The Beginner’s Guide on How to Be a Virtual Assistant (+ Bonus How To’s, Trainings and Guides)

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How to Be a Virtual Assistant

There’s no doubt about it. Filipino Virtual assistants totally rock! They were sent to earth to make the lives of business owners easier. It’s no wonder, therefore, that you’re here trying to figure out how to be a virtual assistant. It’s the best place for you to throw your awesomeness into and make your mark in a thriving industry.

As you go through this beginner’s guide, you’ll find out everything you need to know about being a virtual assistant.

Virtual Assistant 101

Let’s get started by defining what a virtual assistant is.

virtual assistant is someone who offers services to a business owner or professional in exchange for a fee.

What kind of services?

Almost anything!

Here’s how to get a virtual assistant job that perfectly matches your skillset.

What Do Virtual Assistants Do?

There are different types of virtual assistants, so your talents and skills would definitely have a place here somewhere.

Now, you may be one of those people who feel like you have no special talent or skill.

But guess what? For as long as you know how to copy-paste text, file documents into their proper place, reserve a table at a restaurant and do other simple tasks like these, you could still find a few opportunities as a VA.

Beginner’s Guide on How to Be a Virtual Assistant

Below are just some of the things that virtual assistants can do, depending on what kind of virtual assistant you are.

Administrative / General VA

General virtual assistants take care of administrative tasks. These tasks may include:

  • Data entry
  • Research
  • Appointment setting
  • Email organization
  • Coordinating with clients, vendors, partners, etc.
  • Filing documents
  • Booking hotels, restaurants, etc.

These tasks may seem basic, but they could take up a lot of a business owner’s time. This is why they would rather pass it on to a VA so that they can focus on the more important aspects of their business.

A general VA may also collaborate with other VAs. For example, if your client has a separate content writer, you may be asked to post the writer’s content on your client’s blog.

Social Media VA

Your future employer would definitely have a few social media accounts for their business. As a social media VA, it would be your responsibility to:

  • Schedule posts
  • Cross-promote content across different channels
  • Respond to comments and inquiries made via social media
  • Create social media strategies specific to the brand and industry
  • Research on competitor strategies

The business owner may be a little more involved in the strategy part, but most of them would also ask for your opinion on what the best strategy is.

Content VA

Writing is one skill that not everybody has. So if you have a gift for words, you may be a good fit to become a content VA (also known as a content writer or content creator).

Tasks that you would most likely handle are:

  • Writing blogs, guest articles, web content, etc.
  • Writing captions for social media posts
  • Doing research on relevant content
  • Competitor research
  • Posting content on different channels

This is yet another VA post where you can either be given extra responsibilities aside from the tasks listed above or be asked to coordinate with another VA.

For example, if your client only wants basic SEO and does not really want to hire a separate SEO specialist, then you would most likely be asked to do some keyword research instead. But if your client decides to get an SEO VA, then you two would probably collaborate on every project you are assigned.

SEO VA

A search engine optimization (SEO) specialist helps make sure that the client’s content can be found by the right people. As an SEO specialist, you will be expected to do the following:

  • Keyword research
  • Competitor research
  • Content strategy

As explained before, it’s also possible that your client would ask you to write the content as well.

Virtual Bookkeepers

If you have a head for numbers and some training as an accountant, a bookkeeper, or an auditor, this may be the perfect VA job for you.

You will be expected to:

  • Track and manage expenses
  • Handle the books
  • Take care of payroll
  • Take care of payments and collectibles
  • Other tasks that have financial implications for the business

Note that just because you are a CPA in the Philippines does not mean that you will be able to use your license in jobs like these. Your license will most likely not be recognized in other countries (where your clients will be from), but your background and knowledge will definitely give you a huge advantage.

Customer / Technical Support

If you are a customer or technical support VA, you would be expected to:

  • Receive calls to address customer concerns
  • Respond to customer concerns via chat or email

This may require a faster internet connection compared to other VA posts. It may also require you to have an extremely quiet work area so that there would be no disruptions or distractions during calls.

