In this post, I’m talking about how to become a virtual assistant even if you have NO experience, and how to start your own virtual assisting business.
One of my absolute favorite stay at home jobs is virtual assisting.
It’s surprisingly one of the best ways to start making money from home, while learning and practicing useful business skills that can help you grow and scale your business.
There options are so unlimited, that you can literally find a few hobbies even and turn them into useful skills that translate into hard, cold cash!
As a virtual assistant, you get to decide what you want to do and who you want to work with.
And what sounds better than that?
The hardest part of becoming a VA is actually getting started. I personally played with the idea of becoming a VA for an entire year before I finally got my feet wet.
And, although I’ve never made it my full-time gig (I prefer blogging) I have definitely made some pretty good side money that helped fund some of my early blogging expenses.
So how do you get started as a VA? Let’s go step by step into what it takes to become a virtual assistant.
This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link.
How to Become a Virtual Assistant
The cool thing about becoming a virtual assistant is that you don’t really need any official training.
You don’t need a college degree and you don’t have to take any special courses. (Although I have taken a few VA courses that are helped me figure everything out much quicker.)
All you really need is to have something your good at, that you can provide for someone else.
A service or product that can be virtually done for a client.
That’s really it. At the base of it all a virtual assistant provides a service remotely to someone who is paying them for their services.
It can’t get way more complex than that, but it doesn’t have to.
But of course, the simplified terms of this isn’t very helpful. Instead, let’s give you a few steps to take so you can get your new virtual assistant business started ASAP.
In my opinion, this is the easiest way to break down becoming a VA in steps:
Steps to Becoming a Virtual Assistant
- Step 1: Figure out services you’ll provide.
- Step 2: Figure out who needs these service.
- Step 3: Set up your business basics to protect yourself and your future clients.
- Step 4: Find your clients and do the work.
- Step 5: Wash, rinse, repeat.
Don’t let any of this overwhelm you. It’s actually all accomplishable.
If the thought of doing any of these steps make you freeze up, just take things one step at a time. Don’t worry about the next one until you’ve completed the first one.
Seriously, this mental shift will save you from freezing your progress, which is usually the biggest reason why most people don’t succeed in their VA business.
So, let’s start with step 1. Figuring out what services you should provide.
Step 1: What Virtual Assistant Services Should You Provide?
You may already have something in mind. First, make a list and figure out what services you can offer as a virtual assistant.
What are you good at? Are you creative, a great writer, awesome at answering people’s questions?
There are endless possibilities when it comes to figuring out what kind of services you should provide.
For example, Gina from Horkey Handbook has a very comprehensive list here, of over 150 things VA’s can offer to their clients.
It’s totally free and may help give you some ideas you haven’t thought of already.
My biggest suggestion is to find something you enjoy doing, becoming really awesome at that, and making that your number 1 service.
When I did VA work, I really enjoyed taking photos of projects. So this was a service I offered.
I wasn’t naturally good at this though. I had to keep practicing. I bought a refurbished lower end DSLR and started snapping away.
At first, my photos were mediocre at best. Nothing to write home about. But I kept practicing. I figured out what my clients were really wanting, and was able to start giving it to them!
Over time I was able to charge more because my photos became better and better, and clients were willing to pay more for higher quality photos.
But don’t feel limited. There are so many types of services and specialties, even things like becoming a real estate virtual assistant.
Whatever services you decide to provide, make sure that they pass this checklist:
- You don’t mind doing the service (even over and over again)
- The service provides value to others
- You can charge what your worth doing this service
- You are good at this service or your willing to keep learning until you ARE good at this service.
If you can confidently pass that checklist, you should be good.
Step 2: Figure out Who Needs This Service
Once you have figured out what you want to do, the next step is to figure out who NEEDS your service.
You want to find people who desperately want what you have to offer. These people who need your services may not even know they need it.
But you need to learn to spot those who do. After all, you genuinely want to be helpful and useful to your clients.
Where to find clients is completely dependent on what you are providing.
For instance, if you are providing customer support, you’ll need clients who run a business where they offer products or services.
If you are a writer and want to offer freelance writing, you’ll need to find people who need writing. Lots of bigger websites pay for others to do the writing for them.
So you’ll have to do some brainstorming about where your clients may be hanging out.
My clients were on Facebook (mom bloggers.) Yours may be on LinkedIn (business types.)
