What is a virtual assistant?
A virtual assistant (short: VA or VPA) is something like an online secretary. He supports his client in various organisational activities, such as e-mail processing, travel planning, social media, research, invoicing, homepage maintenance, list maintenance, preparation of presentations, customer contact, preparation of graphics, etc. A virtual assistant works on a freelance basis from home or anywhere else in the world on her own computer.
Communication with the client takes place via e-mail, telephone, whatsapp, Skype or similar. The activities and number of hours are agreed individually between the client and the virtual assistant. Some virtual assistants work with a company on a long-term basis, others are only booked for a specific project.
What qualifications do I need?
As different as the tasks for virtual assistants are, so different are the necessary qualifications. For some tasks it is already enough if you are good with a laptop and Windows Office. For other tasks you need specific know-how, for example if you have to program a homepage or offer SEO/SEA. The more successful projects and collaborations you have, the easier it will be for an employer to choose you when you apply for a job. An important principle is here: Learning by doing. Some skills may only be acquired on the job. It is important to correctly assess what you already know and what you believe you can teach yourself before accepting a job.
What do I earn as a virtual assistant?
The hourly rate is agreed individually and can vary depending on the job. If you do not yet have any references or work through an agency, you will tend to earn less at the beginning, as well as if you perform tasks for which no special skills are required. If you have special skills, e.g. in IT or search engine marketing, your hourly rate may be higher.There are a lot of part time online jobs for teens suitable for this kind of job.
How do I become a virtual assistant?
Virtual assistants usually work freelance and therefore on an independent basis. First of all, you should take care of commercial and tax issues. You also need a computer and Internet access – then you can get started. You can find orders and first customers either through agencies and remote job portals or on your own.
About an agency
Agencies for virtual assistants are for example my-vpa or strandschicht. The advantage of agencies is that once you have been accepted by an agency as a VA, you don’t have to worry about finding customers yourself, but get them assigned by the agency. The disadvantage is that the earnings are usually a little lower, because fees for the agency are due.
You can also search on typical freelancers or remote working job exchanges for advertised jobs in the home office and apply for them. On some job exchanges the hourly wage is directly indicated, on others you have to set your own hourly wage. Especially in the beginning you should see to it that you can offer your services as cheaply as possible until you can fall back on corresponding references. Many portals offer their services for a fee.
Sometimes Facebook groups also advertise jobs for virtual assistants. If you can’t find a job about them, you can at least use them to network and share with other VAs: Virtual Assistants.
You can also use your personal network to get a job as a virtual assistant. You can also try to contact companies directly and offer your services.
What do you like?
The concept of virtual assistants is not yet well known in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. But more and more companies are getting to know the advantages of outsourcing some of their work for a limited period of time without having to hire someone permanently. If you are thinking about starting your own business and would like to earn money from your home office regardless of location, virtual assistance is a good way to get started.
Finally, a tip: If you are now thinking of working as a virtual assistant, it can be helpful to create your own portfolio (= your own website) where you can introduce yourself and list what you can do to help future clients. This will make it easier to find you and make it clear what advantages you have to offer.