What is the role of a virtual assistant?
A virtual assistant is a person who provides help to their employer or client with tasks related to their job or business remotely. Virtual assistant’s functions may be similar to the ones for a secretary like answering calls and writing emails. However, a virtual assistant can be more specialized to specific required tasks by their employer. A virtual assistant can provide help for administrative tasks such as billing and accounting, travel arrangements, and event management. Contrary to other jobs, a virtual assistant is an independent contractor. This means they to make responsible for paying their own taxes and they won’t have the same obligations as a direct employee.
Is virtual assistant a high-demand job?
Virtual assistant job requests have been increasing during past years. This is due to the increment of remote working (in part due to the pandemic). Also hiring a virtual assistant has multiple benefits for the business or person looking for the assistant. These benefits include the following:
It’s more affordable to businesses
When hiring a virtual assistant, a business is saving expenses on what is essential for working at a physical location. For example office rent, furniture, computer equipment, software licenses, internet service, etc.
A business or client can increase their probability of getting better talent by posting jobs requisition online. This makes the job request reach a wider audience. Therefore the chances of getting expert people who can help with their specific tasks are higher.
A virtual assistant can provide their services from a remote country to businesses and clients on the other side of the planet. Virtual assistants can master multiple languages. This is very attractive to businesses selling products and services abroad.
Typically, when a business or person is looking for a virtual assistant is because they are busy attending other essential tasks. so what they do is they look for a qualified person that can help them perform the others. This helps maintain the business/ client productivity without having to hire a person for each task. Instead, they’d look for a person competent enough of handling all of the remaining ones.
Is working as a virtual assistant worth it?
Being a virtual assistant has many advantages over other jobs. This is because a virtual assistant is always going to be working remotely (whether it be from home or from its own office). Here are some of the reasons why working as a virtual assistant might be a great decision:
You are your own boss
This is a typical phrase you heard from freelancers. However, being your own boss is not equal for all types of jobs. For some disciplines being your own boss doesn’t necessarily mean a good thing. This is because in some cases being your own boss implies big expenses and the job position needs you to be able to travel. For virtual assistants, this is different because they will only rely on their computer and communication skills. Of course, you would need to pay for software licenses but this won’t be as expensive. The job position will always be remote so you won’t have to move near the business location. You will also be managing your time and will only need to complete the working hours you were hired for.
Expand your knowledge
By working as a virtual assistant you get to learn multiple things from many disciplines. A virtual assistant would commonly work on administrative tasks. Administrative tasks include getting information related to the overall business operation. This means a virtual assistant gets to know the backstage of some essential departments of the business. For example, they get to know the marketing department, finance department, human resources, etc.
Learn from different cultures
A virtual assistant may get the opportunity to interact with people from multiple cultures and languages. Although the experience is not the same as traveling across different countries, having the opportunity to establish relationships with foreigners is an experience that will surely enrich your career building.
One of the best things about being a virtual assistant and a freelancer overall is having the opportunity to manage your time entirely. Yes, you will be tied to a schedule but you’ll have the opportunity to define your working hours beforehand. You’ll also have the freedom of ending the job if you weren’t comfortable or if it just wasn’t for you. Having said that, you would still need to maintain a work ethic and you should follow the 15-day notice practice.
Is Upwork a good place to get a virtual assistant job?
Upwork is one of the most popular platforms in the world for getting remote jobs. It allows you to bid on what could be your dream job. The great thing about Upwork is that by using the platform you are able to filter the jobs posts so that you only see the most relevant to you. For example, let’s say you are looking for a job that pays “x” amount of money per hour, and you need the project to be near your location or language. You’d be able to do that by using the Upwork search console and filters.
A long list of active clients
Upwork also has a huge list of active clients that regularly post jobs and projects. You can find more than 1 project that can relate to your specific interests and location, and virtual assistant is not the exception. In fact, virtual assistant is one of the most requested job titles on the platform. The reason behind that is that virtual assistant is a freelance job by tradition. When you are on the platform you get to see hundreds of job posts in multiple countries related to virtual assistants.
