When the pandemic hit, businesses were forced to shift their business to have their employees work from home to survive and find ways to keep customers happy. Those coming into the office suddenly found themselves working remotely and discovered the benefits of working remotely.
Even though most people return to their offices, some employees prefer working from home. Let us discuss this further if you are considering shifting to working from home and how to become a virtual assistant.
Ways to become a virtual assistant
Before anything else, let us define and understand what a virtual assistant is. A virtual assistant is an individual or a team of individuals who works virtually for businesses or an individual client.
Although there are no specific tasks per client, they can vary from one client to another. Mostly, individual clients would need help with repetitive and mundane tasks to focus on more important things like running the business.
Others would hire virtual workers as well because of their expertise. Now that you have a pretty good idea of what a virtual assistant is let’s talk about the things you need to prepare for if you are thinking of exchanging your full-time office job for working remotely.
If you are thinking of fully working from home, one thing I can tell you is that, just like in anything we do, preparation is necessary. Before jumping on the bandwagon, there are basic things that you will need to know and assess on how to become a virtual assistant.
Virtual assistant equipment needed
These are the things to prepare to work as a virtual assistant.
A workspace is essential for virtual assistants to be able to work productively. Being able to work from home comes with convenience, with many distractions such as TV, radio, events at home, etc., so having your own space without all the distractions is very important for a virtual assistant.
You can search for ideas on setting up your workspace or creating a productive one. You don’t need to use up all of your savings to be able to achieve this. A clutter-free and distraction-free space is vital for you as a virtual assistant.
2. Laptop or pc
A virtual assistant must have a piece of suitable equipment, a Personal Computer or laptop. Preferably get the latest model so you can use it for many years. Most clients or companies would require an i5 and above.
They would usually do an equipment check during the interview and a headset and camera to meet you virtually, so you better get those ready as well. Just make sure you have good equipment that can help you accomplish your tasks on hand.
3. Internet connection
A reliable internet connection is significant for you as a virtual assistant. Think of it as the gas of your car. No gas means you can’t go anywhere. So as a virtual assistant, your internet connection is your lifeline and a backup connection.
Although it is rare that employers would require you to have 2 LAN connections, at least have mobile data available in case of emergency such as power interruptions or your main line getting disconnected.
Other things you will need to prepare
Aside from the logistics, there are other things you will need to consider and assess before you make that jump. Here are the things you need to check:
When looking for a job as a first-time virtual assistant can be challenging. If you currently have a regular job, do not quit immediately to keep a steady source of income.
It doesn’t mean you will stop immediately as soon as you land your first client. The thing about working from home is unless a good company employs you or they offer you a long steady job and you feel comfortable enough to let go of your site work.
Make sure you have funds to cover expenses in a few months for bills while looking for remote work, and if a client ends their contract, don’t fall behind in your responsibilities.
2. Skills check
Most tasks are repetitive administrative tasks, but some may require more advanced skills depending on the job post you are applying for. If you are new, it will help you to reflect on the skills you acquired in your previous work.
Highlight those skills to increase your chances of getting hired faster. When you gain more experience, you may want to consider specializing in a particular field or niche.
Either you become an expert in one specific place, or you can also keep learning new skills to give you that flexibility to deal with different clients and the required tasks. You can take online classes, primarily self-paced courses, that will allow you to take them at your convenient time.
The prices may vary, so you must select the plan or method within your current financial state. If you are lucky enough, the employer sometimes offers to train you.
3. Right behavior
Suppose you are used to having all eyes on you in the office. In addition, as a virtual assistant, clients rarely check on you or micromanage your tasks which can be an adjustment. Thus, if this is your first time as a virtual assistant, they usually give you a set of tasks and a deadline to meet.
They would expect you to accomplish the tasks discussed and communicate if there are challenges and questions along the way. Therefore, integrity plays a big part in this setup.
Also, understanding why time management is important and knowing the best ways to create a to-do list that works to plan your day can guarantee your success and maintain a good relationship with your client. Like in any company, your efficiency and contribution to the team will be measured and will determine your capacity to work.
4. Regular employment
Regular employment refers to hiring a virtual assistant as a full-time employee, with a set number of hours and fixed salary. This is the more traditional approach to hiring an assistant, and it comes with certain advantages:
- Stability: With regular employment, businesses can expect their virtual assistant to be available during specific hours on a consistent basis.
- Consistent workload: As a full-time employee, a regular virtual assistant can work variety of tasks and projects for their employer.
- Invested in the company: Regular employees are often more invested in the success of the company as they are part of it long-term.
However, there are also some drawbacks to regular employment:
- Higher cost: As a full-time employee, businesses must cover salary, benefits, and other expenses.
- Limited flexibility: Virtual assistants on regular employment may not be able to adjust their schedules or work on additional projects outside of their set hours.
5. Project-based virtual assistant
On the other hand, project-based virtual assistants are hired for specific tasks or projects, with a defined scope and timeline. This option offers some unique advantages:
- Lower cost: Businesses only need to pay for the specific projects or tasks they need completed, rather than a full-time salary.
- Flexibility: Project-based virtual assistants can often adjust their schedules and take on additional work outside of the defined project scope.
However, there are also some downsides to consider:
- Less stability: As project-based workers, virtual assistants may not be available for ongoing projects or tasks.
- Less invested in the company: Project-based workers may not have the same level of commitment to the company’s success as regular employees, as they are only involved on a project-to-project basis.
This can be the exciting or challenging part of how you perform. Most virtual assistant contracts paid hourly, ranging from $3 to $15, depending on your expertise. You can expect fees to be taken out of your base pay if you use other platforms to acquire clients.
Mostly, the hourly rate is for an individual client, while the monthly wage is the setup for companies and businesses.
6. Job Application
I know you pretty much have an idea of how to apply for a job in the corporate world. Applying for a job remotely, however, is slightly different. There are three ways you can get hired.
- Promote yourself
meaning you look for potential clients and message them. Inform them of the services you offer and what benefits it will do them to hire you.
- Apply for the Job Ad
it used to be harder to apply for a job remotely, but now many platforms have opened up, and the requirements to get verified have been less restrictive. Some websites allow both job seekers and employers to meet.
Enrolling in these platforms, however, sometimes has service fees applicable in return for a guaranteed job contract, which is safe for both parties. That would be a different story if you applied directly to a company.
- Company Job Ad
It is like submitting your resume to a company. However, instead of going into the office, as these are primarily offshore clients, you will have regular virtual meetings and report to online chat apps for updates and check-ins.
Mostly, virtual assistants are individual contractors. Meaning they are not employed by a company but by an individual.
On such occasions, you will have to make voluntary payments to government offices to ensure you can still avail of medical or retirement benefits. However, your benefits will be subject to your employer’s company employing you.
Mostly, tax payments and other local benefits will still fall under your responsibility, so you have to ensure you have a good idea of how to get that done. If necessary, consult with a lawyer.
In summary, you will be in charge of your success or failure. Constant innovating processes to make your work efficient benefit you and your client.
Starting as a virtual assistant may be tough initially. Getting a client can be challenging and discouraging.
All I can say is you must prepare to be rejected several times and learn not to take it personally. However, if you are serious about how to become a virtual assistant, don’t give up. Try and try again. Use your spare time to learn; eventually, all your hard work and determination will pay off.