How do you travel the world, while earning a paycheck at the same time?
You embrace the digital nomad lifestyle, and become a freelancer! But, wait a minute!
You aren’t a writer. You’ve never written a line of code.
You don’t have any of the skills or experience that you normally associate with location independent work.
It doesn’t matter!
If you can use a computer, and have decent communication skills, you can work as a virtual assistant. Then, you can join the ranks of the other digital nomads and travel the world.
What Does a Virtual Assistant Do?
A virtual assistant provides necessary support services for businesses. They perform jobs similar to that of an office admin or manager, except for the duties that require physical presence.
A virtual assistant usually works as a freelance or contract worker. They may work with a single client, or multiple customers.
A virtual assistant’s duties will vary, but they may find themselves doing any of the following jobs:
- Data Entry
- Customer Service or Technical Support
- Updating Social Media Accounts
- Writing And Editing Correspondence
- Taking Orders or Reservations
- Conducting Online Research
Skills You Need to Succeed as a Virtual Assistant
Before you do anything else, compare your skills to the following list. If you match several of these, you should be able to market yourself as a VA:
Basic Computer Skills
This should be the easiest part of all. After all, you are using a computer right now. Still, double check the following basic skills to be sure you don’t need a refresher:
- Downloading And Installing Software
- Updating Your Operating System
- Sending Emails
- Running Antivirus Software
- Using Multiple Browsers
- Using The Basic Features of Word Processing And Spreadsheet Apps
- Saving Files to Different Media
- Using Peripherals Such as Printers And Scanners
Word Processing And Spreadsheet Apps
You should, at the very least, be able to create, open, and edit documents in MS Word, and Excel.
Ideally, you’ll have Google Docs and Sheets mastered as well. If you really want to open up your work opportunities, you might consider developing some advanced skills, such as:
- Mail Merges
- Creating And Editing Graphics Heavy Documents
- Inserting Tables
- Pivot Tables
- Creating Excel Formulas
- Developing PowerPoint Presentations
As a virtual assistant, you may be asked to create and respond to emails and other correspondence.
You may also be expected to use online communications apps like Skype. As part of your work, you may have to participate in online meetings, write memos, even talk on the phone with clients and customers.
At the very least, you should be able to write using proper grammar and punctuation, speak clearly with good enunciation and pronunciation, and present yourself professionally.
You should also be able to handle frustrated customers, and other delicate situations with clear and helpful communication.
You’ll need great time management skills. A VA is often busy with multiple projects, and may have to balance the needs of different clients.
You should be an expert at setting priorities, clarifying important details, and staying on task.
Similar to time management, your organizational skills are also key. Many of your clients will be counting on you to help them manage their schedules, keep their documents organized, and otherwise prevent things from falling apart.
Also, you’ll be running a business, and that takes well-developed organizational skills to keep things afloat.
No, you don’t need to be an accomplished social media manager, or digital marketing expert.
However, you should understand the basics of social media platforms as it applies to running a business. You should be able to:
- Modify a Company’s Account Information on Facebook, Twitter, Etc.
- Post Social Media Updates Including Pictures And Video
- Use Hashtags
- Tag Posts
- Respond to Social Media Messages And Comments
There are two things to consider here. The first is the customer support that you provide directly to your clients.
This includes delivering on your promises, setting high quality standards, and seeking feedback from clients.
Next, you may be asked to provide basic, customer support as a virtual assistant. This will require you to be a quick study. You’ll have to learn about your client’s products and services, and their policies so you can help their customers.
Ecommerce And Content Management Systems
Businesses that have a strong online presence may need help keeping their ecommerce stores up and running. You may be given tasks such as adding new product images and descriptions, or reviewing orders.
Other clients may use Content Management Systems such as WordPress. You may be asked to perform some basic administrative tasks there as well.
Typing And Data Entry
If you are fast and accurate typist, you’ll have a much easier time succeeding as a VA. Many business owners hire virtual assistants to outsource data entry and other typing tasks.
Virtual Assistant Equipment
Before you get started, you should double check your equipment.
You’ll need a PC or laptop, batteries, a smartphone with data, the correct versions of any software you’ll be using, batteries, cords, and other items. Your computer should have sufficient memory and processing speed.
You should also make certain that you can always connect to the internet, and with clients no matter where you are.
Finally, if you are providing customer support as part of your work, invest in a decent headset with microphone.
Final Thoughts: Landing Clients
Now that you have the skills and equipment. It’s time to get hired.
Here are some closing tips on connecting with businesses that need your services.
- Search Job Boards For Virtual Assistant Positions: Many large companies simply advertise for all positions there, including freelance and remote jobs.
- Create Professional Social Media Profiles: Especially LinkedIN.
- Join Social Media Networking Groups on Social Media.
- Connect With Businesses You Wish to Work With on Social.
- Reach Out to Potential Clients Via Email.
- Ask Past Clients For Referrals.
- Try Bidding Sites Like Fiverr: But be Wary of Low Ball Wages.
Connect With Companies That Hire Virtual Assistants.