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If there is one business lesson that this pandemic has taught me, it’s the fact that the future is digital. And I am very much grateful that I was able to jumpstart my work from anywhere setup and gain lots of experience from it for more than four years now.
Before I started my online venture in 2016, I thought the only freelance services that business owners were willing to pay for are the ones related to web development, graphic design, writing, and administrative tasks (as in those with secretarial job experience). And I didn’t have any actual work experience in any of those skills at the time. I was doing web and graphic design every now and then as a hobby, as well as journal writing, but none that I could confidently showcase on my portfolio for potential clients. But what I had was my 8-year experience in the BPO industry, my supervisory skills, and my adaptive mindset of being customer service-oriented.
During that time, I know my strengths were more on reporting and data analysis, knowledge with MS software, pacifying irate customers, handling a team, and my willingness to learn more skills. So, I capitalized on what I thought I could do. I was also pushed by my burning desire to continue traveling and exploring places without jeopardizing my financial state. In other words, I needed to become a virtual assistant. It was a huge leap of faith.
Along the way, I discovered a lot more skills that I never thought I could do. I did my own research and study for every skill that I find in-demand. Yep, I am a self-taught multi-skilled virtual assistant. And even if I got a corporate job offer in Malaysia back then, I still didn’t let go of my virtual assistant job.
What Does a Virtual Assistant Do?
Bias aside, Virtual Assistants are little miracle workers. They’re heaven-sent to online entrepreneurs. Seriously. Most often than not, that is actually a hard question to answer in just a few sentences. Virtual Assistants (VA) have come to be so many things to so many different kinds of businesses that there’s no real quick-and-easy answer to that question.
A VA’s job is to assist a business owner with various tasks and they are considered specialists in their field and niches they work in by providing online support to a wide range of professionals who need help managing their online businesses. They could do anything from simple administrative tasks like data entry to more skilled and complex services like video production and website design. Essentially, any task that someone can’t or doesn’t want to do but they’re willing to pay to outsource it is up for grabs as a virtual assistant service.
If you excel at something (which is almost anything, really), you can probably make a living as a virtual assistant. That’s personally what I did. Likewise, if you’re a business owner with some time-consuming business needs and unsure of how to get the help you need, I’m sure there’s a VA out there who can help you. Or might as well, send me a message. *winks*
What Virtual Assistant Services Do I Offer?
From the time I started as a VA, a lot has already changed within the virtual assisting world. I started my virtual work as a VA of a travel company owner. I did internet research, data entry, project coordination, and creating content for his social media accounts. Then as I learn more skills, I pivoted to being an online network coordinator slash business manager for other online entrepreneurs where I managed the day to day operations of their eCommerce store or business. But then I would always go back to my roots, flipping my creative side, which is why I accepted VA jobs such as web and graphic design, video editing, and podcast editing. These days, alongside web and graphic design services, I also offer social media management since I learned through the years that social media is not going anywhere.
What Virtual Assistant Services Can You Offer?
Services are one thing, but you might be wondering what skills do you need to become a virtual assistant? Obviously, if you’re planning to work online, a general understanding of all-things-internet is a good place to start. Having some specific skills and experience will make getting started easier and it will definitely help with landing the first few clients.
Like what I mentioned earlier, you can offer almost anything that you think you excel at. I cannot tell you exactly which services would you be good at. But if it’s any consolation, you can always learn new skills. All you need is the can-do attitude and say yes to learning new skills. Are you Miss or Mister Figure-Outer? You’re not sure what to do but heck, you’ll figure it out? Good. Because in this industry, you’ll need that attitude.
I, myself, am continuously learning more skills even to this day. If my client mentioned something that I am not familiar with, I would usually disclose that I am not completely familiar with it, but I would tell them that I am willing to learn more about it. And then I would take the time to research and actually learn more about it online. If it needs investment, like signing up for Shopify and creating my own online store just so I know how it works with hands-on experience, I’d do it.
I know it’s not ideal to just take the plunge and spend bucks for it, but my mindset is “it’s an investment to improve my skills.” And it’s always worth it. It’s the same thing with WordPress and Canva. And let me tell you. Those two “skills” I just mentioned are two of the most in-demand and high-paying side hustle gigs I’ve got. If you want me to start putting tutorials out there for WordPress and Canva, let me know in the comments.
So, if you have been wondering if being a virtual assistant is a career path for you, I consolidated a list of in-demand services that you can offer as a freelancer. Hope this list will help you get inspired to create your own VA services. If you need help and coaching on how to start your own VA business, let me know in the comments.
Nearly everyone who runs a business uses some type of social media. This is often one of the first things hired out by business owners so they can concentrate their effort on growing their business. Typically you’ll oversee your client’s social media marketing accounts from A to Z. But if you opt to offer services such as content creation and scheduling alone, that’s fine as well. Those tasks are tedious and time-consuming and so business owners would outsource someone to do the job for them.
