(UPDATED OCTOBER 6, 2019)
As more and more entrepreneurs create successful online businesses, there is an increasing need for them to hire people to assist them. The person who assists someone online in running their business is called a virtual assistant. Now more and more people all around the world are learning how to become a virtual assistant.
(This post may contain affiliate links, which means at no additional cost to you I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.)
The virtual assistant (VA) field is fairly new and expanding rapidly. With the large variety of work you can perform and the income you can earn as a VA, this is one of the best work-from-home jobs out there. You will find a detailed description of what exactly a virtual assistant does here.
In the following interview Gina Horkey, creator of the super-successful Horkey Handbook virtual assistant online courses, talks about how to become a virtual assistant and what 2020 holds for this awesome freelance career.
How to Become a Virtual Assistant
Q. Who is a good fit to be a virtual assistant?
A. What I hear from clients over and over is that they’re looking for someone that’s:
- A self-starter
- And reliable
So while they’re looking for people that can provide certain services, the personal traits they are looking for are the above. As long as you know how to train, you’ve got a shot!
VA’s also need to have either a desktop or laptop computer and reliable internet. Don’t worry about having any fancy programs or applications – most of your clients will give you access to their cloud-based tools and software programs that you need to complete your work for them.
Q. There are a huge variety of ways in which you can earn money as a virtual assistant. What are some of these ways?
A. Depending upon your skills and interests, you’re almost guaranteed to find something that will appeal to potential clients. Here are a few examples:
- Customer support
- Processing online orders and refunds
- Website design
- WordPress maintenance
- Graphic design and layout
- Calendar management and travel arrangements
- Content creation for blogs and ghostwriting
- Editing and proofreading
- Content research
We’ve compiled a list of 150+ common VA services that provide you with a great starting point here.
Q. What is a virtual assistant’s salary?
A. From the little research that exists, the average North American virtual assistant earns between $25 to $40 per hour.
How much money you can make as a virtual assistant is going to depend on your experience, skillset and areas of expertise. I.e., the more specialized your services and the more experience you have, the more you can charge.
I’ve seen people in our community charge as little as $15 per hour and others earn more than $100 per hour (including myself). Ultimately it comes down to being really good at what you do and finding clients that value what you’re offering them.
How quickly you start earning depends on how quickly -and frequently – you begin putting yourself out there for hire. for some real-life examples of VA’s in our Horkey Handbook community who have built successful businesses after their virtual assistant training.
In my opinion, independent contracting and working virtually is the way of the future.
Q. Your course, 30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistant Success, is perhaps the top online course to teach people how to become a virtual assistant. What do people learn in your course?
A. In 30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistant Success, you learn:
- Exactly what is expected of virtual assistants
- Traits that make an excellent VA
- How to find the virtual assistant niche that suits you best
- What types of virtual assistant services you should offer
- What title you should give yourself
- Establishing and growing an online presence for yourself
- Finding clients and networking in person
- Job boards, marketplaces and agencies
- How to set up a business
- Establishing proper rates
- Invoicing and automatic payment
- Working with clients
Most students make their way through the material in a month or less.
Q. What kind of results can people get from your online course?
A. Many of my students end up getting hired by their first client before they finish. Results vary based on the time someone has available, the amount of action they take and the skill set they enter the course with.Some people have the goal of bringing in a few hundred extra dollars each month, while others want to replace a six-figure salary. We’ve seen numerous students accomplish both goals over the last several years. Most land somewhere in between.
Q. How does a freelance virtual assistant get clients?
A. We cover more than a half dozen prospecting methods in 30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistant Success but a few of our favorites are:
- Using social media
- In-person networking
- Tapping into your natural market
Methods for finding and attracting high-quality clients haven’t changed much over the last decade, but really understanding what they are, which you’re best suited for and how to go about them in the right way are important. Luckily for our students, prospecting and building effective client relationships are kind of our specialty.
Q. What do you see happening for the virtual assistant field in 2020?
A. I see it only growing!
We’re currently in this “throwback to entrepreneurism” phase in society. WHY? People are desperate for flexibility.
They’re not afraid to work hard either. Instead, they want to call the shots when it comes to who they work with, what type of work they do and when they do it.
They also don’t mind being the one to dictate their salary either. 😉
But you wouldn’t believe how many folks still don’t know what a virtual assistant is or what they do.
Q. Most virtual assistants are freelancers. What are some important ways life as a freelance virtual assistant will differ from life as an employee working in an office?
A. This type of work is especially suitable for folks that are self-directed and able to manage their time well. If you seem to finish your work quickly and are twiddling your thumbs until something hits your inbox, becoming a VA will give you the option to scale your income in relation to what you’re able to get done in less time.
There’s also a whole lot of freedom that comes along with working online as a virtual assistant. For the most part, you can complete your work on your terms – i.e. on your schedule and from wherever you are that has reliable internet.
Q. What specific challenges did you encounter when you were a freelance virtual assistant, and how did you conquer those challenges so that you saw success?
A. Getting one’s first client is probably the most challenging part in the beginning.
It’s much easier to land client #2 once you’ve landed #1. You’re not as scared to “put yourself out there” and you have some experience under your belt.
You have to feel the fear and just do it anyway – landing clients and delivering services to them is kinda how you get paid as a VA. 😉
If you want to learn more about how to become a virtual assistant, you can take Gina’s free webinar right here.