Thinking of becoming a virtual assistant but do not know where to begin? In this recent Facebook Live Q&A with Hannah Dixon, we discussed how to become a virtual assistant and how to hire great virtual assistants.
Hannah Dixon trains others to become high-end virtual assistants and is the founder of Digital Nomad Kit. Her training program is pretty much the only thing any new and aspiring virtual assistant could ever need!
How To Become A Virtual Assistant
If you are thinking of becoming a virtual assistant and landing your first client, watch the Live Video reply below and take down notes. Join Hannah’s popular 5 Day VA Challenge or kick things up a notch by joining her VA Starter Kit online course.
What Is A Virtual Assistant?
A virtual assistant (VA) offers services to individuals, organizations or companies, but instead of going into an office, virtual assistants are able to work from home or while traveling.
Becoming a virtual assistant is a great career for digital nomads because you get to work from anywhere you want, does not cost much to begin, and you get to determine the clients you want to work with and the number of hours you want to work each day.
What Kind Of Work Do Virtual Assistants Do?
Virtual assistants are able to provide a wide variety of services and it depends on several factors such as your interest, your skill sets, your experience and so on.
You can offer a range of services from simple administrative tasks to complex creative tasks to email marketing. Hannah suggests making a list of things that you know and like to do and things you don’t like to do.
Here is a partial list of the possible services you can provide:
1. Social media management
You can offer to manage the social presence for a client’s business, which will involve creating social media content, scheduling the content to post on various platforms, and creating reports. Some virtual assistants even manage social media advertising.
2. Administrative tasks
Most virtual assistants offer adminstrative services which could involve scheduling appointments, data entry, responding to emails, customer service, phone support, running errands, and so on.
Hannah also mentioned one of her students provides desktop cleaning service!
3. Email marketing
Most companies are realizing there is a need to maintain a blog and produce great content in order to improve their online presence. If you have good writing skills and/or know how to do keyword research in order to produce content that ranks, you can offer your service as a copywriter.
If you have an eye for numbers and are extremely organized, you can offer bookkeeping as a service. This involves managing all outstanding invoices and bills, tax returns, reconciliation of profit and loss, and other bookkeeping responsibilities.
Not every client knows how to create beautiful banners, images, and other types of graphics required for their work. Hence, if you have a background in design or know how to create beautiful graphics, you can offer designing as a service.
If you have a background in marketing, you can offer to help grow your client’s business. This might involve planning their marketing strategy, executing ads or events, producing collaterals, market research, and more.
Know your way around WordPress or even HTML? If so, this is a sought-after skill as many clients might feel more confident if their VAs know how to work with websites in case the site goes down or requires minor changes.
What Skills Do Virtual Assistants Need To Have?
Besides technical skills such as knowing how to use Excel or designing, Hannah mentioned that it is important that virtual assistants have the following soft skills - self-discipline in order to meet deadlines, patience to explain the same thing over again with different clients, and an interest in continuous education as tools and information changes all the time.
How Much Do Virtual Assistants Make?
Platforms such as Upwork and Freelancer have given the impression that virtual assistants do not earn much. However, Hannah emphasizes that new virtual assistants should not be charging the low rates seen on such platforms.
A great way to command a higher rate is to specialize in a particular area. For example, if you have experience with running e-commerce stores, you could offer your services as a virtual assistant with an expertise in e-commerce.
You will have less competition, you will feel more motivated because you are working in an industry or a position that you love, and you will also be able to command a higher rate than a generalist virtual assistant.
As a rule of thumb, Hannah recommends that your starting hourly rate should be USD25. This rate goes up as your experience increases, and you can charge clients on an hourly, by project or retainer basis.
Do I Need To Have A Website Ready Before Approaching Potential Clients?
Hannah mentioned that it is not necessary to have a website ready.
Instead, start off with a Facebook Page as the bare minimum and have your services listed there.
Where Can I Find Clients?
Besides starting off with your existing network, Hannah recommends being helpful on social media especially in Facebook Groups.
By getting involved in communities online where your potential clients hang out and offering answers to their questions, you will be able to create trust and these relationships often lead to work down the road. People will start to see you as an authority and trust you to do the tasks they don’t want to do themselves.
Hannah does not recommend using Upwork and similar platforms to find clients because you do not want to be competing with the rates that other virtual assistants are offering on these platforms.
What Do I Need To Do Before Starting A Contact With A New Client?
It is important to have a signed contract before starting work for a new client. Hannah also recommends
You will also need to set clear expectations with the client before work commences, such as agreeing on the amount of communication required and your working hours (if you do not want to be disturbed over the weekends for example).
How To Hire A Virtual Assistant
If you find yourself consumed by phone calls, research, paperwork, data entry, and other time-sensitive tasks, you can delegate tasks to a virtual assistant and start to take back your time.
Where Can I Find A Great Virtual Assistant?
Hannah recommends against finding virtual assistants on platforms such as Upwork. Instead, just like how Hannah recommends virtual assistants look for clients, you can also look for your next virtual assistant in the same places.
Firstly, ask within your immediate circle of trusted friends and family for referrals and recommendations.
Next, Hannah recommends joining Facebook Groups for any paid programs or mastermind and asking the community for referrals. These type of communities tend to be tight-knitted and vested in each other’s interest.
Lastly, join Facebook Groups and see who are the virtual assistants constantly answering questions or posting great content.
What Are The Key Things To Look Out For When Hiring A Virtual Assistant?
Just like hiring any employee, you would want to ensure that they have a passion for your industry, and you would also want to check what they are posting online to determine if they are the kind of person that you will enjoy working with.
Here is a list of 10 important interview questions that you can ask:
1. Why did you become a virtual assistant?
2. What are your current tools that you use for your VA services, and are you open to learning new tools?
3. What do you do to ensure that you are at the top of your game?
4. How many other clients do you have, and how much time can you invest in me and my projects?
5. Ask a scenario question. For example, if you are on vacation and the website goes down, what would they do if there are customers sending angry emails?
6. Where are you working from and how would that affect you working with me?
7. Why do you want to work with me specifically?
8. What do you love doing as a virtual assistant and what do you not like doing?
9. If you have trouble with your wifi, what would you do?
10. Ask a personal question. For example, if I am a really disorganized person, how will you keep me in check?
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