Remote jobs have taken front-row seats in today’s job economy. Some companies have transitioned almost entirely from working in-house to being completely or partially remote. As a result, some roles are seeing more demand than they used to. One of these roles is a remote virtual assistant also known as a remote assistant.
Remote assistants are becoming increasingly popular by the day and companies are seeing the need for virtual effective assistance where in-person assistance has become almost redundant.
Unlike before, assistants no longer need to be on the office premises to perform their tasks. As the world has gradually shifted to more remote work, so have their needs. Virtual assistants (VA) now have all the tools to perform their tasks and excel at them.
In this article, we’re going to look at everything you need to become a remote virtual assistant. We’re going to discuss the remote virtual assistant career path, how to become a virtual assistant, the skills you need to become a VA, and the best place to get VA roles.
Without further ado, let us discuss what a virtual assistant is:
What is a Virtual Assistant?
A virtual assistant is someone who provides remote assistance services for a business or an individual. A VA is someone who handles administrative, customer-facing, sales, marketing, and technical tasks for a business.
While remote virtual assistants typically work for the business, they often provide support for the business managers. These are the C-suite positions or people holding managerial positions. Virtual assistants provide support to these people in terms of handling calls, responding to emails, organizing schedules, handling bookings, ordering food, etc. The job of a virtual assistant is to make their employer’s life as easy as it can possibly be.
Like most digital roles, VA positions rarely have the same responsibilities. In some cases, Virtual assistants are expected to perform more technical tasks like following up on leads, organizing email campaigns, managing social media, etc.
Due to this ambiguity related to the position, it is advised that you perform adequate research on the job you’re applying for before proceeding with the application. This way, you’re armed beforehand with the necessary requirements for the job.
Remote VA Career Path: How to Become a Virtual Assistant
While there’s no clear-cut path to starting any career, there are steps that are taken that ultimately make it easier to begin a career in your chosen profession. For VA, the most common route is to get a bachelor's or a master's in any Business-related field.
Due to the nature of the VA’s job, you’re going to have a hands-on-deck managing the affairs of your employer as pertaining to the business. Studying a business-related discipline gives you an edge and prepares you beforehand for the tasks ahead.
As said earlier, in some positions, Virtual Assistants are required to perform more technical tasks like email marketing, social media marketing, etc. In this case, your best shot at becoming a virtual assistant would be the skills you have.
To start a career as a virtual assistant, it is important that you have hands-on knowledge of some of the more technical aspects of running a business. While you may not be required to be a top-rated expert in the field, it is important that you at least have experience performing those tasks.
If you’re looking to pivot from another role to become a virtual assistant, some of the roles that offer the most promise include social media managers, customer service representatives, office managers, content creators, and receptionists. Having experience in one or more of the roles stated above gives you a better chance of becoming a virtual assistant.
If you do not have a degree in a business-related field or have experience in the roles stated above, your best shot at becoming a virtual assistant would be to take as many courses as you can and stack up your certifications. If you’re taking the certifications route, you should aim for internship positions where you gain first-hand knowledge of what it means to be a virtual assistant.
From being a VA, you can apply for more managerial roles like marketing assistant, executive assistant, marketing associate, account manager, account executive, etc.
We’ve discussed everything there is about the remote virtual assistant career path, now, let us examine some of the services virtual assistants provide.
Most Common Services VAs Provide
As mentioned above, the responsibilities of a VA may take different shapes and forms depending entirely on what the job entails. In this section of this article, we’re going to discuss some of the most common services virtual assistants offer:
- Operations and Project Management: You may be required to oversee some operations and projects on behalf of your employer. Some may be delegated to you to handle while they focus on other parts of the business. This means you may be required to hold meetings, delegate tasks, review reports and report directly to the business owner. In cases where the business owner may be unavailable to attend a meeting that cannot be canceled, you may fill in for them and report back.
- General Administrative tasks: The most important job of a virtual assistant is to perform administrative tasks. This means managing emails, responding to phone calls, managing calendars, etc. These are some of the basic things expected.
- Managing Payments: A virtual assistant is often required to manage outgoing and incoming payments. This means every billing coming to the business owner, the VA vets them and if granted access, pays them. This is also the case for incoming payments. A VA is also required to stay on top of invoices and keep detailed records of all payments.
- Bookkeeping: It is not unusual for a virtual assistant to keep detailed accounts of the finances of the business. For small businesses without dedicated financial departments, the duty falls on the shoulders of the VA.
- Customer Support: Staying on top of all customer inquiries and complaints are among the roles of a virtual assistant. This is more so if the business does not have dedicated support. Even in the instances where they do, some customer inquiries often come directly to the business owner and are taken care of by the VA.
- Social Media Management: Ensuring that the business has a great online presence is one of the jobs of a VA. This means posting regular content, responding to comments and DMs, and seldom engaging with other brands in the niche.
- Content research and writing: To succeed as a virtual assistant, it is important that you understand the business and its customers. As a result of this, you may be required to write blog posts, articles, or emails to customers and clients.
- Customer Research and Lead Nurturing: As a result of knowing about the business, you may also be required to follow up on leads that come in through various mediums. If there’s no dedicated person to handle these tasks, it then falls to the VA.
- Data Analysis: The role of a virtual assistant can take a myriad of forms. Another way it presents itself is in data analysis. If you’re managing projects or filling in your employers’ shoes, you would also be required to analyze and present these data.
- Transcription: As said earlier, one of the major roles of a virtual assistant is to assist the business leader. This can also mean transcribing meetings into various forms. You may be required to listen in on meetings and create notes or reports based on what was discussed.
Most In-demand VA Skills.
After studying job postings for VAs and analyzing the most common services virtual assistants provide, we’ve drawn up a list of the most important skills for virtual assistants to have in no particular order:
- Customer Support: Customer support falls under administrative tasks. As such, you would be required to make sure customers are attended to whenever they have inquiries. This could be from social media, phone calls, and emails. You would be the first point of contact for customers whenever they try to reach the business.
- Excellent Email Communications: Virtual assistants are almost always communicating. If you’re not communicating with your employer, you’re doing it with other members of the team or customers. As such, you need to have the necessary email communication skills and be aware of all email etiquette.
- Social Media Management and Marketing: Social media management also falls within the ballpark of a virtual assistant. Depending on the company and whether or not they have dedicated advertising teams, you may also be required to handle social media marketing.
- Lead Generation: If you’re in the B2B industry, the chances of you being tasked to generate leads increases as a VA. You would be required to identify potential customers and pitch to them. This can happen via various platforms such as LinkedIn, cold calls, social media outreach, and cold emails.
- Excellent Management Skills: More often than not, you would be required to manage people, schedules, or tasks. Having experience ensuring everything is running as it should be a non-negotiable skill for a VA. This can from managing schedules to overseeing small projects.
How Much Do Virtual Assistants Make?
The hourly rate for remote assistants varies according to skill and experience. The virtual assistant rate begins from $10 all the way up to $40 per hour. Earning well as a remote assistant depends on your negotiation skills and your experience and your skills. According to statistics by 99firms, VAs make $32 on average.
In this article, we’ve discussed everything there is to know about being a virtual assistant. If you’re looking to pivot to a remote virtual assistant career path, start by analyzing your current skills and identifying your shortcomings. That way, you know where to upskill and get started.