If you’re looking for a profitable and rewarding side hustle, becoming a virtual assistant might be the right path for you. Before we look at how you can build your own virtual assistant business, let’s define what a virtual assistant is – basically anyone who helps someone else to accomplish something remotely (or virtually) rather than going to their physical workspace.
Becoming a personal assistant to people who need help to manage their diaries, run their admin, and so forth is just one role in the virtual assistant realm. Graphic design, photography, email list management and marketing are other examples of roles that lend themselves to the virtual assistant business model.
What are the benefits of becoming a virtual assistant?
There are many perks and benefits to becoming a virtual assistant. Firstly, it’s a business you can get up-and-running relatively quickly, cheaply and easily. Depending on the niche you focus on, you may need to invest in nothing more than a reliable computer, a smartphone, a website and an internet connection.
Plus, if you will focus on admin tasks like taking calls, managing schedules and basic admin for your clients, you don’t necessarily need lots of experience. As long as you are service-focused and personable, you can help people and businesses with tasks they don’t have time to do themselves, while expanding your skills and building up your CV.
The job of virtual assistant is often one that you can fit into your schedule and do from anywhere you have an Internet connection– that flexibility allows people with day jobs to earn a bit more their spare time, parents on paternity leave to generate income while baby is napping, or students to make some money in between classes and coursework.
How to become a virtual assistant on the side
There are a few foundational things you need to decide before you learn how to become a personal assistant:
- Choose the kind of work you’d like to do.
- Figure out what hours you can commit to your side hustle.
- Get your CV and website together.
- Determine how you’ll get paid.
- Get your office set up.
1. Decide what kind of work you’d like to do
Think about your skills. Where do you shine? Maybe you came from a traditional work environment where you had a particular role, like graphic designer. Or you have had a hobby doing photography for years and want to start photographing people’s products as a service. Or maybe you have a knack for running admin with military precision. Write down the skills you come up with.
Then add things you’d like to learn to do. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to do copywriting, but never got a formal education in it. Now’s your chance to take some classes or start studying writing techniques so you can look for jobs that help you broaden this skillset. You can also look at what other virtual assistants offer as services and see if any of those sound like fun.
Some common virtual assistant services are:
- Handling emails and email newsletters.
- Customer service calls and messaging.
- Uploading and downloading files.
- Backing up important documents.
- Posting to social media.
- Designing images for social media posts.
- Data entry and/or spreadsheet work.
Once you’ve listed the skills you have and those you’d like to develop, you can tick the ones you’ll offer as a service to your clients. You’ll want to focus on the ones that are most marketable and enjoyable.
2. Figure out what you can commit to your side hustle
If you are fitting your virtual assistant business in between full-time parenting or another job, it’s really important to be realistic about your time. If you only have three weekday morning hours to dedicate to your work and can’t work weekends, or you can only work weekends and not weekdays, or you only work in the middle of the night, jot it down.
There’s going to be a perfect customer for you and your calendar, so don’t worry if you need to work strange hours. Sometimes your clients may be across the world in an opposite time zone. Or the work can be done any time of day and client’s flexible about when it gets done. No need to waste time on a job that is outside of the hours you’re available.
3. Get your CV (website) together
When you’re applying for virtual assistant jobs, you’ll need to explain to potential clients what your skills and experience are. You can put together your resume, just like with a traditional job, and then send it over as a PDF or Word Doc (or Google Doc.). But you’ll get more traction, faster and easier, if you just go ahead and make a simple website to house it in.
You’ll look more professional and it will be easier for clients, too. They’ll be able to see all your skills and pricing (if you choose to list it) before spending time chatting with you — so this saves time on both sides. This might feel intimidating, but don’t be scared! With GoDaddy’s Websites + Marketing website builder, you can make a simple site to promote your business in less than an hour.
4. Determine how you’ll get paid (+ taxes)
You’ll want to figure out how you’ll collect money from clients before you dig in too deep. So set up a separate bank account (you don’t want to mix your personal and business finances) and a way to invoice your clients. And as far as taxes go, you’re likely going to need to get set up as a provisional taxpayer, but make sure you consult with a tax pro for the best advice on how to handle this piece.
5. Get your office set up
If you have a dedicated space in your house to work, you’ll have an easier time staying organised and focused. Maybe you can plonk a desk in a corner, or perhaps you’re lucky enough to have a room for an office. As you learn how to become a virtual assistant, remember you can also be totally remote. That means working from coffee shops, coworking spaces, or even your car.
6. Find clients
The next step in learning how to become a virtual assistant is to tap your existing network. Tell your colleagues friends and family about your new virtual assistant side hustle. Don’t be shy! You’re likely going to fill out your first client list from this group because they already know, like, and trust you.
Then expand your search to social media. You can put your new availability on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and anywhere else you think relevant people will find you. Then get in there, make an impression, and start gathering some leads. You’ll have your first virtual assistant side hustle clients before you know it!