This step was hard for me at first. But once you get used to thinking this way, it actually becomes second nature. It just takes practice.
Step 3: Setting up the Logistics of Your VA Business
Alright. So now that you know what you want to offer, and who needs it most. You should start getting the logistics of your business set up.
Creating a Website:
A basic website is really easy to create and can offer you a place to send clients to get lots of great information on what services you provide.
You can also house your legal paperwork like business contracts (Yes you need these because people do flake!) and your policies.
It’s also a great place to showcase past work you’ve done (with your client’s permission) and give a taste of your style and portfolio.
This can really make or break whether a client wants to work with you.
Including a Services Page
As someone who’s hired out quite a few projects, I love to see a good, detailed service page.
When a VA reaches out to me about an inquiry and sends me a link to their services page, I can guarantee I’m 10x more likely to hire them.
After all, it’s so much easier to see everything laid out in a logical, systematic way. I can figure out exactly what I want them to do for me.
I’ve even found out they offered services I had no idea I wanted and ended up hiring them for other jobs too!
Whether or not you put your prices on your services page is up to you. Seeing a big price may deter some potential clients, however, if they can’t afford those rates, they probably can’t afford you anyhow.
You want clients who see the value in your work! Don’t underestimate yourself.
The Really Boring (Yet Totally Necessary) Stuff
Lastly, you’ll need to make sure to have your ducks in a row legally.
If you are in the United States, you’ll need to make sure to apply to get an EIN number so that you can conduct business, without getting in trouble with the IRS.
Because eventually, you will have to come face to face with self-employed taxes. (Again, sounds scary. But getting your ducks in a row now, will take the fear out of it.)
I did it, even though a root canal seemed like a better time. In the end, it was actually pretty easy.
You’ll also want to figure out client contracts.
Again. I cannot stress this enough. All of these things that sound hard (like contracts and EIN numbers!) Are what I like to call ticky tacky things.
These are things that have to get done and seem hard and intimidating. They can also cause you to procrastinate setting up your business.
But hear me on this.
It is not as hard as it looks!
You can literally do all of the “ticky tacky” items in only a few hours with a little know how. You can also find great resources out there.
For example, you can purchase client contract templates here.
Step 4: Find Your Clients and Deliver Your Services!
Next step. Finding clients who need your virtual services! Yep. The next step to becoming a virtual assistant.
You know what you can provide. You know who needs it. You got your business put together. Now it’s time to start making some money!
We go more indepth here: How do land your first clients as a VA
But basically, there are several different approaches. Mostly you are going to have to get out there and sell your services.
This may be through jobs boards (my least favorite idea) or cold pitching (sounds harder than it is!)
A note about cold pitching
Now, this is the part where you’ll have to prepare yourself for some rejection. Finding the right clients is largely about timing.
You may find the perfect person who needs your services. But if they don’t need them right now, they’ll decline, or not answer you at all.
This is okay. You may send out a few hundred cold pitches and only get a few yes’s. But that’s all you need to get started.
The fact is that if your pitches offered value, eventually some of those pitches will come back to you.
In fact, I have had VAs cold pitch to be about specific services. At the time I didn’t think I needed them. But 3 months later I remember the message and responded back asking for the service.
Turns out the girl was fully booked for the next 4 months, but I made sure to get on her wait list!
That’s the kind of business you want to be building!
Step 5: Wash, Rinse, Repeat
Once you start your virtual assistant business, you’ll start to get a feel for what’s working and what’s not.
So when you notice A,B,C worked well for you, but D did not. Simply cut out D. Do more of what’s working for you and less of what isn’t.
Your business will slowly grow as long as you keep working at it.
The only time I see people not succeed is when they repeat the same things over and over that just-aren’t-working. Stop doing things that don’t work!
I promise you, if you learn where to focus the majority of your efforts, you’ll see success. It may not be overnight, but it will come!
Your Next Steps
If you want to learn how to become a virtual assistant and build a thriving business, I highly suggest taking a course. I took Horkey Handbooks 30 days or less to VA success.
It really did a great job of laying out everything I needed to do step by step.
It teaches you how to find your clients, how to pitch to them in ways that will get them to want to work with you.
Plus, students who go through the course get an opportunity to be apart of their VA finder service. Which helps pair business owners with high-quality VA’s. Which makes it easier than cold pitching.
You can read my full review of the virtual assistant course here.