Virtual assistants are in hot demand — and a very popular work-at-home option, especially for parents. Benefits include:
- Good pay. Depending on skill level, you can earn $20 to $75 within the first year.
- Extreme flexibility. Work anywhere in the world you like, often any hours you prefer
- Very high demand. Every industry and business requires some support, and it is easier and more cost-effective to hire a remote worker
- Interesting work. The types of tasks required of virtual assistants are wide, varied and changing. You can pick and choose what you want to specialize in
- Easy to get started. If you can type, do basic skills on a computer, run social media, you are ready to start your virtual assistant business.
How to become a virtual assistant with no experience
Here's how to get started:
1. Market relevant experience differently
If you already have job experience as an administrative assistant, office manager, secretary or with a specific job title such as marketing manager, social media manager or copywriter, market yourself as a virtual assistant.
2. Take an online course to learn how to become a virtual assistant: 10kVA course reviews
If you’re curious about this career path, it’s important to know that you don’t have to do this alone. There are a handful of helpful virtual assistant courses online out there, like $10K VA. Also, consider becoming a bookkeeper or bookkeeper assistant, which can be a six-figure work-at-home career you can launch in less than a year. Our No. 1 recommended course is Bookkeeper Launch, which we review.
3. Work under a successful VA
Increasingly, successful virtual assistants either hire sub-contractors under them to serve their clients, or work as agents matching clients with virtual assistants.
Here is what else you need to know:
- What is a virtual assistant?
- What kinds of tasks do virtual assistants do?
- How much do virtual assistants earn?
- How to find virtual assistant jobs
What is a virtual assistant?
Virtual assistants are exactly what they sound like they would be — assistants that work virtually (online) instead of in a physical office.
While many virtual assistants are self-employed freelance workers, some virtual assistants work for an agency or for one employer.
Kayla Sloan earns $10,000 or more each month as a virtual assistant. Her 10KVA course has helped hundreds of people — mostly moms, all working from home — replicate the same success. Check it out:
Virtual assistants provide online support to a wide range of professionals who need help managing their online businesses.
People who employ VAs run the gamut from bloggers to online entrepreneurs, podcast hosts, online colleges, and pretty much any business owner who needs a support staff — but that support staff does not need to be in their physical office.
Why would someone hire a virtual assistant? In many cases, people who hire VAs work virtually as well so they don’t want to bring someone into a brick-and-mortar office.
If everyone on a team can work from home from wherever they live, businesses can save money on overhead by not paying for office space, and also get the benefit of happy, loyal employees.
What kinds of tasks do virtual assistants do?
At this point, you want to know:
What does a virtual assistant do?
While the answer to this question varies widely, most VA duties are similar to those conducted in any traditional office.
A virtual assistant who works for a blog or major website may perform tasks such as reading and responding to emails, helping their employer add people to their mailing list, create documents, manage a client's calendar, schedule and create social media posts and more.
Proofreaders are also in big demand, with competitive pay. Learn more about being a proofreader from home.
Also, learn more about becoming a bookkeeping assistant.
They may also create virtual images to be shared online, and they may even perform basic social media management.
Other tasks that are performed by VAs include:
- Update documents with new data
- Create spreadsheets to track performance
- Input or documenting payments
- Send invoices to clients
- Set up interviews
- Respond to media or informational requests
- Basic data entry
- Schedule appointments
- Project management
- Pinterest, Facebook and other social media management (more details on this below)
- Customer service
- Real estate agents and brokerage assistance with administrative tasks
This is not an all-inclusive list since VAs in a specific niche may perform additional tasks. However, it’s important to note that the bulk of your work will take place on your computer and online.
Legitimate work from home jobs for single moms
While these may seem so obvious they are a scam, there are many jobs that require the following skills — even for large companies like Amazon and Google:
- Work from home on a computer
- Work from home typing jobs
- Work from home data entry jobs
- Work from home customer service jobs
- Work from home chat jobs
- Work from home medical jobs
- Work from home transcription jobs
How does a virtual assistant work?
In short: A virtual assistant is just like a traditional, in-person, or in-office assistant — but VAs work remotely. Often a virtual assistant communicates with clients via regular phone or Skype meetings, email, text, or a project management system like Trello, Asana or Basecamp, but that all depends on the agreements between the VA and their clients.
Most virtual assistants work on a contract basis. You may choose to charge an hourly rate, with a package based on a minimum number of hours. Your clients may assign you a list of tasks to be completed over a week or month or quarter — or you may respond to their requests as they send them throughout the day.
