A virtual assistant, or VA, is someone who provides professional administrative, technical, or creative assistance to their clients over the internet. Most, make money online and work from home to do it, though that isn’t necessary. Virtual assistants work as independent contractors and generally customize their remote services depending on what the client needs.
If this sounds like a great way to make money online, you’re right. But how do you set yourself apart from other virtual assistants and succeed at it? Whether you work through a freelancing website, or offer your services on your own website, you have to be prepared to work hard. You have to be willing to learn what specific clients need and you have to learn how to provide it. Whether it’s answering the phone, compiling reports, or helping with invoices, you need to make sure your skills are up to speed. You have to show your client or clients that you are doggedly determined to make the most of your assignment.
You also need to have good “people” skills. While you may not have a lot of face-to-face contact with people, you may be putting your phone skills to work, and you will almost certainly be using email – if only to communicate with your client. Your communication skills must be top notch, written and verbally, and you should speak to people with an approachable and friendly voice. While your administrative and work skills are important, if your people skills aren’t up to scratch, you’ll have trouble succeeding as a virtual assistant.
Since virtual assistants work on contract, they have to be self-motivated and productive. There’s no boss in the next room to remind you that those reports need to be completed, so you have to make sure that you have the initiative to tackle tasks on your own. Be prepared to be as efficient as possible. By exceeding your clients’ expectations, you raise your profile, and your value. Even if you’re only working temporarily with the client, his or her recommendation will be valuable to you when it’s time to land the next client.
If you’re planning to become a virtual assistant, you will have to have patience as well as a thick skin, because some clients can be very trying. While most clients are reasonable people with reasonable requests, some may act as if they “own” you. You may have clients who lag in paying you, and you have to be prepared to speak up and remind them. You may have clients who expect the impossible of you. While you should expect to work hard every day, you do not have to accept clients who are openly abusive. You do the best you can and move on. It may be hard not to take criticism personally, and some clients are more tactful about it than others, but your job is to meet your client’s needs, and so you have to do what they ask within reason.
You should also be aware that being a virtual assistant is not a get-rich-overnight scheme. Hard work is required, and it may be a while before you have the reputation you need to charge the rates you want to be able to charge. But once you’ve established yourself, it is one of the best ways to work from home and make money online.