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Are you thinking about hanging your shingle and offering your services as a virtual assistant? Maybe you like the idea of being your own boss and having a flexible work schedule. Before you take the big leap to self-employment, however, you may be wondering: are virtual assistants in demand?
Virtual assistants are in demand. Many companies prefer to use the services of virtual assistants instead of in-house employees so they can save money on wages and benefits. Many small companies, for example, may only need to use a virtual assistant for a few hours a week.
Although there is definitely demand for the services of virtual assistants, you might want to consider following the lead of someone already successful in the business instead of trying to figure it all out yourself – someone like Kayla Sloan.
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Kayla Sloan’s Story
Kayla Sloan started her virtual assistant business the same way everyone else does – with zero clients. In fact, things weren’t going very well for her in life when she started her new business. She was both broke and in debt and was struggling to afford her basic living expenses.
Determined to achieve success in life, Kayla decided to start a virtual assistant business where she would help clients with various business needs. With hard work and determination, she landed her first client, and then her second, and then more were added. In just three years, Kayla went from being broke and in debt to earning at least $10,000 per month in her virtual assistant business.
In addition to running her successful business, Kayla also now teaches others how to start and grow their own virtual assistant businesses in her online course, $10KVA. Kayla’s course teaches you the important skills you need to know to land clients, work efficiently, and grow your business.
Just a few of the things Kayla teaches in the course include:
- Deciding what services to offer
- Where to look for virtual assistant jobs
- How to land your first client
- How to get jobs through referrals
- Pricing your services
- Invoicing and getting paid
- Onboarding new clients
- Overcoming client objections
- Creating systems to work more efficiently
If you are interested in learning more about Kayla’s course, $10KVA, she offers a free webinar called 5 Steps to Become a Virtual Assistant that goes over the process of becoming a virtual assistant and what you can expect.
Check out Kayla’s free webinar to learn more about becoming a virtual assistant.
What Do Virtual Assistants Do?
If you are wondering are virtual assistants in demand, it’s important to point out that working as a virtual assistant is a very diverse career. No two days are exactly the same. One day you may be responding to client emails, the next you may be processing online orders. The day after that you could be doing a little bookkeeping or data entry for a client.
Here are a few common things that virtual assistants do:
1. Social Media Management
Businesses of all sizes now use social media platforms to communicate with potential and existing clients. Virtual assistants may be used to post daily to these platforms, respond to comments, and answer questions.
Many businesses use virtual assistants to do light bookkeeping work for them. Most modern bookkeeping systems are relatively easy to learn and intuitive to use. Also, many of these systems operate online which enables you to access them remotely.
Some clients may ask you to do online research for them. For example, if you have a client who owns a personal finance blog, that person may ask you to do keyword research to find new topics to write about and to see if competitors have already covered the subject.
4. Customer Service
Many businesses use virtual assistants to handle customer service issues. They may answer support tickets, for example, or respond to customer service inquiries by phone.
5. Email Management
Many business leaders receive a deluge of email every day. They may get email messages from customers, vendors trying to sell products, coworkers, the media, and others.
Business leaders are busy people and they often don’t have a lot of free time to respond to the hundreds of emails they receive. Virtual assistants may be used to screen incoming emails. Important emails are left for the executive to answer, while others are forwarded to others to handle.
6. Data Entry
It’s not the most exciting thing that virtual assistants do, but many businesses need help with data entry. Data may be entered into a spreadsheet, for example, or it may also be entered into another system – like a bookkeeping system.
7. Booking Appointments with Clients
Some clients may ask you to book appointments for them. For some businesses, clients are the lifeblood of their operations, and they need a steady stream of them coming in to continue operations. You may have to screen clients and book appointments with a company representative to close deals.
8. Following up with Clients/Customers
Some businesses may use your virtual assistant services to follow up with clients or customers. For example, a company may have a certain percentage of sales calls where customers don’t make a purchase. The company may have you follow up with these people by email to see if they have any questions. If they do, you can schedule another phone call with a sales representative.
9. Hotel and Flight Booking
Researching and booking hotels and flights is another thing you may be asked to do as a virtual assistant. Many business executives have to travel regularly for work and they may not have the time to look for the best deals on hotels or the shortest flights to and from their destinations.
10. Writing Blog Posts
Many companies have websites with blogs that are updated regularly. These blogs exist so companies will be seen as thought leaders in their niches. They can also be used to generate free traffic to a company website using search engine optimization.
As a virtual assistant, you may have to write, edit, and publish blog posts regularly to a company’s website. Most websites now use WordPress, which is intuitive and easy to learn.
What Skills Do You Need to Become a Virtual Assistant?
If you are wondering are virtual assistants in demand, you may also be curious about what skills you may need to do the work.
The skills necessary to work as a virtual assistant are not difficult, and some of them can be learned on the job. The following are a few skills you’ll need:
1. Word Processing
As a virtual assistant, you will need to know how to use word processing software like Microsoft Word or Libre Office Writer. You may be asked to compose, proofread, or edit documents, and you need to be comfortable using common word processing applications. You will also need to know how to use other office applications like spreadsheets, email, presentation software, and others.
2. Data Entry
Another skill you may need as a virtual assistant is the ability to do data entry work. This type of work isn’t difficult, but it can be tedious and boring. It isn’t fun, but it may be something you have to do on occasion.
Being proficient in typing is another skill that you will need. Typing is necessary to quickly create written documents, manage social media channels, and respond to customer emails.
