I’ve always fancied the idea of working from home and having a career that I actually liked. Although I’ve had many jobs that I excelled at, let’s be honest, they were not what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I decided to see what career choices were available that I could do from home, and found out how to become a virtual assistant with no experience.
If you have ever thought of working from home and starting your own business, then becoming a virtual assistant might work for you. There has never been a better time to start a work-from-home career; in fact, hybrid work (remote and in an office) is expected to increase in the next few years!
You more than likely already have skills you can utilize to become a virtual assistant. Check out these key steps on what virtual assistants do and how to become a virtual assistant with no experience!
What does a virtual assistant do?
A simpler question would be, "what do virtual assistants not do?!" But seriously, a virtual assistant provides a wide range of services to business owners, from administrative tasks to social media marketing. There are hundreds of virtual assistant skills that are in demand.
Virtual assistant skills to build
What your skills are or what you're willing to learn can determine what services you will offer. You can help business owners with their day-to-day tasks. Some popular virtual assistant services to offer are:
Book flights and organize itineraries for your clients when they travel. You can also help with any necessary research for trips.
Help with email marketing for your clients. You can also respond to messages and help keep your client's emails organized.
Help your clients to reach potential customers by cold calling. Make sales and help new customers to become aware of the brand.
You may help with invoicing and other financial tasks. Doing some of these things can free up your clients to focus on their business.
Keep track of your client's schedules and help them to stay organized. It will probably help to have knowledge of various organizational programs like Google Calendar and Asana.
Social media management
Handle your client's social media calendar, posts, and other details. You should have a good understanding of various social media platforms in order to do this.
If you have the necessary training, you can handle bookkeeping for your clients. You'll keep all financial transactions for their business organized.
Content creation for websites & blogs
Your clients may want you to help with creating content for website pages, blogs, etc. If you're a good writer this is a skill you can put to use. Knowledge of keyword and topic research is important.
Help with blog posts
Your clients may ask for help writing blog posts. You can create new posts or add more/different content to old ones.
Data entry is when you enter data into a computer system. Your clients may need this to keep track of various things with their company.
eCommerce store management
If your customers have online stores, you can help through market research and management. Help with sales and day-to-day operations of the store.
Customer service support
If your client's business involves a lot of customer support, they may ask for your help with that. Which might include discussing products and services with customers and ensuring that they are happy with what they purchased.
There are so many options when it comes to what services you can offer. Be sure to pick something you know or can learn and that you don’t mind doing!
Benefits of virtual assistant work
I love all the benefits of being a virtual assistant. Let's look at some of the best ones before discussing how to become a virtual assistant with no experience.
Be your own boss
A great thing about being a virtual assistant is the ability to own your own business. The start-up costs are pretty affordable, and you get to work from home. Which can be especially helpful if you are a mom.
Being your own boss instead of an employee has its advantages. You can, to an extent, choose the clients you work with and the services you provide.
You'll also be able to find ways to increase your income and expand your business if you want to. These freedoms make being your own boss worthwhile for many.
When I realized how much time out of my life I spent just commuting to work, I was shocked.
The average commute time in America is 27.6 minutes one way to work. So, commuting five days a week for a year, I'd spend about 239 hours in one year in the car!
Working from home gives me more time and less stress from commuting to work.
Work when you want
Another amazing benefit of being a virtual assistant is the ability to make my own schedule...to an extent. Depending on your client's needs, you have the ability to work a schedule you decide on, rather than the 9 to 5 grind.
Of course, you should always communicate with your clients about their expectations to be sure you deliver your work on time.
Work where you want
Working remotely also means you can work anywhere. If you decide you need a change of scenery, you can head to a local coffee shop and work there instead. Many virtual assistants work while traveling too!
Once you learn how to become a virtual assistant with no experience, you will be eager to have a career with so much flexibility.
What virtual assistant training do I need?
Like you, I wondered, "what do I need to become a virtual assistant?" The wonderful thing about becoming a virtual assistant is you don’t need an expensive degree or expensive virtual assistance training to get started.
If you want, you can take a virtual assistant training course, but you can begin without it.
Use your existing skills
You can utilize the virtual assistant skills and knowledge you already have to determine what services you will offer and what tasks you can take on.
For instance, if you have customer service experience, use that to offer services such as customer support for businesses. Are you a social media buff? You can offer to manage businesses’ social media profiles such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.
Think back to your previous jobs and pull from those experiences to use as skills for your new career.
Learn new skills
If you would like to learn new virtual assistant skills and offer particular services there are many ways to attain virtual assistant training for free. Be open to learning new skills in order to help your business grow.
Calendar and travel management
You can pick up key skills for managing calendars and travel schedules from online articles and books. Not only will you learn what it takes to be organized you'll also become a great timekeeper! Snacknation.com provides a great breakdown of calendar management tips.
Graphic design can be an essential skill for virtual assistants. For example, if you enjoy creating brochures and graphics, then you can take free courses at Canva Design School.
Social media and content marketing
Google actually offers free courses and certifications on social media, content marketing, and more. These are important skills to have especially in today's world since social media is a necessity for business owners.
