57.3 million people within the United States are currently working as freelancers. They represent close to $1.4 trillion of the annual US economy contribution. Have you been feeling the desire to work in relative freedom?
There has never been a bigger spotlight on the benefits of remote working than today. With the emergence of COVID-19 and its effects on the world, remote working may be a permanent feature of the global workplace.
There is a phrase most people think about often: work-life balance. At some level, all working adults around the world over search for this balance. We all want to earn a living while enjoying a fulfilling personal life.
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If you are looking for more autonomy at work, becoming a virtual assistant (VA) might be the best option for you.
You will need to get familiar with the virtual assistant job description. But first, let’s briefly look at the benefits of leveraging your current skills by becoming a VA.
Becoming a virtual assistant can open up your world to new possibilities. You have the flexibility to create a completely different lifestyle for yourself.
As a virtual assistant, you will:
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- Choose a flexible work schedule
- Collaborate with pioneering entrepreneurs
- Showcase your hidden marketable skills
- Perfect your skill in a particular niche
- Diversify into unchartered markets
What Is a Virtual Assistant?
Think of a virtual assistant as an independent contractor. VAs provide different services to entrepreneurs or businesses from a remote location. Each of these services relates to the employer’s niche.
As a VA, you will mostly operate from home. But you should be able to access necessary documents and information related to your specific role. A virtual assistant job description is like that of an office manager. It could also look like a secretarial or clerical role.
This is because of the high volume of administrative tasks delegated to VAs. Businesses have increased their internet and web usage. As a result, VAs have become critical in offering the necessary support.
One of the main reasons people hire VAs is to save on overhead costs. Note that as an independent contractor, you may not be entitled to the same benefits as a salaried employee.
But with the right client base and pricing model, you can design your own benefits and vacation packages.
Virtual Assistant Job Description
There is no one blanket virtual assistant job description per se. In fact, there are a host of tasks you can perform remotely as a VA, including:
- Social media management
- Event organization
- Handling calendars, appointments, and emails
- Creating reports and analytics
- Basic digital marketing tasks
- Content creation
- Bookkeeping and accounting
- General admin tasks
The above list is hardly exhaustive but it should give you a general idea. Virtual assistants can offer different services.
Consider what it is that you are really great at. This will help you personalize your job search and help you set the best pricing with your target clients in mind. When starting out as a VA, the first – and best – course of action is to specialize in one niche.
Focus on the occupations with high demand when you specialize. By specializing in one area, you will soon become identifiable as a sought after expert. Which means getting paid much higher and having better opportunities for career development.
Who Needs a Virtual Assistant?
There are opportunities in almost every industry today for virtual assistants. Small business owners or new startups need to invest more time towards other goals. These include business strategy, planning, and other associated goals.
The majority of business functions that “distract” owners and operators can happen online.
Likewise, most companies are turning towards digital marketing. These opportunities further raise the demand for competent virtual assistants. As a VA you could work for a publishing firm, a marketing agency, a law firm, or a real estate agency.
Here are a few detailed examples of industries that VAs can work in:
Do you have some experience in the world of finance? Your skill could yield lucrative returns as a virtual assistant.
Informal technology has started to make a mark within the financial services industry. Financial services companies have noted today’s preference for online operations.
Rather than tapping through a mobile app, customers look for a human connection for easy FAQs. This is an instant value-add that can be fulfilled by a VA.
You can handle simple transactions, solve basic expenditure queries, share proactive suggestions, or keep tabs on due bills and balances.
Other services that fall under this niche include:
- Processing payments
- Payroll management
The e-commerce industry has completely revolutionized the modern way of doing business. Running an e-commerce store can be challenging for a small or mid-size entrepreneur. They often have an endless task list to work through each day.
As an e-commerce virtual assistant, your job description will involve handling these platforms. It is a great opportunity to develop serious expertise in a relatively unique niche.
Some of the services you could help an e-commerce entrepreneur perform include:
- Customer service management
- Tracking orders, including entries, shipments, and invoices
- Handling customer returns or exchanges
- Checking inventory
- Digital marketing
- Website maintenance
Businesses all around the world are aware that it’s critical to publish regular website content. This sets the stage for content creators. If you have great SEO writing skills, this is your chance. Businesses need web content creators.
