My name is Courtney Frances and I’ve been a virtual assistant (VA) for 15 years! I started working as a VA when I was in college and loved it so much that I decided to teach others about this way of life! Are you interested in working from home for clients you adore at a rate that is WELL ABOVE the minimum wage in the US? This occupation has flexible hours and allows you to HELP other business owners with your skills! What could be better?!
Today I train people on how to become virtual assistants using the skills they already have. This post is meant to give you the basics of becoming a virtual assistant, resources to take you further, and inspiration to repackage your talents into services! I will break it all down for ya!
By the end of this article you will know how to :
💻Create a business of your own design that can’t be “shutdown”
💰Decide your own rate.
⏰Choose your own schedule.
👯♀️Work with people you enjoy.
Table of Contents
WHAT IS A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT?
There are several TYPES of virtual assistants. It’s not a one-size-fits-all, which I LOVE! Let’s break it down.
Simply put, a virtual assistant (VA) is anyone who works remotely as a contractor for entrepreneurs and/or small businesses. Each individual VA has their own skillset. Some VA’s work together as an “Agency” and others work individually. Their clients aren’t responsible for anything except paying them their package/hourly rate. It is up to the virtual assistant to secure their own health insurance, pay their own taxes, keep track of their own time, and provide their own office equipment. The clients get the benefit of paying for productive time only, while the VA gets the benefits of FREEDOM and TIME. Virtual assistants can be similar to “Personal assistants” except all their work is online. They can help with scheduling, booking flights, customer support, and other admin tasks. They can also be graphic designers, writers, technicians, and/or social media specialists.
As you can see, the occupation “virtual assistant” is a very broad term. To help break this down, I have categorized virtual assistants into 5 types, which I share below. You can take the quiz I developed, “Which type of VA are you”, to discover which of these you align with most. You might find that you gravitate towards one type, but you can also see yourself branching out into a couple of the others. This is common and great news because it shows you are already starting to understand your UNIQUE skillset. Which type are you? Take the quiz and jump right to what type of VA you are or read the categories below and see what type best fits you “What type of VA are you?”
THE FIVE TYPES OF VIRTUAL ASSISTANTS
🎛TECHNICIAN:: Coding, tech support, video & audio editing, solving technical issues and maintenance. You love anything to do with analytics, metrics, problem solving and research.
📝WORDSMITH: Copy-writers who love outreach, email marketing and sales! You have been complimented for your penmanship and you love to write in all different styles.
🦋SOCIAL BUTTERFLY:: Facebook Group support, customer support of all kinds, social media post creation, email marketing, funnel copy, email marketing and all things HYPE.
👩💻BEHIND THE SCENES ADMIN:: You love setting up automations and systems. You are the master of Spreadsheets, Google Docs, Dropbox and you can figure out any scheduling system thrown at you!
🌈DESIGNER:: You are always making sure everything is “on brand” and you have an incredible editor’s EYE. Your favorite tools for work are Canva and Adobe Suite…and Pinterest of course!
You’re probably ALREADY doing some of the skills mentioned above, either in your 9-5 or as you build your own social following. That’s the beauty of becoming a virtual assistant! You don’t need tons of training or a fancy certification, you just have to really KNOW yourself and believe in yourself. What do you enjoy doing? Who would be your DREAM client? As a VA you get to choose the when, where, whom and how you work…it’s true freedom and it’s not a far off dream!
The number one characteristic of a virtual assistant is being a FIGURE OUTTER. If that’s you, this could be an excellent fit for you!
GETTING STARTED: CHOOSE WHICH SERVICES TO OFFER
After understanding what a virtual assistant does and all the different types, it’s time for you to start narrowing in on what services YOU would like to offer! Many times we have overlapping “Types” so you might be a behind-the-scenes-admin with designer tendencies OR you could be a social butterfly who has wordsmith skills too! These are all perfect. You want to focus on the SKILLS associated with your type.
Confused about which services to offer? Ask yourself, “What do people always ask me for?” and “What am I always being complimented on?”
There are literally HUNDREDS of services you can offer. If you’d like to see a comprehensive list of 100 + Services you can offer Take the Virtual Assistant Quickstart! A Free masterclass with me about how to start your VA Biz!
Here are some of the most common examples for each type of VA::
WORDSMITH:: Writing product descriptions, newsletters, campaigns, press releases, outreach, landing pages, captions, profiles and more!
TECHNICIAN:: Website maintenance, Blog/website management, tracking metrics, domain support, setting up integrations, audio and video editing, tech problem solving, testing tech.
BEHIND-THE-SCENES ADMIN:: Admin support such as calendar management, database creation + organizing, data entry, file management, drafting emails or internal communications, preparing slideshows, sending cards/gifts, AND MORE. Many admins also enjoy bookkeeping, creating + sending invoices, and handling basic payroll duties.
THE SOCIALITE:: Inbox management, Customer Service, Social media support and all things COMMUNICATION. Processing refunds, answering questions, following up on orders, following up on emails, drafting responses in social, replying to mentions, creating giveaways + contests, researching popular hashtags and managing GROUPS.
DESIGNER:: Designers are digital artists. They can produce CONTENT. Creating graphics in Canva, editing audio + video, editing photos, formatting posts and emails to be visually pleasing, proofreading, e-book design, banner design, ad creation. Designers LOVE making everything beautiful.
