What Is A Virtual Assistant? What You Need To Know About VAs

By Carrie Wilder | Last Updated: July 13, 2024 

What Is A Virtual Assistant? What You Need To Know About VAs

What is a virtual assistant? And what do they do, how much do they get paid, and who hires them, anyway?

If you've ever wondered what the deal is with virtual assistants, you're in the right place. Let's dive in!

What Is a Virtual Assistant?

So, what is a virtual assistant?

A virtual assistant is a freelancer, or independent contractor, who performs a variety of tasks for businesses online. A virtual assistant, or VA, is self-employed.

Virtual assistants work for many kinds of companies, both large and small. Since a VA is self-employed, they get to choose who they work for. They also choose how much money to charge, what hours to work, and where they do their work from.

I have worked as a freelancing virtual assistant since 2017. It is, in my opinion, the easiest way to get started making money remotely! Virtual assistance is great for anyone who wants to work from home or make money while traveling.

What Do Virtual Assistants Do?

Virtual assistants do many different things. VA's work in every industry you can imagine!

From real estate to ecommerce, publishing, blogging, social media, and more.

It just depends on the virtual assistant's personal skillset and desires.

There are hundreds of different services you will see offered by virtual assistants. Popular virtual assistant tasks or services include: managing social media accounts, freelance writing, proofreading and editing, and more.

If you're interested in learning more about what kind of services VA's offer, check out this post with 50 VA services. Or, download the free list of 220+ services below!

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Who Hires Virtual Assistants?

From Fortune 500 companies to small businesses and solopreneurs… EVERYONE hires virtual assistants.

You might be wondering why big businesses would hire a virtual assistant instead of just hiring another employee. The answer to this is because it's easier… and actually cheaper!

It's cheaper in many ways: the virtual assistant doesn't require an office or equipment. This saves on space and electricity. The VA will also not be working 40 hours a week for the client. Additionally, the companies don't have to pay for training.

Small businesses and entrepreneurs hire virtual assistants when their businesses become too busy for them to manage on their own.

Typically, some of the first tasks small businesses and entrepreneurs will outsource is their social media management. This is because social media is important to maintain a presence on, but it takes up a lot of their time!

Alternatively, they'll outsource social media because they don't want to take the time to learn how to do it correctly. This is where VAs come in.

How Much Do Virtual Assistants Get Paid?

Virtual assistants get to set their own pay rates, so there is no standard salary for being a VA. How much money a VA makes is dependent on their service offerings, the industry, and their experience level.

As a general rule, $20 per hour is on the low end of how much virtual assistants get paid.

Virtual assistants get to choose who they work for and how often they work. So, while $20/hr may sound like a lot, keep in mind that VAs typically don't work full 40 hour work weeks. Not unless they want to, anyway!

As you can see, working as a virtual assistant can be a great thing because there is no cap for how much money you can make. If you want to make more money, raise your prices, add new service offerings, or find new clients… or all 3!

Who Can Be a Virtual Assistant?

If you can read, write, and use a computer, you can be a virtual assistant. So, just about anyone can be a virtual assistant!

This is a great job for stay at home moms, college students, travelers, and literally anyone who wants to work remotely.

The beauty of working as a freelancer or VA is that this is one of the only ways to get started making money online that doesn't require you to have a specialized skill or tons of money to start up.

Almost anyone can get started as a VA doing what they already know how to do right now. And then learn new skills along the way to charge more money.

Confused about how someone could get started as a VA with no experience? Just check out the list of 220+ service ideas to offer as a VA to get your gears turning. You'd be surprised!

How Do Virtual Assistants Get Jobs and Clients?

There are many ways for VAs to find jobs and clients, all over the internet.

First, there are popular remote work and gig websites like Upwork and FlexJobs. There are plenty of other ways to find clients as a virtual assistant, as well. These include on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, and even Craigslist!

In addition to scouring the web and different platforms for clients, virtual assistants can send “cold pitches” to clients they'd like to work for.

A cold pitch is essentially an introduction and proposition to work for a company or business that doesn't have any active job openings listed. This is a really popular and effective way to land clients, even though it sounds counter-intuitive!

How To Become a Virtual Assistant

Becoming a virtual assistant is easier than you might think. Even if you don't have any skills or experience.

Choose Services

The first step would be to choose a skill, or skill set, to offer in exchange for money. Look at the free download I mentioned earlier in the article to get some ideas.

Ideally, the services you choose will be things you already know how to do or like doing. If there's nothing that appeals to you or that you feel confident doing, social media management is always a good place to start.

Social media management is easy (and free) to learn online using blogs and YouTube, and it's one of the most commonly outsourced jobs for virtual assistants.

Package and Price Your Services

Once you've chosen services to offer, you need to decide on packages and prices.

A package is simply a list of what comes with your services. If your service is Facebook Page Management, a package might look like:

  • 1 page post per day for 30 days
  • Monitoring and Responding to Comments
  • Monitoring and Responding to DMs
  • Interacting With Similar Pages to Attract New Followers

That is a very basic package to illustrate my point. Don't overthink this step! You will also want to come up with pricing for your VA services. You can choose whether to charge hourly or by the package.

Find Clients

Use the methods mentioned above to find new clients. Good places to start as a beginner include Facebook, LinkedIn, and Upwork.

Search for gigs using keywords related to your service offerings. It may take a little while at first, but if you don't give up, you'll get there!

No Website Required

No website is required to get started as a virtual assistant. All you need is yourself, a computer, and an internet connection.

Making a website or a portfolio is always recommended down the line, but it's not necessary to start out! That's just another reason why this is such a great gig for newbies.

Get In-Depth Virtual Assistant Training

The steps here are an outline of the path towards becoming a virtual assistant.

If you want more in-depth training for becoming a virtual assistant, check out my course: The Virtual Assistant Accelerator.

This is a self-paced online course that currently only costs $37 – much lower than most courses on the internet today.

This course is a beginners course to becoming a virtual assistant. Here's what's included:

  • First Module: How to identify your current skill sets to choose VA skills that are best for you
  • Second Module: How to narrow down and choose service offerings
  • Third Module: How to create your packages and determine your pricing
  • Fourth Module: How to set up your social media profiles to attract clients
  • Fifth Module: How to get clients – an in depth training.

I've also included bonuses, like:

  • 45 Best Facebook Groups to Find Clients
  • How to Get Paid
  • How to Avoid Scams
  • Where and How to Learn New Skills to Charge More Money
  • And more 🙂

Working as a virtual assistant is growing more and more popular these days. This is a great way to get started with a location-independent income as a beginner. And I'm here to help you with that, whether you take my course or not. Be sure to browse the blog for more posts about freelancing and VAs!

Carrie Wilder

Carrie has a passion for location independence and nomadic lifestyles. After traveling full-time in an RV and living the van life, she created Making Money and Traveling to help others make the switch to a remote lifestyle. Learn more about Carrie on the About page or connect on social media below. 

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