Becoming a virtual assistant with no experience can be daunting, as you’re up against lots of other VA professionals with years of knowledge, case studies, and the competition is going to be fierce with clients looking for someone who has existing reviews and an experienced skill set, but everyone has to start their career somewhere, so don’t let this put you off taking the first step into your career. When you put the time in, work hard, and do a good job, then you will build your career, and this article will help you get started.
What do I need to become a virtual assistant?
Before you start setting up profiles on Upwork, buying SEO tools, and building a website, it’s important to have a think about your niche and previous experience, so when you do start building a profile you can create it with your ideal client in mind, and be focused in a specific area. This involves doing some research and seeing what pain points people have, what takes up their time, and how you can solve that problem.
Here is a list of things you need to do before you become a virtual assistant:
1) Be a social listener
Sign up to Facebook groups, join communities, and try out some social listening tools, so you can get real-time comments on what topics people need help with from virtual assistants. This doesn’t just give you ideas on tasks you can perform, but also core values and how you can make their life easier. It’s not about getting one project, it’s about building a reputation and having long-lasting clients, so if you see lots of CEOs talking about certain challenges with virtual assistants then you can build value propositions in your bio that speak more to this audience.
2) Look at trends
Have a look at services and industries, so you don’t pick an industry that is saturated and broad. As an example, don’t just pick SEO – it is so broad, and will take years to learn. If you have time to learn and not earn straight away then that’s fine, but if you want to learn quicker and get started on projects then look at specific areas, such as content writing or link prospecting.
3) Leverage your experience:
If you have experience in a certain industry then you could try and build this into your virtual assistant services, so if you have worked for 7 years in a dental practice, maybe you could be a content writer for dentists, as you have experience in this field. Try and think of something in your past that you could leverage to give you a head start.
Once you have picked your niche, exhausted any experience you have, and done your research on trends and pain points then you can move on to getting yourself set up and creating a profile, asking friends and family for your first gig, and trying to build a reputation.
When you first start out you need to give a little to get a little, so you want to try and get some proof of concept, refine your message, and try out some of your skills to get some reviews.
Here is how you get started:
- Offer a freebie to a few clients:
If you want to test out your skills then offer out a freebie, so you can work on a project in exchange for a review. Then you can broadcast these reviews to potential clients, instead of getting on a client call empty-handed, and this might even turn into a more permanent gig.
- Be honest with your profession:
Don’t say you are a specialist if your not, and bend the truth, as you could end up taking on a site migration and something goes wrong, the client loses traffic, and your freaking out on your first job.
- Ask friends and family:
When you start opening up to friends and family and say you have started out on your own you will be surprised with the number of people that appear and need help, so start spreading the word and ask for help.
- Invest in training
If you have chosen your skill area and service, then invest in some training, so you know the terminology and have a basic understanding of what needs to be done. At this point, you don’t need to be an expert. But you need to know how to complete the task at hand.
- Have a good work environment:
It goes without saying that you need a good internet connection, but depending on where you are based, and what country you live in will determine the reliability of your connection, so if your internet is down, have a backup in place, such as mobile data or local coffee shop. It’s important to be reliable and clear when communicating with clients.
What services can you offer as a virtual assistant?
If you’re really struggling with ideas to find services, we have created a list of 30 tasks you can offer as a virtual assistant. It’s important to look at all of these services and ask yourself what you will enjoy, who you can offer this to, and how you can bundle them together to eventually specialize in one area.
- Email Management
- Handling Appointments
- Document Storage
- Video Transcription
- Ebook formatting
- Creating Reports
- Blog Publishing
- Moderating blog comments
- Social media posting
- Create social profiles
- Run Facebook Ads
- Manage Newsletter campaigns
- SEO Content writing
- Press Releases
- Directory Submissions
- Link Building
- Ranking Reports
- Landing page designs
- User experience testing
- Live chat support
- Lead Generation
- Infographic creations
- Social Listening
- Internal Linking
- Heat Mapping
- Customer Reviews
- Data Entry
How do virtual assistants get clients?
Getting clients is always the sticking point for any small business, startup, or freelancer, and its not as simple as setting up shop and immediately starting work, so don’t fall for all of the “get rich quick” posts you see on FB, as it takes hard work, and getting clients can be a lot harder than actually doing the work, so we will help get you started by explaining some options you have below:
- Join a freelance marketplace
Joining a freelance marketplace like Fiver, Upwork, onlinejobs.ph, saves you the time and hassle of having to create an audience that is looking for your service, as they have already created a marketplace to help freelancers get work, and do the hard work of getting traffic and users to be readily available as your client. However, it is not as simple as signing up and managing your inbox, as you need to set up your profile, get reviews, send messages, and actually spend time on getting clients from the platform. People make a living just from being Upwork experts and helping you be found higher in the search, attracting clients, and generally guiding you on using these platforms to get leads. Here is a link from Voyage and Adventure with some tips about Upwork, but like any platform, it needs optimization and takes hard work to attract new business!
- Build your social profiles
When companies are looking to take on a new member they often check out who they are, what they do, and what conversations or posts they have been doing recently. It pays off creating a good profile on LinkedIn, Facebook, and other social media platforms, so you can showcase expertise, reach out to prospects, and generally have a presence on social. Build a following, post, and connect with people in your niche, so you always have an audience, and you can give potential clients some trust factors when they do their research about you.
It’s important to pay attention to your messaging and how you structure your profile, so you can have some consistency in your offer and build a reputation in your field. The first part of the process is profile optimization, so you can get the most out of your accounts when they are set up. Search Engine Land gives some useful tips on how to optimize your profile.
- Engage with clients:
If you’re building a following or want to reach a wider audience then it’s important to interact with comments and posts from people talking about your industry, and general discussions. It pays off to be helpful, and build a relationship with someone. Let’s say you had a client call, then you don’t end up signing them up, don’t give up on the first hurdle, and follow and engage them so they see more often, and get an insight into the value you provide. Being reliable and available is a huge factor when wanting to open up conversations with prospects. That is why being in a niche is important, as when customers want very specific help they remember you. Keep nurturing!