I was at the park the other day on a conference call for my “real” job.
Most people balk a little when they find out that I’m a “virtual assistant”. They give me a little side-eye, and scoot a bit further away, perhaps thinking that I’ve completely lost my mind (I haven’t…yet.). I don’t think that I’m alone in getting this reaction, though.
Many people just can’t fathom “working from home,” or they automatically assume that I’m selling books or makeup. I’m not. (Although I am a distributor for Young Living and a brand promoter for Le-Vel because I love them, but that’s it. But that’s another post.). So…
What do I do all day? Well, for starters, I drink a lot of coffee. Seriously. I think I might have a problem. 2 16-ounce travel mugs every morning, minimum. Is there a Coffee Anonymous?
Let’s start by defining a “Virtual Assistant”
A virtual assistant is someone who helps businesses or busy people remotely, from their home or office with a administrative assistance. Seems pretty straight forward, doesn’t it? Virtual assistants are highly skilled professionals who leverage their talents and their time to help others check off their to-do lists.
Is There Only One Type of Virtual Assistant?
When I started, I thought that the only type of virtual assistant out there was administrative, or to help you visualize, secretarial. I thought that all virtual assistants did was answer phones, send emails, set appointments, transcribe dictation (which I personally hate), enter data, and perform basic research tasks. But a virtual assistant nowadays does so much more.
What if I told you that no matter your skill set, you could be a virtual assistant (or learn to be), if you have the drive to succeed? Today’s virtual assistants provide a whole host of services over and above basic administrative help. As a virtual assistant, you could:
- Manage social media accounts
- Write copy
- Design a logo or graphic
- Maintain a website (or multiple sites)
- Help launch a sales campaign
- Create presentations
A Virtual Assistant Is Only Limited By Their Own Walls
So you don’t have any web experience? There are opportunities to learn! What if I told you that I have a degree, but it has absolutely nothing to do with my job today? What if I told you that I sometimes wish I could return it (and the loans that go with!)?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure that my degree has helped me get a few interviews, but it’s definitely not what has helped me succeed. Depending upon your own personal experiences, you can decide what skills you want to use to launch your own virtual assistant career.
I’m In Charge Of My Time
As a virtual assistant, I’m my own boss. I dictate what I know, which means that if I want to learn HTML, all I need to do is find the right training and the time to dedicate to learning a new skill. I also decide who I work for. I am what is known as a contractor.
Sure, there are online companies that hire out virtual assistants, but I prefer to work for myself.
I get to set my own hours, and manage my own work load. If I only want to work from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. I can. Do I need to take my kids to the zoo? I can. Doctor appointment? I just schedule it into my day.
Virtual Assisting Is NOT For Everyone
You do need some basic skills. You need to be able to write well. You need a decent eye for editing, especially if you are marketing yourself as able to draft emails to clients or act as a copywriter. You need to be able to spell and utilize proper grammar (though even I make mistakes sometimes). But most importantly, you must be self-motivated.
Getting started takes time and determination. You need to apply, and apply again. You need to be hungry for this. Jobs will not just fall into your lap. It takes legwork, really, truly, it does. You must also be able to work well with others, since it’s up to you to make your client’s vision for their business come to life. And finally, you must be organized and have excellent time-management skills.