Working as a Virtual Assistant From Your Home Office

Virtual assistant
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Have you considered working as a virtual assistant? This work-at-home job offers a lot of flexibility and can be fairly lucrative as you advance. However, it’s not for everyone! See if you have what it takes and then start your search for virtual assistant positions.

Virtual Assistant Duties and Qualifications

As the name implies, a virtual assistant (VA) provides assistance to individuals from a remote location.

The types of things that a virtual assistant might do for clients include:

  • Social media management

  • Travel arrangements

  • Managing voicemail and email

  • Research for professional projects or personal needs

  • Scheduling and calendar management

  • Track expenses

  • Prepare reports or presentations

  • Send gifts

  • Plan events

Considering the variety of tasks virtual assistants take on, it’s no surprise that resourcefulness is perhaps the most important quality in a virtual assistant. Also, VAs need to be extremely computer literate, have a pleasant phone manner and be well organized.

What Virtual Assistants Don’t Do

Virtual assistants don’t usually do tasks that require specialized skills, like bookkeeping, editing, design work, etc.  However, they may  provide some support in those tasks, such as tracking expenses or light proofreading. And sometimes the same companies that hire virtual assistants hire for these positions as well.

While virtual assistants may work for corporations rather than individuals, they do not usually perform customer service or sales tasks. This is virtual call center work. Though some less-than-honest companies might position call center jobs as virtual assistant positions, they are not the same.

How Are Virtual Assistants Paid?

As you browse the list of companies that hire virtual assistants below, you will see how much variety there is in the work arrangements and pay structures used by virtual assistant companies.

While most virtual assistants are independent contractors, there are a few companies that hire them as full or part-time employees. VAs can have their own business but since the work is remote finding clients can be difficult if you don’t work with a company that will connect you with clients.

Typically virtual assistants, even those who are contractors, are paid an hourly wage. Pay might start as low as $11-12 an hour, but there is a wide range in potential pay, depending on your experience and the kind of work that is required. 

What You Need to Be a Virtual Assistant

Generally virtual assistants, even those that are employees of a firm, need to have a home office with a reliable computer and high speed internet. The office should be a quiet distraction-free place. Usually a cell phone is sufficient, but some companies might require a dedicated landline. Also a webcam usually required.

7 Places to Get Started as a Virtual Assistant

AssistantMatch makes a platform available for virtual assistants to connect to clients. It charges clients a match fee, and the hourly rate for assistants varies by their duties. It offers training for virtual assistants, but this is not required to register as a VA on the site.

Belay Solutions hires virtual assistants but also hires more specialized positions like virtual bookkeepers, content creators and webmasters. Its model is to hire independent contractors for these positions.

Equivity hires its VAs as part-time employees paid a starting salary of $15 hour. In addition to its virtual executive assistant positions it hires specialized assistance in marketing or law. Bachelor’s degree is required.

Team Delegate contracts with freelancers to work with its corporate clients. At least two years experience as an executive or administrative assistant is required.

Timeect hires independent contractors in the United States and United Kingdom with experience working as a virtual assistant, personal assistant, executive assistant, secretary or admin assistant. The work includes administrative tasks, form filling, schedule management, travel arrangements and possibly social media, writing or blogging.

Pay starts at $11 an hour.

Upwork is a freelance exchange site where you can offer your services as a freelancer. It has a fairly robust section dedicated to virtual assistants. It takes a percentage of your earnings from clients that you connect with through its platform.

Zirtual hires U.s.-based virtual assistants as employees (and offers benefits). The application process includes an extensive questionnaire and uploading video of yourself.