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The Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Virtual Assistant

The Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Virtual Assistant

Hey there! I’m sure you are here because you’d want more information about how you can start working from the comfort of your own home. As cheesy as it may sound, but you are in luck, my friend! Enter – The Ultimate Guide To Becoming a Virtual Assistant.

Everything you’ll read in this guide is based on my personal experience, my lessons learned, other VAs’ experience, tips I learned from credible VA mentors and seasoned Virtual Assistants and my own research. So, it is straightforward and honest.

My aim is to give you a clear overview of what to expect before you decide to work in your jammies BUT earn like a corporate executive in a sharp-looking (but uncomfortable) suit. 😉 You’ll soon find out what I mean…

In this guide, you will learn:

  • The answers to frequently asked work from home questions
  • How to identify your strengths and weaknesses so you know what you can offer
  • Where to find clients looking for Virtual Assistants from the Philippines

Enjoy! Let’s get started…

ultimate guide to becoming a virtual assistant part 1

What is a Virtual Assistant?

The term Virtual Assistant has evolved through all these years, but let me give you 3 practical definitions from credible Virtual Assistant mentors:

susan mershon, pmp “If someone asks me what’s a Virtual Assistant, I tell them they are somebody who works from home and they support online businesses and that could be administrative, technical, social media. That’s how I would describe it.”

~ Susan Mershon, PMP, The Techie Mentor
michelle dale virtual miss friday“A Virtual Assistant is somebody who can assist another person online with something and that could be anything whether it’s an administrative service, a creative service, a marketing service, and people even have concierge service online now.”

~ Michelle Dale, Virtual Miss Friday
kathie thomas clayton's secretary“A Virtual Assistant is pretty much like a corporate PA, but with a wider skillset and operating from a home based office for a variety of clients, rather than just one boss.”

~ Kathie Thomas, A Clayton's Secretary

Based on these definitions, we can say that a Virtual assistant is a hired professional skilled for performing various tasks to support an offshore or local client with their business through internet technology.

What Are The Types of Virtual Assistants?

Virtual Assistants can be classified into 3 types: Employees, Independent Contractors and Subcontractors.

Employee VAs

An employee is hired for a specific job or to provide labor and who works in the service of someone else (the employer).

Related TermsAdvantagesDisadvantages
Worker, Staff Member, LaborerEnjoys the perks of an employee as mandated by lawInflexible work hours
Streamlined training is providedVariety of task may be limited
Focused on one employerCan not work for another employer

Employee VAs are either based in an office or work from home. Some companies who hire employee VAs train their staff in their office and later give them the option to work from home.

Independent Contractor VAs

An independent contractor is a person who contracts to perform services for others without having the legal status of an employee.

Related TermsAdvantagesDisadvantages
Freelancers, Self-employed, Consultants, Business Owners
Limitless number of clients and earningsPays own tax and other costs related to work such as internet subscription
You set your own terms when it comes to your time and rateNo "employee benefits"
You are not limited to work with only one clientYou invest in your own training

Subcontractor VAs

Subcontractors undertake a contract from an independent contractor.

Related TermsAdvantagesDisadvantages
Freelancers, Self-employed, Consultants, Business Owners
Limitless number of clients and earningsPays own tax and other costs related to work such as internet subscription
You set your own terms when it comes to your time and rateNo "employee benefits"
You are not limited to work with only one clientYou invest in your own training

What Are The Usual Tasks of Virtual Assistants?

Virtual Assistant tasks depend on a VA’s specialization and the requirement of the client. Here is an example of a few tasks that VAs usually do:

Administrative & Personal AssistanceDigital MarketingCustomer SupportSales Support
Calendar Management Article/ Blog post Writing Support Ticket Management Cold Calling/Telemarketing
Email Management Website Management Live Chat Support Identifying Sales Opportunities
Travel/Booking AssistanceSearch Engine Optimization Inbound/Outbound Call Support Leads Generation
Appointment SettingCopywritingForum/Membership Site Management
Database ManagementList Building
Internet ResearchSocial Media Management
MS Office Formatting TasksPay-per-click Advertising

Who Needs The Services of a Virtual Assistant?

