Today, it’s easy for employers to hire quality workers without the staggering cost of healthcare insurance, paid vacations, medical benefits, and other expenditures associated with hiring full-time employees. Virtual Assistants are a growing segment of the “work from home” sector that has been gaining popularity not only amongst employers but also among individuals who want to provide their services in a non-restrictive environment.
Why Become a Virtual Assistant
There are numerous benefits you can get if you decide to become a Virtual Assistant, such as:
• Set your own goals. Your goals are set based on the terms/conditions which you decide are most suitable for you. Without prejudice to the needs of your clients, you are free to start and end work based on a schedule that allows you to do other things such as running errands, picking up your child from school, doing the laundry, grocery shopping or minding the baby.
• No overhead costs. There’s no need to pay rent since you work from your own home/apartment/condo unit or other places you prefer or find accessible.
• Low start-up costs. The only things you have to invest in are a PC/laptop and an internet connection, both of which you probably already have.
• Set up your own rates. You work for a paycheck that you have computed yourself based on the number and complexity of tasks and particular turnaround for each task. Exercise basic caution here as there will be people who will try to underpay you or, worse, not pay you at all after engaging your services.
What a Virtual Assistant Does
These are the general tasks that a Virtual Assistant typically does:
• Handle inquiries by email or telephone.
• Set up/cancel appointments.
• Schedule/cancel meetings.
• Manage a list of contacts or directory.
• Handle travel arrangements.
• Arrange hotel accommodations.
• Data entry.
• Handle and send out billing statements.
• Manage accounting of daily operations.
• Prepare, send out, and update newsletters and email.
• Handle correspondence and take transcription.
You can command higher rates for up to a hundred dollars per hour if you are skilled in other areas other than those mentioned, such as:
• Medical transcription
• Marketing research
• Bilingual or even multilingual translation/preparation of written documents/materials
• Industry knowledge/experience in booking or accounting and other financial services, publishing and printing, healthcare, technology, law, research, website creation, development, administration, and maintenance, linguistics, and education
How to Become a Virtual Assistant
There are different methods to train as a Virtual Assistant. Programs which are internet or audio/video based can provide you the most portability and flexibility. Most of these programs offer a niche for specific training such as graphic design, translation, transcription, proofreading, desktop publishing, editing, database management, and customer service.
These training programs help the aspiring Virtual Assistant acquire skills, knowledge, and expertise in a particular field. Over a period of time, the future Virtual Assistant would have learned how to tailor their services to fit the specific needs of clients, as well as identify and strategically approach issues related to a client’s requirements, and basic administrative skills.