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Becoming a Virtual Assistant is one of the easiest ways to make money online.
This involves utilizing the skills you already have to start a freelance career or build an online business, from scratch, in as little as 30 days.
Interested? Great! Let me show you how to get started.
Virtual Assistant Training
Before we proceed, let me introduce you to a FREE 5-Lesson Mini Course that I believe will get you started on the right foot.
This is an amazing course that has helped more than 6,740 people become virtual assistants. It was created by Gina Horkey and these are some of the things you will learn:
- Traits of an excellent VA
- 150+ services you can offer as a VA
- How much to charge
- Finding clients using social media
- Cold pitching 101
Who is a Virtual Assistant?
A virtual assistant (typically abbreviated to VA, also called a virtual office assistant) is generally self-employed and provides professional administrative, technical, or creative (social) assistance to clients remotely from a home office.
In simple terms, this is a work-at-home professional who offers his or her online services to individuals as well as companies.
What Types of Tasks Can You Handle as a Virtual Assistant?
The types of tasks virtual assistants handle will vary depending on the client’s needs. But, some of the most common ones are:
- Email management
- Web or keyword research
- Content creation
- Appointment setting
- Social media management like posting on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn
- Formatting ebooks and posting on Kindle
- Website maintenance services
These are just some of the tasks that you can handle as a VA.
You will see that many of these tasks are in alignment with transcription.
There are clients who may ask you to transcribe their interviews or webinars and then convert them into ebooks and post on Kindle, or into articles and post on their websites/blogs. You can take advantage of this and create VA packages. This is explained, in more detail, in Diana Ennen and Kelly Poelker’s book Become a Highly Sought After VA.
For example, you can charge $40 per audio for transcription jobs and then include $20 or even $100 for posting on Kindle or writing an article and posting on their site. Building a successful online business will not just be based on offering one service. You can combine a number of services that are similar or related so that you don’t leave money on the table when serving your clients.
Now that you know what services to offer and how to package them, the next step is to ask your client the following:
- Should I be online at the same time as you?
- I am confident that I can complete most of your tasks with ease, but I also understand that there may be some that I’m not familiar with but I’m willing to learn;
- Will you train me or do I need to get training on my own?
- If you offer training, will it be paid training or free training
- How long will the training last?
- After the training, will I start working immediately?
- Will I be working alone or collaborative with a team?
What to Charge As a Virtual Assistant
When I go to sites like Upwork, I see some VA’s charging amounts that are below what they should be charging. I think this is a wrong approach when working online. The thing I always say is, ‘charge what you are worth’. Don’t charge too much, and don’t charge too little either.
Go to Upwork or Elance and find out what others, who are doing the same things as you, are charging. If it’s $10 per hour, charge the same. If it’s a fixed project of $100, don’t charge $50. Some clients may want to negotiate on this $100 project. Depending on the client and the relationship you have with him/her you can give a discounted rate of maybe $8 per audio hour or $90 if it’s a fixed project of $100.
One thing I know also is, if you have been working for a client for a while and he loves your work, he won’t mind paying you more because he knows that if he doesn’t you might find another client who will.
This brings me to another important point. Offer a world-class service.
Online marketplaces have serious professionals who know their work and do it to the best of their abilities. But, there are others who simply don’t like putting in the required effort.
So, for you to get paid what you are worth you need to do the following:
1. Underpromise and Overdeliver
If you tell a client that his tasks will be done in 4 or 5 hours make sure you do them in 3 hours or less. Give yourself some room so you get this done in a timely fashion. When a client sees that you are delivering before the set deadline he will know that you are professional and he might even refer you to others. And that is more business for you.
2. Offer Great Customer Service (Communication Matters!)
Many are times I give freelancers work to do and they take hours before they respond. This is totally wrong. A good tip is, follow up with a client at least every two hours if it’s a client who expects you to be online the same time as he is. If it’s a fixed project, it is advisable to be communicating with the client at least once a day. Don’t keep him/her waiting and wondering whether you are working on his project or not.
3. Be Professional At All Times
Address the client by his name and don’t give him stories of why you didn’t work. If you get work and know for a fact that you won’t be able to complete it in a specified period, be courteous enough to let them know about it and possibly ask for an extension. A good client will be happy to extend the period. I have seen this happen with my own clients.
