Demand for virtual assistants is exploding and the field is wide open for people who want to work from home. Job listings grew more than 20 percent between 2016 and 2017, according to FlexJobs data, and that means a desirable skills package and a laptop can land you the chance to build your own business. If you are super organized and can multi-task like crazy, working as a virtual assistant may be right for you.
Are you already working in customer support, administrative tasks or social media management? Are you ready to add more digital technology your skill set? You could earn the $33,000 that Glassdoor reports is average annual pay for a virtual assistant. Many virtual assistant jobs pay hourly, and you can count on earning about $15.50 an hour on average as a virtual assistant, according to Pay Scale. Glassdoor’s salary reports say rates can range between $9 per hour on the lower end to $25 per hour on the higher end.
What Will You Do? What Skills Do You Need?
Virtual assistants work schedules that are full-time and part-time, employee and temporary. Many virtual assistants work with several clients on a freelance basis to create a full-time business.
Employers say they are looking for virtual assistants who possess skills such as phenomenal written and verbal communication. Personal skills such as reliability and responsiveness are valuable, and time management skills are a must. Successful virtual assistants demonstrate a natural ability to take charge and organize a situation effectively for a client.
Many virtual assistants provide support to their employer or clients by answering emails, transcribing documents, preparing statements and letters, organizing files, coordinating schedules and calendars, making travel arrangements, and generally taking charge of administrative tasks to help a client focus on other issues.
Digital Technology Creates More Demand
The rapid development of digital technology has created high demand for virtual assistants to help businesses connect with customers, sell their products or services, and fulfill orders. Many job posts for virtual assistants are focusing on digital marketing for online businesses and digital marketing services. These are skills that will open the door to digital marketing for virtual assistants: Sales funnel building and lead generation, Facebook ads, website development or set-up, SEO, and graphic design or branding for social media and websites.
Virtual assistants who specialize in digital technology need skills in webinar set up and program launch, email automation, optimizing social media pages, and WordPress development, design or support. Experience in creative writing for blogs, email automation and lead generation is also valued.
Go Online to Learn New Skills
You won’t need all these skills, but the ability to offer a package of several skills will put you in high demand. Eventually you will be able to make the move from providing technical assistance to helping businesses develop their online marketing strategy. And that means earning significantly more money.
You may feel that you don’t know where to start adding new skills or brushing up on old ones. Learning a new skill won’t seem like such a daunting task if you find help online. FlexJobs has partnered with several companies to help job seekers learn new skills. Among them are Lynda.com, which has moved to LinkedIn Learning; Skillcrush, an online coding and design school; and Skillshare, which offers unlimited access to more than 28,000 courses.
Start with Networking and Job Boards to Find Work
Look for networking opportunities with business groups in your community as well as with virtual assistant and business groups on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other professional social media channels. Promote your business with a simple website. Seek out job boards that list openings for virtual assistants such as FancyHands, Indeed and Monster. You can also find postings on websites including Upwork, Belay, Time Etc. and PeoplePerHour.com.