Time is money. No one understands that notion more than those seeking foolproof ways to become successful virtual assistants.
Business owners and individuals value their time too, so they offload their tasks to virtual assistants for a fee.
This creates countless opportunities to make money throughout your day if you manage your time well.
You don’t even have to leave your day job to be a successful virtual assistant, just make sure that you reclaim your time and use it to generate an income.
For instance, the hours you spend checking your social media feed can be used to update content for a client. If you create catchy Instagram captions, why not?
If you’re running errands about town, you could deliver a package for a client and get paid.
Therefore, to be successful, you must evaluate your current relationship with time.
But it’s not always about the cash.
A fulfilling virtual assistant career involves self-awareness and personal development which affect all other areas of your life.
Whether you’re a newbie who just got into the virtual assistant fray or an established business, you can live up to your full potential with these tips.
1) Look to Your Strengths
If your current and former workmates were having a conversation about you, what would they identify as your natural abilities?
Careermetis asserts that to succeed, one must continually discover, develop and engage their strengths for career success and happiness.
We all have potential areas of strengths. Do you know yours?
Check out some of the tasks you’d excel at if you had these virtual assistant qualities:
- Detail oriented: Bookkeeping, analytics reporting, website SEO
- Reliability: Client onboarding, personal shopping, event planning
- Creativity: Social media management, blogging, web design, business strategy
- Punctuality: Live webinar assistance, order fulfilment, setting appointments
- Trustworthiness: Arranging interviews, taking meeting minutes, making travel arrangements
- People skills: Customer service, email management, following up with leads and vendors
- Prioritisation: Email and chat support, personal assistance, content calendar management
Don’t shy away from tasks that seem out of your league. Instead, embrace the experience as they will make you a more rounded professional.
In the first 12 months of your career, focus on learning rather than earning and approach every task with enthusiasm.
2) Know Your Stuff
While some virtual assistant tasks purely hinge on the individual’s good qualities, other responsibilities require qualifications.
A web designer must know how to code, a bookkeeper must be conversant with accounting software and an SEO expert must understand how search engines work.
You can always rely on your previous experience to convince the client of your abilities but you shouldn’t stop there.
Spend your free time learning as much as you can about the job through online courses, other virtual assistants and the client’s competitors.
You might be tempted to pigeonhole yourself in a particular service but this will only limit your earning potential and character development.
Specializing too early in the business locks out clients who may want to work with you on unrelated projects and doesn’t offer opportunities to grow your skill set.
Dip your toes in a few services, settle on the ones you enjoy and perform well and group them in different packages.
For example, you can create an online marketing package that includes social media posting, paid ads, and content marketing, and a separate web support package which includes website integration, e-commerce and SEO.
Prognosis? Prospects will have options to choose from based on their budget and business needs. Not to mention that you won’t be a one trick pony.
Did You Know That Successful Virtual Assistants Use These Tools?
All virtual assistants need an assistant to proofread their emails, proposals, social media posts and other forms of writing.
Spelling mistakes are unsightly and they downplay your marketing efforts to clients.
This free spell checker gives you real-time corrections on your grammar and sentence structure improving your oral and written communication.
Have you just completed an amazing work project? Create a case study put it in a well-crafted newsletter and send it to clients.
Many virtual assistants restrict Mailchimp use to email marketing for clients, but you can use this tool to your advantage.
For instance, if you notice that your client is celebrating their work anniversary on LinkedIn, send an on-brand newsletter to congratulate them.
Religious celebrations, public holidays and business milestones give you opportunities to place your business in the client’s line of vision.
This free, online design tool gives you access to various fonts, layouts and templates.
Everything is pretty much drag and drop from there and you’ll have professional looking collateral in minutes.
Canva has templates for business cards, proposals, letterheads and logos which you’ll need when setting up your business.
d) Google Apps
Google Apps transform tasks into a five-finger exercise, allowing for collaboration and sharing with team members.
