Massive changes were wrought by the coronavirus pandemic. More jobs are being done remotely, and more work is being outsourced. Many businesses find that hiring independent contractors and freelancers for specific jobs is more cost-effective and efficient than having more employees on the payroll. This has led to a growing demand for virtual assistants.
What’s a virtual assistant?What are the steps?How much does a virtual assistant make? More useful reading
What is a virtual assistant?
Virtual assistants (VAs) are freelancers who perform administrative tasks for clients or companies remotely. They provide administrative and creative support to clients and businesses from their home. Both the employee and employer win. Outsourcing work to virtual assistants is a win-win situation for both the employer and employee. The VA doesn’t need to have office space, utilities, tools, or any other benefits. Virtual assistants have many key advantages, including the freedom to choose their work colleagues, flexible work hours and the possibility to make more than PS200 per day. You can also work remotely and avoid the commute. What’s not great about that?
Virtual assistants can perform a variety of tasks. It will depend on the company you work for and their needs. However, it could include anything from answering phones and sending email to book-keeping, business planning, and desktop publishing. Do you have any special skills? Great. You’ll charge more for the more skilled skills you have. If you have five years of experience in the marketing industry, and are proficient in Microsoft Publisher, you could advertise yourself as a virtual assistant specializing in desktop publishing and marketing.
do i need qualifications?
Virtual assistants do not need any formal training or qualifications. However, most clients will require some experience in administrative or secretarial work. Don’t worry if you don’t have the necessary qualifications. You’ll be able to transfer skills from other positions such as problem solving and teamwork, as well written communication skills. Virtual assistants are in high demand due to the increased demand for them. They can also be used in other roles like content management, blogging, social media and internet marketing. These roles are more applicable than general administrative experience.
What do I need to set up?
You can start as a virtual assistant by keeping your costs low. While there are some things you will need, most likely you already have them. You will need at least a broadband internet connection, separate phone lines, office stationery, and software. You can also claim tax on utility bills that you already pay if you work from home.
Steps to becoming a virtual assistant
STEP 1: SORT YOURSKILLS
Virtual assistants can be hired for many different skills and expertise. Before you start, determine your unique selling point and how you will market yourself.
These are some tips to help you get started with brainstorming.
Are you a specialist in any of these areas? Do you have professional qualifications or training in that area? Keep in mind that the industry is constantly evolving and changing. You need to be able to update your knowledge and skills as new software and programs are introduced.
STEP 2: get started
Register your business
Registering your business under your company name is the first step to get your business started. Consider carefully what name you choose as it will be the first impression potential clients have of your business. You can also operate your business under your own name.
After you have chosen a name to your virtual assistant company, make sure it isn’t already in use by anyone else. This can be checked with the National Business Register. You also need to make sure your business name has not been trademarked. It could lead to serious legal problems down the road, so it’s best to check before you make any decisions!
Finally, you will need to register as self-employed with HM Revenue & Customs. This is free but you can be fined if it takes longer than three months. After you have registered, you will be sent all the information you need about tax and national insurance.
BUSINESS INSURANCE & TAX
You’ll need to upgrade your insurance policy if you are a virtual assistant. Working from home can affect your coverage. This article from the Society of Virtual Assistants explains what kind of insurance you need and how to get it.
You won’t need to pay VAT when you start your virtual assistant business. If your taxable turnover exceeds PS85,000, you will need to register for VAT with HMRC. You will also need to adhere to the recent changes made by the government to Making Tax Digital.
FINANCING & START-UP COSTS
You may not be able to make a profit right away due to initial financing or start-up expenses. For more information, see Should You Take on Debt to Start Your Business?
STEP 3 – Finding a job as a virtual assistant
SIGN UP FOR A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT AGENCY
An agency is a great place to start your search for work or clients. Avoid agencies that charge you for work. It’ll be difficult to hear from them again once you have paid them. Avoid advertising that promises ‘get rich quick’ and’make up for your PS1000 per day’. It is impossible to believe that there are so many job opportunities.
The Society of Virtual Assistants is a great website to visit. They offer a free service with lots of helpful information for virtual assistants. There are two types of membership available: standard and approved.
This membership is for those who are interested in becoming virtual assistants. You will get some helpful tools. The forum allows you to post questions, and the society blog. This membership is only for businesses. The code of conduct will require you to agree to and maintain a professional website and email. This will be verified. After you have been verified, your name will be added to the searchable databases. You’ll be able to access the “jobs available” section of the forum. This will hopefully help you get paid work.
DERTISING YOUR VA BUSINESS
It can be difficult to get clients and make your services known when you start a business. Find Freelance Clients contains useful tips on how to advertise your services and find clients.
You need to identify the people to whom you are willing to provide your VA services in order to get your first clients. You should make a list of all your key skills and accomplishments, as well as what you enjoy. Next, think about the type of companies that might need your services. What type of companies would need your help to resolve their phone calls or emails? What kind of companies might require virtual customer service help?
Think about what you can do to help them improve productivity and what benefits your company will get from your service. Also, think about what makes you different from the rest.
Your target audience will determine the advertising medium you choose. Ask yourself these questions:
Which literature does this company read/use? Where do they network? What media do they most frequently use?
A website can be a great way to market yourself as a virtual assistant. You can use a website to create a virtual resume, highlight endorsements and showcase your experience, and promote your services. It is easy with the many free tools available. This article explains how to set up a website for your freelance business.
Step 4: Improve your skills and increase your salary
By increasing their skills, virtual assistants can earn more. You can increase your appeal to potential clients by offering services such as bookkeeping, web-management, and copy-editing. The bottom line is that the more work you can do, you are more likely to be hired. Virtual assistants can offer a variety of work. The more work you do, the higher your charges.
How much does a virtual assistant earn?
Glassdoor reports that the average salary for a virtual assistant is less than PS30,000. Society of Virtual Assistant conducted an annual survey and found that the hourly rate for VAs in the UK was PS27. These numbers may give you an idea of what the average hourly rate for a VA in the UK is, but it all depends on your skills and experience.
When setting your rates, there are some important points you should consider. First, decide whether your rates will be based on a daily rate or an hourly basis. You should be cautious about charging an hourly rate as you might end up spending more time researching and completing admin tasks than you would with a daily-rate.
You must also consider the fact that you may not have enough:
Holiday paySick leaveMaternity leavesGuaranteed hoursPension contributionJob security; andProvided Office Stationery and Utilities. You will need to add these benefits into your pricing. To ensure that your taxes and expenses are covered, you should add an additional 25% to your price. If you had originally planned to charge PS20 per hour, this should be changed to PS25.
More useful reading
Check out these articles for more information on how to set up a freelance business.
5 Common Objections Freelancers Have (And How To Overcome Them). How to Find Your Freelance NicheUseful resources for Freelancers at All Experience Levels
As a virtual assistant, make PS25 an hour with MoneyMagpie