I get asked A LOT, what it's like being a Virtual Assistant.
I am more than happy to share because I know there are many moms/women stuck in miserable dead-end jobs feeling like they have no options. I was in that same position once too; I know how "that" feels. But I think people also ask because they secretly want to know if I am starving to death or ready to fade away from boredom.I am happy to say, NO to both :)
Since the profession of virtual assisting is becoming more and more common with the current economic downturn, I thought I'd share the questions people have asked, and some quick answers to them:
What is a virtual assistant?
A virtual assistant or VA is a self-employed, home-based entrepreneur who assists other businesses, often in administrative work. In other words, a VA is an office assistant who rarely has to step into his/her client's office! Most business owners have particular tasks that they can turn over to their virtual assistants that doesn't require them to be in the same room to complete. There is a wide variety of these tasks and they can go beyond basic office or business administration.
What skills do I need to become a VA?
The basic skills a VA needs are office and business administration skills, but I recommend a solid knowledge of social media as well. A VA also needs to be highly organized, communicate effectively and pay careful attention to detail.
Disorganization on your part can lead to missed deadlines, incorrect data, and very unhappy clients! Some clients look for additional technical skills, such as writing, marketing, email marketing, blog or website maintenance, and multimedia production - even podcasting!
The skill set you'll need as a VA depends on the type of clients you want to work with. If you want to work with Realtors you will need to have knowledge of their systems and processes. If you want to work with business coachers and speakers, knowledge of membership sites like Wishlist is among the many skills that will be useful. In general, find out what clientsNEED and build your skills to respond effectively.
What kinds of work does a VA do?
Tasks for Virtual Assistants can be "Admin" related:
*responding to emails (Help Desk)
*managing client's business calendar
*researching and compiling information
*business writing, editing, and proofreading
*write and publish or schedule blog posts
*work with autoresponders
*rewrite private label rights content
*optimize a website for search engines
*create a slideshow presentation
*set up social networking profiles/pages
*create videos and publish them online
*graphic design, brochures, business cards
*plus many more...
Is being a VA a good option for Moms?
I can personally give this one a Big.Giant.YES! A lot of work-at-home Moms I know are VAs and they make good incomes from the comfort of their home. I personally feel being able to somewhat set my hours around my family's life is priceless.
Virtual assistance is a home business, which means it's flexible. You decide how many hours a day you want to work, on which days, what type of work you want to do, and even whom you will work with.I love that I can be available to get my kids off to school and be there for them when they get off the bus. On the other hand,if you have small children, it can be a little trickier. Occasionally you will need to be on the phone or Skype with a client, supplier or other associate. In this case you'll need somebody else looking after your small children so you can have some quiet and be able to focus on the call or chat.
How much money can I make as a VA?
The hourly rate of VAs depends on several factors. These include their skills and experience, whether they specialize in certain services or a particular industry, and any certifications they may have (those who are certified by recognized institutions charge higher fees). VA fees vary widely, ranging anywhere from around $15 to $70 per hour. So you can see, it's entirely possible for a VA to make a full-time income working at home.
Make no mistake, it takes time to grow your client base and gain the experience you need to be able to charge higher-end fees. But until you take the reins and get started, you will simply be spinning your wheels instead of moving forward towards your dreams.This is "do-able." You can be a Virtual Assistant.