Freelancer Insights

How to Become A Freelance Virtual Assistant

A woman working as a freelance virtual assistant is smiling into the camera.

If you’re looking to start a career as a freelance virtual assistant, you’ve come to the right place! Virtual assistants are in high-demand and opportunities are plentiful across many specialties and skills. In fact, a recent market report by Technavio stated that the global Virtual Assistant market share is expected to increase by 4.12 billion by 2025. So, now is the perfect time to get started! In this article, we will dive into what a freelance virtual assistant is, the opportunities that are available, and skillsets that would thrive in this role.

What is a Freelance Virtual Assistant?

Let’s start with the basics. A freelance virtual assistant is a professional who provides administrative, creative, or technical support to clients remotely. Virtual assistants are often self-employed and operate as independent contractors, however, they can also be employed by a company. VAs typically fall into 3 main categories: generalists, specialists, and executive assistants. From administrative skills to niches such as marketing or bookkeeping, there are a variety of services VAs can offer that align with their skills, experience, and passions.

What roles are available to a freelance virtual assistant?

There are plenty of jobs that VAs can do. If a business has a need for the skill or service, then the opportunity is there. Some common examples include managing email and calendars, making travel arrangements, preparing reports and presentations, managing business processes, editing articles, providing customer service, managing social media accounts, invoice and payment management and beyond. Virtually any task that can be done remotely can be performed by a skilled VA.

There are 3 primary categories of Virtual Assistant work: generalist, specialist, and executive.

  1. Generalists are just what the name entails. VAs in this category have a host of administrative skills and can complete a variety of tasks for an organization. A Generalist Virtual Assistant often doesn’t focus on a specific function of a business in its entirety. Instead, they are responsible for performing various tasks across many areas. Their broad range of skills allow them to create value by handling more for their clients. These tasks can include things like research, answering emails, data entry, formatting reports, scheduling social media posts, calendar management, billing and payment management, and more.  
  2. Specialists have the same administrative skills found in the other role types, but they typically choose to focus on offering services in one or two areas such as marketing, bookkeeping, or a specific industry. (Keep this in mind when you’re pricing your services!) Specialists serve as experts in their trade and can offer A-Z services for a client. For example, a social media marketing virtual assistant could handle everything from content calendars, research, to scheduling posts to community engagement. Other specialties can include things such as website support, tech support, bookkeeping, CRM set up, and more.
  3. Executive assistants are typically more experienced in providing higher-level, professional administrative support for the executives of a business. VAs who thrive in this role would list skills such as time management, task management, high level communication skills, customer service, project management etc. at the top of their resume. An executive assistant handles things like schedule and calendar management, travel planning, email and call answering, event and people coordination to provide critical support to executives and business owners.

There are also many industries where virtual assistant skills are necessary and in high demand such as tech and legal, marketing, accounting, real estate, and beyond. If you’re looking to breaking to VA work, the opportunity is there.

Tips for Starting Your Virtual Assistant Career

Tip #1: Skills to Master

Although skillsets vary across VA categories and roles, there are a few skills that every virtual assistant should master.

We’ve listed a few of the top ones below:

  1. Professional communication (written, verbal & digital)
  2. Project management
  3. Time management
  4. Attention to detail
  5. Reliability
  6. Self-motivation
  7. Data Entry
  8. Customer service

Tip #2: Serving Your Clients

When it comes to freelancing, it's necessary to understand what your clients need and how to best serve them. To be successful at that, you need to have a structure in place. Without a strong foundation BEFORE you bring on clients, you may find yourself struggling to deliver on your promised value. So, in the best interest of your business and future clients, invest in yourself first.

Tip #3: Think Like a Business

As mentioned above, a strong foundation is one key component of a successful business. Freelancers are business owners. Whether operating as a solopreneur or working with others, it’s important to ask yourself a few questions when getting started. Questions can include:

  • How will you market your business? What platforms should you be on?
  • What value adds do you bring to the table? How much is your work – and time – worth?
  • What kind of clients do you want to work with?

Are you ready to get started as a freelancer?

There are 4 core steps to take to set up a successful freelance business: (1) define your service offerings, (2) cultivate your client base, (3) build your credibility, and (4) establish a price point.

Read about each of these steps more in-depth in our blog: 4 Essential Steps for Getting Started as a Freelancer.

Breaking into freelancing can be a creative process, and it will likely be an iterative one. However, loving what you do, receiving a fair value for your work, and seeing every client interaction as a step to expanding your brand and business will make every step of the journey more enjoyable and productive. When you feel this way, it shows, and clients will respond.

ResultsResourcing blog

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