Wondering how to work from home as a Virtual Assistant and build a network of international high paying clients?
Virtual assistants are taking over the world, with more people deciding to take to the online space and start their own business.
So you’ve heard the hype and you’re curious, but you’ve no idea where to start! What to offer? What skills do you need? How much can you earn? Is it really possible to replace a 9-5 income while working from your living room?
After working as a multi-passionate virtual assistant for 4+ years, working with everyone from small businesses to 6 -7 figure entrepreneurs, I can say with absolute certainty that the opportunities on the online space are endless and you can create a career that you love.
I’m about to break down everything you need to know about becoming a virtual assistant and offering a high level of service to clients worldwide.
How to work from home as a virtual assistant
Disclaimer: There’s a lot of information online about starting your own online business and I advise you to approach everything you see (including this article) with your own judgment and an open mind. A lot of people will say that starting a virtual assisting business is a quick fix, an easy way to earn some extra money and that it doesn’t take much time and energy. Here’s the truth: a virtual assisting business is a legitimate business, and – while it can also be a good side hobby – if you’re looking to make it your full time job, there’s a lot of work before you.
What is a virtual assistant?
You’ll be familiar with the concept of a traditional assistant or team member in a business or company. A business owner hires an individual or team with the relevant skillset to carry out tasks that they wish to get support with.
A virtual assistant (or VA) is the same concept, the biggest difference being that a VA doesn’t have to come into the business owner’s place of work, and the relationship is carried out almost entirely on the Internet, hence the ‘virtual’ aspect.
Why start a virtual assistant business?
If you’re looking for a new career, an opportunity to work from home and to find a better balance between work and life than the corporate world allows, a virtual assisting business might be exactly what you’re looking for!
I have personally worked with clients who’ve decided to start for various reasons including:
- the desire to finally leave a toxic work environment.
- boredom and stress at a job they’ve been doing their whole life.
- the desire to be at home more with the family.
- the desire to travel more and live a digital nomad life.
- wanting a summer job to do during university.
- wanting to get out of a minimum wage job after not having gone to university.
- wanting to further a passion after having gone to university and realised they disagreed with the system.
- wanting to explore the uncapped earning potential of the virtual space. (people really are out here tripling and quadrupling their corporate income).
Is there a demand for virtual assistants?
If you resonated with any (or several) of the driving forces above, your next question would probably be… but is there really enough work for everyone? Short answer – yes!
To answer the question of whether there is a demand for virtual assistants, we need to ask ourselves whether there are enough clients for virtual assistants to serve.
It’s important to remember that virtual assistants (and almost all online service providers) can serve both online and offline businesses, both local and international, so the pool of potential clients is literally the entire world.
It all depends on the business model and client base you want to build.
But let’s take a look at some social media statistics. Let’s just use the Instagram statistics of users and businesses:
- Over 1 billion people use Instagram every month.
- 130 million users tap on shopping posts every month.
- 200 million Instagram users visit 1 business profile daily.
- 81% of people use Instagram to help research products and services.
- 90% of Instagram users follow a business.
(note that Instagram is not the only platform to host a business account and/or find clients)
We could say that it’s thanks to covid that the space boomed, when businesses were forced to expand to selling on the virtual space or were made redundant and had no choice but to start something of their own, but virtual assistants were on the rise even before.
The power of social media has skyrocketed the virtual world and more businesses are taking to offering their products and services through the online space.
And naturally, one person can’t do everything on their own! A business needs a team and support in order to expand. And this is where a virtual assistant or a team of virtual assistants, can come in!
There are various reasons a business owner might be looking to outsource:
- they’re too overwhelmed and mentally burnt out to complete their to do list.
- they don’t have enough time to do it all.
- they don’t have the required skillset and don’t have the time or desire to learn.
- they want to spend time on more central, zone of genus business elements.
- they are looking to expand and grow and make more money.
- they want to reduce overhead costs by not having a physical office.
- and the list goes on.
But can you really replace a 9-5 income?
The answer to this is simple: if you want to, yes.
The business model you create, how much you market and sell and how you price is entirely dependent on your goals and will define how much money you make.
We’ve seen above that there are definitely enough clients available.
