This is an interview with my friend Gina Horkey who blogs over at Horkey Handbook. Today, Gina is going to let us in on the ins and outs of how to be a Virtual Assistant. Gina also was kind enough to do an interview about How to Be a Freelance Writer. You can check out that interview here. Check out her interview!
What is a virtual assistant and what do they do?
A virtual assistant (or VA for short) is basically someone that trades their skills or time for money and works from afar (or virtually).
Many people think that a VA just does mindless activities like data entry. The truth is that there are tons of services that you can offer, which can technically fall under the “VA” category. Think web design, development, email or calendar management, social media, writing and a whole host of other things!
As a part of my course, we’ve identified 125+ different services one could offer as a VA and get paid for. And it’s probably not all-inclusive!
Do you have to be tech-savvy in order to be a virtual assistant?
Yes and no.
Yes in that you need to know your way around a computer and the internet. No in that you can learn a lot of web-based skills on the job.
I don’t consider myself uber tech-savvy (i.e. I can’t code and hire out all of my own website stuff), but I’ve done just fine. 😉
Are there some qualities you should possess in order to start as a VA?
I’ve identified six different traits that I think make for a good VA.
A good virtual assistant is:
- Type-A – which really just means organized and on top of things.
- Open to Learning – if you don’t like to learn new things, this type of work might not be for you!
- Naturally Curious – this will help you to spot new opportunities in your client’s business and continue learning new skills to make yourself more valuable.
- Communicative – never leave your client hanging, especially if they’re expecting a reply!
- Not Afraid to Take Charge – i.e. once you learn your role, don’t ask permission or questions about every little thing.
- Has a Positive Attitude – this should go without saying?
You can learn more about Gina’s Free Virtual Assistant Course by clicking my link.
What kind of money can be made as a virtual assistant?
Like any position or career, it really depends.
In my community, I’ve seen anywhere from $10 an hour (which I consider to be too low, when you factor in self-employment taxes, lack of benefits, etc.) to $50+/hour. All of my clients are on retainer now and I consistently make above that. I started working with my first client at $35 per hour for context though.
Basically, the more specialized skills you can offer, the higher rates you can command. Part of it though is just believing in and then asking for what you’re worth!
Are there any tools to help people get started as a virtual assistant?
I have a course that’s pretty rad. 😉
A lot of the skills stuff you can repurpose from a previous career or life experiences. The course offers some skill development (namely email management, blog or content management and social media management), but is more heavily based on how to start and grow a profitable VA business – i.e. how to find clients and make money baby!
Otherwise, Google is your friend!
You can check out Gina’s Free VA course here.
Is it expensive to start a career as a virtual assistant?
Nope, you could literally do it for free.
But it can also depend on if you want to learn all of the ins and outs yourself. Or would you rather follow someone else’s path before you that has gotten the results you’re looking for? I’m a big fan of cutting my learning curve when possible (and never have tons of ample time), which also makes me a fan of continued education.
You absolutely need a solid, high-speed internet connection and a computer. A phone isn’t even necessary (providing you have access to Google Voice, Skype or something similar). A decent headset (earbuds) with a mic is also pretty useful.
I’d suggest long-term setting up a website, as it’s really today’s version of a business card. But it’s not 100% necessary right up front either.
So if you have a computer, internet and a fair amount of time you’re good to go.
How do you find jobs as a virtual assistant?
Personally, I’d stay away from places like UpWork. Not saying you can’t land some decent clients that way, it’s just that it might not be your most time-friendly or overall lucrative source.
In the course (sorry to keep bringing it up, but obvsiously I get these questions a lot, which is why I took the time to put it together), I’ve identified the seven main ways I suggest you go about it from all that I’ve learned. A few of them include, social media, your natural market, in person events, your website, etc.
You can check out Gina’s 30 Days or Less to VA Success course here.
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I saw that you have a free course on how to Jumpstart Your Virtual Assistant Career. That’s awesome! Can you give us an overview of what can be learned from this course?
Sure! It’s a 5-day course (one lesson per day over five days) and includes the following lessons:
- Lesson 1: 6 Traits That Make for an Excellent VA. We share with you six major traits employers look for in a VA to help you position yourself accordingly.
- Lesson 2: 125+ Services You Can Offer as a VA. Not sure what services to offer a potential client? We’ll share with you 125+ services to get you started!
- Lesson 3: How Much to Charge. Pricing is one of the most difficult things to master. We’ll share our strategies to keep both you and your clients happy long-term.
- Lesson 4: Finding Clients Using Social Media. We’ll show you how to find clients using social media without looking like a stalker.
- Lesson 5: Cold Pitching 101. You can’t get clients without putting in the work! In this lesson we cover the basics of cold pitching a prospect.
You can learn more about Gina’s course by clicking my link
You also have a course “30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistant Success.” Can you give us a synopsis of what the course is all about?
You bet! As I’ve mentioned, it’s mainly geared towards helping you launch a brand new VA business from scratch.
We cover everything from:
- Selecting your niche.
- Choosing what services to offer.
- How much to charge.
- Establishing your website.
- Where to find clients.
- What your pitch should say.
- Interviewing for the job.
- How and when to use contracts (plus a template to get you going).
- And much, much more!
You can learn more about 30 Days or Less to VA Success Course here.
What tips do you have for those wanting to start out as a virtual assistant?
Just get started!
Too many people want to do something, but never take action or get started. They’re afraid to put themselves out there, of failing or not being good enough.
Here’s the thing though, we’re all in the same boat. You ARE qualified – you have skills. You just have to figure out what they are and find clients to pay you for them.
That’s what business really breaks down to anyway. Why not you, why not now?
If you have an interest in becoming a Virtual Assistant, check out Gina’s courses. You can access the courses by clicking here.
Bio: Gina Horkey is a married, millennial mama to two precocious toddlers from Minnesota. Additionally, she’s a professional writer and online business marketing consultant with a decade of experience in the financial services industry. Gina enjoys helping other freelancers gear up to quit their day jobs and take their side hustles full-time via her website, Horkey HandBook.
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