The importance of a first great impression
One of the key elements, when you are trying to get hired for a virtual assistance job, is sending an outstanding proposal. This is due to the sole reason that the proposal you send on Upwork is the first contact you’ll have with the project owner. Trying to make a first good impression is a must. There are some key factors that will determine your proposal is great or is a waste. These are some of them:
1.- Let the client know that you read the entire project description.
The first thing clients want to make sure of when hiring someone is that they have comprehended the scopes and requirements of the project. A simple misunderstanding of the project requirements could lead to a wrongly executed project.
2.- Be kind and friendly.
What clients are looking for when posting projects is finding someone who is qualified enough to complete the job but also a person who they can trust. This is very important for a virtual assistant position since they’ll share important information with you. Using some phrases that show the client you care about him/her will help to gain their trust.
3.- Keep it brief.
Make sure you don’t duplicate information. Take into account that the client will be able to see your profile and portfolio. Having the same content on each is a waste of text in your proposal. Nevertheless, you can exploit the proposal potential by expanding the information you already provided.
4.- Give some advice.
You can make the impression that you are an expert by providing some guidance related to the project. The clients’ are expecting someone who knows more than them on some aspects of the project.
If you are not sure how to start writing your proposal, refer to this template so you’ll have some key elements that will help you get your first job as a virtual assistant:
Hello first name of the client,
My name is your name, a virtual assistant with write here years of experience (avoid number and “of” if no more than 1 year) of experience providing write here a short summary of your experience in VA. I use and master software you use required for VA separated by “/”.
Three key aspects about me:
🌟 First short relevant aspect about you related to the VA job. Don’t include information already on your profile.
🌟 Second short relevant aspect about you related to the VA job. Don’t include information already on your profile.
🌟 Third short relevant aspect about you related to the VA job. Don’t include information already on your profile.
Regarding your project, It’d be possible to write here some advice related to the job post. This is something that has given me exceptional results with past clients.
If you are interested don’t hesitate to request an interview and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
Other tips to increase your chances
If you are interested in offering your virtual assistance services through Upwork, follow the next steps to increase your chances of getting hired for the job of your dreams:
1.- Build a strong profile
When you are building your profile be sure to include the skills necessary to perform the virtual assistant position of your dreams. Even though you are not an expert in every discipline you include, you have to make the impression that you dominate them at a certain level. This doesn’t mean you have to lie on your resume, contrary to that, write sincerely which are your skills and expertise. Try to keep your writing concise and brief, and try not to express insecurities. For example, if you want to note that you’ve traveled to other countries and not necessarily for job matters, you would put something like: “I’ve traveled to many countries, having the opportunity to interact and build relationships with people abroad, which has allowed me to be able to express myself in multiple languages”. In this way, even though this experience is not job-related, the skill to speak in multiple languages is beneficial to the job title.
2.- Create an outstanding portfolio
Even though the job doesn’t lend itself to showing some of your skills on paper, you can use the portfolio section as a way to advertise your services. For example, if you were hired by a businessman in Canada, you can put the information related to that job, and what your functions were. You can put yourself in a creative mood and write some parts in French, so this will highlight the fact that you master the language. You can use many formats in your portfolio: you can include text, images, and videos. Another great idea would be to record yourself talking about your experiences working on a specific project. Be sure your portfolio is good-looking, whether you design it or you hire a graphic designer to help you.
3.- Build a strategy
Getting your first job on Upwork is not an easy task, you need to compete with highly- experienced people who have been on the platform longer than you. This means they’ve been already hired more than once, and their profiles have a better record. Some of them are probably top-rated or expert vetted, and your profile will be badged-empty. So what we recommend is that you plan a strategy based on your strengths and weaknesses to bid on projects more feasible for you to win them. Search for projects with less competition and that require entry experience level. You can also spend some time playing with the filters and search bar. For example, you can find some “hidden” projects from clients that misspelled some terms, or by searching for projects on less mainstream locations.
4.- Get a training session
Another brilliant way of securing your success as a freelancer on Upwork is by getting some help from experts on the platform. Ross Jenkins, DigitalME founder, and CEO is eager to help candidates with the potential of becoming the next guru in their discipline. Get to know the secrets on how to become an expert-vetted virtual assistant professional by learning by an expert-vetted itself. You won’t have any advice as good as one that is given by a real freelancer and one of the tops on the platform.