Welcome back to the Changing Careers Series! Each week, I’m going to handle a different freelance career: A profession typically performed by people who have their own business, and work from home – or anywhere else. This week is all about virtual assistants. Let’s get started!
What does a freelance virtual assistant do?
You can consider virtual assistants (VAs) as the remote version of traditional personal assistants or office managers. Freelance virtual assistants usually work from home and are in charge of managing multiple online activities. Generally speaking, virtual assistants are a key asset for bloggers or solopreneurs who are overwhelmed with all the tasks they have to manage.
What kind of tasks does a freelance virtual assistant perform?
Almost any task which can be performed virtually ☺ That is, VAs can take charge of all those activities which can be completed and delivered online. Similar to freelance translators, freelance virtual assistants’ range of responsibilities is so broad, that you can look for a specific task that you love, and make it your specialization!
Some examples of freelance virtual assistants’ work:
General admin tasks: Email management, setting and managing appointments, newsletter creation and strategy
Customer service: Answering customer requests, contacting customers
Social media: Social media strategy, scheduling, publishing posts, link-up parties, online reputation management
SEO: Keyword research, content research, search engine optimization strategy and techniques
Online products: Creation of ebooks, workbooks, worksheets
Blog: Management of posts and other content management, CMS, ads, affiliate marketing, backups, website maintenance
Think of all different tasks a freelancer or solopreneur has to perform online – and figure out where you can help 😉
How to become a freelance virtual assistant
♥ Specialization is king: Choose a task you’re really good at – or a task you’re willing to go deeper into. Dedicate all your energy to your chosen task and go for it!
♥ You should be online-tool savvy to be able to manage all your clients. Otherwise, you’ll have to hire a VA yourself to reduce your overwhelm 😉
♥ I’d suggest you check out some project management options, like Trello or Asana, as well as bookkeeping and invoicing tools, like Freshbooks or HelloBonsai. They’ll make your life a lot easier.
♥ As a freelance virtual assistant, you’ll typically have 4 types of customers:
♥ Bloggers – Blog management includes almost any task you can think of: Content creation, advertising, sales, online marketing, email marketing, social media marketing, bookkeeping… You name it. This means that if you’re able to take up one or more of these tasks, you should have no problem finding a job. Any blogger who wants to grow her blog will be craving for your help.
♥ Startups & small companies – Startups or small companies with an online presence will generally need the online version of a traditional personal assistant. So if you’re especially good at dealing – by phone or email – with customers, suppliers or contractors, this could be your thing!
♥ Physical stores – Small to medium-sized stores – like restaurants, coffee shops, for instance – with an online image will need someone to take care of their online business. Make sure you let them feel they can concentrate on their store – and make yourself essential for their online presence 😉
♥ E-commerce – Good management and bookkeeping skills are essential for customers with an e-commerce. If you’re a techie and can help them out with their online store, you’ll be a very valuable asset for the company!
Some additional notes about freelance virtual assistants’ work
♥ Again, concentrate on specialization. A blogger who is having time issues to write newsletters isn’t going to look for “email marketing help.” But if you offer newsletter creation and management, you’re going to be her saver!
♥ You’re there to help someone with very little time – otherwise, they’d do it themselves. That means that you should be able to work on your own, independently and without disturbing your customer with constant questions. Instead, make as many questions as you can at the very beginning, and make sure you don’t have any unclear issues left.
♥ Anticipate yourself to potential problems your customer may have in the near future, and offer solutions.
♥ If you’re going to offer online services, you’d rather be online yourself! That’s where they’re going to look for you 😉
♥ Search for customers both global and local: Some customers like having meetings once a week or month, so you may have more chances if you live nearby. On the other hand, you’re going to be working online, so you could have customers from Asia to the USA without it being a problem. Just consider time-zone differences 😉
♥ A good virtual assistant has to be highly well-organized and work very systematically.
How can I work as a freelance virtual assistant if I have no experience?
Combine your current skills and experience with technical abilities. The more tools you can work with, the better.
However, maybe you’re not a techie at all, but you’re 24/7 on Pinterest? Then you’d be more than appropriate to become a Pinterest virtual assistant!! Yep, that’s actually a thing!! Check out this post by my friend Gina Horkey, who also offers a Pinterest VA course 🙂
If you don’t feel ready to work as a virtual assistant yet, check out some specialized courses for VAs and choose which field are you going to specialize in. You got it 😉
Equipment I need as a freelance virtual assistant
♥ Good PC with Microsoft Office
♥ High-speed Internet connection
♥ Project management & bookkeeping software tools
♥ Professional website and email address
♥ Check out this post about practical tools & equipment for freelancers you could be getting for special dates, like Christmas or Black Friday 😉
Let me know your thoughts about freelancing as a freelancer virtual assistant or VA. Do you have any questions you’d like me to address? Go for it 😉
Are you born to freelance?
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Other posts in this series:
Freelance Visual Designer
Freelance Social Media Manager
Freelance Online Teacher
Work from home successfully
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