How to Be a Virtual Assistant

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Virtual assistants have the administrative skills of an assistant combined with the entrepreneurial skills of a small business owner. They rent out their services to clients near and far, in many instances, thousands of miles away. It is a portable career and can be very well-paying. It is an ideal choice for someone who wants to work from home.

Evaluate your administrative skills and equipment. Obtain training or experience to make up any shortfalls, and purchase equipment as necessary. You will need excellent typing skills, as well as experience using computer software such as Microsoft Office. Many virtual assistants also have specialized skills, such as HTML or experience with social networks. You will also need some means to communicate with your clients in real time by telephone and online.

Join the International Virtual Assistants Association (See References) or equivalent membership organization. Membership in such organizations allows members to establish their credentials, establish a higher level of skills by gaining certification, and generate possible client leads.

List yourself with one or more virtual assistant staffing companies (See Resources). Even if you plan to work independently eventually, working through a staffing agency is another excellent means of building references and generating possible client leads.

Establish a website showcasing your skills and listing former clients and/or employers along with any certifications earned. Some staffing and membership agencies allow their clients and members to establish profiles which can serve as websites for those who do not wish to establish an independent practice

Tip

Along with networking through membership organizations, you should also contact former employers and colleagues for possible client leads.

Keep your equipment and skills as up-to-date as possible. This will allow you to work more efficiently and make you more competitive for gaining new clients and retaining old ones.

Warning

Work-at-home scams are abundant. Check out any organization or company with the Better Business Bureau before supplying any personal information, and especially before paying any money.

About the Author

Chris Blank is an independent writer and research consultant with more than 20 years' experience. Blank specializes in social policy analysis, current events, popular culture and travel. His work has appeared both online and in print publications. He holds a Master of Arts in sociology and a Juris Doctor.

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