A series of blog posts introducing you to the various work from the road possibilities that’ll make your explorking life a reality. This series will showcase one job at a time, provide you with a background, highlight various skills required, the average salary, and some tips to get you started.
We’ve also covered Graphic Designer in this blog series.
First up, Virtual Assistant. What do virtual assistants do? What tasks does a VA do? What skills does a VA need? How did you start with your virtual assistant work? What does a virtual assistant do? How much does a virtual assistant get paid?
Virtual Assistant Introduction
While big corporation continues creating products for the masses, a new business type has crept up and is now growing faster than ever – the small online business. Before we continue, let’s define “small business”. There are many definitions as to what a small business is, some define a small business by employee size while others define a small business by annual revenue. Don’t let the term “small business” scare you into thinking they’re “less than”. A small business can easily generate revenue in the high six digit range, and many reach into the millions.
These small businesses are incredibly busy and are much harder to maintain and grow without help to get the little things done. As a small business begins to grow, the first area where support is needed is organizational things such as calendar management, screening and replying to emails, arranging meets and, coordinating travel plans.
Traditionally these types of things were handled by assistants running around the office, and businesses which don’t have offices, rely on Virtual Assistants.
As a Virtual Assistant, you can either work for one company exclusively or have various clients, dividing your available time between your clients. The ideal situation is having a limited count of clients so that the quality of your work stays on point and you don’t get overwhelmed by a mishmash of different tasks.
Virtual Assistant Tasks
Each online business is going to assign a slightly different set of requirements or responsibilities to their Virtual Assistant (also known as VA), but some commonalities are worth noting. Which tasks you do are dependant on the type of business you’re working for.
For Healthful Pursuit, we’ve found it helpful to hire different people for different types of jobs. We have an individual who focuses on social media, another that interacts with all community/customer aspects, and another who does blog-based tasks. This layout works for us because we’re a larger small business, but if you’re a VA working for a smaller business, you may be asked to do very random things that change from day to day.
Here are some common tasks that a VA may be asked to complete:
- Online research
- Email entries
- Responding to customer emails
- Managing bookings calendar
- Researching new tools for the business
- Website content updates
- Organization of Dropbox folders
- Templating blog posts
- Managing podcasts
- Social media help
- Market research
As a Virtual Assistant, you will likely do a bit of typing, often in the form of drafting a document or writing emails. Our tip is, make sure you proof read what you write. We often use the text-to-speech feature on our Macs, allowing us to listen to what we wrote. We also use Grammarly, which is an online tool that helps with grammar and spelling.
Virtual Assistant Pay
How much does a VA get paid? That’s a tough question. Depending on your skills, experience, and the client you take on, your pay can range anywhere from $15 to $100 USD per hour.
How does a VA track their hours? We like using Harvest for our VA hour tracking.
How does a VA bill the client? There are two ways (that we know of) to bill your client – on a per-hourly basis, or as a retainer. The per hour option is easy to understand. You work, you track the hours worked, and you get paid. For the retainer, the client pays you a block of hours regardless whether you work those hours or not. This can be beneficial to you as you’ll be able to figure out your client schedule easier and have a guaranteed paycheck every month. However, the retainer approach can deter businesses from wanting to work with you, especially if they’ve never worked with you before. What ends up happening is you will work less hours than the retainer and the client will end up spending more money than the work that was provided.
How does a VA get paid? We pay our VA’s using PayPal. So, it’s a good idea to get a PayPal account setup.
How To Find a Virtual Assistant Job
Here are some ideas on how you can find VA work:
- Outsourcing sites such as Upwork and Freelancer
- Check for postings on your favorite blogs, newsletters or social media pages
- Reach out to your favorite blogs, newsletters or social media pages and ask them if they need VA help
Does being a VA sound interesting to you? Being a VA can be a lot of fun because you get to see the entire business. You will need to diligent, very reliable, and detail oriented, but the skills you’ll learn are invaluable!