What is a Virtual Assistant and What Do They Do?
A virtual assistant (abbreviated to VA, also called a virtual office assistant) is generally a self-employed professional that works remotely to provide administrative, technical and social assistance to clients.
With the massive growth of the eCommerce industry, more online entrepreneurs and small local businesses need help in running their daily operations. And that is where you come in and as a VA.
Wondering what exactly are the roles of a VA? Let’s take a closer look…
What is the Job Description of a Virtual Assistant?
A VA can basically carry out tasks virtually. It’s similar to being an office manager or secretary. The only difference is that you’ll be working from home using your own computer equipment, software, phone, and Internet Connection.
Here are some typical VA duties:
- Database Management and Data processing
- Writing, Editing and Proofreading
- Graphical Presentation
- Internet Marketing, Social Media
- Marketing Support
- Mail, E-mail Services
- Secretarial and Telephone services
- Web Design, Development and Maintenance
- Word Processing
- Project Management
To effectively carry out these duties, you need skills. Read on to find out …
How to Become A virtual Assistant When You Have No Online Work Experience Yet?
You need to have a set of specific skills to become an efficient VA. For instance, how can you handle a research role if you don’t know how to properly use search engines? It will be very difficult, right? It matters a lot as a professional, to know more than just the basics.
Let us then, take a step further and look at these skills:
Master the English Language
It’s a standard industry requirement that every VA should have a good command of the English language – both oral and written. You’ll be expected to communicate effectively and mostly in English. Therefore, you have to hone your English skills.
Here are a few tips to help you further:
Practice every day. As the saying goes practice makes perfect, right? Make a study plan and decide on the amount of time you’ll spend studying. Create a suitable routine and stick to it.
Practice the 4 core skills: Keep listening, reading, writing, and speaking in English.
Surround yourself with English: Get yourself to an English speaking environment where you’ll be able to learn passively. Here are two ideas you can start with:
- Make an effort to mix with English speakers in your local area. For example, volunteer as a tour guide in your city and cater for English speaking visitors. With time you’ll become a better communicator.
- Watch YouTube videos on your favourite topic and talk back to the presenter.
Sign up for an English language training: Get the tools, resources, tips and tricks for perfecting your English quickly and with less effort. Check out this video for more:
Soon you’ll become a better communicator and eventually master the English language.
Be Proficient in Microsoft Office Programs
Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint Presentation are the most commonly used MS Office programs. As an aspiring VA, it’s important that you familiarize yourself with these applications. They form the backbone of most of the administrative tasks that will be assigned to you.
Some of its features are:
- They’re globally used
- Have an abundance of uses
- Easy to use
- Online Support from Microsoft
- Online Tutorials
It’s noteworthy that once you are familiar with these applications, you can easily use Google Docs and Google Sheets for similar operations. Learn more about these and other common online tools for work at the eCommerce University and get certified.
Have Confidence in a Specific Task
You don’t want your client to doubt your ability to help them, right? So, what can you do to build that confidence and demonstrate to an employer that you are capable of completing specific tasks well?
Well, you start small. Think of one thing that you can do really well right now. Could it be?
- Answering customer queries?
- Creating a Pinterest board for the employer?
- Rewriting their product descriptions?
- Writing an About Us page?
Just one small thing is also a good way to get your foot in the door. That way you can gradually manage your client’s expectations as you take on more tasks. And you will be confident doing them.
Be Resourceful and Knowledgeable in Doing Research
Often, you’ll be required to do research projects for your client. That means that you need to have basic internet knowledge. You’ll need to be able to quickly find information. A critical skill you need is how to effectively use search engines for everyday work.’
Master Social Media Marketing
It’s a key asset to know how to promote your client’s brand using social media. And it’s not just about a few posts and tweets here and there. There is more you need to learn to be able to establish a strong online presence and brand recognition.
Some of the skills you need are:
- Creative mindset
- Strategy planning
- Community management
- Understand how content works on a social web
- Be on top of the latest digital marketing trends
- Writing skills
How to Easily Get a Virtual Assistant Job?
Offer a 1-week Cheap Trial to an Employer in a High Growth Industry
Narrow your focus to one industry with lots of opportunities. Aiming for ‘any’ job will get you nowhere. Hone your focus on the eCommerce industry. It has a massive growth. With the increase of many self-taught entrepreneurs, they’ll be busy and will need help. Volunteer for a 1 week paid trial of $100 (small amount) and negotiate for a better rate as you go on.
Join a VA Facebook Group
Read the stories of other VAs. You’ll feel better and more motivated if you’re surrounded by people who are working in the industry. Remember you are the average of the 5 people closest to you. Choose a few successful VAs and make friends. Through networking, you will land valuable leads that will land you a job.
Sign up With a Relevant Job Board
Join online job marketplaces. You’ll get access to listings of open jobs that you can apply for. Also, you’ll get automated job notifications and with the refined search capabilities, landing a job will not be far fetched.
Quick Tips on How to Be a Valuable Virtual Assistant
- Work smarter, not harder. Get.
- Under promise and over deliver
- Promptly respond to emails. No excuses.
- Help clients find ways of saving money in their business
- Help your client find ways of making money in their business
- If you make a mistake (and you will) apologise and accept the blame
- Ask pertinent questions
- Be an excellent communicator
- Be within easy reach when needed
- Meet deadlines
- Be hardworking
- Be systematic
- Be trustworthy
- Be passionate
- Give regular reports and learn from examples
Now listen to this very carefully, start by getting yourself the quality and certified education. Everything else will fall into place.