They will just say, “Oh, that’s okay Virginia. You don’t have to deliver in the next 4, 5 or whatever time you agreed upon. They might just say, “Tomorrow morning will be fine.” And make sure by tomorrow morning the first thing they see is your email informing them about the completion of their project.
Related: How to Get a Payoneer Mastercard
How to Craft a Cover Letter that Gets You Hired
Online marketplaces have so many VA’s offering the same type of service that you are offering. Before you land a VA job you must first write a cover letter to your future client and you must stand out from the crowd.
- Avoid generic cover letters. Clients hate them with passion
- Make sure it is specific to the job at hand
- Follow client’s instructions
- Make it simple, sweet, short and to the point
- Use power words
- Don’t rumble. Talk results
Example Cover Letter
I saw your job posting (describe exact post) and read it with keen interest.
You mentioned that you wanted a dedicated VA who has, at least, 2 years VA experience. I am an adept VA who worked for XYZ company and helped boost their business from 10 clients to 15 paying clients in the six months I worked there as a customer service representative. (Show your portfolio or show examples of your work, if possible)
I know my way around the internet and computers in general and can finish any internet-related task in as little as 1 hour. I am efficient and super productive. Working with minimum supervision is one of the many strengths that I pride in when working with respectable but busy clients like you.
I am available Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 US Pacific Standard Time.
Feel free to contact me via Skype so we can discuss further.
I look forward to hearing from you soon.
There are many places to post these eye-catching cover letters but the two most common and reliable ones are:
Other places to find VA jobs (US-based)
- Assistant Match
- Contemporary Virtual Assistance
- Fancy Hands
- Life Bushido
- Office 88
The Interview Stage
Many clients after seeing your cover letter will want to have a feel of who you are as a person. So, the next step will be setting up a virtual interview via Skype. They may suggest a Skype call.
They do this to test your English skills (both speaking and hearing), see how well you communicate.
Their thinking is:
- Are you confident?
- Do you shy off and start fidgeting?
- Are you excited to work on their project?
- Are you trustworthy? Can they leave their confidential information with you?
The client will come with a set of questions to ask you like the ones I have mentioned above. But, it’s also good to have your own set of questions to ask.
Gather interesting and tactical questions about their company and about the project at hand. Doing this will show the client that you are someone who is willing and ready to work for them and can go an extra mile to get something done even if it’s out of your comfort zone.
When the client sets the time for the meeting, make sure you are online at least 30 minutes earlier to prepare yourself. Lateness is unprofessional.
Should You Do Trial Tasks?
If all goes well after the interview stage, the client will give you some trial tasks to handle. At this stage, he believes in your ability but wants to confirm that you can actually do the job better than any other applicant that he interviewed. Know that he may have 2 or 3 other applicants doing the same work as you. His thinking is, the person who submits high-quality work, in a timely manner, and who follows instructions is the person that will get the project.
Many clients offer to pay you for this type of work. It may not be the whole amount but he will show appreciation with something small for now. He will evaluate your work and make a decision if he should hire you long-term.
One thing to remember is that there are certain clients out there who will want to exploit you. So, watch out for those. But if the tasks are easy to do and the pay is reasonable i.e doing web research for 1 hour and he pays you half the price per hour as you agreed upon, that is totally fine.
After going through the whole process of finding a job post, crafting a cover letter, going through the interview stage, handling a few trial tasks here and there, now you are officially hired! Great job! Congratulations.
If you do a superb job, on the trial tasks, and beat your competition you will get hired, no doubt about that.
Don’t forget to get this FREE 5-Lesson Mini Course and jumpstart your career. Gina Horkey will teach you everything you need to know about being a professional virtual assistant.
Already taken the free course and want to brush up your VA skills? No problem!
Get these amazing courses instead:
Virtual Assistant FAQ – Interview with Gina Horkey
Now, we have yet another special interview with a lady who will show us how to become a virtual assistant with no experience and still make up to $40 per hour.
I’m excited about this interview because Gina is no ordinary person. Gina Horkey started her VA career in 2014. Her hard work and dedication paid off pretty quickly and was able to quit her 9-5 job and focus on her VA business in as little as 6 months.
Not only that, but she also created a fabulous course, 30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistant Success, that has transformed more than 300 newbie VAs into fully-fledged virtual assistants.
Virtual assistance is an in-demand career that can be really profitable if you know what you are doing. Let me welcome Gina to give us detailed information about this lucrative work at home job. Over to you, Gina!
