Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info.
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info.
There are 6 steps to become a Virtual Assistant with no experience; the first 3 focuses on your skills and tools and the last 3 puts emphasis on finding work and getting paid. We’ll go over all these things plus the best services you should offer, tools recommendations, and the different ways to work as a VA.
Is learning to be a Virtual Assistant easy to do ? Is there a demand for Virtual Assistants ?
This post will answer those questions – and more – for you.
- How to become a Virtual Assistant
- Which companies are hiring (especially if you’re a beginner)
- How much you can make
- How to start your own VA service and really make the big bucks.
But first, let’s start by going over the role of a Virtual Assistant and talk about the most in-demand services you can offer.
What Does A Virtual Assistant Do ?
A Virtual Assistant (VA) provides business and support services, working from home for a VA company or as an Independent Contractor.
Every Virtual Assistant provides services based on their personal set of skills, also know as a service niche. Specializing in a niche and offering that as your service turns you into a pro, which then brings more pay per job.
Some of the most in-demand jobs Virtual Assistants do include managing blogs, editing videos, managing social media, and email outreach. In fact, we’ll go over these tasks, and more, in the 1st step of this guide.
Now that you have an idea of what a Virtual Assistant does, let’s go over how to get started.
How to Become A Virtual Assistant in 6 steps
Step #1 Pick Your Service Niche
To become a Virtual Assistant with no experience, your first step is to decide what service you want to offer.
You might think that providing a ton of Virtual Assistant services will make you more “in demand” and get more jobs, right?
And it’s tempting to start out this way.
But being a Jack (or Jill)-of-all-trades is not the way to go. It’s hard enough to make money when you’re really good at something, but being “kind-of” good at something is how you get mediocrity.
For instance, you might come across a paying gig that wants you to write an article about dog grooming. But what if you know nothing about dog grooming ? It’ll take you for-ev-ver to write it because of all the research you’ll have to do.
That’s why picking a service niche, and being really good at it, is important.
What Services Should A Virtual Assistant Offer ?
These are the most in-demand services a Virtual Assistant can offer, based on reviews of freelance platforms and VA service providers.
- Blog management – where you manage post publication dates, search engine optimization (SEO), redirections, broken links, and WordPress updates.
- Content creation for blogs – where you write blog posts, source and create images, perform keyword research and organize structure of articles.
- Podcast and YouTube editing and management – with knowledge of the right editing tools, you’ll manage the podcast or YouTube video, doing everything from ensuring the lighting is good to trimming clips as well as fine-tuning audio and perfecting the entire podcast or video.
- Social media management – consists of posting on social media platforms, creating images for social media, maintaining engagement and managing profiles.
- General administrative skills – where some of your tasks may be setting appointments, data entry, making travel arrangements, creating spreadsheets, monitoring voicemail, creating reports, drafting emails, and creating PowerPoint presentations.
- Online Outreach – tasks include: participating in relevant forums, generating leads, reaching out to advertisers / sponsors, and engaging in conversations with fellow bloggers.
- Email Management – where you’ll draft replies, organize incoming emails, manage spam, flag important emails, and follow-up on emails
- Email marketing – which is the process of managing the subscriber list, writing and sending emails to subscribers, and designing email templates.
- Online Marketing – where you’ll create landing pages, create sales pages, manage promotions and new product launches, create brochures, and set-up paid advertising campaigns.
- Financial services – this is where you’ll process payments and perform bookkeeping duties.
TIP: Your service niche might change over time. What you like doing today may bore the crap out of you next year. No problem, just become a specialist in something else. Heck, you can even have a niche in a few different areas…like social media management and email marketing.
Step #2 Learn Specific Skills for Your Niche (or review what you already know)
Even though you’re starting out with no experience, it’s a good idea to learn – or review – some skills related to the most in-demand services (that I wrote about earlier). Basically, become familiar with whatever your desired niche entails. And if you need more resources, here’s my post that shows you where you can learn the leading Virtual Assistant skills.
Quick courses to get you started:
➡ WordPress for Beginners: Learn to create and manage WordPress blogs
➡ Canva Graphic Design Class: Course that teaches how to create professional, quality graphics and videos with the online software Canva.
➡ Podcast for Business: Learn how to create high-quality podcasts.
➡ Social Media Marketing: Learn how to manage different social media platforms to promote brand, products, and services.
➡ Beginner’s guide to Google Docs.: Google docs. is a widely used online word processor that allow you to collaborate and share documents with your clients.
➡ Writing Tools and Hacks: Copywriting / Blogging/ Content Writing: This short course shows you how to write quickly and effectively with proven writing hacks.
➡ Digital Marketing Masterclass: This extensive course boasts 23 marketing lessons in one. It’s along course, over 34 minutes, but it covers all you need to know about digital marketing, including email marketing, copywriting, and SEO
➡ Free and paid proofreading and editing tools, brought to you by us, The Wary Worker.