They want people who understand the value of quality content. Specifically content and its relationship to search engine results pages (SERPS).
You have two options in this case. You can either work for a content company or for different bloggers and even vloggers.
As a VA to a blogger or content creator, you can:
- Help them build credibility.
- Draw in different audiences.
- Boost website traffic.
You can even start your own blog and use it to showcase your SEO knowledge while earning money on the side.
Some of the tasks you can take on as a content creator’s VA include:
- Writing, editing, and proofreading blog posts
- Moderating blog and website comments
- Sourcing or creating social media graphics
- Improving SEO
- Link checking – removing broken links, adding affiliate links
- Email management
- Social media strategy
The Skills You Need to Be an Awesome Virtual Assistant
One of the best things about the virtual assistant profession is its diverse nature. Naturally, admin experience is the top of the line for a VA. But literally anyone with the right skill and attitude can do it.
Being a successful VA is not only about supporting small businesses with their admin. You must learn the tools of the trade and how to manage and communicate with your clients. Many professionals can become exceptional virtual assistants.
VAs can be teachers, stay-at-home moms, HR assistants, nurses, or accountants. As long as you have extra time and a solid home office set up, you can be on your way.
The following skills can really make you stand out as a competent VA:
- High-level organizational skills: This is the most important aspect of a virtual assistant’s job description. You need to be very organized to keep track of different client assignments.
- Exceptional communication skills: This is another top priority for remote working. Don’t assume. Keep asking questions, seek clarity, and always follow through. You must be good at communicating via both phone and email.
- Tech savviness: The top VAs have next-level computer skills. They are also quite adept at using a wide range of software programs for different reasons.
- Multitasking: As a VA you may need to keep up with a multitude of requests. You have to be able to perform each task very fast without compromising on work quality.
Some other key soft skills that make a great VA include:
Where to Find Virtual Assistant Jobs
So now you might be thinking that a VA could be the right path for you. There are literally dozens of job sites you can dig into, but let’s get into just the top websites where you should start looking for VA jobs asap.
FlexJobs is broader in terms of career offerings. The website caters to both full time and part-time remote jobs. It also has thousands of job listings so you will be spoilt for choice. They also screen each of the listings on the site for legitimacy.
Upwork is the result of a merger between two remote work powerhouses, Elance and oDesk. It can be competitive for job seekers. However, there are thousands of jobs posted on the site daily. They also have options for full or part-time work.
Upwork also has a US only job filter that can be useful for VAs based in the United States.
Fancy Hands was named the most helpful startup in the world by Mashable. It is great for VAs looking for administrative tasks. These include assignments such as reservation booking, customer service calls, and other personal tasks. It also offers convenience to employers via a mobile app for both Android and iOS devices.
Virtalent is a virtual assistant company originating from the UK. They have quite a high standard for their VAs. They target existing VAs with over 8 years of existing experience. This would be a great option for you after you polish up your resume as an assistant.
Virtual Staff Finder is based in the Philippines. The business has been operational for a decade. It targets small or upcoming businesses looking to hire virtual assistants on a long-term basis. This is a good place to leverage your existing skills.
Time Etc switches its home base between the US and UK. They also target expert level virtual assistants who have two or more years of experience.
24/7 Virtual Assistant offers VAs who can work on personal tasks and admin functions. These include bookings, food deliveries, laundry pickups, admin support, email marketing, web development, digital marketing, etc.
MyOutDesk is aimed at professionals working from the Philippines. The website promises fledgling VAs a fighting chance. They offer both training and support. They also guarantee VAs who sign up consistent and flexible work schedules.
Start Your Virtual Assistant Career Today
Whether you are already working as an assistant or considering a career change, there is a niche for you. Remember that being a jack of all trades is good, but it is even better to specialize.
Make sure to specialize in the skills that are less common. As you focus on two or three highly sought-after skills your career will skyrocket to the next level. Keep in mind that it will take time and persistence in the beginning.
Nevertheless, you can become an effective VA in no time. All you need is the right balance between dedication, attitude, and enthusiasm.
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