Tips to Becoming a Much Sought After Virtual Assistant
As a virtual assistant, many are the times people want to know what my job entails, or how they too can become a virtual assistant. The job or job title seems to intrigue many people, especially moms who would love to work from home as they take care of their little ones, while at the same time making a decent income, on their own schedule and with minimal financial investment. Sadly, this is not always as glamorous as it sounds; it requires time, dedication and patience before the dollars can start rolling in.
“If you’re working to be good at everything, you could never be best at anything.“
– Neil Patel.
The good news is that becoming a virtual assistant is not rocket science and can be done by anyone who is willing to put in the time and effort. One thing to note though is that competition is stiff, you must work hard and smart to stand out from the crowd and get the best paying gigs in the market.
Here are some tips to help you become an effective, much sought after virtual assistant.
Get the ideal skill set
It is important that you have the most basic skills before you can get started as a virtual assistant. If you have worked as an office assistant or a secretary before, this could make it easier, but on the overall, make sure that you have the following skills.
- Be comfortable using a computer, and this can be a Windows PC or a Mac
- Be sure that you can type at least 40 words per minute, there are many tools that you can use to enhance your typing speed
- Know your way around the internet and be able to use search engines effectively
- Know the basics of social media management and marketing
- Be good with time and resource management
- Have an idea of digital or internet marketing
- Have great organizational skills
Get the right tools for the job
There is an African proverb that says “A lazy man blames his tools when he cannot accomplish his tasks,” however as a virtual assistant, it is imperative that you have the right tools. This can mean success or failure in the industry if not well take care of, hence the need to ensure that you have the best and most important tools before you get started. Here is the list:
- A decent desktop computer or laptop. Consider one that has at least 4GB Ram, has a good CPU speed, and enough hard disk space to save your work.
- Have at least 2 – 3 updated browsers
- Get a good email address such as Gmail, outlook or own domain based email
- Invest in 2 or 3 chat apps; this can be Skype, Google talk, and another option
- A good internet connection; at least 2Mpbs
Consider working for a company or other individual before going solo
There has been a growing demand for virtual assistance lately, and the numbers keep increasing. This has led to the birth of new virtual assistant companies, which hire people from across the globe, who work remotely offering businesses much-needed help. This should be good news for anyone aspiring to be a virtual assistant since there is a wide pool of work options. And this will also offer you the much-needed training and experience to help you venture it out solo if you ever decide to. Just be sure to sign a non-compete agreement with the company that hires you.
Get a home office
When thinking about your home office, plan on making it as comfortable and as inviting as a Google or Facebook campus; if you can replicate any of these 2 the better. Consider having a sort of canteen with snacks and hot drinks right in your office. This will reduce the time spent running around looking for coffee and cookies. Your home office also needs to be calm, it needs to lift your mood whenever you walk in and make you desire to get right down to work and get things rolling. You will also need to have a comfortable working desk and chair; the wrong chair can mean discomfort, less productivity and even visits to the doctor.
If you have a family or children, it will be much easier for you to work in a separate room from them. If possible, make it lockable and unavailable to other people when you are in there working.
Plan your work schedule
Even when you are working from home, you need to plan on a fixed or variable schedule depending on the tasks that you will be performing. Working from home does not mean that you can just wake up one morning and hit the road running with work, you need to have a plan.
Begin with a habit of working the same hours of the day, each day, and this does not have to be a regular 8-5 schedule, but one that brings out the best productivity out of you. This could be a time when there are minimal distractions. For instance, if you have school going children, it might be easier for you to work when they are in school and then spend time with them later in the day when they come home. But most importantly, stick to a plan and schedule.
The other things that you need to consider are things to do with your health, taxes, and even vacations. As a self-employed individual, you need to plan on your own medical insurance. This is critical because if you fall sick and are unable to work or are hospitalized, you need to cushion yourself financially, and you also need to be sure that you will get the best health care possible. In addition, you also don’t want to get into trouble with the tax man. Find out what taxes you need to pay and pay promptly since this could affect your business in future. Do not forget to take time off work as well, you need to unwind and refresh your mind.
Choose your specialty
‘Virtual assistant’ is a very broad term that can refer to many professions these days, or as some love to call it, a Jack or Jill of all trades. While this is partially true, you need to carve out your niche and perfect your skills in that area. On the other hand, this is not possible when you are beginning, you will want to try out different tasks and determine the areas you are best gifted and or motivated to work.
This again brings up the topic of working with a company or another accomplished individual, since by doing this you will be exposed to different roles and you can pick out what you love most. For instance, I love digital marketing, social media management, and content management; these are my specialties. As you choose your specialty, it is important that you think of yourself as a business partner and think how best you can help your clients with their needs.
Deliver value for money to your clients
Can you remember the last time you did something for someone and they could not stop talking about how well you did it? Well, this is your chance to give value to your clients. Be sure to deliver what your client expects or better each time, make a habit of completing assigned work on time if not earlier. Have in mind your clients’ budget whenever you are working for them. sometimes things happen that slow us down. Whenever this happens, be sure to explain it to your clients before they even ask, this will help build trust, and if you do not abuse this privilege, they will understand each time you cannot deliver a given task on time.
You will also want to ensure that you are a good communicator; respond to emails and chat messages promptly, ask questions where instructions are not clear or you are unsure of what you are doing, it’s only a fool who thinks they know everything.
About the Author
A die hard Upworker | Jake's Mom | Virtual Assistant | Crafter | Favourite Auntie