Please, tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get started as a virtual assistant?
Hi, I’m Gina [waving]. I started a freelance writing business on the side of my full-time job in May 2014 to “test the waters” for a potential career change – even though I was the breadwinner and my husband was a SAHD to our two kiddos (a baby and toddler at the time).
That fall I added in virtual assistant services as a way to stabilize my income, make it more predictable and use some of my other skills to help small business owners. Landing my first VA client is what gave me the confidence to put in my notice and quit my day job.
What is a virtual assistant and what do they do?
A virtual assistant is someone that trades task for pay from afar. Or in other words, an individual that offers services virtually as a contractor or self-employed individual.
Virtual assistant services offered can include everything from email management, content creation, bookkeeping, graphic design, social media, etc. There’s a ton of services you can offer as a VA! Get instant access to 150+ VA services you can offer today!
Can anyone become a virtual assistant? And, do you need virtual assistant training or equipment?
Becoming a virtual assistant to make money online isn’t right for everyone, but people that are self-motivated, eager to learn and possess decent computer skills are good candidates.
Most clients use their own tools/software, so having them isn’t a prereq. Having a computer and reliable internet access are probably the top two when it comes to equipment.
If you’re looking to gain in-demand virtual assistant skills, you can enroll for the 30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistant Success.
How Do VA’s get virtual assistant jobs and who are their clients?
VAs typically work with small business owners and entrepreneurs. Clients can have their own online businesses or even a brick and mortar store. VAs source clients in many different ways, including networking, cold pitching and more.
What are good virtual assistant rates and how much should a new VA expect to earn per month or per year?
virtual assistant rates really depend on what services you’re offering – the more specialized your skills, the more you can command.
It also depends on how much you need to earn to make it worth it for you – a starting wage of $15-20 per hour for generalist tasks is normal, but most virtual assistants are commanding $25-40 per hour domestically with more specialized service offerings.
Any challenges that new virtual assistants should be aware of?
There are always challenges with starting and growing a small business!
Analysis paralysis (not taking action due to having too many options) and fear are probably the two that hold most people back. We want to “know” everything before taking action, but rarely take action because we don’t feel we know it all.
I understand you have a VA course: 30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistance Success. Can you tell us more about the course?
Sure, the course is great for newbie VAs or those that have started a virtual assistant business but haven’t quite gotten it off the ground.
The lessons are laid out in a step-by-step format and I assign you homework before you can move on to ensure you not only learn, but do! It’s completely self-paced and students get lifetime access to the content, including FREE upgrades.
Do you have any success stories or testimonials that you can share with us from the students who have undertaken the virtual assistant course?
Yep, there’s a whole page of them here. I love getting emails from students that have landed their first client, quit their job, etc. Makes me smile every time!
Virtual Assistant Success Story 1
Virtual Assistant Success Story 2
As we come to a close, what success tips or advice would you give someone who wants to start a virtual assistant career?
Put yourself out there before you’re ready, on a consistent basis and become the best at what it is that you do!
Why not you, why not now? 😉
Thank you so much, Gina, for taking the time to share with us your virtual assistant journey, plus the insightful advice you’ve given to beginners. This has been awesome.
Getting Started As a Virtual Assistant
Looking to learn more about how to become a virtual assistant without experience? Here is a list of legit virtual assistant websites to help you locate the perfect jobs online. Some of those teach you how to become a virtual assistant for free. Check that out and apply today.
But before you apply, I would highly encourage you to get proper virtual assistant certification or training.
Here’s one that will help you hit the ground running. Remember, 300 VA’s are already earning a full-time income from home because of this virtual assistant course. Don’t be left out!
Gina Horkey is a married, millennial mama to two precocious toddlers from Minnesota. Additionally, she’s the founder of Horkey HandBook, a website geared towards helping others find or become a kickass virtual assistant. Gina’s background includes making a living as a professional writer, an online business marketing consultant and a decade of experience in the financial services industry.
Virginia Nakitari is a full-time blogger and a work from home expert. Join Virginia and 200,000 monthly readers on EarnSmartOnlineClass to learn how to make money online, even as a beginner. Before starting this blog, Virginia worked as a freelancer, specializing in general transcription and virtual assistance. Her wide clientele comprised of business coaches, podcasters, bloggers, and other online entrepreneurs. It’s through these interactions that Virginia developed a knack for writing and showing people how to work from home, make money online and attain financial freedom.