- Business and Employment
Become a Virtual Assistant: How to Make Money Working From Home
What would you pay a virtual assistant to do?
Although I have never been a virtual assistant myself, I have worked with several over the last couple of years and plan on working with many more in the future. Although it is not always easy to find someone I can trust and does great work, when I do, they make my life so much easier. Whether it's filling out information, managing emails, making fixes to a website, or leading out in a social media campaign, virtual assistants are amazing people who have been invaluable to me.
If you are well organized, motivated, interested in working your own schedule, and believe that you can provide value, than you have the ability to make a great virtual assistant. Being a VA is not an easy job, and it is not for everyone. However, for someone who would like to earn a little extra money from home, in their free time, it can create a great side income.
Where to Start
Clearly the first question to answer is "where to start?". What is it that you need to do to get going as a virtual assistant?
Fortunately, we live in a time where you do not have to do much to start promoting yourself and finding jobs. Follow these few steps and you will be ready to start making money!
This is essential for work as a virtual assistant. Because your employers will never see you, they will have to pay across the internet. Paypal is the most common and well used process for transferring money between users. Besides, it is necessary for most freelance and independent contractor websites that you will want to sign up for.
I have used several freelance platforms, but these are my favorite. In fact, I think that Odesk is the best website for hiring individuals (if you are starting up, you are probably just an individual), when I need a big job done I visit Elance (such as programming a website from scratch, operating a large marketing project, etc).
I currently have two virtual assistant that I found on Odesk and I am very happy with their work.
3. Join Fiverr
Fiverr is a website where anyone can post a job for $5. If someone is interested in that job, they pay the person and the job is completed. The worker then gets $4 (Fiverr takes $1), and the employer rates how well the job was done.
Although Fiverr is not a great way to make a living, it is certainly a valuable way to promote yourself. There is also the option to up-sell customers. Meaning that you can make more off of a job my offering a little bit extra.
Learn More About Becoming a Virtual Assistant
How to Set Yourself Apart as a Virtual Assistant
The world is full of people looking for ways to make money online. This means that there is a proliferation of virtual assistant wanna-bes. From offering to manage my Facebook account, to declaring that they can arrange my travels, there are many people saying that they can solve my problems.
Because everyone uses Facebook and Twitter, most people have become self-proclaimed social media marketing experts. Therefore, simply stating that you can manage my Facebook account for me is not going to get you a job. After all, I am very vain - I like to post witty comments on Facebook and see all the people who like, comment on, and share them.
Additionally, with the ability to outsource jobs to India, the Philippines, and other developing countries, I can have many simple jobs done for a mere couple of dollars per hour. If you live in a western country, I doubt that you want to work for $2.50/hour.
So what can you do to set yourself apart?
1. Focus on Developing a Niche
Do not try to do everything for everyone. This will lead to mediocrity. Strive to become the best at one thing and people will pay you for that. There are many areas that you could focus in:
- Managing public relations (creating press releases, running competitions, etc)
- Managing a WordPress website, emails, and PayPal payments
- Doing online research
- Creating PowerPoint presentations and newsletters
- Become a ghost writer - write articles or books for others
- Arrange travel
- Specialize in Twitter campaigns, Facebook pages, or email publishing
2. Build a Reputation
Getting started is often the most challenging aspect. As clients start coming in, provided you do a stellar job, they will keep coming back, refer friends, and provide valuable references. The key is to build up a reputation at the beginning.
In order to build a reputation, it is important to get your name out there. In other words, it will be necessary to post your services everywhere you can think of (that is relevant, do not spam people), and sell yourself politely, but firmly.
Additionally, you may need to offer your services at a lower price to start. Because you need to build up a track record of doing a great job, you may need to offer your services for less than you would otherwise - just remember to state this to your employer and request that they give you a good recommendation for your hard work.
Once you have a portfolio of accomplished tasks behind you, begin raising your rate - you certainly want to make sure that you are making enough to live on.
3. Do a Great Job
People eventually end up getting paid what they are worth. I hate saying this, because I often feel very underpaid for many things I do. However, I believe that it is true. If you perform as good, or even better, than expected, your clients will be very pleased.
The more you accomplish, the more you will be seen as an expert - and experts end up getting paid much better than amateurs.
Keep in mind that you have a job that is flexible and provides you with a certain amount of freedom. You should be enjoying it! Act like it and do your best, it will pay off in the end.
Making a Living as a Virtual Assistant
Being a virtual assistant is unlikely to make someone rich. However, it can be a valuable way to gain experience and make some extra money on the side.
If you are simply wanting a job that you can do from anywhere, or if your costs of living are incredibly low, than being a virtual assistant may be where you want your career to stop. However, if you are interested in moving up into positions of greater responsibility and higher pay, there are two ways to do that: 1) Increase your expertise, or 2) Increase your output.
Increase Your Expertise: This can be done through experience and developing skills. By becoming an expert in a particular field, it will then be possible for you to charge more, write books, or put on seminars. Once the world sees you as an expert, you have much more control over your destiny.
Increase Your Output: "But I'm already working as hard as I can! How can I do more?!" Good question. The key is to either find software that can make your life easier, or outsource some of your work to someone else. If someone is paying you to make their life easier, why can't you do the same? Of course, you will want to make sure that the quality is up to the standard that you want. But why not hire someone from Odesk (I would recommend this site for this) to do a job for you. If you can pay someone else to do it for you, and make more money because of it (while providing someone else with a job), then why not?!
Whether you are an experienced virtual assistant, someone just looking into it, or an employer, I am sure that there is much that you can share from your knowledge and life experiences. Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section below.