The amazing thing about being a virtual assistant is you can learn as you go. You start with the skills you already have and grow from there to gain more experience and increase your income!
How much do virtual assistants make?
Let’s get down to brass tacks here. We all want a career we enjoy, but it’s even better to have a career we like that also brings home the bacon! So, how much do virtual assistants make anyway?
Well, there’s a wide salary range depending on a variety of factors. Depending on your skill level and whether you work for a company or yourself, you can make anywhere from $15 to $60 an hour!
You will make less by working for a company than you will by working for yourself. However, it can be challenging at first to find clients. So you want to keep that in mind when transitioning into your new career.
Depending on finances, you may want to start part-time and move to full-time when first discovering how to become a virtual assistant with no experience.
Average virtual assistant salary working for a company
If you don't feel prepared to start your own virtual assistant business yet, that's okay. You can always start out by working for a virtual assistant company. Here are a few companies that hire virtual assistants:
- Time Etc.: Average pay is $20 per hour.
- Belay Solutions: $15.86 per hour on average.
- Zirtual: $16.74 per hour on average.
- Boldly: Average of $35-$60 per hour.
The good thing about working for a company is you don’t have to search for your own clients. The bad thing is your hourly pay is capped at a lower rate than it is if you start your own business.
Average virtual assistant salary working for yourself
When you work for yourself, you can make much more hourly because as you gain more experience and clients, you can increase your rates. There are a few ways you can charge your clients for your services.
The first is hourly. When you first start your business, you may charge $15 to $25 per hour depending on your experience and the services you offer. The average virtual assistant hourly rate is $20.53 per hour according to Indeed.
But remember that what you charge per hour depends on what you're doing. You may be able to charge much more for certain specialized services like bookkeeping and digital marketing.
The second way is to create packages and charge by the package. For example, I offer social media packages for Pinterest and Facebook. They say exactly what services are included in a lump sum.
You can start off with a bronze, silver, and gold package if you want. The bronze can include basic services, the silver a few more, and the gold will be the elite package that includes the most time and services provided. Here's an example:
- Bronze package: $800 per month; basic services and 10 hours of work per week.
- Silver package: $1,599 per month; basic services plus customer service and 20 hours of work per week.
- Gold package: $2,399 per month; basic services, customer service support, 5 hours of marketing, plus 30 hours of work per week.
Obviously, you can price your services any way you want and create specific packages that make sense for what you offer. These are just examples to help you see how it works.
The third way to charge for your services is by charging a monthly retainer. A monthly retainer is a flat fee for the entire month of work.
Be careful with this option because sometimes you will have what is known as scope creep from clients. Meaning, they start to add on additional tasks for the same price.
The idea is to eventually charge by the package or a retainer so you can earn more per hour. The faster you complete your tasks, the more money you make because you are getting paid per task rather than by the hour.
Let’s say you charge $250 for a package that takes you five hours to complete; that equals $50 an hour! The more experienced and faster you get, the more money you can make as a virtual assistant.
How to get started as a virtual assistant
You need to know where to start when discovering how to become a virtual assistant with no experience. Try not to let this process overwhelm you; you can launch your new business efficiently with proper planning.
The first steps to launching your new virtual assistant business are deciding what services to offer, pricing your services, setting up your business legally, creating your website and social networks, and finally, finding clients and networking.
Let’s look a little closer at each of these topics to help you get started.
1. Decide what services to offer
There are hundreds of services to offer as a virtual assistant, but you will want to choose a select few to offer your clients. Why? Because when you learn a few key services, you position yourself as an expert rather than a general virtual assistant.
People pay more for a specialist than they do a generalist so trust me, this will pay off and prevent you from overwhelming yourself with options.
You could choose 3-5 services to start with and see how you do with those. For instance, my own services include:
- Social media management
- Web design & copywriting
- e-Commerce shop management
You can always add to your services or change them as you go. Remember this is YOUR business, and you get to choose what you do!
2. Price your services
Before I could price my services I had to research how much do virtual assistants make. After researching what other virtual assistants were charging I found that the average hourly price was $20.53 per hour.
I suggest researching other virtual assistants’ websites and packages to get an idea of how to price your services. You want to keep it simple for your clients but have a variety of options and rates as well.
Offer different prices
I find 3 to be the magic number when offering package variations on your services. It's enough of a variety to choose from but not so many that they feel overwhelmed.
For example, I have three different packages for my Pinterest Packages. It gives the client options based on their budget and needs.
Remember to plan for taxes
Whatever you decide, you need to remember that you will need to deduct your own taxes from your income. Be sure to set up a dedicated savings account for this, so you have the money to pay your taxes when they are due.
When pricing your services, try to think of what you want your net income to be, which is your take-home pay after taxes.
3. Set up your business
When setting up your business, you need to be sure you take the proper legal actions. You need to decide if you will be operating as a Sole Proprietor or as a Limited Liability Company. Also, secure any licenses or permits required to operate your business.
You may want to consult with an attorney and accountant to be sure you have everything in place to make your business legal.
