Another exciting interview for all of you today on how to become a Virtual Assistant.
Lately, I have been seeing the rising trend of Virtual Assistants. This is quickly becoming a very in-demand work-at-home job as an online virtual assistant.
One thing I see in many Facebook groups and other discussion forums is that many aspiring VA’s are confused about how to price their services, do they charge per hour or per project, etc.
And their biggest question is what is the best resource to start their VA career.
To answer all these questions and more, I have the EXPERT Gina Horkey of Horkey Handbook. She is the creator of the FullyBookedVA. Her course is so popular that till now around 300 students have successfully started their VA careers.
Over to Gina now for all the details about how to become a Virtual Assistant.
Can you please tell us what is a Virtual Assistant and what do they do?
Let’s take a step back and define “virtual assistant,” shall we? To me, a VA (virtual assistant) is just someone that performs tasks from afar (aka virtually) that support a business owner in order to help them maintain or grow their business.
Based on that definition, it can range quite a bit! It could be admin type tasks, customer service, writing-related, marketing, technology, etc. Most people inherently have the skills to offer VA services already… we’ve actually put together a list of 125 services a VA can offer and get paid for. And even that’s not an all-inclusive list!
Can you tell us how you became a Virtual Assistant?
Basically, I was on the lookout for an opportunity, one presented itself and I jumped on it.
What happened in a little more detail was that I was taking an online course, conversing back and forth with the creator and noticed that while he seemed to really want to get back to me in a timely manner, he was having trouble doing so. I brought the “problem” to his attention, proposed myself as the solution and asked him to hire me.
And he said yes!
How long did it take for you to make money from Virtual Assisting? When can a newbie expect to make money after starting as a VA?
So I knew that I wanted to add VA services to my freelance business pretty much from the get-go, I just didn’t really know how to go about it. I started looking into freelance writing first, on April 15, 2014.
I landed my first paying writing client in May or June of the same year and my first VA client in September of that year. But I hadn’t really been pursuing finding a VA client… I just saw an opportunity and pounced on it by asking the person to hire me. And he said yes!
If it’s your main focus, you can find a client within days or weeks. Most people are able to land their first client within 90 days I’d guess. It does take putting yourself out there though and consistently pitching for work!
Can anybody do this? Do you need to have any expertise to become a Virtual Assistant?
Can anybody do anything? 😉
Although I don’t think anyone can, I do think more people can than think they can. As I mentioned above, it’s many times a matter of repurposing skills one already has.
The six traits I’ve identified that make for a good virtual assistant are:
- Type A
- Open to Learning
- Naturally Curious
- Not Afraid to Take Charge
- Has a Positive Attitude
You’ll need a decent computer and internet connection. But beyond that, every client uses different online tools and programs, so there’s not anything else you really “need.”
What are the potential earnings for a newbie in this role?
Research shows that this is a growing field and that the average North American VA commands anywhere from $35-50 per hour. It’s not necessarily specific to where the VA is in their career though.
I started at $34 per hour and now make 5x that (although I don’t charge hourly).
Can you please tell us about the Virtual Assistant training course?
Of course – I’d love to!
FullyBookedVA is a step-by-step guide for aspiring VAs. There are no pre-reqs (beyond that whole internet/computer access thing) and the course is self-paced, so you can work through the material as quickly (or slowly) as you’d like.
12 modules contain everything you need to know to get your new business off the ground, deep dives into email, social media and blog management, numerous lessons on where to look for clients, how to pitch them and how to build effective relationships over time.
I thank Gina for this much-awaited interview that many of my readers would love to dig in.
This is a comprehensive course which can help you start your Virtual Assistant job with expert guidance.
Gina Horkey is a married, millennial mama to two precocious toddlers from Minnesota. She also happens to know almost everything there is to know about the world of virtual assistant work. She started as one herself (and still is one), created a course to help others break into VA work called, 30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistant Success.
Here is a real-life journey of a Virtual Assistant,
Shannon shared her inspiring story, her experience about becoming a virtual assistant, and how she started her virtual assistant business.
How did you get started with virtual assisting?
I got started by working with a virtual assistant staffing company after I lost my corporate job because my family had to relocate for my husband’s military career, and my employer had no work for me in our new location. First, I was a 1099 contractor with them. Then it switched to an employee model, so I was a W2. I just launched my own business and got my first client, as a result of being in #FBVA, and have left that job.
In general, what does a virtual assistant do?
