What is a Virtual Assistant?
The term virtual assistant (VA) relates to a general category of job for people who offer some sort of remote business support. This can be done on a freelance basis or by fixed employment contract with a salary. Most virtual assistant jobs will be through offering some sort of direct outsourcing service for online businesses and entrepreneurs.
Common positions and openings involve graphic design work, search engine optimisation, link building, content creation, data entry and public relations.You will be required to take care of a certain aspect of a company’s operations that they do not have the time, skills or resources to do in-house. Most tasks will have deadlines to attached to them; some of which will offer bonuses payments for early completion.
What Skills & Qualifications Do You Need to Become a VA?
Depending on the VA jobs you apply for the qualifications you need will vary wildly. There are entry level employment opportunities where all you need to have is the time to work. Whereas other positions such as search engine optimisation work will likely require previous knowledge/experience.
There are certain training courses you can go on to help increase the rate you charge to clients. Some notable ones in the UK include the ECDL (European computer driving licence). This is a widely recognised qualification that can help you gain higher paid work in various administrative jobs. Other skills that can help you are being able to illustrate and design graphics. You can teach yourself photo editing, video editing and other media related skills from home. There are formal qualifications in these areas, but it’s so fast moving you’re better to be self-taught.
Overall having a good work ethic, completing tasks on time and being committed to adding value are the best characteristics to possess. Creating a good reputation for yourself will gain you repeat work and higher pay rates.
Rate of Pay
The hourly rate that virtual assistant jobs pay is high and can be a rewarding method of remote employment. Clients pay for results and not for your time. Therefore if you can get the job done quickly (which you will be able to with experience and training) you will be able to make a lot more money.
Skilled virtual assistants can make £100+ an hour. However the work is not regular and therefore this rate cannot be consistently achieved. The average rate of pay is between £10-30 per hour for individuals conducting writing work, data entry and other “entry level” positions. This rate of pay is often gained from agency jobs so you have to take into account the fees that they will deduct.
Benefits of the Job and Career Prospects
Working in freelance virtual assistant roles gives you a huge amount of flexibility. You are able to operate from home, in a café, on the move or in an office. You can pretty much work on your own time under your own rules. This is fantastic for people who have busy or complicated lifestyles. When the 9-5 doesn’t fit, working as an outsourcer is a great solution.
You get to work with a variety of different businesses and it is a varied form of employment. This keeps things interesting and fresh which is a rarity in career style jobs.
Working as a freelance VA can do wonders for your CV as you are constantly adapting and gaining new skills. The projects you will work on as a virtual assistant will be great for using in interview examples. When people ask questions like “give an example of when you have worked under time constraints or to deadlines” you’ll have some cracking answers!
In addition to this you will gain experience of working with a variety of businesses. This means that you’ll learn different work ethics, techniques and approaches. All of this strengthens you as an individual and makes you a more valuable asset to employers.
How Easy is it to Find Work?
The market size of virtual assistant jobs is pretty vast. There are entire communities set up to facilitate the bringing together of employers and outsourcers. The advantage of using freelance workers is that companies don’t need to pay national insurance, PAYE or other fees. The money is a straight up payment to the individual.
As the internet as a platform continues to expand and organisations rely more on outsourcing virtual assistant positions will continue to flourish.