Ecommerce VA

An Ecommerce VA takes care of a client’s online shopping platform. Some of your possible tasks would include:

  • Writing product descriptions
  • Updating the client’s products on sites like Amazon or eBay or on their own eCommerce site
  • Responding to buyer inquiries
  • Tracking inventory
Other Kinds of Virtual Assistants

Other kinds of virtual assistants include:

  • Programmers and developers
  • Graphic designers
  • Transcribers
  • Content editors
  • Account managers
  • Lead generation experts

There may be a few overlaps in responsibilities sometimes, but at least you have a pretty good idea of the things that you can do as a virtual assistant.

You may use these Best Ways to Apply for a Homebased Job.

How Much Does a Virtual Assistant Earn

How Much Does a Virtual Assistant Earn?

Virtual assistants can actually get decent salaries, especially when you consider the fact that you’re doing everything from the comfort of your home.

The pay would usually depend on the following factors:

  • Skills and specialization
  • Experience
  • Amount of responsibilities

The ranges are really wide, but here’s an overview of the pay that experienced virtual assistants usually get:

General Virtual Assistants $500 to $800 a month
Content Writers $500 to $700 a month
SEO Specialists $750 to $950 a month
Web Developers $800 to $1400 a month
Graphic Designers $700 to $1200 a month
Mobile App Developers $800 to $1400 a month

“But why am I being offered way less than this?”

Again, it all boils down to your skills, experience, and the number of responsibilities you will be given.

For example, if you would still need extensive training on using the tools needed for the job, then you would most likely receive less than the stated range above.

You should also consider whether it is a part-time or a full-time post.

The great news is most clients are reasonable and appreciative of your efforts. This means that if you do a good job, you may be given a raise after a given time period.

Other Perks of Being a VA

Just to convince you even more that you’re making the right choice, here are some of the amazing benefits of being a virtual assistant:

You get to work in your PJs!

Probably the biggest benefit of being a virtual assistant is being able to work from home.

Distance doesn’t matter! Even if you’re in the Philippines and your client is on a completely different continent, you could still be as useful and as productive as an in-office assistant.

This means that you can wake up 5 minutes before you’re set to work. No need to worry about what to wear (unless you have a video conference with your client, in which case you can put a decent top on and not worry about the rest of your outfit).

No need to deal with traffic!

Traffic is the worst! It can steal hours of your life – hours where you could have been productive and could have earned more elsewhere.

When you’re working as a virtual assistant, you get to earn money in your bed while everyone else is stuck in the hellish traffic of Manila.

Work anywhere you want!

Tired of working in your room?

Move to the dining room. Better yet, go to a random coffee shop somewhere.

As long as you have a decent internet connection, you can pretty much work anywhere you want. You can even bring your laptop to the beach or work on your tasks up in the mountains. There’s no need to sit behind the same boring desk day in and day out.

Save more money!

Yes, you also get to save more money when you work from home.

No need to pay for transportation or gas.

No need to find a decent place to eat lunch.

And yeah, as mentioned before, you don’t really have to worry about your clothes. That means you don’t need to shop as often, too! (Unless your life revolves around retail therapy!)

It’s healthier!

Stress is one of the biggest killers in the world. This is where a lot of health problems are rooted.

Pollution is yet another villain when it comes to health. A lot of diseases come from pollution, and judging by the amount of smoke and dust in Metro Manila alone, I’d say you’re exposed to pollution the majority of the day when you go to work.

But when you work from home, you get to stay inside your room or your home office, free from the smog that you usually encounter as a commuter.

Stress would not be as big of an issue as well. If you’re getting overwhelmed with work, it’s easy enough to take a breather because you’re right at home.

You can even use the flexibility in location as an added bonus. Feeling stressed out? Take a bus to the nearest beach and work from there. The fresh air and the change in environment will definitely be healthy for you.

Here’s a guide on how you Avoid Virtual Assistant Scams

How and Where to Get Started

Now, let’s get down to business.

How do you start building your career as a virtual assistant?

How to Create Your Profile

Here’s one thing you have to remember – your profile can change your life. It’s the hook that will reel in the best clients out there.

Now, some virtual assistants create their own online resumes. After all, there are a lot of free platforms out there, like WordPress and Weebly.

But that also means you’ll have to worry about getting people onto your own site.

