assistant business –
1. Finalize A Name
Name of your business is the first thing with which you would like to start your business. Thus, try to finalize an easy to pronounce and short name for your business.
2. Finalize Your Services & Rates
It is very important that you decide your specialization and niche initially. This will make you stand out from the crowd. Finalize your area of working at the very first. This can be a technical niche, managerial niche or any other niche as required. This niche will give you a competitive advantage over others.
Also, finalize your rates accordingly. While finalizing your rates, have a comparative analysis with your competitors in the market.
3. Legal Stamp
Check with your state, country, and city about what business requirements do you need? This is the time where you want to decide what structure you want to give to your business. Decide whether you should get into sole proprietorship or partnership mode or even multi-partner mode. This is the time to finalize your tax structures as well.
4. Begin With A Business Plan
This should be extremely brief and specific. It should include the points of what all business services you want to provide and which kind of potential clients you will cater to. Also, how will you pay for your business and what sets you apart from other VAs are some of the major points to be covered here. You can also include your TAT here.
5. Finalize A Marketing Strategy
What will be your strategy to attract clients? Will you use social media or traditional emails to attract clients?
6. Create A Website
This is very important in today’s world. Since you will be working from a remote location, then what is important here is that you must have a website to speak on your behalf. It should be unique and should contain all of your major services and what sets you apart and gives you a competitive advantage over others. This will help you get more clients.
Also, add a “Hire Me” page at your website. This will help the clients to contact you directly and then employ you as their VA.
7. Feedback Of Clients
Getting proper clientele feedback is very important. This is what will keep you moving throughout. Always be brave to ask your clients to give their feedback. Feedbacks will you a better virtual assistant. Positive clientele feedback will also help you attract more clients as well in the future.
8. Networking Is The Key
Time to tap your existing network. Mostly, the first client is through your known networks only. But then the work gets spread through word of mouth. But networking plays a pivotal role because you are working from a remote location.
Branding will play a major role when you want to focus on clientele base outside of your networking channel. You can use social media, blogs, or even YouTube videos.
10. Retaining Clients
Retaining clients is very important. Even if your business is growing or you have moved to new clients then also these old clients will serve as your brand. They can spread your goodwill through the word of mouth.
And it is very important to keep your clients happy. Thus, try to travel that extra mile to keep your clients happy. Complete your work on time and also take regular feedback to improve yourself.
11. Referrals & Testimonials Goes A Long Way
Keep asking for referrals and testimonials. Check your non-disclosure clause and check how much of your previous work can you disclose to your next client to get that assignment.
You can also ask your existing client to give your feedback on social media sites and they can also speak through a video.
12. Use The Correct Tools
Using the correct set of updated tools becomes very important in this business. The tools need to be technologically advanced, and you as a user should be pro with that tool.
Also, this is where you need to decide whether you want to invest in some online tutorial or take the help of some coach.
Why Should Start Your Virtual Assistant Business From Your Home?
- This is pretty quick and affordable to set up. You need only a computer and printer to set up and start this business.
- Any specific license or college degree is not required in this business.
- Scheduling and then working accordingly is much easier here.
And now, if you are motivated enough to jump on directly, then wait. We will also provide you some words of caution for home-based Virtual assistant business –
- Finding a client is a true challenge and be prepared for this. In the initial years, the struggle is very much there and maybe with time, you will get stabilized.
- Staying updated and on the top of the technology is really important.
- Compete regularly with overseas Vas in a matter of quality, work ethics, rates and much more.