Deciding to become a Virtual Assistant or to work-from-home is not an easy decision.
Especially since most of us are trained to be “good employees of large corporations”.
Not that there is anything wrong with that… (Well, maybe there is… we’ll touch that later.)
What I am saying is, some of us may not actually fit the whole “corporate mould”.
For various reasons like – personality type, disability, lifestyle, age or maybe even values, etc…
So how do you know if a Virtual Assistant career is for you?
Here are 5 tips:
Tip #1: Evaluate Your Work Style
Are you a self-starter who accomplishes goals on your own or do you need a well-structured work environment so you can do your best?
If you will be working as a Virtual Assistant, you have to be a self-starter because nobody else will push you to do your work but yourself.
If you are someone who needs a well-structured work environment so you can do your best, that would be something that is hard to look for.
Why? Because most clients who hire Virtual Assistants are small to medium scale business owners, they don’t always have a human resource department or operations supervisor who will structure everything.
In fact, it is usually the Virtual Assistant who help them achieve a well-structured organization.
Do you like to work autonomously or collaboratively?
In a remote work set up, it is always safe, preferred and best to work collaboratively.
Maybe in the long run, when your client trusts you enough and gives you the freedom to decide what’s the best thing to do, then, you can work autonomously.
What is your communication style? Do you prefer email, phone or in-person meetings?
Most communication will be through emails or chats. But you have to be open and available for phone/voiced meetings.
In-person meetings? This can happen too. Your client can visit you here or they may fly you to their country. 😉
Are you more productive working at night or during daytime?
The beauty of working as a Virtual Assistant is, you can choose your work schedule. Just look for clients who will match your work time preference.
Tip #2: Know Your Skills, Talents & Hobbies
This is the time that you pull out your resume and seriously write down the following:
- list of your usual day-to-day tasks
- software programs you can use
- projects you’ve spearheaded/participated in
- ad-hoc tasks
- your achievements
If you have been/are a business owner, do an inventory of the skills you have developed while being a business owner yourself.
- people management
- accounting and inventory
- product research and development
Aside from your skills, you may also want to come up with a list of your talents and hobbies.
If you don’t have a corporate background, you can start from this list.
What talents and hobbies?
Here are examples:
- playing the guitar really well
- bargain hunting
- organizing parties
- doing make-up
Doing an inventory of your skills, talents and hobbies will help you decide which type of opportunities to look for or what type of client you would like to work with.
Tip #3: Do the Math
“When I was young I thought that money was the most important thing in life; now that I am old I know that it is.” – Oscar Wilde
Especially if you have children.
So it is always smart to do the math. Write down your monthly expenses.
Here is an example:
|Child/ren’s school expenses ||P3,000|
No matter what grand total you came up with, the question is – is it possible to earn enough money to cover your monthly expenses if you work as a Virtual Assistant?
First, compare it to the average rate that’s being offered to Virtual Assistants. Here is what I’ve seen around:
|General VA||$500-$800 a month|
|Article / Content Writer||$500-$700 a month|
|SEO / Web Marketer VA||$650-$850 a month|
|Web Developer||$700-$1,400 a month|
Note: You can charge more (or less, if you want to). There is actually no industry standard at this point so it is always great to know what you can offer.
So, the answer is YES. If you work smart and have an open mind.
At the end of the day, it all boils down to your perspective. And math will remain nothing but numbers. 😉
Knowing your monthly expenses will also help you come up with your pricing.
*More about pricing later…
Tip #4: Assess Your Social Needs
This is when the introvert – extrovert comparison comes in…
Introverts tend to recharge by spending time alone. They lose energy from being around people for long periods of time, particularly large crowds.
Extroverts, on the other hand, gain energy from other people. Extroverts actually find their energy is sapped when they spend too much time alone. They recharge by being social.
You’ll spend most of your time with the people you work with, so it is important to know if choosing a Virtual Assistant career is a good social fit for you.
If you don’t enjoy social interaction, you may be well-suited to become a Virtual Assistant, where you work independently.
If you love to meet new people, you may find working as a V.A. unfulfilling.
* Remember, we are talking about social needs here.
Tip #5: Prepare
Alright! You’d want to give it a try! You want to work as a Virtual Assistant.
Prepare for it. Compare the skills you have against the skills required for being a V.A. If you think you need to brush up on some of your skills, invest some time in learning them.
To start with, here are some basic skills that you have to possess if you’d want to work as a V.A.
Word processing skills
Most tasks will include utilizing MS Word, MS Excel and MS Powerpoint. As well as Google docs.
No further explanation needed.
Strong communication skills
You must be able to communicate effectively with your clients verbally and must be able to use Skype, Google Chat or any other softphone.
Strong writing skills
Much of the communication you do as a Virtual Assistant will be via email which means you must have strong writing skills. Proofreading goes hand-in-hand with writing, too. Typo errors here and there looks unprofessional and speaks about your “attention to detail” .
Basic knowledge in marketing, sales and social media
If you want to go a long way in your V.A. career, you have to capitalize on your knowledge in marketing, sales and social media. Why? Because profit. 😉
* You also have to be prepared to take on a supermom role when you start to work from home. You might need to hire a nanny for the kids.
A designated quiet work area in your house is a must too.
On a personal note, working from home has worked wonders for me . As a VA, I enjoy the following perks:
More time for mommy duties.
I have 3 kids. My toddler is always just a few steps away from my work space. I get to fetch my 2 older kids from school when I need to, etc…
No dress code.
Yes! I work in my jammies.
No more commuting to and from work.
No more bus, train, trike or taxi rides. No traffic jam.
More savings by not eating out.
No more spontaneous trips to Starbucks or hanging out at the bar after work with co-workers to “unwind”.
No difficult co-workers to deal with.
No wasted time feeling demotivated because of a co-worker whose competitiveness is out of proportions.
On the other hand, there are also inevitable disadvantages:
LESS social life.
Your kids, husband, relatives, house helpers (or whoever lives with you) are the people you deal with every single day. It can be bad at times (:D) and I’m sure you get the whole picture.
The phone rings, the kids need something, the refrigerator beckons you, or the mailman rings the doorbell. Life can easily get in the way of doing what you have to do in terms of your work.
It is important to take these potential disadvantages into account. The key is for you to be able to discipline and motivate yourself.
Ready to take on the challenge of becoming a Virtual Assistant?
Here’s a quick, witty and spot on video that will give you 6 Tips to Survive the Reality of Self-Employment:
If you’d want to get started working from home, read the Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Virtual Assistant.
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