With the booming industry of Virtual Assistance, I can say that there will never be scarcity in clients who are willing to hire a Virtual Assistant. Here’s a list of typical clients:

Business OwnersProfessionals
CoachesEngineers
Affiliate MarketersDoctors
Retail Store OwnersDentists
Digital MarketersLawyers
Virtual Assistant AgenciesFellow Virtual Assistant

How Much Do Virtual Assistants Earn?

Earnings of a Virtual Assistant can be compared to earnings of any professional. It depends on various factors like:

  • competitiveness of your rates
  • services you offer or your specialization
  • number of clients you have
  • your personal traits and professionalism

So, really, your earnings as a Virtual Assistant are limitless. The only thing that will limit your earnings is (wait for it) – you.

What Are The Things You Need To Have To Become a Virtual Assistant?

Don’t worry too much about the things you “need” before you even start because you will actually figure out what you need as you go along your Virtual Assistant journey. There are 6 essential things that you must have. 3 of which can be easily bought while the other 3 are things you either have or don’t 😉 .

    1. Reliable computer and stable internet connection
    2. Work for hire agreement template
    3. Tools: Gmail, Skype, and PayPal
    4. Positive attitude
    5. Resourcefulness
    6. Right Mindset

ultimate guide to becoming a virtual assistant part 2

In part 2 of The Ultimate Guide To Becoming a Virtual Assistant, I will help you identify your strengths and weaknesses in relation to your professional skills and personal traits through good old classic S.W.O.T. Analysis.

This is something I haven’t done when I started working as a V.A. This led me to take on projects that I never learned to do very well or kept on putting in the sideline because I realized I didn’t like doing it or it simply wasn’t one of my strengths.

That’s why I would highly recommend that you do this activity before even jumping into the V.A. bandwagon.

Why is it important to exactly know your strengths and weaknesses? Well, let’s call this soul-searching from a career perspective. You have to seriously think about it so you can understand yourself better and come up with a better decision (if not the best) for your future. 😉

In identifying your strengths, you’ll be able to:

      • know what you have to offer and have confidence knowing that you really are good at a certain task
      • not just settle with being good but continue to exert an effort to level up and be even better
      • find every opportunity to showcase your talent

On the other hand, if you know your weaknesses, you’ll be able to:

      • stop frustrating yourself and others for not doing something that meets your/their expectations
      • politely bail out on projects you can’t contribute to
      • look for an opportunity to turn your weakness into something positive

To get started, I’ll give you a few questions to think about, examples and scenarios that will help you fill out that blank S.W.O.T. sheet.

Strengths

Now is the time to put on your diva crown. Look in the mirror and try to remember all your glory days in your university, community, organization and corporate jobs. Ask yourself this question: “What kind of awesomeness did I do that made me deserve an accolade?” Recall every standing ovation-worthy feedback you received from your professor, mentor, boss, friends, relatives, and clients. This can include any or all the following:

      • your achievements
      • your certifications
      • your values
      • your positive personal traits
      • also, the things you love doing

Example:

      • I led a fundraiser for 10 children with cancer that helped them pay for their medical bills for 3 months.
      • I am a registered nurse.
      • I am committed to delivering excellent output all the time.
      • I believe that being honest is the most important thing in life.
      • I love everything that requires me to think outside of the box.

Weaknesses

This can be the most difficult thing to do because honestly, it’s scary to know what you’re not good at and the reason you suck at it. Just face up your fear, have an open mind and be honest in doing this. A good question to start with is: “What are some of the things I hate doing? I hate it so much that I’ve always put it aside and never finished them.” Consider the following as well:

      • your negative personal traits
      • things that other people outperform you in
      • gaps and deficiencies in your skills and knowledge
      • not so good things you’ve heard about you from other people such as your professor, mentor, boss, friends/non-friends, relatives and clients

Example:

      • I hate it when people don’t get what I mean despite giving very detailed information.
      • Most people can easily strike a conversation with anybody while I can’t.
      • I think I have a fear called “technophobia”
      • I can be aloof, shy and timid at times so my colleagues find me unapproachable.