If you like one particular social media platform, you can specialize in that as well. You’ll need to learn the platform inside and out, as well as keeping updated to the platform changes. To offer this as a high paying service, you’ll need to position yourself as an expert and help your client get the most out of their marketing efforts on that platform.
As a blogger, I know that Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest experts are needed. Speaking of Pinterest, Pinterest VAs are in high demand and you can charge for monthly package services. Often times, you would only work on each client’s account for a few hours per day.
You can become a Pinterest VA by learning the platform and offering pin creation services, pinning management, scheduling, search engine optimization, or even managing advertisements.
What you do for your clients all depends on where their social media marketing stands when you take over. If their presence is close to zero, you could offer packages to get their profiles up-and-running. If they have some social media profiles already set up, but they’re not very active, here are some tasks that you could pitch them:
- Branded account set up and optimization
- Posting and scheduling content (using Planoly, Later or Tailwind)
- Custom-branded content creation (using their logo and color palette)
- Audience engagement (increasing followers, retweeting, liking posts, replying to comments)
- Researching, creating, and writing social media posts
- Instagram stories (Canva is a great tool for this!)
- Measuring analytics and performance reports
- Keeping an eye on competitors so businesses can stay relevant
- Growing social media followings
- Community moderation and engagement
- Creating and managing ad campaigns
- Making and monitoring pins on Pinterest
- Designing templates for posts/pins/stories
- Hashtag research
You may think that there’s nothing much to do when you’re blogging. You just type your thoughts away, and then you hit publish, right?
That may be the case when you’re blogging as a hobby.
But when blogging becomes a business, there are quite a few moving parts to keep track of behind the scenes. A good blog manager starts by putting together an editorial calendar. That way, your client doesn’t have to scramble for a post idea at the last minute.
A virtual assistant doing blog management would also be in charge of:
- Uploading and formatting posts
- Adding inbound and outbound links to posts
- Sourcing photos (royalty-free images if your client would rather not pay for images)
- Creating graphics and adding them to the posts
- Optimizing the SEO of the post – somebody should find the content within the world wide web
- Adding opt-ins and lead magnets to the blog posts (this is a crucial step if your client wants to grow their email list)
If you are great at navigating WordPress and setting up software like WooCommerce, updating plugins, managing updates, creating backups, and staying up to date on all the technical aspects of running a website, you could make a good deal of money offering your services.
Many bloggers and business sites would hire out the technical aspects to professionals who know how to keep their sites running effectively and smoothly.
Let me give you a hint: Online businesses are willing to spend anywhere from hundreds to thousands to get technical services done on their blogs or websites because they wanted someone with a strong reputation to take care of their bread and butter. A VA with WordPress expert services can offer the following services:
- Website development or set-up
- Theme installation & customization
- Website maintenance
- Search engine optimization
- Website hosting (I would recommend Siteground, Bluehost, or Hostinger)
- Website migration
- Domains & SSL (Namecheap won’t break the bank!)
- WordPress updates & backups
- Plugin installation, configuration, and updates
- Content management
To build an audience and sell products or services, business owners have an ongoing need for special action-focused web pages called “landing pages.”
A landing page might encourage people to subscribe to an email list, register for a webinar, buy a product, or get excited about an upcoming launch.
If you can create awesome landing pages, you can pull in a great freelance income. The impact of this service on your client’s business growth is immediate and obvious.
Rest assured, you still don’t have to learn any code. Using WordPress page templates or user-friendly software tools like Groovefunnels, Leadpages, Clickfunnels, and even Flodesk, you can layout your client’s marketing message perfectly.
Let me give you a hint: You can earn at least a $100 for a 3-hour work on creating or building a single landing page. Not bad, right?
Wait, isn’t this what a professional graphic designer should do? If we’re talking about creating the entire visual strategy of a brand, then yes, that kind of work should be outsourced to someone who went to school for graphic design.
But most small businesses don’t have the budget or even the need for such a large project. As a graphic design virtual assistant, you can help clients with designing logos, business cards, brochures, flyers, banners, letterheads, blog post graphics, social media graphics, invitations, and postcards.
There’s a steeper learning curve to offering this kind of service, and it requires a lot of practice to get better at creating appealing visual elements. But if you start with a good eye for details, and study a bit of color theory and typography, you won’t run out of clients. You can use the free tutorials by Canva to get you started.
A virtual assistant doing graphic design can also offer the following services:
- Image content creation for social media and websites
- Logos and Branding boards
- Promotional material
- Photo editing
- Designing slideshows/webinar content
- Creating and designing eBooks and PDFs (digital resources)
TIP: Canva has tons of templates and it is easy to learn if you’re looking to make graphics. The Pro version is very affordable and has tons of great features like easy image resizing, transparent backgrounds, and millions of stock photos.
Businesses all around the world are aware that it’s critical to publish regular website content. This sets the stage for content creators. If you have great SEO writing skills, this is your chance. Businesses need web content creators.
