What is A Virtual Assistant?

virtual assistant working from the beach
Are you curious about what a Virtual Assistant is and wondering if it is something you would like to pursue? Awesome! Let’s do this!

So... What Is A Virtual Assistant?

In short, a Virtual Assistant can be almost anything you want it to be in terms of work that is assisting someone and their business. It is a broad title that can cover a lot of different areas. This is great since it means there are lots of opportunities for VA work!

Virtual Assistant Admin

In this role, you are, in a sense, a virtual secretary for the person you are working for. You are available to help with any virtual task that your client is looking for. That may be data entry; it may be emails or social media help.

Any task that your client wants. This work is usually done within a set amount of hours each week, dependent on how much help the client needs. 

This can be a fun role to have if you like variety and are looking to learn many different tasks. You may decide to take these tasks and hone in on one or two to become an expert in them. Or you may enjoy the variety and be open to continuing to take on whatever tasks the client is looking for. (Want some help keeping track of all these tasks? Learn about organizing your digital workspace.)

The best advice I have for this role is to know you aren’t going to know how to do everything out of the gate. BUT if you have the drive and want to be good at what you do. Say yes to things you don’t even exactly know how to do and use your own time to research and learn (don’t charge the client for this). This will help grow your skill base – while also getting paid for the work you are doing for your client.

Clients appreciate having virtual assistants who have this drive and desire to learn and deliver what they ask for. If they ask you to do backend coding or some complex task, it is OK to say no. For more straightforward tasks or tools, it is worth it to give it a go and see what you can learn.

Specific Tasks Virtual Assistant

This is a whole different kind of Virtual Assistant. In this case, you will present to the client what your skillset is and the type of work you can do.

You may choose to be a Project Manager VA – who can take a client’s project idea and make it a reality.

Or this could be something along the lines of a Social Media or Pinterest VA where you hone your skills on a specific set of Social Media tools and only offer those services.

In this case, you can put together packages with a set price and set work that you will deliver for your client.

If you specialize in a particular task/area, you can generally charge more for your services since you are an expert on the service you are providing.

This becomes less of an “I will do what you tell me” role with the client, and more of a “this is what I do.” It is always OK to take on more work from the client if you would like to, just be sure you are getting paid appropriately for your time and expertise.

Here are a few specific tasks you could offer:

  • Newsletter creation
  • Data entry
  • Email inbox maintenance
  • Presentation creating
  • Social Media
  • Pinterest
  • YouTube maintenance
  • Blog post-editing
  • Basic bookkeeping
  • Invoicing clients
  • Podcast tasks
  • Organization
  • Landing page creation
  • Customer relation manager

The list goes on and on.

Above all else, to be a successful Virtual Assistant, you want to focus on a few things.

  1. ALWAYS deliver on time.
  2. NEVER make your client reach out to you asking you how a project is going.
  3. OVER communicate.
  4. Take ownership of your tasks and do what needs to be done to get them done.

If someone hires a VA, they want someone to take things off their plate – not add to their plate. Make this easy for them and make them feel like you are making their life easier.

If you really want to impress them, find things in their business, they could improve on and present ideas and options on how YOU can do this for them.

Alright, you are ready to do this and become a Virtual Assistant. Now what?!

Getting Your First Virtual Assistant Job

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This is what I always share about getting your first clients. It is also what worked for me to kick off my business.

Find a few people you know that have their own business and reach out to them and ask if you can work for them for free for one month. Make it very clear that it is only free for one month. Also, have a plan on what you could do for them.

To put this plan together, research their business and find places where you think they may need help or support. Put together a simple PDF document laying out the kind of work you could do for them.

Present the document to them and offer to do the work laid out for free for one month. If they like what you have been doing after one month and it is working well, you will present what your fee is to continue with the work.

I like this approach since it gives everyone time to try out this role and see how it works. Many business owners are hesitant to bring on a VA since they aren’t sure how it will work. This gives them a chance to try it out.

It also gives you a chance as a new business owner to see how this works, if you like it, and to get an idea of how you should present your offerings to future clients.

To keep it simple and straightforward, be sure to provide set dates out of the gate. For example:

  • Work for free from May 1st – June 1st.
  • May 15th – Reach out to discuss how things are going.
  • May 22nd – Send over potential fees for ongoing service beyond June 1st.
  • June 1st – Start paid work.

From there, game on! Time to prove to your first clients that they want to pay you and that you can help them accomplish more in their business.

Once you have your first few clients, be sure to set up a referral system and let your clients know. It can be as simple as saying I will give you $50 off your next invoice for any new clients you send my way. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy.

Alright – you got this!! Time to put a plan together on what you want to do as a VA, find those first potential clients, reach out to them, and get the ball rolling!!

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Author

Bryanna Royal

Bryanna Royal started Virtual Powerhouse, a business that does Pinterest support for small businesses, and co-founded Crazy Family Adventure with her husband, where they write about things to do in locations, road trips, and RV life. They have been traveling full-time around North America in their RV with their 4 kids since May 2014. If they aren’t out climbing mountains, hiking to a waterfall, or playing at the beach they are most likely at the local donut shop trying to find the best donuts in the US!

Want to hear more from Bryanna? Join her and many more remote work experts at the Rethinking Remote Work Conference, March 4-8, 2021! Grab your free ticket here.

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