If you are really stuck with this, ask for feedback from close friends, relatives, and former colleagues. This will eliminate the process of digging out old memories. Plus, it’s a good way to catch up. You can offer them something in return too for giving you genuine feedback and for having the time to do it.

Let’s backtrack a little and define what S.W.O.T. analysis is: S.W.O.T. analysis is a study undertaken by an organization to identify its internal strengths and weaknesses, as well as its external opportunities and threats.

Considering you are someone new in the V.A. industry, let me help you fill out the external aspects of S.W.O.T. analysis (Opportunities and Threats) by giving you examples:

Opportunities

      • The entrepreneurial mindset is spreading like wildfire. Startups and small to medium-sized business owners are looking for Virtual Assistants. Therefore, it is safe to conclude that the Virtual Assistant industry is growing. Let me quote Michael Hyatt “I’m convinced that virtual assistants are the future.” Enough said.
      • There is a lot of free and paid information available online in the form of mentors, networking groups, and bloggers who are willing to share what they know. You can use this to your advantage. Keyword: resourcefulness.

Threats

      • The growing demand for VAs will definitely make way for more competitors.
      • Competitors offering lower rates might make it harder to convey professional value to clients.

There goes your S.W.O.T. analysis. How we wish it was that simple. But actually, it doesn’t end here…

No matter how your S.W.O.T. analysis ended up looking, here’s a list of some general questions that you should ask yourself to help you integrate everything.

      • How can I improve my strengths further?
      • How can I let go of my weaknesses or limiting beliefs?
      • Where do I get help? Are all the information I need available online?
      • Do I have to get a mentor or do I have to go back to school?
      • Is there an opportunity or a need for my current skills?

Ready to get started? Do your personal SWOT analysis now to gain clarity on your goals towards a successful Virtual Assistant career.

“Know yourself. Don’t accept your dog’s admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful.” ~ Ann Landers

ultimate guide to becoming a virtual assistant part 3

I know. You will never be a Virtual Assistant… Unless a client hires your services. But where do you look for clients who are willing to pay for your services?

Let me help you with that. I have compiled a list of more than 30 sites where you can find clients looking for Virtual Assistants from the Philippines:

I will start off with my favorite:
Connected Women
Connected Women is currently in beta but once you sign up, you will get matched with a woman entrepreneur and work as a home-based professional. Discover online jobs in admin, customer service, marketing or editorial. Sign up here…

Agencies

These are staffing agencies who will get you as either a subcontractor or an independent contractor and match your skills to the VA requirements of their clients. One of the good things about working with agencies is you never have to worry about getting scammed by a client because they do all the appropriate background check on your clients. Plus, you will forever be in their active list, so, when you end a contract with a client, they will find a new one for you.

1. Remote Staff

Remote Staff gives you a chance to embrace global opportunities and expand your career choices while doing all this from the comfort of your own home. Client’s needs and professional’s skills are matched in the fields of IT, marketing, or office administration. See their job openings here.

To learn more about my personal experience with Remote Staff, click here.

2. Virtual CoWorker

Australian company Virtual CoWorker has clients in Australia, Canada, UK and USA, and recruits home-based professional from the Philippines. Jobs range from Virtual Assistants in administration and marketing to SEO specialists and Web Developers. See their job openings here.

3. Outsource Workers

Australian company Outsource Workers provides Virtual Assistants from the Philippines for agents and agencies in Australia’s Real Estate market. Professional VAs must be fluent in oral and written English and able to do administrative and marketing tasks. See job openings here.

4. Task Bullet

American company Task Bullet has a Philippine office for VAs. Task Bullet offers a wide variety of VA tasks in different industries such as administrative support, marketing services, social media, real estate, customer service, accounting, transcription, sales, data entry and more. See their job openings here.

5. Remote WorkMate

Australian company Remote WorkMate targets Philippines home-based professionals to service Australian businesses and entrepreneurs. VA jobs are wide-ranging such as personal assistant, sales staff, content writing, online marketing, web and mobile development, accounting, graphic arts and more. See their job openings here.

