This week, I was lucky enough to snag Jen from The Halfway Homemaker to guest post about how to become a virtual assistant. You can do pretty much any task or chore as a virtual assistant.
I can tell you from a bloggers perspective that a great virtual assistant is worth their weight in gold. Bloggers have about a million small things to do every day, from photography, finding great articles to share on social media, doing research for posts, fixing tech site issues, formatting e-books, and creating “printables” and editing posts.
By paying someone to do those tasks, we free ourselves up for the parts of blogging that we actually love… writing content. Making a little extra money as a “side hustle” (especially when it can be done from home in the evenings), is a great way to pay down debt quickly.
Guest Post from Jen of The Halfway Homemaker.
If you are computer-savvy and have a little time in your day, virtual assisting is a great way to make extra money. I quit my job in 2011 and have been supplementing my family budget with my virtual services business ever since. It grants me the flexibility to be home with my two children and set my own hours.
In order to be successful as a virtual assistant, you need to be sure to organize yourself so that you find the best jobs for you and your skills. Creating a game plan and treating yourself as a business owner as opposed to a freelancer will greatly improve your chances of success.
Have you wondered how to become a virtual assistant?
You can do it in just 5 steps…
1. Find Your Niche
Virtual Assisting is a broad category of business. If you have special skills, use them! Virtual assistants tend to find their most lucrative and long-term clients from previous employers and businesses in the same industry where they worked traditionally. Your resume is a great place to start the process of finding your niche.
2. Write Your Business Services List
When you start looking for work, you should have a list of services you provide. This should also be a list of things that you are willing to do, and you should compare any potential job with this list. If the potential position does not jive with your list, you shouldn't take it. This is very important to establish credibility and attract the clients (and work) that you want. This can also lead to helping you create your marketing materials – you can list on your website or flyers what services you offer.
3. Set Up Your Virtual Office
Depending on the services you plan to provide, you will need to make sure you have all of the software (and hardware) needed to provide your services. Make sure you have the right communication services set up. High-speed internet, a land line (or Google Voice number), computer, fax machine, scanner, and camera may be requirements to get started. Research your field to make sure that you have the right computer software. Graphics programs, accounting programs, and office programs may be needed to get started.
4. Set Your Compensation Requirements
Once you have created your virtual office, you now have the ability to see how much you need to make in order to cover your expenses (subscriptions cost of all of your hardware and software, etc.). You also know how much you need to make in order for working to make sense for you and your family. Always have a bottom line number in your mind before speaking with potential clients. It is ok to negotiate, but don't sell yourself short!
5. Now – Find Work!
Notice how finding work is the fifth item on the list? That is because everything else leads up to finding work. There are plenty of places to find work – if you know where to look AND you know what you are offering.
Here are some great places to start:
- Your Past Employers – Perhaps you left a void and they could still use your expertise.
- Local Businesses-Market yourself to local businesses.
- LinkedIn-Connect with professionals in your target market and offer your services.
- Craigslist-There are legitimate job opportunities on Craigslist. Many companies pay to post freelance positions on the site.
- Job Search Sites (Monster, Zip, Dice, etc.)– Apply for jobs that are strictly freelance/telecommute.
- Freelance Sites (Elance, Odesk, FlexJobs, UpWork, etc.)-These sites allow professionals to post freelance opportunities and work as brokers.
Be sure to take time to understand the terms and conditions of any site you use. Places like Elance provide you with payment processing options, but charge a fee for any payments to you. There are also fees involved with joining sites, so be sure what you are getting into before you sign up. I tend to look for work on unpaid sites and build up my income before going to sites that charge.
As with any job opportunity, ensure that you properly vet the people hiring you and ensure that the jobs you are getting are true to your experience and are on the up-and-up. Stay away from “mailing checks” and other questionable opportunities.
If you follow these steps and dedicate yourself to virtual assisting, it can be a great source of income, and a great opportunity to use your skills working from home.
If you would like to learn how to become a personal assistant in a more in-depth training course, sign up for new updates from my site here. We have a training course in development and readers will be notified when it's launching.
Jen – The Halfway Homemaker is a work-from-home mom, and the author of three books: The 31 Day Stress Reduction Challenge and Starting Your Own Work-From-Home Business, and Work From Home as a Virtual Assistant: A Practical Guide to Setting Up Your Business and Finding Paying Clients. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, two kids, and two dogs. Join her on her journey through the work/life balance with laughter, sarcasm, and a little humility knowing that she is definitely not Martha Stewart.
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