Step #3 Use The Right Tools For Your Service Niche
It’s probably obvious, but to become a virtual assistant and work from home, you need a computer – desktop or laptop, whatever works for you.
You also need a reliable internet connection. Wireless is fine for most VA work, but if your niche has to do with finance then you might want a more secure internet option.
But to become a virtual assistant and offer top-notch services, you’ll need to know some tools.
And the tools you use will depend on your niche.
As far as software and applications, don’t worry too much about buying and installing programs. Most things can be done online, without having to download any software. For instance, If your niche is creating Pinterest images, you can use Canva and do everything on Canva’s online platform. And if your niche is in email marketing, you’ll use online email tools like Constant Contact and ConvertKit.
Let’s go over a few of the most common programs Virtual Assistants use to work with their clients
🖌 Designs.ai is a complete design tool that lets you create logos, videos, and even do voice-overs.
💻 WordPress is used to manage a blog
⌨ InMotion Hosting is used to give a blog a home on the internet.
🧾 LastPass is used to manage login passwords if you have multiple clients.
📝 ProWritingAid is a grammar checker, style editor, and writing assistant all in one package.
🎬 InVideo is an easy-to-use online video editing program.
💬 GroupMe is used for group chat.
📁 Google Apps is a document, presentation, and spreadsheet creation/sharing program.
📩 Clean Email is a powerful tool that lets you easily clean email inboxes of unwanted email.
📟 Hubspot is an email marketing software that helps your client’s business grow.
💲 Wave is a free program that lets you do general bookkeeping and invoicing.
Tip: if you purchase a tool, you can use the same tool for each client that requires the use of that tool and incorporate the cost into what you charge your clients.
Step #4 Find Work and get Paid
Now it’s time to start working as a Virtual Assistant and get paid. There are two routes you can take:
1) Work for a reputable Virtual Assistant service company
2) Work as a freelance (independent) Virtual Assistant
Let’s go over both routes.
1) Work for a Virtual Assistant Company
Now that you’ve learned some skills and have knowledge of the most in-demand Virtual Assistant services, you can take a look at some of the top-rated companies that hire Virtual Assistants. The majority of them want you to have at least some skills, if not a little bit of experience. But because you don’t yet have experience doing VA work, this might be a tough way to go.
So this is what I suggest:
First, write down any skills you have or skills you are learning. This includes anything office-related you may have done in past jobs or around your own home. Did you ever do any spreadsheets ? Did you ever create newsletters ? Did you ever organize documents ? Did you ever make travel arrangements ? Really put a lot of thought into this.
Now, create – or update – your resume to highlight all your skills. To help you get started on your resume, take a look at these Virtual Assistant resume samples.
Then apply for a job with one of these reputable Virtual Assistant companies:
- 24/7 Virtual Assistant They don’t specifically mention they take beginners but they don’t count it out, either.
- Time Etc. Hires people who have a background as a personal assistant, executive assistant, or admin. assistant.
- Zirtual If you have past Executive Admin. experience, apply.
- Vicky Virtual Hires virtual receptionists who don’t have Virtual Assistant experience.
Now let’s take a look at the next option.
2) Work as a freelance Virtual Assistant
Freelancing as a Virtual Assistant has the potential to pay a lot and is the best way to go if you have absolutely no experience.
There are 2 ways you can go:
-Use freelance Platforms, and
-Start your own business
Option #1, Use freelance platforms
-Easy to use
-There’s a lot of work available
-The platform has safeguards in place for receiving payment
-You don’t have to try to get clients to pay
-Communicating with clients is easy and secure
-You can set whatever rate you want.
-There’s a lot of competition
-Some clients will try to low-ball your service
-You’ll probably re-write your online profile many times
-Often, freelance platforms have top-rated freelancers who dictate low pay
Setting up on a freelance platform is by far the easiest way to get almost instant gratification, with the main action ‘bidding’ on virtual assistant type of gigs.
Upwork and Fiverr are the best freelance platforms for beginners BUT there is a lot of competition. As a matter of fact, a lot of ‘seasoned’ Virtual Assistants would tell you to stay away from them because of the competition.
But you’re just starting out and need to build-up some experience.
So, to ensure you stand out from the crowd on Upwork and Fiverr, you need to make your profile as compelling, interesting, and hire-worthy as possible.
Here are a few of my tips to build a great profile:
- You need a good photo of yourself. In fact, Upwork requires one.
- Give yourself a great title. Be specific and use keywords (words that are relevant to your specialty, like Pinterest Marketing or PowerPoint Presentation Specialist).
- Don’t neglect your skills. List them in order of proficiency. After all, when someone is looking for a VA they usually have a specific task they need to have done.