It is up to you as the business owner, the types of tasks you agree to handle, the way in which you are paid, the hours you work, and deadlines you feel comfortable with.
What skills do you need to be a VA?
Since your entire VA career will be spent in front of your computer, it’s natural to wonder if you have all the skills required for the job. Fortunately, you do not need a ton of technical skill to find work in this profession.
Kayla Sloan, a six-figure virtual assistant and the founder of $10K VA, even says that you don’t even need a formal education to get started. You mostly need a very basic set of online skills, attention to detail, an aptitude for excellence.
While the skills and knowledge you’ll need can vary depending on the specific type of VA work you do, basic skills to get started likely include:
- Strong communication skills — ability to understand exactly what the client needs, and express what you need to the client
- Highly organized
- Ability to use Microsoft Office products, specifically Microsoft Word and Excel
- Google Docs
- Software editing programs
- Organization and scheduling software such as Basecamp, Asana, Evernote, or Trello
- Excellent reading comprehension and writing skills
- The ability to proofread your own work
- Accounting and bookkeeping knowledge, including QuickBooks
- Experience with social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest
- Extreme attention to detail
If you haven’t mastered these skills yet or have never heard of some of these programs, don’t stress! There are many skills you can learn as you go, and there are even virtual assistant training programs that can get you started off on the right foot and with the knowledge you need.
None of the skills required to be a VA are overly complex or technical, and you will usually do some learning as you go. That’s totally normal.
In addition to the main skills you need, however, you also need an excellent work ethic since you will be working from home. You need the drive to get up and do the work every day even if you don’t want to — and without a boss to motivate you. For many people, this is the hardest part about working as a virtual assistant or in any other work-at-home job.
Finally, you need to be a somewhat organized person with excellent time management skills. While most virtual assistants are paid by the hour, they need to be efficient with their time if they want to keep their employers happy. Remember that people who hire VAs are doing so to save both time and money. If you’re not efficient or you’re terrible at managing your time, you won’t be a “good deal” to anyone who might hire you.
How much do virtual assistants earn?
Now on to the question we’re all here for: How much do VAs earn? This is another topic that is up for debate because it really depends on:
- Salary or part-time / self-employed (self-employed earn a higher rate, typically)
- Experience level
- Type of services provided. Data entry will command a much lower rate than organizing meetings of C-suite executives for the oil and gas industry
- Industry. Clients in financial services, medicine, law and other fields that require high levels of service and have big budgets can pay more than serving an individual influencer or small business owner (though not necessarily)
How much do virtual assistants make, by job type
Virtual assistant salary (full-time)
Just as there is a remote version of every type of job (including surgeons, who can now perform operations remotely via robots!), any assistant job can now be applied to the VA category. In this case, some assistants doing very beginner tasks may earn a flat rate of $20,000 per year salary, an executive level assistant supporting the full schedule of a Fortune 500 CEO can earn $150,000 or more.
Virtual assistant full-time jobs may come with benefits like health insurance, retirement, paid time off, equipment like a computer, phone and desk, and/or rental on office space or a community office like WeWork. This is true for VAs working for large businesses, as well as solopreuneuers.
Virtual assistant part-time jobs
If you’re a self-employed freelance virtual assistant with multiple clients, you can typically charge a lot more than virtual assistants who work for agencies of a single employer.
How do you find virtual assistant jobs?
Virtual assistant work is in more demand than ever, but that doesn’t always mean the jobs are easy to find. For the most part, the *first* job you find as a VA is the most difficult to secure. From there, you can usually get more VA work via referrals. That’s why many virtual assistants start out with an agency at first.
Virtual assistant jobs for beginners
If you are just getting started, there are countless ways to find VA gigs to build your skills and resume.
To market yourself to potential clients, it is important to have attractive social media accounts, as well as a simple website that showcases who you are, and what you offer.
- Fiverr is a marketplace where creative professionals promote their services — including designers, writers and virtual assistants. Keep in mind that marketplace is global, so you are competing with people in places like Thailand and El Salvador where wages are lower.
- FlexJobs is an incredible resource for those seeking telecommute and other flexible and work-at-home jobs. There are hundreds of virtual assistant positions on FlexJobs, which does charge a fee to access its database of highly vetted companies. In other words: These are only quality positions at quality companies.
- ZipRecruiter is a job search site you can use to find all kinds of jobs, including part time, full time, and remote work.
- Ask around. Talk to friends and family who own small business, as well as work at corporations. Hiring remote workers on a contract basis is very common now. Offer to provide data entry, social media management, or any other services.
- Networking events in your town
- Facebook groups and other online communities. There are a number of Facebook communities specifically for VAs, which can be useful in connecting with others in your new field to brainstorm business-building, as well as make new friends who might refer business. Also seek out communities of professionals where you specialize. For example, if you have experience supporting a dental practice, find an online community of dental practice managers.
These sources may sound really vague, but these are the best places to find VA work and VA jobs. You have to remember that, as a virtual assistant, part of your job really is finding and keeping clients. Fortunately, highly-skilled virtual assistants with plenty of knowledge and great communication skills tend to have no problem finding and retaining work. Happy clients will be thrilled to refer you to their colleagues and friends.
Remember: If you are successful in helping your clients' business grow, they are happy to help you grow you business — with increased fees and hours on their payroll, as well as recommendations to their friends and colleagues.
How much do virtual assistant charge per hour?
If you work for an agency or full-time for one employer, you’ll take a cut in pay in exchange for help finding clients. VAs that work for an agency or single employer typically make between $10 and $20 per hour.
Some self-employed VAs who are highly trained and skilled charge upwards of $75 per hour and remain in demand, but the majority of freelance VAs earn in the $20 to $40 per hour range. Of course, there is a downside that comes with being a freelance VA — for the most part, you’ll in be charge of finding all your own work.
While earning on the low end of the scale may not be ideal, it’s important to keep in mind that you can charge more as you learn new skills and become better at your job. If you start out as a VA with an agency and become proficient enough to run your own client base, you could even double or triple your starting income within a few years.
Virtual assistant services: What services does a virtual assistant offer?
A virtual assistant can offer nearly any service remotely to assist a business owner. Here is a sampling of common VA tasks:
- Customer service through email, chat, social media or phone
- Email management
- Blog, social media and online community comment management
- Live webinar assistance
- Calendar and appointment management
- Data entry
- PowerPoint presentations
- Order fulfillment
- Ordering supplies
- Scheduling interviews for podcast or YouTube guests
- Re-purposing content (Example: turn a video into a written blog post or a blog post into a social media post)
- Taking meeting notes
- Managing blog editorial calendars
- Photo editing
- Graphic design
- Client onboarding and management: Setting up contracts, payment, invoicing and paperwork
- Vendor onboarding, maintenance and payment
- Travel arrangements
- Managing online communities
- Assisting with webinars and Zoom meetings
- WordPress blog post management
- Project management
- Event planning — online or IRL
- Online marketing and promotion, including giveaways, promoting ebooks or courses
- Organizing files on the cloud / Google Drive
- Training new team members
- Personal shopping and appointment management
Virtual assistant service: Writing
Some writing-related tasks for a VA:
- Writing blog posts
- Writing ebooks, books, newsletters, emails
- Writing or editing audio or video transcriptions
- Writing and scheduling social media posts for LinkedIn, YouTube Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram
- Creating pins and managing Pinterest
- Managing social media comments and DMs
- Press releases
- Editing blog posts, books, websites, newsletters, recipes, etc.
- Website and sales page copywriting
- Write product descriptions for online shops like Shopify or Etsy
- Grant proposals
- Collecting/editing testimonials
- Podcast or YouTube scripts or promos
Virtual assistant service: Managing social media
Many virtual assistants perform social media management services for their clients. Sometimes these job titles overlap, or are used interchangeably as social media becomes increasingly important to businesses of all sizes.
While businesses once relied on major media to advertise their products or services, the internet ushered in a new era that changed how marketing works.
Instead of paying for radio and print newspaper or magazine ads as the bulk of their strategy, most businesses today turn to social media to get the word out. And really, why wouldn’t they? Not everyone listens to the radio anymore, and print media is going the way of the dinosaur at lightning speed.
Many businesses — including individual bloggers, influencers and small businesses — hire social media managers — a specific type of worker that handles all forms of social media outreach and engagement.
Keep reading to find out more:
- What is a social media manager?
- What kind of tasks do social media managers do?
- What skills do you need to be a social media manager?
- How much do social media managers earn?
- Pros and cons of being a social media manager
- How do you find social media management jobs?
- How to become a social media manager?
What is a social media manager?
Think of any business you know that has an online presence, from your local grocery store to your doctor’s office, to your favorite food blogger.
If that business is on social media sharing information, creating buzz about events, or simply letting people know they exist, there’s a good chance they employ a social media manager to take care of those details.
While social media management jobs vary, these workers are charged with understanding how major social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Snapchat work. They effectively “run” the social media accounts for the business that hires them so the business owner can spend their time doing other things.
While many social media managers work as freelancers and juggle more than one client, some find full-time jobs managing social media for major corporations or businesses.
Read more: Best work-from-home jobs for single moms
What kind of tasks do social media managers do?
If you look at your own social media pages and find businesses that have an online presence, it’s not that hard to figure out what social media managers do. For the most part, they craft the communications their bosses want their followers to see.
That could mean writing a Facebook post with an image that talks about an upcoming sale or promotion, or it might mean sharing news about a local event. It can also include fielding customer questions, comments, and even complaints as a virtual customer service rep of sorts. Or, it can simply involve interacting with a brand or business’s social media followers in a meaningful way.
Different businesses may use different social media platforms as well, and most businesses do not use them all.
For example, a grocery store brand may get lots of traction on Facebook and Twitter but avoid Instagram and Snapchat because they don’t find their target audience there. On the flip side, a business that caters to younger consumers — like a fast food chain or fashion brand — may focus only on Instagram and Snapchat because that’s where their customers live.
While the tasks completed by social media managers can vary from day to day, the main tasks usually include:
- Scheduling social media posts for clients
- Communicating with clients to find out what they want to promote and the style in which they want to promote it
- Responding to customer inquiries on social media
- Creating special emails or social media promotions or schedules
- Creating images to be used on social media
- Curating and sharing relevant content social media followers will love
- Tracking and analyzing stats on each platform to monitor growth
- Optimizing platforms to best represent the business
- Staying on top of the ever-changing social media platforms’ industry news
- Planning an editorial calendar
Keep in mind that this list is not all-inclusive. Most social media managers spend time on certain networks and not much at all on others, and some social media managers may also create and edit videos for their clients to share on platforms like Instagram.
At the end of the day, the scope of the job depends a lot on who you work for, the social media networks they focus on, and the company’s goals.
Some details on what it is like to work as a social media manager:
What skills do you need to be a social media manager?
If you are on Facebook or Twitter all the time already, you may think you have what it takes to become a social media manager without any formal training.
While it’s true having social media experience helps, believe us when we say you have a lot to learn before you can offer social media management services to clients.
There must be purpose and strategy behind every move you make on social media as a business.
The first thing to remember is that professional social media management is not to be taken lightly. Unlike your personal social media accounts, this job is less about sharing pictures of your dinner and new selfies and more about creating advertising campaigns that help your clients meet their goals.
With that in mind, skills you’ll need to work as a social media manager include:
- Proficiency in all the major social media networks
- Knowledge of apps that help with social media scheduling, such as Tailwind
- Experience or knowledge of Facebook Ads and how to use them
- Marketing experience
- Excellent reading comprehension and writing skills
- Copywriting skills
- Excellent customer service skills
- Attention to detail
In addition to these skills, you also need to be able to effectively communicate with clients. You need to be able to understand what it is they want out of social media and how to translate that information into effective social media campaigns and engagement. The majority of the time, you will learn the bulk of these skills through experience, trial, and error.
How much do social media managers earn?
While social media management is hard work, these professionals are typically rewarded handsomely for their knowledge, time, and expertise. However, it’s important to note that social media managers are paid in many different ways.
For example, a social media manager employed by a specific company can usually expect to earn $40,000 to $75,000 per year depending on their level of skill and who they work for. That’s a broad range indeed, but it just goes to show how much wiggle room you may have when it comes to negotiating salary.
Social media managers who are self-employed typically charge their clients a monthly retainer fee in lieu of an hourly rate. This could be anywhere from $500 to $3,000 per month per client depending on the time and scope of the social media involved.
I personally know several social media managers who juggle 6-7 clients per month with each paying a retainer of $500 – $1,000 per month. If you’re earning $500 per client each month and have 6 clients, you’d obviously be earning $3,000 per month or $36,000 per year. If you got each of those clients to pay you a $1,000 retainer each month, on the other hand, your salary would surge to $72,000. That’s obviously a huge difference!
Pros and cons of being a social media manager
While the income potential shared above may be exciting, this is also one of the downsides of being a social media manager. Unless you find a full-time social media management job with a single employer, your income may be highly variable depending on how many clients you have and how much they are willing to pay.
You’ll also need to brace yourself for the fact that you’ll lose clients from time to time. When money is tight, social media managers (and other non-essential services and employees) are often the first to go.
Still, there’s plenty to love about social media management as a career. Before you give this job any more thought, consider these pros and cons:
Advantages of being a social media manager:
- Work from home and often with flexible hours
- Spend your time on social media instead of in an office
- Put your creative side to work
- Nearly unlimited income potential
- Low expenses if you’re a freelancer
- Learn new skills all the time as social media trends change
Disadvantages of being a social media manager:
- Your income depends on your clients and their budgets
- If you’re self-employed, you will need to find clients on your own
- If you’re a freelancer, you won’t receive benefits such as access to a 401(k) plan or health insurance
- You will have to manage your own invoices and taxes
- You’ll need to spend time finding new clients each time you lose one
How do you find social media management jobs?
Social media management jobs are all over the place, but that doesn’t mean they’re advertised in plain sight. You may need to do a little digging to find the right social media management position or clients that will give you a chance when you’re first starting out.
To market yourself to potential clients, it is important to have attractive social media accounts, as well as a simple website that showcases who you are, and what you offer.
Some places to look for social media management work include:
- Online job boards
- Networking events and conferences
- Blogging conferences
- Contacting local businesses and entrepreneurs with an online presence
- Online business and entrepreneurship Facebook groups
Some social media managers also have success contacting local businesses without a social media presence to see if they need help. Many businesses want to be on social media but don’t have the time or manpower to get the ball rolling.
In many cases, they don’t even know they could hire someone to handle this aspect of their business. By showing them you have the knowledge and skill to help, you can secure work for yourself while also helping businesses create a presence where their customers are — online and on social media.
How to become a social media manager?
To become a social media manager, you need to be proficient in all the major social media networks. You also must have an eye for creativity, a certain level of professionalism, and the ability to work remotely and without any supervision.
Most of the skills social media managers need can be learned online and from home, but you may also want to explore the idea of taking an online course for social media managers or virtual assistants to get started.
Once you find a client that’s willing to give you a chance, it becomes much easier to find subsequent clients and build out your work week to earn a full-time income.
When it comes to beginning a career as a social media manager, you’ll need to learn a lot on your own and be willing to adapt right along with technology. But since there is no such thing as a college degree in social media management, you may want to seek out special training that can help.
If you have the skill and the drive to succeed, this job could be your full-time gig in less time than you think.
How to create virtual assistant packages
Often, a VA will charge per package, or a set fee for a fixed number of hours. This is a benefit to both the client and the VA — clients know they are paying a fixed fee for work that they are incentivized to use. They are also more likely to get organized to work with their virtual assistant in a meaningful way that gets the most accomplished in the fewest number of hours.
Creating a package benefits the VA: You now can budget both your time and money, instead of hoping work comes in each day — and then having to scramble to tackle it.
To incentivize clients to buy a package, offer a discount for bulk hours billed. Here is an example:
“My rate is $40 per hour, with a minimum of 10 hours per month. These packages are discounted:
- 10 hours/mo. = $350 (13% discount)
- 20 hours/mo. = $680 (15% discount)
- 40 hours/mo. = $1,280 (20% discount)
Pros and cons of being a VA
Working from home can be absolutely amazing, but the fact remains that no job is perfect. Virtual assistants face many of the same struggles as individuals in any regular job, and even a few more. Before you decide to become a virtual assistant, consider some of the pros and cons:
Advantages of being a virtual assistant:
- Work from home or anywhere with an internet connection
- You can usually work the hours you want with a flexible schedule
- You can earn fair wages for your work with the potential to earn more as you improve your skills
- You have the option to “be your own boss”
- You can often work as many hours as you want, including part-time
- You can plan your work around your family and personal schedules
Disadvantages of being a virtual assistant:
- It can be difficult to find new clients at first if you’re not employed with an agency
- You will need to learn new skills and perfect them to earn the highest VA rates
- If you are self-employed as a VA, you will need to spend some time on bookkeeping including sending and tracking your own invoices and payments
- You will likely need to pay quarterly taxes if you’re employed as a freelance VA and self-employed (a tax preparer can help)
- Since many VA jobs are for independent contractors, they typically do not come with vacation or other benefits like insurance
- You may face a learning curve when you first start out
Virtual assistants are exactly what they sound like they would be: assistants that work virtually (online) instead of in a physical office. While many virtual assistants are self-employed freelance workers, some virtual assistants work for an agency or for one employer.
While the answer to this question varies widely, most VA duties are similar to those conducted in any traditional office. A virtual assistant who works for a blog or major website may perform tasks such as reading and responding to emails, helping their employer add people to their mailing list, create documents, manage a client's calendar, schedule and create social media posts and more.
Now on to the question we’re all here for: How much do VAs earn? This is another topic that is up for debate because it really depends on: full-time or part-time employment, experience level, services provided, and industry.