Knowing this, with a proper business plan and the right strategy, it’s possible to get as many clients as you need to replace a corporate income.
As a benchmark, virtual assistants worldwide make anywhere between $1k to $9k months, charging both hourly rates (anywhere between $10-50 per hour) or set packages (anywhere between $300-2k+)
What does a virtual assistant do for their clients?
A virtual assistant can do a variety of different tasks and many people choose to specify what type of virtual assistant they are.
If they call themselves just a VA, they probably do a little bit of everything needed to help a business owner run a business smoothly, such as:
- back end administration
- client management
- inbox and calendar management
- document drafting
- data entry
- file organisation
- travel bookings
- and more.
You might choose to specify that you are an administrative VA, or an executive VA or you might choose to put a speciality in front of the term, such as ‘bookkeeping VA”, “project management VA” and so on, this allows you to be a bit clearer.
A lot of the time, you might also include some services that fall under the expertise of another service provider, and still call yourself a VA.
For example, you may chose to call yourself a VA so that you can do all the above back end tasks but also offer some copywriting (generally the expertise of a Copywriter) or some content creation and social media tasks (generally the expertise of a Social Media Manager) or some event planning or course creation (which generally fall under the expertise of a Virtual Event Planner or a Course/Launch Specialist).
What do I need to become a virtual assistant?
The truth is, just as with starting any new entrepreneurial journey, becoming a virtual assistant gets to look however you want it to look. It’s your business after all!
But what you’ll need and do depends on your end goal. What you need to do to become a virtual assistant so that you can quit your 9-5 full time will look different to what you need to do when starting this as a side hobby.
But below are the basic things everyone who wants to become a virtual assistant should be mindful of doing:
- You’ll want to research local registration and tax laws for your desired business type.
- You’ll need to pick a business name – some people just trade under their own name, others prefer to make a new name.
- You’ll have to think about who you’d like to serve (your clients) and what you’d like to offer (your services). < Not sure if you have any experience you can use? Check out this post >
- You’ll want to create your social media accounts (Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter – NB. you don’t need a website to start your business)
- You’ll benefit from thinking about and deciding what your long and short term goals are so that you can create an actionable plan to help you get where you want to be.
- You’ll also want to research and learn about the top tools that we use on the space internally and with our clients. < Check out this post on the top 30 tools you should know to help streamline your business >
- You’ll need to decide how you want to sell your services. There are various marketing and sales strategies you can implement to sell. You’re going to have to pick the one that makes most sense for your goals, your current availability and your values.
Where to find work as a virtual assistant?
Once you’re all set up, and you know what you want to achieve, what you’re offering and who you’re serving, there are a few key places you can start to look for your clients.
LinkedIn: This may be one of the most underrated platforms to find clients but it is 100% one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal.
Creating a powerful profile and using the platform’s extensive search features and networking opportunities is going to help unleash your business in a way that I would argue is more effective that any other platform.
Instagram: The most obvious place to create a beautiful profile that speaks to small businesses and CEOs alike, is Instagram.
Most recently (as of 2021), the power of reels has skyrocketed the visibility of business owners and has put Instagram and short form video content at the front of the race as one of the most powerful forms of virtual marketing right now.
Facebook groups: Who doesn’t love a good Facebook group? Apart from being an awesome place to nurture community and learn from other people, a lot of dedicated Facebook groups have been set up for Virtual Assistants.
Within these groups, business owners will post their job opportunities which VAs can apply to or referral networks can be created. It’s definitely worth searching up the Facebook groups for VAs in your local area and join some of the bigger international ones.
Freelancer platforms: I had to mention these because they are without a doubt a popular way for people to find work as virtual assistants, but, in the name of full transparency, they’re not my favourite.
Some popular platforms include Upwork, People Per Hour and Freelancer, but again, I’ve personally never used them, and I mention it to be thorough and so that you are aware of all the possibilities.
So what's next?
Obviously the details of how exactly you’re going to make all the above happen will require time, effort and a lot of deep diving on your end into your goals, your purpose and the skills you have or want to learn to share through your services.
While it doesn’t have to be overcomplicated and can be a rather straightforward process, the road to “financial freedom” in any online venture is riddled with challenges. But I speak on behalf of myself when I say that it is absolutely worth it!