- Showcase your best work within your profile
Here’s an example of a freelance Virtual Assistant’s profile on Upwork:
Notice two things about her profile:
First, she gave herself a great title, Executive Administrative Support Specialist. This quickly tells prospective clients that she specializes in administrative support, therefore piquing their interest in her services.
Second, her overview summarizes her services with enough detail without being too long and drawn out. Good for potential clients.
And here’s another example, a Virtual Assistant with no experience:
Once your profile is set-up, take these steps to boost your success:
- Don’t wait for clients to come to you. Go ahead and send potential clients (those seeking Virtual Assistants) a proposal which outlines how you can solve their needs.
- Make sure you understand the job AND you have the proper amount of time to do it.
- While they’re screening you, you should screen them. Check out their history on Upwork to see if they had any complaints or issues with past freelancers.
- Only take on projects you know you can handle – skill-wise and time-wise.
Option #2, Create a portfolio website and market yourself
-You can reach more potential clients and get more work
-You can charge whatever rate you think you’re worth
-You may get clients that are willing to pay more
-It may be harder to find clients
-You have to do all the marketing, billing, and contract writing
-Clients will not come to you
First, let’s go over the idea behind this option because it has nothing to do with freelance platforms.
To get well-paying work as a Virtual Assistant, you need to prove and market your skills.
And you do that by:
- Using social media
- In-person networking
- Tapping into your market via forums, and blogs in your VA niche.
Anyone who is seriously considering hiring you as their Virtual Assistant wants to see proof of your abilities.
And this is where it gets difficult. Why? Because you have to rely on your own marketing skills, not a freelance platform that makes it easier to get jobs.
That said, the simplest way to go about this is with a website. It doesn’t have to be hundreds of pages stuffed with information. All you really need is an “About Me” page that tells who you are and your experiences; a “Hire Me” page, a “Contact” page, and a page with specific examples of your work and maybe even a few testimonials.
Setting up a website can be a bit daunting if you don’t have any experience in this area (you could hire a VA 🙂 ) But, if this is the route you want to go, then here’s The Wary Worker’s tutorial on how to start a website or blog
How to get Virtual Assistant clients as a Freelancer
No matter which option you go with – freelance platforms, where most of the marketing is done for you, or starting from scratch with a website where you do all your own marketing – you need to know the right way to pitch your services to get clients.
Here are a few helpful tips to get Virtual Assistant clients:
First: A lot of small businesses and entrepreneurs post Virtual Assistant jobs on Facebook so you can start searching there. There are a few good Facebook groups you can check out, like Virtual Assistant Jobs Worldwide and Virtual Assistant Services, but to find more opportunities you can do a Search for terms like “VA needed” and “Virtual Assistant wanted” and see what comes up.
When you see something you like, send a message to the sender.
But you don’t want to respond directly to a posting – you want to send a private message so you can outline your strengths. To make yourself stand out with this technique, do your research of the (potential) client. Look at their website, read their blog, pay attention to their business profile.
Second: If using freelance platforms, like Upwork, you need to build your portfolio. To do this, start out by offering free, or really low cost, VA services. Think of this as beta-testing your service, just make sure the job is easy for you to do and won’t consume a whole lot of your time.
As I wrote about in the ‘Use Freelance Platforms’ section earlier, don’t wait around for potential clients to come to you. Contact them first and let them know you are trying to build your portfolio. In fact, when I first started as a VA, I sent this message to some clients:
…I am a Virtual Assistant with a goal: To help you run your business and to build my portfolio…
They will check out your profile, which will identify your strengths. And once you’ve done free work for a client, list those VA accomplishments in your profile, too. You’ll attract more people.
Third: If a different niche interests you, go for it ! Offer it as a stand-alone service or group in in with your other service niches.
Step #5: Figure Out How Much To Charge
Before going any further, I need to say this:
You’ll only have to set your rates as a Virtual Assistant if you’re freelancing or creating your own business website. If you plan on working for a Virtual Assistant service company you’ll be paid whatever rate they set.
How Much Should A Virtual Assistant Charge ?
Virtual Assistants charge by the hour or project, depending on the service provided, with most charging at least $20.00 per hour.
How much you charge depends on what you think you’re worth, as you’ll see in a minute, and what service you provide.
And remember this: you can always charge more as you gain experience.
I took a look at some of the Virtual Assistants who are on the freelance platform Upwork and this is what I discovered:
- A Virtual Assistant’s hourly rate averages $32.00 for the top-rated VA’s who focus on customer service, data entry, and misc. administrative duties. Newer VA’s charge an average hourly rate of $20.00 for similar tasks.