6. MyOutdesk

MyOutdesk offers professional Virtual Assistants jobs for the USA and Canada Real Estate agents. VAs can do full-time general administrative tasks of daily paperwork transactions, or set appointments for agents either full-time or part-time. Both entail five to 7-day training about the North American real estate industry. See their job openings here.

7. Outsourcely

Outsourcely is a BPO company specializing in Engineering and Science, Information Technology, and Customer Service. VA jobs can be as varied translation and languages, sales and marketing, content writing, administrative support, web development, programming, design and multimedia and many more. See their job openings here.

8. VA Staffer

VA Staffer is an American company with an office in Makati that offers home-based and in office jobs. Some of the common tasks their clients seek are administrative work, data entry, social media marketing, SEO content marketing, product research, sales and advertising, and customer/client calls. See their job openings here.

9. Mr. Outsource

Mr. Outsource matches clients with a home-based professional from the Philippines in the field of administration, graphic design, real estate, and eCommerce. They have an in-house training to prepare the VA for the industry and every client need. See their job openings here.

10. Virtual Staff Finder

Virtual Staff Finder offers a variety of home-based jobs for Filipino Virtual Assistants. Some common jobs are administrative work, SEO and content marketing, video editing, brand marketing and sales, customer service among others. See their job openings here.

11. Staff.com

Staff.com offers a free listing for home-based Virtual Assistants from the Philippines. Just fill in the application form, create your profile and wait for a call when a client is interested. You also get emails pertaining to jobs that fit your skills. See their job openings here.

Staff.com has re-launched a new business but they recommended the following sites which I have not mentioned yet:
RemoteOk and Stack Overflow for high-level jobs 

12. 5 Star VAs

5 STAR VAs is a Philippines based outsourcing company specializing in providing Professional Filipino Virtual Assistants to Entrepreneurs and Businesses that wish to leverage their time and save on their staffing costs.  See their job openings here.

Freelancing Platforms

Freelancing platforms must be the most popular way to get online work. It has its pros and cons but let’s talk about that another time. Here’s a list of freelancing sites:

13. Freelancer

Freelancer has one of the world’s largest networks of employers and freelancers numbering to more than 17 million in 247 countries. You can be as specific as you want with the type of job, working hours, price range and duration of a project when you sign up. Visit their site here.

14. Upwork

Upwork (formerly Odesk) boasts of more than 4 million clients worldwide, each continuously searching for a freelancer that matches their need. Industries and projects are varied such as software development for web & mobile, IT, networking & analytics, engineering, architecture & design, writing & translation, legal & administration, customer service & sales, consulting and more. To learn more about how to get clients in Upwork, click here. Visit their site here.

15. Easy Outsource

Getting your skills out in the market is as easy as posting your skills & profile and waiting for a match with Easy Outsource. Be a Virtual Assistant for administration & customer service, English tutorial, content writing, advertising, marketing & sales, web & software development, graphic & multimedia arts, finance, project management and more. Visit their site here.

16. PeoplePerHour

Virtual Assistants at PeoplePerHour are called sellers, that’s because you have a service to sell which you post in the Hourlies. You can also view jobs posted by Buyers, prospective employers, who also browse the Hourlies for their need. You career builds up as buyers rate you per project. It’s a vast community and jobs are as varied as the skills. Visit their site here.

17. Fiverr

Fiverr is a free community where you can choose from more than 100 categories to promote your skills for more than a million people worldwide to view. It’s as easy as Get Listed, Get Promoted, Do the Job, and Get Paid. Visit their site here.

18. 199Jobs

199 Jobs is a Philippine platform for Filipinos to sell their services at P199 per project, but sellers can price their project at P199 intervals, e.g. P199 for every 200 words. The aim is to get as many projects at the right price, thus 10 projects a week can give you P1990 less fees. Visit their site here.

Job Listing Sites

Just because you are looking for a work-from-home opportunity, it doesn’t mean that you won’t find them on job listing sites. So, go ahead and visit the following sites and use search terms like “Virtual Assistants”, work-from-home, remote work, and other related terms…

19. Monster

Monster still lists quality VA jobs generally in the field of office administration, sales, accounting, research and graphic arts. Clients are mostly from the USA. Search jobs here.