4. Communication Skills
One of the most important skills you’ll need as a virtual assistant is the ability to communicate well. You’ll need to do a good job of selling your services to potential clients, for example, to land work. You’ll also need to communicate effectively in many of the client projects you work on.
5. Computer Skills
Being good with a computer is another important skill you’ll need as a virtual assistant. Since nearly all of the work you do for clients will require the use of a computer, you will need to know how to use one well. You will also need to know how to use common software applications.
6. Writing Ability
Some of your clients may ask you to work on projects that require you to write. You may have to write a report, for example, or respond to people’s posts on social media platforms. Because of this, you will need to have good writing ability.
This doesn’t mean, of course, that you have to be the next Ernest Hemingway. This isn’t about writing best-selling books. You just need to have a good command of the rules of grammar and write in clear, concise prose.
7. Organizational Skills
Being able to stay organized is another important skill you’ll need as a virtual assistant. This includes prioritizing tasks so you know which projects you need to work on first and which ones you can work on later.
8. Multitasking Skills
As a virtual assistant, you will most likely have multiple clients. The more clients you have, the more money you can make. To best serve all of your clients, you may have to occasionally multitask. You may be working on a report for one client, for example, and have to quickly switch gears and respond to a customer service ticket when one is submitted.
9. Bookkeeping Skills
Virtual assistants may have to learn some bookkeeping skills. Thankfully, most modern online bookkeeping systems are intuitive and easy to learn. You may have to record some journal entries, for example, or record the details of purchase orders.
10. Self-Motivation and Discipline
I saved what I consider one of the most important skills you’ll need as a virtual assistant for last – self-motivation and discipline. To succeed as a virtual assistant, you have to be someone who is a self-starter and can get things done without being told to do them.
This probably isn’t a good business for someone who isn’t interested in putting in the work to market his or her services. It may take a few weeks – or possibly months – to land your first client. You have to be someone who is not easily discouraged – someone who is determined to succeed no matter what.
Are Virtual Assistants Employees?
As a virtual assistant, you will not be an employee of the businesses you do work for. You will be a business owner offering your services to other businesses. You get to be your own boss.
Are virtual assistants in demand? They are, but there are some important pros and cons of the business to consider.
A few advantages of being in business as a virtual assistant include:
1. You’ll Have a Flexible Schedule
Being able to work during times that are the most convenient for you is a major benefit of owning a virtual assistant business. If you are a morning person, for example, you can get up early and do most of your work when you have the most energy. Also, if you are a night person, there’s no reason why you can’t do some or all of your work at night.
2. You Can Wear Comfortable Clothes
You can wear whatever clothes you want as a virtual assistant. This means you can dress for comfort instead of dressing according to a company dress code.
3. You Can Take Time off If Needed
If you work a regular job and you need to take a couple of hours to go to a doctor’s appointment or a parent-teacher conference at your child’s elementary school, you have to ask permission from your boss. This isn’t the case if you are a virtual assistant business owner. You can take time off when you need to and make up the time later.
Owning a virtual assistant business is not without its downsides. Here are a few to consider:
1. No Employer Benefits
As a business owner, you will not receive any benefits from an employer. You will have to purchase health, dental, vision, and other insurance plans yourself.
2. You May Have to Work While on Vacation
As a virtual assistant, taking a vacation is sometimes different than taking a vacation as an employee. If you work for a company, you can usually unplug from your work and enjoy your vacation time undisturbed. As a business owner, however, you may have to do some work while you are on vacation.
3. You Have to Continually Market Your Services
Another thing about working as a virtual assistant that some may not like is that you have to constantly market your business. Clients come and go. You want to always have multiple clients to fall back on when one suddenly stops using your services.
Where Do Virtual Assistants Work?
One of the truly great things about working as a virtual assistant is that you can work from just about anywhere as long as you have a laptop, a reliable cell phone, and a good internet connection.
Although most virtual assistants work from home, they may also work from the following places:
- Public libraries
- Coffee shops
Another thing to consider if you are wondering are virtual assistants in demand is that you can take your work with you while you are on vacation somewhere. Thanks to the flexibility the business provides, you may decide to travel more often and work out of your hotel room or the hotel lobby.
Do Virtual Assistants Need a College Degree?
One of the best things about being a virtual assistant – in my opinion – is that you don’t need a college degree. Whether you have a degree or not doesn’t matter. It also doesn’t matter whether you have an unrelated degree.
As a virtual assistant, you will be a business owner offering a service to other businesses. You will not be an employee. This means you don’t have to worry about keeping an updated resume on hand.
When businesses use the services of other businesses to help them with something, they don’t ask the owner where that person went to school. They don’t ask to see a resume. They typically make their decision to use a service provider based on work samples, references, and conversations.
It’s kind of like taking your car to a mechanic when it needs a repair of some kind. Most people don’t bother asking where their mechanics went to school. They only care about results – how good of a job that person does repairing vehicles. It’s the same with virtual assistants.
Are Virtual Assistants in Demand? – Final Thoughts
Virtual assistants are definitely in demand. It makes a lot of sense for businesses to use them so they can save money on salaries and benefits. By using a virtual assistant, businesses only have to pay for work when they need it. They don’t have to worry about finding something to keep an employee busy if there isn’t enough work.
If you are interested in learning more about becoming a virtual assistant, definitely check out Kayla Sloan’s free webinar, 5 Steps to Become a Virtual Assistant. It’ll only take a little of your time to watch it. Who knows – it could be the start of a new and exciting career that changes your life.
Check out Kayla’s free webinar to learn more about working as a virtual assistant.