Use Google Sheets to manage your database, Google Docs for writing tasks, Slides for powerful marketing presentations and Forms for collecting client feedback.
WordPress is the go-to hosting platform for e-commerce owners, bloggers and digital entrepreneurs who make the bulk of virtual assistant clients.
Familiarizing yourself with WordPress sets you up to succeed if you plan on working with digital entrepreneurs and e-commerce owners.
Start by setting up your own WordPress site to showcase your skills to prospective clients and experiment with the plugins available at the backend.
f) Boomerang for Gmail
A virtual assistant schedule is not cast in stone.
If you were pulling an all-nighter, you can’t possibly interrupt your sleep to send emails.
Use Boomerang to schedule them before you go to sleep and they will be delivered on time.
Boomerang also keeps you from drowning in emails after work hours. You can snooze emails and they’ll be resent into your inbox later.
3) Create a Target Customer Profile
Once you’ve determined which services you’d like to offer, define your ideal customer.
Are you targeting a startup, an individual business owner or an online marketplace?
What are their needs and how will your services solve their problems?
Identify one of these clients and offer a free review or consult in an email and they might be inspired to hire you.
Knowing who to target with your virtual assistant business will show you where you need to focus your lead generation efforts.
4) Learn to Negotiate
Determine your minimum acceptable rate before you walk into a negotiation.
Here’s how to calculate your bottom line:
(monthly personal expenses + monthly business costs) / (hours worked monthly) + tax
If you set your charges too high, clients will be discouraged to work with you, set them too low and you close shop in a short time.
Small Revolution’s virtual assistant salary guide outlines how to negotiate with the perception of value. During negotiations, it’s important to emphasize the value of your services from the client’s perspective.
For instance, the rate for writing a blog article will be lower than creating a highly optimized landing page.
Both bring leads but a landing page has a higher chance of drawing in quality leads.
For work-life balance, you and the client must reach an agreement on how you’ll use your time.
So set boundaries around your availability and manage client expectations regarding work output.
5) Become an Authority in the VA Business
You’ve been in the virtual assistant business long enough. How do you make prospects and industry leaders respect and connect with you?
Awards, rave reviews, customer testimonials and successful case studies should feature prominently on your website, LinkedIn profile and social media pages.
This form of social proof creates the bandwagon effect which means that prospects will hire you when they see a large number of people already satisfied with your services.
Do you know any social media groups on LinkedIn or Facebook that your target customer frequents? Get active in them, share your expertise and industry related news.
If you’re a creative, share your process, before and after pictures and videos of your work on your online portfolio and social media.
This will make your followers more invested in the outcome of your projects and increase engagement and online shares.
People are always looking for thought leaders to grace their events. Establishing yourself as an authority will open doors to speak in industry-related meetups where you can meet high-end clients.
Jennie Lyon is a great example of a virtual assistant who uses social proof to build on her credibility.
Of course, as a thought leader, people will expect you to take part in a noble cause or to speak up when a contentious issue arises.
Don’t shy away from the spotlight, just ensure that your perspective is unbiased so that you don’t drive a wedge between you and your prospects.
People pay top dollar for mastery. When you were starting out, you might have offered general services to your clients which created room to determine what you perform best.
Because the virtual assistant business is full of generalists, it’s crucial to set yourself apart by specializing and charging premium rates.
For instance, a social media manager can upgrade to a social media strategist.
Well paying clients usually prefer highly skilled virtual assistants and your experience, expertise and glowing reviews will give them the assurance they need to hire you.
7) Take on a Managerial Role
We’ve already established that you’re good at this. Great. How about approaching your client for a role that pushes you out of your comfort zone?
You could offer to manage different projects from inception or oversee a small team for your client.
Clients will welcome this idea since it beats the alternative. Imagine the hours they’d spend interviewing, onboarding and paying new hires.
Whereas with you, all they need to do is increase your stipend – more money for you, less hassle for them.
A managerial role will also bring its own challenges which will bring the much sought after financial success and career fulfilment, so go for it.