If you’ve been wondering how to become a virtual assistant, then you’re certainly not alone. Research has shown that office workers suffer much more stress than remote workers, with nearly 46% of homeworkers reporting that they aren’t negatively impacted by stress in comparison to only 18% in cubicle style offices.
Leaving the stress of the office to become a virtual assistant is particularly desirable as it offers the flexibility to choose your own working hours, improve your wellbeing and help you carve out a work-life balance.
That all sounds great – but what exactly is a virtual assistant, what responsibilities do they have and how do you become one? These are the questions we’ll be helping you to understand before you take the plunge into becoming a virtual assistant.
A virtual assistant (VA) is a self-employed individual who provides remote or ‘virtual’ support to a business. Usually working from a home office, it’s unlikely that a VA will ever meet their clients, though they will still build a particularly strong working relationship with their point of contact.
While typical tasks are often administrative, such as managing email accounts, making calls and scheduling appointments, virtual assistants can provide support on a very broad range of activities. These could include social media management, project management and market research (more on this below).
Essentially, if you’re looking for a flexible job that you can tailor to your strengths, becoming a virtual assistant could be the right move for you.
One of the many reasons why people choose to become a VA is due to the variation in tasks and the ability to leverage your own previous experience or expertise. Some VAs will be generalists, though it’s not uncommon to find individuals who have a specialism.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common and more specialist tasks a VA may be completing on a day-to-day basis.
Some of the most popular responsibilities outsourced to VAs include:
Depending on the industry, there are a number of activities a VA could get involved in (with the right, demonstrable experience):
While it isn’t a requirement to have any specific qualifications or training to become a virtual assistant, it would be worth upskilling yourself by attending approved VA training.
You could brush up on your administrative skills or choose a more specialist course to learn invoicing or relationship building between yourself and your client. There are even courses to learn how to price yourself and market your packages.
Take a look at the Society of Virtual Assistants approved VA training to find a suitable course that’s been tried and tested by those in the industry.
Once you’ve completed some initial training and decided becoming a virtual assistant is right for you, you’ll need to figure out your business structure.
The most common approach is freelancing, however if you have big ambitions for yourself and the number of clients you’d like to take on, it will be easier to scale up as a Limited Company.
If you find freelancing or setting up a Limited Company daunting, you could start your career off by working under a virtual assistant company. They’ll take care of any paperwork and you still get the benefit of remote, flexible working.
If you have decided to set yourself up as a Limited Company, you will need to provide a registered office address. You will also need an office address displayed on your website for GDPR reasons and as a PECR requirement if you complete any email marketing.
As most VAs work from home, it’s recommended to find a virtual office that can provide you with a professional address and optional mail forwarding services to make sure you receive important documents.
Virtual HQ has virtual offices in over 100 locations across the UK, many of which are used by virtual assistants. Of course, you can use your home address, however this is probably not the best option if you’d like to portray a professional image, as well as for obvious security reasons.
After you’ve completed your training and set yourself up, you’ll need to spend some time building your personal brand and marketing yourself to find clients.
You can do this by creating a website to display information about yourself, your packages and any testimonials. The website should look professional, highlight your USPs (unique selling points) and encourage potential clients to get in touch with you.
As a virtual assistant, you’ll want to make sure your virtual presence is top notch to reflect your skills. Create professional social media accounts, such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram, to promote your services – this will be particularly important if social media management is one of your selling points!
Now you’ve learnt what a virtual assistant is, what they do and the basic steps to becoming one – is the role of a virtual assistant right for you?
Flexible, remote working and an improved work-life balance is clearly a huge positive, but you’ll need to be driven, resilient and self-motivated to make it a success. So, before you make your decision, ask yourself if you have the following key skills:
If the answer is no, you may want to upskill yourself or get some experience before changing your career. If the answer is yes, then becoming a virtual assistant seems like the right fit for you!
Remember, once you get set up, feel free to contact our friendly team at Virtual HQ and we’d be more than happy to help you set up your virtual office and launch your career.
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