Contrary to popular belief, a VA can do a LOT more than just administrative work. VAs can do anything that a business owner needs – admin, executive assistance, digital marketing, content creation, project management, bookkeeping…the list goes on.
There’s really no limit to what a VA can do. A VA is simply someone who provides a service virtually, and that service can be anything the VA chooses.
What are the skills needed to become a virtual assistant?
In my opinion, the most important skills are good communication, willingness to learn, an ability to figure things out, and people skills. Any technical skills can be learned, but in a remote working situation, I find it’s so important to be communicative and responsive so that clients aren’t left wondering or worrying about the status of tasks.
Also, because you are working remotely, there will be times when you will need to do research and figure things out on your own. Lastly, you need to be able to work with people, nurture relationships, and be a good teammate and someone that clients want to work with.
I think there are times when a VA may not have all the skills a client is looking for, but if the client feels the VA has good personality and is a cultural fit and would be someone enjoyable to work with, that can be a deciding factor on whether to hire someone or not. Those are the types of qualities that cannot be taught.
According to you, what are the best things about being a VA?
I can answer this in one word – freedom. The best things about being a VA are: freedom to do the types of work that I choose; freedom to choose the clients I want to work with and that I enjoy collaborating with; freedom to design a career around my life and not mold my life around my career; freedom to work from anywhere I choose; freedom to work the hours and schedule of my choosing and that works around my child’s schedule so I can always be there for her; and most importantly, freedom to control how much income I make – there is no limit to what I can earn because I (and not an employer) decide what I want to charge for my services.
I am a military spouse so my family moves every 2–3 years to a different location because of my husband’s active duty service. Thus, it was hugely important for me to have a career that I can take with me wherever we go.
Please tell us your experience about the course?
Let me start by saying this is not the first VA course I’ve taken. I took another course several years ago which was excellent, but it had a very large student community, and I often felt like one small fish in a very large pond.
What I really love about #FBVA is not only the quality of the content in the course, but it feels very intimate and personalized to me. I feel like Gina’s team actually knows who I am when I post questions or attend the coaching calls. The responses from her team to my questions are detailed and specific to my situation, and I can always tell they have put a lot of thought into their responses to try to be as helpful as possible.
I also feel like they are extremely positive, supportive, and always cheer the students on whether it’s with a struggle or celebrating a win. The other things I love about this course are the specialization tracks and the hot job leads. Having additional course training on popular services we can choose to specialize in was a huge value add, in my opinion.
It’s such a great way to enable us to charge higher rates by specializing in some of the high-demand services like social management and content creation, for example. Having actual job leads for clients who are looking for a VA provided to us at NO extra cost, is AMAZING.
I got my first client through one of the hot job leads just 6 weeks after enrolling in the course! Not only is she my first client, but she is also what I would consider a DREAM client. I was so thrilled to land her and that would not have happened had Gina not provided that lead.
I also love having a weekly coaching call where I can ask any questions I have and get them answered live with a coach (Stephanie). Stephanie is amazing. She always makes me feel more confident and gives sage advice. She’s very encouraging and helps us all feel less scared to step out of our comfort zones and put ourselves out there.
Any advice for someone interested in becoming a VA?
I would say if you have any inclination that this might be something you want to pursue, but aren’t quite sure, check out Gina’s jumpstart mini-course. It will give you a good idea of whether becoming a VA is right for you.
If you decide it is, take Fully Booked VA. It will give you everything you need to get your VA business started, but probably even more importantly, it will give you a very supportive and nurturing community to help you through the challenges and to celebrate your wins.
Gina also has a downloadable freebie that lists 275 services you can offer as a VA, which can be eye-opening to help you see that there are SO many options out there for starting your own VA business. I would also say that everyone has skills they can offer as a VA, even if you have little to no professional job experience or have been out of the workforce for years raising a family.
There are skills we use in our everyday lives just managing our families or doing volunteer work that we don’t even realize are skills that business owners need and will pay us for.
Bottom line: Don’t sell yourself short! FBVA can teach you how to hone those skills and make them marketable in your own work from anywhere business. Just get started! The community has your back!
Want to know which Virtual Assistant services you can offer?
If you are confused about the services you can offer as a VA, check out this massive list of 275 VA services. There is everything from admin work to social media management. I am sure there are many skills you already have to become a Virtual Assistant.
Virtual assisting is going to be the most popular choice to work from home as this report shows the rise of freelancers in future. It is time to learn this skill and work in your own schedule.
Start your VA work-at-home career today!
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