WANNA GO DEEPER?
SIGN UP FOR THE VIRTUAL ASSISTANT QUICKSTART – A FREE VIDEO MASTERCLASS ON BECOMING A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT
CHOOSE YOUR RATE
After deciding what services you will provide your clients, you can start to think about RATES & PACKAGES.
The range of hourly rates varies widely, but MOST virtual assistants charge between $25 and $45 per hour. The more technical experience you have and the more niched you are, the higher the rate will be.
You can also set your business up for PACKAGE RATES. When I first started I was working on an hourly basis, but with hourly work, you can only charge for it after the service is rendered. This can feel a bit risky for both parties. Your clients are nervous about getting “the bill” 😯and not knowing “how long things take”. You are nervous because it doesn’t give your client the opportunity to INVEST in you and your work. Setting up package rates gets clients engaged and encourages your clients to commit and invest in a more long term relationship! So you can try bundling hours. If your rate is 35/per hour you would set up a package of 10 hours for $350, 20 hours for $700, etc!
The longer you work as a virtual assistant, the more clear you will become on your passions and the audience you work with best. Your skills will refine and you will most likely GRADUATE to entirely different career altogether. You might become a Graphic Designer, Web designer, OBM, Video/Audio Producer, Online Course Creator, or you could start your own VA Agency! These types of positions can charge higher rates and are more scalable, but many of us have to start somewhere. Virtual Assistant work can be that stepping stone to something even better! It can also help to support your family and your side hustle. It’s a beautiful place to begin working online.
VA’s can also work on a retainer basis. I’ve seen VA’s who retain for $350 a month and I’ve seen others who retain for $1200 a month. It’s a wide range, but again…this is something that is unique to your experience and the service you’re providing. Retainer normally means that you and your client will have terms and stipulations about what should be accomplished each month and you will have a cap on how many hours you can work per month to protect your time. It can be very lucrative and FUN to develop this kind of relationship with a client!
DECIDE WHO YOU WANT TO WORK WITH
One of the benefits of being a virtual assistant is being able to CHOOSE who you want to work for! 🎉
It’s important to be conscious of whom that person is for you so you can say “YES!” to the right people and “No Thank You” to the rest. If we say yes to every potential client that comes our way we could end up in a very low vibe place….working on projects you have no interest in and resenting your client! 🙅🏻♀️
Instead of accepting whatever comes your way, I want you to know that you deserve the BEST, most fun and exciting clients for YOU! So, do you want to work with entrepreneurs? women? Coaches? Yoga teachers? Scientists? Think about what you’re most interested in and imagine what someone working in that industry might need virtual assistance with.
DECIDE WHEN YOU CAN WORK
Before you start calling in your ideal clients, decide how many hours you can REASONABLY take on. I say reasonably because sometimes we can be guilty of biting off more than we can chew. Have a clear understanding of how many hours you can work a day and when those will be. Will you work on weekends? When will you be able to answer emails and take client calls? Visualize yourself BEING a virtual assistant in your daily life and imagine how it all works.
WANNA GO DEEPER? WE GO INTO EVEN MORE DETAIL IN THE VA QUICKSTART!
SIGN UP FOR THE VIRTUAL ASSISTANT QUICKSTART – A FREE VIDEO MASTERCLASS ON BECOMING A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT
SET UP SYSTEMS AND TOOLS
It’s time to set up some SYSTEMS and TOOLS that you’ll be using DAILY.
Decide how you best like to communicate with clients. Will you use email, voice notes, Marco polo?
Decide how you will track your time and progress on projects. Will you use a project management system like asana? a Google Doc? A time tracking tool?
And choose how you will collect payment. Paypal? Stripe? Square?
You may want to set up your own website as well! This is a great way to market yourself and go PRO.
Research the best options for you or take a course like the VA Code to learn from someone who is established.
Once you have your systems and tools set up, You know how + who you want to serve, AND you’ve designed your schedule it’s time to NETWORK + MARKET your skills!
You can do this on your own by talking about what you do on social media, joining + being active in communities where your ideal clients hang out, sharing testimonials from friends or family that have worked with you and more! Once you design your business you will be ready to tell the world about it.
Let’s work together!
You can take the Do-it-yourself approach:
- Keep ingesting free content and piecing things together. (TRY TAKING THE VA QUICKSTART TO GO DEEPER FOR FREE)
- Do “all the things” and hope it works!
This approach CAN work, but ultimately it takes much longer and includes more overwhelm + frustration.
OR you can join the VA CODE and have support, networking + guidance month after month!
- Get step-by-step help from someone who’s done it already and can SIMPLIFY the journey.
- Stay high-vibe with a community of like minded and supportive virtual assistants in our private forum! Ask questions, share celebrations and be seen!
- Get lifetime access to weekly CO-WORKING events. Meet other entrepreneurs and Network!
- After graduation have your profile added to the VA Vault…a place we send potential clients all the time!
- Create SIGNATURE SYSTEMS, a brand and a marketing plan alongside your peers and with me as your guide!
- Clear and actionable homework to implement the entire 5 weeks.
- Save literal YEARS and start your business in 1 month