Because of this, it’s best to create a profile on readily available virtual assistant marketplaces where there already is a long list of clients waiting for the right VA to show up.

These VA spaces will always let you start off the same way – by asking you to create a profile.

Here are some areas that you would usually be asked to cover on your profile.

Your Title

This describes what kind of virtual assistant you are.

Are you a writer? A programmer? A general administrative assistant?

The tricky part here is making your title sound interesting. Remember that you’re competing with hundreds of other virtual assistants, sometimes even thousands. So standing out is the key.

The great news is these VA platforms usually allow you to be creative in creating your profile.

For example, instead of merely saying, “Experienced Bookkeeper,” you can call yourself a “Bookkeeping Wizard.” Instead of saying “Content Writer,” you can say “Content Writer Extraordinaire” or a “Content Writing Rockstar.”

An introduction

This would give potential employers an overview of what kind of VA you are. Make this short but sweet. People have to take one look at it and decide that they want to scan the rest of your profile. Fail to catch their attention here, and they’ll move on to the next candidate.

You can include impressive data, like “beat sales records by over 100% for 3 consecutive years”.

If you’ve dabbled in a number of different fields, you can start off by saying, “5 years of experience across different fields of business like marketing, operations, and sales”.

You can even add impressive tidbits, like “certified in so and so skills.”

The point is it’s a two- to a three-sentence introduction that convinces employers that you have the potential to be the virtual assistant of their dreams.

Work experience

Just like any other resume, your profile is supposed to show how much significant work experience you have.

Of course, this is still a place where you can exercise complete creative freedom, especially if you’re going after a creative post.

Also, don’t leave anything out, as long as you can turn it into something relevant.

For example, if you’re hoping for a content writing job but have an extensive background in sales, you can say that a huge part of your sales practice is understanding your client’s profiles to understand their needs. You can then relate this to how writers should understand their audiences to deliver content that they can easily relate to.

Skills and tools

It’s important to create a detailed list of all your skills.

Make sure you enumerate all programs and tools that you know how to use. This will be the best way for potential clients to see how well you match their needs. It’s going to give you plus points, of course, if potential clients see that you already know how to use the same tools they use. This means little training will be needed.

Other useful information

Other additional information that you think would be helpful is often welcome.

You can create a list of certifications you’ve received, for example, especially if you’re going for a highly technical job that requires specialized knowledge.

To find out more about how to create an awesome profile, read this.

How to Look for Jobs and Clients

How to Look for Jobs and Clients

How can you get connected with potential clients and employers?

As mentioned earlier, there are a ton of virtual assistant marketplaces where you can create your profile and look for VA jobs.

The key here is looking at the right place. Here are some of the best places where you can find great clients:

Some best freelancing platforms to hire a Filipino virtual assistant are:

Note that in these marketplaces, there are usually two ways to look for jobs – browse through job postings, or make your profile so awesome and wait for clients to contact you. You can do both to maximize the number of opportunities you can claim.

Red Flags to Watch Out For

It ain’t a perfect world, so expect to hear horror stories about virtual assistants falling prey to scams.

This should not stop you from going for your end goal. The key here is not to become a victim.

Here are a few red flags that you should watch out for:

Paying to get paid

Why do you have to pay for you to get paid? It doesn’t make much sense unless the platform offers something extra, like special training and certification, that you can’t get anywhere else.

Otherwise, steer clear of platforms that ask you to shell out money before you can start applying for a job.

Asking for too much information

It’s understandable that they would need your name, age, and other similar information.

Some platforms may even ask for a government ID just to make sure you are who you say you are. (Yes, these platforms want to make sure they won’t get scammed in the same way that you’re avoiding employment scams.)

But if they’re asking for too much (like asking for usernames, passwords, and the like), then reconsider using the platform. It may be a trap that would eventually make you a victim of identity theft.

Lack of communication

Communication is key to any successful employer-employee relationship.

So if you feel that your employer does not communicate with you as often as needed, then you may want to start asking questions.

Also, make sure that you have a solid way of communicating with your client. Don’t allow them to jump from one channel to another. Settle your means of communication early on for the sake of efficiency.

Bonus Tips, Tricks, and Advice

You’re almost good to go!