- Virtual Assistants who focus on social media services charge an average of $57.00 an hour (top-rated VA’s) and $30.00 (newer VA’s)
- All of these top-rated VA’s have at least 2,000 hours billed to clients while the newer ones have considerably fewer billed hours but have several jobs in the queue. This indicates they are in-demand.
When setting your rate, there are a few things to consider. For instance, you are responsible for paying taxes (which may be self employment taxes due quarterly). Also, you don’t get benefits like health, dental, vision, savings…all these things come out of your pocket. And there will be overhead costs like computer, internet, office expenses.
But how much should you add to your rate to cover these things ? Gina Horkey of Fully Booked VA suggests you take your take-home pay from your old job and increase it by 25%.
Step #6 Make A Decision: Do You Still Want To Become A Virtual Assistant ?
By now you should have an idea if being a Virtual Assistant is something you want to do.
-You know what you need to do to get started…
-You have an idea how much you can make…
-You even know of some good companies that’ll hire you.
But if you don’t want to be a VA, move on to other work from home jobs.
And if you DO want to make money as a Virtual Assistant, you an either:
1) Follow these steps and just go for it, learning as you go.
2) Enroll in one of these top-rated Virtual Assistant courses
Option #1 would work if you don’t mind learning as you go. It may take longer to get results, though.
If you’re serious about becoming a VA, I would go with option #2. You’ll have a support team behind you while learning from the mistakes of experienced Virtual Assistants. You’ll then feel more confident and earn more money faster.
Virtual Assistant FAQs
Become A Virtual Assistant: The Skills You Need
To become a Virtual Assistant, you need to be professional, prioritize your tasks, and be organized while providing the services people pay for. These are known as soft skills and hard skills, with each type of skill having specific sub-skills.
This is what I mean:
#1 Soft skills, the skills just about everyone inherently has, consists of these sub-skills:
- You have the ability to prioritize
- You can multitask
- You’re organized
- You’re a good communicator
- You have some sales skills
- You can problem-solve
#2 Hard skills, which are learned and will make you a better Virtual Assistant, are like these:
- Image creating and editing
- Social media knowledge
- Accounting or bookkeeping experience
- Computer knowledge
- Customer service
- Fast typing
- Content creation
You can become a Virtual Assistant without experience as long as you identify your skill and know your specialty. This allows you to reach more clients, stand out within a niche, and provide a valued service.
So, even though you don’t need experience as a Virtual Assistant to become one, it’s a good idea to get some skills. In fact, I recently wrote a post showing you where to get in-demand VA skills.
Which brings me to this…
Is Being A Virtual Assistant Hard?
Being a Virtual Assistant is both easy and hard. Easy if you already have some sought-after skills. Hard when you have to learn and then ‘sell’ those skills to find the paying clients.
Here’s what I mean:
As a Virtual Assistant, you’ll do a variety of business services, typically supporting multiple clients and businesses at a time doing specific tasks for each of them. You probably already know how to do a lot of the highly sought after tasks such as administrative assistance, email handling, internet research, blog and website management, invoicing, and social media management.
That’s great. But there can be a lot of competition for VA’s who can do a lot of stuff, making it hard to get high-paying clients.
But if you niche-down, meaning you become an pro in a specific area, it becomes easier to find clients who want your exact service.
Is There A Demand For Virtual Assistants?
Yes, Virtual Assistants are in high demand, especially among small businesses who don’t have the budget to hire staff nor the time to do the administrative work themselves. In fact, being a Virtual Assistant is one of the best legitimate online jobs that pay well.
Virtual Assistants help companies to streamline their business, benefiting by reducing the workload on existing employees, lowering employee costs, and having more time to actually run their business.
And when they realize these benefits, businesses eagerly look for someone who can give more time back to them.
How Much Money Can You Make as a Virtual Assistant ?
A Virtual Assistant can make anywhere from $20.00 to $40.00 an hour, and the more experienced VA’s earning over $50.00 an hour.
In fact, ZipRecruiter tells us that – as of Mar 18, 2021 – the average annual pay for a Work From Home Virtual Assistant in the United States is $67,115 a year.
How much you make as a VA depends on if you work for a Virtual Assistant service company (I’ll go over some of them later in this post) or you’re self-employed, with self-employed VAs earning considerably more because they are able to set their rates and market their services accordingly.
For instance, Indeed tells us a Virtual Assistant working for a VA service company earns an average of $16.24 per hour :
And self-employed (freelance) Virtual Assistants charge an average of $52.75 per hour.
Become A Virtual Assistant And Start Making Money
Can someone with no experience start a career as a Virtual Assistant ?
Yes, although there will be a learning curve.
If becoming a Virtual Assistant is something that really interests you, then GO FOR IT ! You’ll be glad you did.
As always, feel free to leave a comment below whether or not you decide to follow through and become a Virtual Assistant.