An Interview with a Successful Virtual Assistant

When I mentioned I was doing virtual assistant work, many readers wanted to learn more.  I shared my limited experience in the post, My Experience as a Virtual Assistant, but I really wanted to seek out someone with more experience than I have.

Luckily, Lisa Taliga, a virtual assistant and author of 5 Key Steps to Your Successful Virtual Assistant Business, agreed to sharing her expertise.  What follows are some of the typical questions I got from readers and her response:

How do you become  a virtual assistant? 

The first step to  becoming a Virtual Assistant (VA) is to really understand what a VA is. VAs are  independent contractors, rather than employees. They work with a number of  different clients on various projects such as typing, research, formatting  documents, designing logos, newsletters and websites, updating websites, editing  and proofreading, organising travel and accommodation etc. Some VAs offer lots  of different services, others focus on just a few. For clients, the benefits of  working with VAs include not having to provide office space or equipment because  VAs work from their own offices, and not having to pay for sick pay, holiday pay  etc. Clients really do save quite a bit of money working with VAs as opposed to  traditional employees. In terms of sending work back and forth, most of the  communication between VAs and their clients is by email, phone and instant  messaging.
The next step is to do  some self assessment to see whether becoming a VA would suit you in terms of  your personality e.g. would you like working at home and are you motivated? Do  you have good skills and experience and what services would you like to offer?
There are lots of ways of  finding work as a VA which I will cover in the next answer.

People tell me they get their VA jobs through their online  relationships with bloggers, but I don’t have those relationships. What can I do  to find a job as a VA?

Virtual Assistants should  focus on looking for “client work” rather than “jobs”, this is because VAs are  not employees, they are independent contractors who work with a range of  different clients.
Examples of ways of  finding clients include: getting out and networking in your local community  (make sure you always have business cards with you), telling everyone you know  about your new business and the services you offer, advertising in the business  section of your local newspaper (this is how I found my first client who needed  some typing done), online networking using social media (Facebook, Twitter),  becoming active in online business forums, setting up a website so that people  can find you on the internet.If I go to elance  or odesk, won’t I just be competing with people from other countries who can  offer services much cheaper than I can (or want to)?

Yes, that is true, that  is why I don’t really look for work on those sites. There are many other better  ways of finding work than on the freelance sites, such as the ones I outlined  above.

Would you recommend this job for a stay at home mom  with small children? Why?

I would highly recommend  the Virtual Assistant opportunity for parents with small children because you  have much more flexibility to schedule your work around your children. If your  child naps in the afternoon, you can plan to get your work done then. Also, if  your child is sick you are able to stay at home with them rather than have to go  into work or ask the boss for time off. It’s great for parents of older kids  too, as they don’t have to miss out on special school events due to having a  full-time job outside the house.How much money can  I expect to make as a VA?
This depends on how many  hours you would like to work per week and how many clients you have. Some VAs  have created a full-time business while others prefer to work part-time around  other commitments. As a general guideline, hourly rates vary from $35 per hour  to $75 per hour depending on the services provided and the level of experience  you have. The average yearly income for a VA is about $35,000 but this really  does vary between VAs. If you put enough work and effort into building your  business and marketing it consistently, with the intention of working full-time  from home, you could earn upwards of $50,000 – $60,000 per year.
Next Wednesday, Lisa will be offering an exciting giveaway for one lucky Mom’s Plans’ reader!

Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing this interview. As someone who has contemplated hiring a virtual assistant at some point, it’s good to get the perspective of a person with whom you might potentially partner with

    • Not a problem. I only do limited work as a virtual assistant, so I thought it was interesting to hear from someone who does it full time. 🙂

  2. Great resource. Been thinking about looking for possible VA help also. Have a better understanding of what to expect. Getting used to relying on someone else may be a bit difficult at first, though.

  3. Sasha Wade says:

    What kind of work would you need done Squirrelers and novel investor?

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