If 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 3.5 million administrative assistants in the U.S. according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Many of those are now virtual assistants at home. The outlook is good for the profession and the barrier to entry is low to medium, depending on the types of work you’re aiming to apply for.
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What is a Virtual Assistant (VA)?
A virtual assistant typically works from home and works as a freelancer (not a W-2 employee). Although virtual assistants can really do whatever is needed, most tend to perform tasks which lend themselves to the digital world.
Here are some examples of the types of jobs for which virtual assistants are best fit:
- Booking travel
- Event planning
- Organizing files
- Writing and editing
- Email and marketing outreach
- Online administrative functions
- Email and calendar organization
Sound fun? Great – you may be a strong fit.
First, let’s check out the main benefits of being a virtual assistant.
After, we’ll talk about how to find virtual assistant jobs you can do from home or coffee shop (or anywhere with an internet connection).
Benefits of Being a Virtual Assistant at Home
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, set up as a 1099 contractor. For anyone desiring freedom with their work each day, this is a great opportunity.
Virtual assistants can start out making from $10-15 an hour and move to upwards of $100 an hour (or even higher depending on your expertise.) But most assistants fall in the $15 to $30 range.
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.
If you want more guidance, I would suggest to sign up for Kayla Sloan’s online VA course. She’s scaled her virtual assistant business to over $10,000 per month.
If you’re serious about building a full-time virtual assistant business, it’s always a good idea to learn from those who have already made a living from doing it to shorten your learning curve.
Who Makes a Good Virtual Assistant?
Can anyone become a virtual assistant at home and enjoy it?
I asked Jessica, my own virtual assistant, what she would tell a friend who might be considering a virtual assistant job.
Here’s what she had to say:
“You need to be a self-starter and able to handle deadlines well. Employers will usually give you tasks to run with and trust you’ll have it completed on time. If you struggle with initiative and deadlines, this might be a problem.”
Jessica also mentioned you need good time management and organizational skills, saying “this includes attention to detail and the ability to multi-task.”
Kayla Sloan echoed similar sentiments by saying the only skills you must have to be a virtual assistant are:
- being organized
- being a self-starter
- being a quick learner
- knowing the basics of how to work online
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, an addition I would make is the difference between being a good virtual assistant and a great one would be the ability to partner with a client who you can help by finding work for yourself, by improving their efficiency or effectiveness.
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 there are several ways to find consistent virtual assistant jobs:
1. Ask Your Network
You never know who is in your network who 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 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.
As another example, Carrie Rocha, owner of PocketYourDollars.com has hired a few virtual assistants over the years, all from the same source: her blog’s readership.
“I have reached out to those who are active in my online community (especially 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
Don’t want to search for clients?
Join a virtual staffing company like Zirtual.com.
You can apply directly through their website and, when 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, but for those who don’t want to prospect for work, this can be an easy trade-off.
Some of these virtual assistant companies are harder to get into, but if you have a special set of skills or abilities, you may find you’re a perfect fit and can begin working right away.
3. List Yourself on Freelance Sites
There are tons of sites now where freelancers connect with potential employers, or even just for one-time jobs.
These sites are international, so keep in mind you’ll be competing with the lowest pricing on the planet unless someone is specifically trying to hire more locally.
Another option would be to post your business online using a service like Thumbtack.
You create your free profile and Thumbtack will help customers looking for your service to find you. You only pay when an interested customer reaches out to you.
Another short list you may want to check out include:
4. Join a Virtual Assistant Network
There are several virtual assistant networks and forums available online which allow potential employers and virtual assistants to connect using directories or a request for proposal process.
These sites seem 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.
You may want to get involved at:
- Virtual Assistant Forums
- VA Networking
- International Virtual Assistants Association
- Administrative Consultants Association
It may also be beneficial to connect with other like-minded VA’s, not only to bounce ideas off of, but maybe they have overflow work they can’t handle which you can step in and take care of.
5. Create Your Own Website
Kayla Sloan said having your own website is a great way to attract clients (and, frankly, I agree).
“If you’re a virtual assistant, having a website with a contact form and information about your services can go far to help you land potential 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 you are a professional and in it for the long-haul.
Nothing fancy is required, though showcasing your previous work and listing your higher end skills can help you get more of the work you’re really looking for.
6. Take Kayla Sloan’s 10k VA Course
After you complete Kayla Sloan’s 10K VA course, you’ll get added to her directory of graduates.
Whenever clients looking for a VA reach out to her, she connects them with one of the graduates of her course, which helps you create a pipeline of great work from serious employers–it’s really a win-win for everyone involved.
It’s a win for the client because they get access to a list of virtual assistants who are highly trained and know what they’re doing.
And it’s a win for you because you get easy client referrals!
7. Use Job Boards
Job boards are still underutilized for virtual assistants finding work.
Take a board like ZipRecruiter, for example. It is most known for being an employer tool.
Using ZipRecruiter, employers can have their job listing sent to over 100+ sites at once. And they’re powerful matching technology helps employers quickly find the best job candidates.
But ZipRecruiter can be a handy tool for job seekers as well.
Specifically, you can find hundreds of virtual assistant gigs listed on their site.
Browse through the current listings to see if any jobs catch your fancy.
If not, you can have ZipRecruiter send you a daily batch of new virtual assistant jobs listings straight to your inbox.
And, ZipRecruiter can save you a lot of time on filling out applications.
The first thing you’ll want to do is create an account with ZipRecruiter and upload your resume.
Once ZipRecruiter has all your information, the real fun begins. Begin searching through all the virtual assistant jobs on their site.
8. Sign Up for the AssistU Registry
I hesitated to put this one in here because it’s a paid service and not for all beginners, but it does come with some solid recommendations.
Tracie Shroyer says this about them:
“All of my current 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.”
It may not be the first place you’ll want to look, but if you’ve already put yourself out there on several platforms, this might be a way to keep getting feelers out there.
The Bottom Line
These are just some of the places I recommend you start your virtual assistant job search.
In the end, I’d really like to stress you find the skillsets and strengths you are most proficient with and find a way to showcase them.
I’m sure the community will share their suggestions for more places to look for virtual assistant jobs in the comments below.
But don’t get overwhelmed by all the options. Perhaps you could set a goal to try one of these strategies each month.
Or you could just go crazy and try them all if that’s more your style.
Either way, as long as you stick with it over the long haul, I’m certain you can build a profitable side hustle as a virtual assistant. And if you really enjoy it, you may even be able to turn it into a full-time job.
Are you a virtual assistant at home? Where did you find your job? Have you ever hired a U.S. based virtual assistant? From where did you hire them?