They want people who understand the value of quality content. Specifically content and its relationship to search engine result pages. Your major goals as a VA for content creators are to help them build credibility, boost website traffic, and draw in different audiences. Start your own blog and use it to showcase your SEO knowledge while earning money on the side.
You have two options in this case. Either work for a content company or for different bloggers and even vloggers. Some of the tasks you can take on as a content creator’s VA include:
- Writing, editing, and proofreading blog posts
- Moderating blog and website comments
- Sourcing or creating social media graphics
- Improving SEO
- Link checking – removing broken links, adding affiliate links
- Email management
- Social media strategy
TIP: Many business owners want to create blog posts, online courses, e-books, and other digital resources but don’t have the time. Offer an easy way to convert their thoughts into written format and you’ve got yourself some valuable services!
The e-commerce industry has completely revolutionized the modern way of doing business. Running an e-commerce store can be challenging for a small or mid-size entrepreneur. They often have an endless task list to work through each day.
As an e-commerce virtual assistant, your job description will involve handling these platforms. It is a great opportunity to develop serious expertise in a relatively unique niche. If you know how Shopify or WooCommerce works, you’re in for a huge opportunity to earn money from home.
Some of the services you could help an e-commerce entrepreneur perform include:
- Customer service management
- Tracking orders, including entries, shipments, and invoices
- Handling customer returns or exchanges
- Checking inventory
- Digital marketing
- Website maintenance
- Content Creation
- Shopping cart installation
- Creating listings on sites such as Etsy, Amazon, Shopify, WooCommerce, etc.
- Managing listings
- Promoting sales on social media
- Editing promotional material
- Writing SEO-friendly product descriptions
- Managing store inventory
- Competitor analysis
If you like the audio-video editing side of things, you can offer a service where clients send you their raw footage or audio file that you can edit and perfect for them to upload on their YouTube or Podcast channel. This is one of the services that I also offer. You can charge them on an hourly or project rate. I personally like the hourly rate for this kind of task, because sometimes you don’t know how complicated the edits could be. But let me tell right now, this task is very tedious and time-consuming. I would suggest that you should have at least the patience, if not the passion, to edit audio and video files. So if this not your cup of tea, that’s fine as well. You can proceed to the next one.
As an audio-video editor VA, you can offer the following services:
- Stabilize the sound between each voice
- Edit out the “uhms” and stuttering including dead air, and any unnecessary sound such as doorbell or dogs barking
- Add intro/outro music
- Add midroll or advertisement
- Finalize everything into one pretty MP3,
- Edit raw footage for quality and color
- Remove bloopers
- Insert narration, music, dialogue, etc.
- Add subtitles, titles, banners, and graphics
- Add sound effects
- Edit order of video or audio clips
And last, but definitely not the least, is the general administrative skills – where some of your tasks may be setting appointments, data entry, making travel arrangements, creating spreadsheets, monitoring voicemail, creating reports, drafting emails, and creating PowerPoint presentations. Other administrative skills include:
- Customer service
- Email management
- Task management or project management
- Calendar management
- Online research
- Answering support tickets
- File management
- Make and receive phone calls
- Basic bookkeeping
- Creating SOPS
- Creating form templates
- Taking minutes of meeting
- Following up on late payments
- Creating resumes
- Arranging interviews
TIP: Admin tasks are still in! They’re some of the most sought after services. Helping business owners with these everyday tasks allows them to free up their time and make more money.
And there you have it!
As you can see, there are tons of services you can offer as a VA. The list can go on and on, but I wanted to focus on what brings more money to the table. Whether you’re on edge about starting a career as a Virtual Assistant or you’re looking to expand your skills as a current VA, the possibilities are endless. At the same time, it’s important to note that a lack of skills should never be a hindrance. A high degree of motivation, good communication skills, and a desire to learn are equally, if not more important.
Depending on the type of service you’re interested in, you can combine a bunch of related ones together and sell as a package of services, charge per project, or provide as an on-going monthly service.
Remember not to sell yourself short! If any of these skills sound like something you’d like to do but maybe don’t have the necessary skills yet, invest in yourself! Don’t waste your time and skills doing low-paying jobs like cold calling while competing with thousands of other VAs and driving the rates even lower. When you invest in yourself, it pays. Also, just because you start out with one service offering as a VA, doesn’t mean you’re stuck offering that service for the rest of your life. You have the freedom to pivot to others or add additional services.
If being a virtual assistant sounds even remotely interesting to you, that’s a great place to start. I am in the process of creating FREE courses and tutorials on how to be a VA. If you’d like to be the first to join this cool class, subscribe to my newsletter below so that you can receive updates and be notified when the FREE courses and tutorials are up and live.
Let this give you hope that there is a job online out there for you! You can work from home, make good money, and still live your life. Take that next step today! Join the free class now and find out how you can get started working online in 2020!