How to Become a Virtual Assistant

Virtual Assistant
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If you are looking for a work from home position, and have administrative, accounting, business or technical experience, a virtual assistant job may be right for you.

What Virtual Assistants Do

Also known as virtual professionals, virtual assistants are the new age of administrative assistants, helping to broaden the applicant pool as well as cut operating costs for businesses. You can find jobs specializing in everything from communications to design, event planning to technical, and more.

Most companies are looking for applicants with education and/or office experience in some administrative capacity.

As a virtual assistant, you will likely work as an independent contractor, possibly with many clients. You will need to have superior organizational skills, the ability to multi-task, a pleasant phone demeanor, and the appropriate equipment in your home office. A virtual assistant (VA) provides online administrative, secretarial and clerical support, as well as creative and/or technical services for clients.

Virtual Assistant Certification

There are many companies that offer certification for VAs. Some require that you have already established a clientele, some require fees, and some are free. In addition to VA certification, it can be helpful to be a certified public accountant (CPA), to offer accounting services to your clients. Certification isn’t required by most employers at this time, but it may open a few doors as you are starting your business.

Also explore the groups and associations targeted to VAs, which offer a variety of services, including mentoring, networking opportunities, and help with business planning. Because the field is new and so diverse, it can be helpful to have some guidance, especially as you begin your business. Professional virtual assistant associations can put you in touch with sub-contracting opportunities to help you get started in your own business, as well as help with building a website and marketing your skills.

Information on Becoming a Virtual Assistant

Some websites that have helpful information for VAs, especially those looking for positions, or just starting out include:

How to Find Virtual Assistant Job Listings

You can find virtual assistant jobs listed on many of the most popular job boards, including Monster, Indeed and CareerBuilder. Also check sites like FlexJobs which focus on telecommuting and flexible employment opportunities.Type in “virtual assistant” and your location to browse jobs in your area.

Pros and Cons of Becoming a Virtual Assistant

Being a VA has a lot of advantages as a remote job. It is a growing industry, with strong income potential. The start up costs are very low- often the equipment you have for personal use is sufficient to get started, as long as you have a reliable internet connection. You can decide what type of businesses to focus on, and usually what hours you want to spend working.

The disadvantages are few, and are mostly those associated with any home based business, including the need to keep records for tax filing, procure your own health insurance, save for retirement, etc.

You may have increasing equipment costs as your business grows as well.

As with any work at home position, be very careful to make sure that any businesses who hire you as a virtual assistant are legitimate. Do your research before signing contracts, or sharing banking information for direct deposit for income.