20. Indeed

Indeed is easy to use, just type in keywords for your skill or job and location and a list of jobs matches your keywords as well as a few more that are similar. Create a profile to receive emails and for clients to view you. Search jobs here.

21. JobStreet

Sign up and create your personal page on JobStreet to view jobs that match your skill and view prospective clients as well. Sign up here.

22. Craigslist

You can advertise your skills on Craigslist and view job postings for VAs as well. Search jobs here.

23. OnlineJobs.Ph

The site has a large database and a wide variety of online jobs for home-based Filipino professionals. You can browse all jobs that are available per segment or select keywords that match your skill. Search jobs here.

24. FlexJobs.com

Flexible, part-time and freelance are the keywords for FlexJobs.com. There is a membership fee but FlexJobs.com does the legwork and research for you to view company/job summary on their website. It’s an efficient way to view jobs in more than 30 industries. Search jobs here.

25. JobsDB

JobsDB is a search engine and jobs listing site. Type in the keywords and location and you see a list of jobs that match your skills. Company summaries and job details are available for viewing. Search jobs here.

26. Virtual Office Temps

Virtual Office Temps has a certification program for VAs looking for jobs and projects in clerical and data entry for the legal and medical industry, and many more. The certification is composed of 16 questions which any VA can complete easily. Search jobs here.

Virtual Assistance Companies

There are Virtual Assistant companies who are expanding and looking for new team members to grow their VA business. This is a good opportunity for you to be part of a team who will support you. Just make sure you are clear about what you can bring to the table.

27. EzyVA

EzyVA deals closely with its 300 client companies and businesses. It has a system with managers to assist VAs in servicing clients. EzyVA has teams for web design & management, graphics and multimedia arts, SEO & social media, telemarketing, accounting, administration and many more. Visit their site here.

28. Virtual Office Angels

Virtual Office Angels is an Australian company which targets professional Virtual Assistants from the Philippines. VA jobs depend on vacancies and as varied as office administration, telemarketing, content marketing, accounting and medical or legal data entry. Visit their site here.

29. Worldwide101

Worldwide101 gives high quality and assurance service to its clients worldwide. VA applicants need to go through a selection process that includes two video interviews. There’s an orientation program for new members and who work a minimum of 20 hours per week. Visit their site here.

Virtual Assistant Forums

Virtual Assistant forums are not just a good way to network with fellow Virtual Assistants, but it’s also an alternative way to get clients to work with.

30. A Clayton’s Secretary

This Australia-based company offers secretarial and administrative support for home-based businesses. Membership has a fee but its network, coaching and assist system is worth the small fee. Join here. Note: Most (if not all) work opportunities here are for Virtual Assistants based in Australia but it’s definitely worth looking into if only for the coaching opportunity.

31. VA Networking

This Canada-based VA Networking offers many Virtual Assistant tips and insights. It has training kits and webinars too. Membership is free. Join here.

32. Virtual Assistant Forums

The site is an active exchange of views, tips leads, and listings of VA jobs worldwide. It’s a network worth joining and being active in. Join here.

33. International Virtual Assistants Association

IVAA aims to educate and develop the home-based and VA profession with various material like newsletters, webinars, conferences, and other training programs. As well as educate affiliate businesses on the advantages of having a professional VA on their team. Membership has fees for categories of Student, Trial, and Regular. Join here.

34. Facebook Group: Philippine Virtual Assistant Network

A Facebook group with members mostly Virtual Assistants from the Philippines. PVAN offers tips, insights, and answers to your VA career questions. Join here.

35. Facebook Group: Filipina Homebased Moms
A feel-good network of Filipina homebased moms offering support and tips on how to work effectively from home. Join here.

* I am currently looking for freelancers who can be part of my team. Read more here.

I hope you enjoyed this free guide! Sign up to my newsletter for more no non-sense Virtual Assistant tips, exclusive insider information, job alerts and training discounts: