Virtual Assistant 101: What it is and how you get started

You might have come across the term ‘VA’ before and thought to yourself “what the heck is that?” Well, there’s no need to wonder anymore. I got all the information you need on what a VA is and how you become one.

I started my own VA journey almost a year ago and what a journey it has been! I’ve learned so many new things and increased my skills. I’ve also learned a lot about myself, what I am worth, and what I can and can’t do. Now, I want to share some of these things with you…

What is a VA

The term ‘VA’ is short for virtual assistant. And so what is that? Trust me, I was confused too for the longest time. Virtual assistant is simply the role of an assistant who works virtually, or online, as most people would call it. A virtual assistant is a freelancer who works with multiple clients based on their needs. This means you might have 5-6 clients and that your hours vary greatly from month to month and from client to client. But, this also means that you have a lot of flexibility and you can set your own schedule more or less as you want to. Personally, this has given me the freedom to travel A LOT (while working of course). Great for the generation of digital nomads!

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What roles can a VA have

As a VA you help online entrepreneurs running their day-to-day business, so there can be a lot to do! A lot of tasks you might only do one time, but you also have a lot of repetitive tasks. This basically comes down to having A LOT of different tasks and challenges which means you constantly grow and learn more. Personally, I love this! And the best part? You never have two days that are the same! How great is that?

So, let’s talk more specific roles…

Here, I’ve laid out 15 of my most regular tasks for you:
• Checking and responding to emails
• Posting to clients’ social media platforms
• Editing and proofreading blog posts
• Uploading blog posts to WordPress and Squarespace
• Creating content for social media (for example Instagram posts)
• Sending out invoices for clients and keeping track of their payments
• Sending out newsletters
• Managing client calendars
• Uploading videos to different platforms
• Creating graphics for social media
• Finding 3rd party articles to share
• General research for clients
• Welcoming new members in clients’ Facebook groups
• Checking Facebook ads
• Setting up sequences, forms, and automations

As you can see, there are SO many different things you can do. I bet you I have over 100 different tasks a week – and I don’t even work full time! The tasks you can have as a VA can vary greatly depending on your clients and your skills. The only limitations there are, basically, are time and money.

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How much does a VA make

The income of a VA varies from person to person. Your wage is often dependent on these three things:
• Niche
• Skills and experience
• The way in which you market yourself

Again, your wage can really vary depending on many things, but in my experience these are the three things that are most important.

Personally, I started with 15$ an hour which is actually really decent. Especially now that I know that a lot of VAs start out at  12$ US and then make their way up. What’s so great about this industry is that you really get to know your worth – and your clients see it too. If you do a good job it won’t take you long time to get a pay raise. I got my first pay raise after only a month. All you have to do is to prove your worth and work hard.

And I can tell you this… There are great opportunities to work your way up the hourly wage ladder (is that a thing?). Especially as you get more clients. As a VA you can quickly (read: within a few years) make between 30-60$ per hour. You can also decide to step up the game and become a graphic designer or an online business manager. But let’s save this for another blog post…

The downside of being a VA

As we all know, nothing in life is perfect… I want to be transparent with you. Don’t get me wrong here. I LOVE MY JOB! But… It can be lonely from time to time. As a VA you don’t go to an office every day or see your colleagues. You work online which means you (can) work from home, so that means a lot of the time you might be by yourself. But if you have a cat or dog, or maybe you live with a boyfriend (I guess that’ll do) that also works from home, that definitely helps. A lot of people also go to a local cafe or the library to work so they still get out of their house and see some people.

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The other downside is the financial part of it. I know I said before that you can make good money. BUT when that’s said, there are a few things to keep in mind…

You have to pay your own taxes. And your own health insurance, and sick pay, and holiday pay, etc. etc.

But when that’s said and done it all comes down to planning. Make a spreadsheet for yourself in Excel and write down your different expenses, your income, and your taxes. This way it’s easily organized and you can always ensure you have enough to pay for it all. If you do this, you can also calculate roughly how many hours you should work per year. Then you can reverse engineer and figure out how much you should work per month and then per week. Voila. If you don’t have enough hours per week, then you can always invest in yourself and learn new skills. There are loads of free content out there and this will make you look more appealing for a future client. You can also simply just ask your current clients for more hours.

How do you become a VA

There are many different ways you can land your job as a VA. You can take a course to teach you the skill and how to land your first client. You might be lucky to know someone who owns an online business who needs a VA. The way I found my first job was simply via this Facebook group. Not only are there weekly job opportunities in there. It’s also a great community once you’ve landed your first client! I also know that a lot of people find their clients via LinkedIn. It’s such a great place to network!

But landing clients all comes down to these three things:
• Know your worth and market yourself in the best way! (Let’s talk more about this later)
• Network, network, network!
• Once you’ve landed the job all you have to do is KICK ASS.

Please, feel free to ask any questions you might have about this! I’m here to help and I would love to see you land your first job as a VA!

Good luck and let me know how it goes!

Jo x

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8 thoughts on “Virtual Assistant 101: What it is and how you get started

  1. Hi Josefine and Dominik
    Do virtual assistant works have strict deadlines? or you can generally choose any hours of the day to work and finish it as per own time availability for clients?
    And how many hours it generally takes per day to complete work?
    Do I have to know some specific softwares and skills?

    1. Hi there!

      Good question! It really depends on the tasks you have, but generally I would say that the deadlines are not strict. Personally, I am free to work whenever in the day and on the days I want as long as my deadlines aren’t overdue. You usually get the deadline by your client or an online business manager and then you can start working on the task when you want. You can also let your clients know what your turnaround time is (mine is two days) which means that you will never have a last minute task. It all comes down to planning really. If you know you want to have a day off next week you can start working on your tasks for that day already today. So many things can be scheduled nowadays so even if you have to upload an Instagram image at a specific time you can just schedule that beforehand.

      As per how many hours it takes this also really depends on your tasks. You will most likely agree on a set amount of hours per week with a client (say 10 hours per week) and then you can more or less decide how you want to spread those hours over the week. On average I spend 5-6 hours a day 5 days a week but some days I also spend 8, some days I spend 2. It really depends. Luckily you are the one to decide how this works for you.

      You don’t need to know specific softwares and skills from the beginning. As long as you’re willing to learn. It might take a bit longer for you to land your first client, but it should still be possible. That being said, experience is always good to have for any kind of job! The more you bring to the table from the beginning, the more you can make, and the more clients will hire you.

      I hope that answers your questions!

      Have a great day,
      Josefine

    1. Thank you so much, Letícia! It makes me really happy to hear that you like it!
      Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions about being a VA <3
      - Jo

    1. Thank you very much! 🙂 We post new blog posts every Monday evening! So happy you enjoy our content!

  2. This is really cool! I used to do that for an organization I was involved in, and I didn’t know it had a name! It can really be a great way to make some extra cash even if you have a full-time job. I have to think about it again – thanks for sharing this!

    1. That’s actually really fun! Then you already have some experience you can pitch with. Good luck! 🙂
      – Jo

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