Virtual Assistant: A Job Worth Your Time?

virtual assistant jobsIf you’re a good fit for the work style, and know where to find the best jobs, being a virtual assistant has plenty of benefits, including great pay.

There are now more than 4 million administrative assistants in the U.S. according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Many of those are now virtual assistants. The outlook is good for the profession and the barrier to entry is low.

A virtual assistant typically works from home and is hired on contract (not an employee). Virtual assistant can really do whatever is needed. Although most tend to perform tasks that lend themselves to the virtual world:

  • online administrative functions
  • email and calendar organization
  • scheduling
  • transcription
  • event planning
  • writing and editing
  • organizing files
  • booking travel

Sound fun? Check out the main benefits…

Benefits of Being a Virtual Assistant

The virtual assistant lifestyle may take some getting used to, and each gig may be different, but you generally will have a standard set of benefits from becoming a virtual assistant. Virtual assistants can typically work from home and set their own hours – perfect for a stay-at-home-spouse.

As a virtual assistant, even though you are “working for someone”, you are typically going to be in business for yourself, setup as a 1099 contractor. For anyone desiring freedom with their work each day, this is a good opportunity.

Virtual assistants can make from $2 and hour (international) to $100 (or even higher based on your expertise. But most assistants fall in the $15 to $30 range. Calculate what you should charge as a virtual assistant.

Additionally, it doesn’t require a lot of expertise or work to get started as a virtual assistant. And as you’ll see below there are many ways to market your services and find virtual assistant jobs.

Of course, it isn’t all rosy when it comes to being a virtual assistant. There are plenty of scams out there to watch out for. Never pay to be a virtual assistant. There’s nothing you have to buy to get jobs in this field.

Who Makes a Good Virtual Assistant?

Can anyone become a virtual assistant and enjoy it? I asked Jessica, my virtual assistant (and now editor at PT Money) what she would tell a friend that might be considering a virtual assistant job. She said, “[y]ou need to be a self-starter and able to handle deadlines well.” Employers will

“usually give you tasks to run with and trust that you’ll have it completed on time. If you struggle with initiative and deadlines, this might be a problem.”

Jessica also mentioned that you need good time management and organizational skills. “This includes attention to detail and the ability to multi-task.”

One of the biggest challenges I face as someone who hires virtual assistants is coming up with tasks for my virtual assistant to do. So I would add that any good virtual assistant should be able to partner with their client to help them find work.

Ways to Find Virtual Assistant Jobs

If you’re still reading this it means you’re interested in finding one of these virtual assistant jobs. Luckily it seems there are several ways to find a good virtual assistant job:

1. Ask Your Network – You never know who is in your network that is in need of an assistant. Remember, virtual assistants can do a variety of tasks, so there’s no way of knowing who needs what done, business or personal.

I hired Jessica because a friend was using her virtual assistant services and she asked if I needed any help as well. It turned out that I did at the time, and the rest is history.

A simple Tweet or Facebook posting will let your network know you are serious about helping them with their virtual tasks.

Carrie Rocha, owner of PocketYourDollars.com has hired a few virtual assistants over the years, all from the same source: her blog’s readership. Carrie said “I have reached out to those who are active in my online community (via Facebook) to ask if they are interested in helping behind the scenes.” Follow your favorite online brands online and you might just be applying for a virtual assistant job with them next time they ask for help.

2. Work for a Virtual Assistant Company Like Zirtual.com – Don’t want to search for clients? Join a virtual staffing company like Zirtual.com.

You can apply directly through their website and if you’re accepted, you won’t have to worry about the administrative side of your business. Of course, your pay will probably be limited to what Zirtual.com’s going rate is.

3. List Yourself on Freelance Sites – There are tons of sites now where freelancers connect with potential employers. Sites like Elance, ODesk, and Guru.com are some of the biggest. These sites are international. So keep in mind that here you’ll be competing with the lowest pricing on the planet.

It does take some time and experience working with these online freelance sites to find the right gigs, so I also would recommend Craigslist or Fiverr.com for quick opportunities. Here’s a great example of a virtual assistant listing on Fiverr.

4. Virtual Assistant Networks – There are several virtual assistant networks and forums available online that allow potential employers and virtual assistants to connect using directories or a request for proposal process. These sites seems to attract some of the top-notch U.S. based virtual assistants and look to be a great place to see what others in your industry are doing to find jobs.

There are also a couple of associations which look to be good places to connect for future gigs: the International Virtual Assistants Association and the Administrative Consultants Association.

5. Create Your Own Website – Having your own website is a great way to attract clients. Even if you’re still going to use some of the tactics above, you should strive to have your own home on the Internet. It’s more evidence that you are a professional and in it for the long-haul. Nothing fancy is required. Here’s a great example from Tracie Shroyer who has her site at VATracie.com.

6. AssistU Registry – I hesitated putting this one in here because it’s a paid service and not for all beginners. But it does come with some solid recommendations. Tracie Scroyer says this about them: “All of my curent clients have come through the AssistU Registry…graduates of its program are eligible to subscribe to a Registry potential clients can use to find the right VA for them.”

So those are some of the places I recommend you start your virtual assistant job search. I’m sure the community will share their suggestions for more places to look for virtual assistant jobs in the comments below.

In the coming weeks I hope to interview a successful virtual assistant about how they make the most of their efforts. Look for that in podcast format.

Are you a virtual assistant? Where did you find your job? Have you ever hired a U.S. based virtual assistant? From where did you hire them?

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Last Edited: June 12, 2013 @ 2:12 am
About Philip Taylor

Philip Taylor, aka "PT", is a husband and father of two. He created PT Money back in 2007 to share his thoughts on money and to meet others passionate about managing their finances. All the content on this blog is original, and created or edited by PT. Read more about Philip Taylor, and be sure to connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, or view the Philip Taylor+ Google profile.