Let me just give you a few more tips and tricks that could help you build a solid career as a virtual assistant.

Be honest

Most of the time, clients end up getting disappointed because their virtual assistant refuses to be honest.

If you don’t understand the instructions, ask questions that will help clear things up for you.

If you’re given more load than you can handle, let your client know.

If you are having issues with your internet, your laptop, or anything else, tell your employer right away.

Sometimes, virtual assistants refuse to communicate how they’re feeling and what they’re thinking. So instead of opening up the opportunity to better serve the client, the VA ends up under-delivering on the task.

Even worse, some virtual assistants just choose to go AWOL instead of admitting that they’re having a hard time.

Your clients are human beings – they have a heart, too! Give them a chance to help you out when things are getting too difficult for you. It’s the best way for you to learn the ins and outs of the job.

Don’t take things personally.

When your client gives you feedback, don’t feel offended.

Remember that you’re working with a business owner who is looking for growth. So if you fail to meet expectations, it is only normal for your client to let you know what you lack and what you did wrong.

Especially if you’re a Filipino VA, you have to remember that you aren’t working with a Filipino boss here. Your client will most probably be more direct and may not sugarcoat their assessment of your work.

And you know what? This will help you more than you realize.

When you are given feedback, you get to know more about your own strengths and weaknesses. This allows you to find room for improvement. The more feedback you get, the bigger the chances of you growing in your career as a VA.

Take initiative

When you think of a great idea, don’t be afraid to shoot your boss an email and explain your idea in detail.

More often than not, your employer will appreciate your initiative and will see you as a valuable asset to his business. This could open up even more long-term opportunities for you. Who knows? You might even get promoted and could start handling bigger responsibilities.

Be serious about having a decent working space.

Where you work decides how productive you are, so make sure you have a desk you can use to work.

One of the pitfalls of working from home is that it’s just TOO comfortable. This may seem like one of the perks of the job, but it can greatly affect your productivity.

It’s okay to lounge on the couch while you type away. It’s okay to sit up in bed, even.

But make sure you have a desk to use when the going gets tough.

Your desk should be in an area where there are no distractions. So make sure it stays away from the TV, away from the bed, and away from the rest of the people in the house. This should be a spot where you can zoom in on your screen and beat your deadlines as needed.

Take care of yourself.

Another downside to working from home is completely forgetting to take care of yourself.

Yes, it’s normal for virtual assistants to start wondering what day it is. Some would even scratch their heads, wondering when the last time they took a bath or brushed their teeth was.

Self-care can also affect your productivity. The less you care for yourself, the less creative you may become.

So know when you’ve been sitting too long on your desk. Stand up every so often and walk around. You don’t have a boss hovering over you, so you have the chance to change your pace every so often.

Take a bath, eat decent meals, and treat your home as if it were a regular workplace, but without stress. You wouldn’t traipse around your workplace reeking of the other day’s breakfast, right?

Do you want to be Productive in a Remote Setting? Check this guide!

Know what you’re worth

One common reason why virtual assistants get burned out is that they accept way less pay than they deserve.

Just because you’re at home does not mean this isn’t considered a decent source of living. Know what your skills are worth and go for the right price.

Sure, you’d have to suck it up and start low. There are virtual assistant marketplaces where experience is important, so you’d probably end up with a few lousy-paying jobs at the start.

But don’t let that be your state forever. If you feel that your skills are worth the upgrade, don’t be afraid to look for better offers. Don’t be shy to ask for an increase, either. Especially if you’ve shown considerable progress and have been working for the same client for some time, a raise should be expected.

What if your employer refuses?

Trust me, there are a lot of other opportunities out there just waiting to be grabbed.

Be at the right place.

I cannot stress this enough – where you look for clients matters.

Choose the right VA marketplace that has the right kind of clients. Make sure that they are not just pro-employer but are pro-VA as well.

eVirtualAssistants is a great place to get started because they want nothing less than fair treatment for the VAs under their wing. The team is also made up of experienced remote workers, so they all know what it’s like to be starting out in the online world, struggling to find their place.

eVirtualAssistants can also protect you against employment scams. They have a lot of security measures in place to make sure you get paid for the work that you do.

Ready to get started?

Click on this link to start building your profile.

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