Create contracts for your clients to be sure you both agree to the terms and conditions of the services you are offering, and that you get paid on time. Legalzoom.com, rocketlawyer.com, and lawdepot.com offer a ton of great free contract templates to get started. Keep in mind that these templates do not replace an actual lawyer.
Also, check on getting business insurance to protect both your business and personal assets in the event of a lawsuit.
4. Create your website & social media networks
Some say it’s not necessary, but I’m a firm believer that it’s majorly beneficial for your business to have a virtual assistant website and social media accounts.
In my opinion, by having a website, you look more professional, and it’s a great way to showcase your business. You can also list your packages and pricing and let clients find you! Some knowledge of WordPress and website design may be useful.
Social media networks are one of the best ways to market your business. Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram are platform powerhouses that you can utilize for free to search for clients and set up business pages that attract clients to you.
If you’re interested in becoming a social media virtual assistant, this is the perfect way to show your skills.
5. Find clients & network
Once your business is all set up, it’s time to start finding clients. It may seem daunting to find your first customer, but it gets easier with practice. A huge part of learning how to become a virtual assistant with no experience is learning how to find clients.
You can start by announcing your new business on your personal social media profiles. Invite your friends and family to your new business website and profiles. You’d be surprised who your family & friends may know that need the services you're offering.
You can reach potential clients by contacting small businesses locally or online. Check out Manta to find small businesses and their contact information to start getting clients!
A popular way to get clients is cold-emailing. Cold emailing is when you contact businesses via email to introduce yourself and offer your services to them.
You can find virtual assistant jobs on sites such as Upwork and Indeed too. Upwork has a ton of jobs, but they do take up to a 20% fee from your pay. You can also set up a free google business page to list your services for clients to find you.
Use any opportunity you have to promote your business
Look for opportunities everywhere you go when launching your business. I was at my children’s book signing and met another author that was in desperate need of a virtual assistant; she just didn’t know it yet. She was a busy mother of two and a best-selling author that needed help with tasks she didn’t have time for.
I gave her my card, and she hired me to catch up on some tasks for her! You never know who will need your services. Be proud of your new business, and seek out potential clients when the opportunity presents itself.
What do I need to become a virtual assistant?
When it comes to your virtual assistant business, there are some tools that you will need to operate your business efficiently.
Computer and internet connection
One of the main tools is a decent computer; a must for online businesses. You will need a computer that can perform at optimum speeds for programs such as Zoom and Skype. Consider purchasing one pre-owned if you don’t already own one to save money.
You also will need to have a reliable internet connection to be able to work remotely.
If it makes it easier for you to work, setting up multiple monitors can be useful, especially if you work with a lot of tabs open.
There are multiple programs you can use as a virtual assistant, such as Google Workspace, Slack, and Trello. These programs help communicate with clients, organize your tasks and more. Many platforms offer a free version, and you can start with these to save on start-up costs.
How to become a virtual assistant with no experience: extra tips
Maybe you're still asking the question, how to become a virtual assistant with no experience? and you want more information. Here are some extra tips to give you the confidence to start this career.
Show your experience
You may think you don't have any of the skills to be a virtual assistant. But if you've worked in any administrative capacity, even volunteering, you may have more skills than you realize.
For example, if you often host parties or plan them for friends, that's event planning and organization. If your Instagram account is amazing, this could be considered management of social media platforms.
Then think of any other admin-type tasks that you can include on a resume. Even being good at phone calls can be a positive to add to the list.
Starting small can be good. To get started with VA work, try finding odd jobs on Upwork, LinkedIn, or FlexJobs, to add to your resume. Once you complete a few jobs, you'll be more confident as you take on full-time clients.
Get a job at a company to gain experience
Working at a company that hires virtual assistants can help you get the training you need to branch out on your own. You'll learn the ropes and find out if this type of work is for you.
Reach out to people you know
Tell those you know that you are starting a business. Because they already know you'll work hard and do a great job, they can give you small jobs or keep you in mind for projects. Or they might know people that are hiring!
How to manage time as a virtual assistant
One of the things I had to research when I was learning how to become a virtual assistant was time management. I always say time is money, so you need to use your time in the most productive way possible.
I was once proud of being an excellent multi-tasker. That is until I found out that multitasking is actually less productive than focusing on one task at a time. The key is to batch your tasks to use your time efficiently.
So, if you provide email management and social media services, then do all of your email tasks in a set session and the social media in another batch session. It reduces time switching back and forth between various tasks and increases workflow.
You should also use the time-blocking method when creating your schedule because it optimizes focus and productivity. Time-blocking is when you block off sections of time to complete your tasks.
For example, I will block off from 9:00 am to 11:00 am to complete my social media tasks. These two hours are totally dedicated to this task. You can time-block everything in your day to keep you focused and on task.
I love using Google Calendar to create my schedule because you can use different colors to color-code your time blocks. It’s also free to use, so it’s a win-win!
You can have a successful career as a virtual assistant!
Now that you know how to become a virtual assistant with no experience and know that you don’t need expensive virtual assistant training, you can get started with your new career.
Remember it takes perseverance to operate your own business but the benefits are totally worth it. Don’t forget to create a financial business plan and set your money goals. That way you can be successful!