Ever since I retired from my teaching job in Japan I have been dabbling in virtual assistant jobs working from home. The younger generation may be quite familiar with computers and digital work but there are still quite a few people like me in their 40s or 50s who still need an additional source of retirement income.
There are others young and old who require some way of paying the bills each month because the cost of living has increased drastically and stagnant wage are wrecking havoc on a lifestyle we were once accustomed to growing up.
Being a virtual assistant is one option with a variety of real-time benefits. This post is going to explain what a virtual assistant is and a few of the skills required to perform the job.
Secondly, we will explore the salary you will earn and truthfully, with some dedication and hard work the sky is the limit. Finally, I will provide you with a few places to search for jobs and then present an alternative route to take. One that I am presently pursuing and finding success with.
What is a Virtual Assistant?
In most respects, a virtual assistant is like any other office assistant, who might be responsible for managing phones, responding to inquiries, managing schedules, and performing clerical tasks.
Some virtual assistants specialize in marketing or PR tasks, social media management, or are executive assistants. The difference is that a virtual assistant is self-employed and works from a remote location, rather than working in a company office.
Virtual assistants perform their work using a phone, email, communication apps, and the like and are sought after in many industries.
What Skills Do Virtual Assistants Need?
A virtual assistant always needs a fast, reliable internet connection. They are also expected to have a computer (rather than a tablet or phone), to speed typing and data entry tasks, and have a phone (or other mobile devices) to make it easy for clients to contact you directly as needed. If the job involves a lot of phone work or virtual conferencing, it can be necessary to have a headset or webcam or both.
Virtual assistants should be able to type with moderate speed and accuracy; speak, read, and write fluent English; and have excellent business etiquette.
Generally speaking, virtual assistants are expected to be competent in all the traditional office software such as Microsoft Office and Google suites. They should also be familiar with modern communication and collaboration software packages like Slack, Skype, Basecamp, Dropbox, and the like.
Of course, each client will manage things slightly differently, so you may need to learn new software as required, but familiarity with popular tools will help you navigate new ones.
Depending on the needs of the role, it can also be helpful to be able to use essential functions in Adobe (or other graphics) software to edit images and add text, and knowledge of the most popular social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
It is also an excellent idea to use tools to track and manage time. When you are paid by the hour, your client or employer will probably have a time-tracking tool for payroll purposes, but you may also want to use a time tracking app to schedule, manage, and prioritize your tasks and monitor your time to ensure that you are being paid fairly.
Virtual assistants also need a lot of soft skills like patience, reliability, resourcefulness, tact, and independence. When working offsite and alone, you will need to be able to solve problems and take ownership of situations without always being able to ask for help or guidance.
It’s vital that you continually communicate with confidence, professionalism, and respect, and that your behaviour reflects positively on yourself as well as your employer. Previous customer service experience is beneficial, mainly if you know how to remain calm and professional under pressure.
How Much Does a Virtual Assistant Make?
Because they are usually self-employed, the company that hires a virtual assistant doesn’t have to pay for benefits, payroll taxes, and other employer costs. As a result, the virtual assistant usually charges more for their services than an in-office assistant, because they are responsible for those costs.
The average virtual assistant earns $15.57 an hour, or $33K/year. Experience pays off, though, with experienced virtual assistants earning an average of $19.77, and top earners make more than $30 an hour.
As the demand for virtual assistants grows, many assistants can also get benefits such as bonuses or profit sharing.
Where to Get Virtual Assistant Jobs
Because virtual assistants are in high demand, many websites have job listings for virtual assistants.
[ Job listing sites ]
Virtual assistant job listings can be found on the traditional job listing sites like Indeed, LinkedIn, Monster, and other job boards.
With these kinds of listings, it’s more of a conventional job application process, where you would submit your resume and application to the hiring person, interview for the job by phone or Skype, and perhaps have some on-site meetings or training. In these instances, the virtual assistant may be either self-employed or a formal employee of the company, with the equivalent pay and benefits.
[ Freelance gig sites ]
Virtual assistant jobs can be found on freelance gig sites like Upwork, Freelancer.com, or PeoplePerHour, and these sites often attract employers all around the world. To access these job listings, you need to join the site and may need to build a reputation or establish credentials on that platform.
Virtual assistant jobs on these sites may be project-based, short-term, part-time, or have flexible hours, and often focus on specialized skills like data entry or social media.
Many of these sites take a percentage of the pay as a fee to either the employee or employer or both, and rates can be lower because virtual assistants around the world are competing for the roles and lower their prices.
[ Specialty virtual assistant job sites ]
Many websites specialize in virtual assistants, like virtualassistants.com, virtalent.com, vavavirtual.com, and more. These sites generally hire virtual assistants themselves and sell virtual assistant services to their clients.
To work with these sites, you would go to the website, apply for their open job listings, and may need to qualify or pass skills tests to get hired.
The site would then assign you to clients, give you feedback on your work, and pay you directly. These sites often pay better rates than other virtual assistant sites, because they have high expectations that you will perform well and satisfy their clients.
Being a virtual assistant can be a great way to use current office skills while working at home, gaining some personal freedom and independence without sacrificing job security. There is increasing demand for high-quality, highly skilled virtual assistants, and the field grows every year.
The traditional virtual assistant industry is booming but in many cases, the wages are similar to the offline world. The key to demanding higher wages is to excel at a skill. Nowadays, almost all work skills can be used on the internet. The best advice or approach is to just get out there and start building your experience in the online world.
The one set back to this method is we are stilling trading time for money. I presently still do a bit of online teaching but for this, I need to prepare materials, teach the lesson and provide feedback. By the time, I calculate my real earnings per hour it is $10 or less. I think it is foolish and traditional virtual assistant work is similar.
My plan – the smarter way is to build a business that will provide profitable returns based on work done one time. That is why so many folks are building affiliate blogs, e-commerce websites or email lists. It offers a way to manifest a true passive income.
Please don’t misunderstand as many people do. Before the passive income comes there is a lot of work to do but you only need do the majority of it once and then after a period it just requires a bit of maintenance which can be outsourced. This is my retirement plan and why I have stopped searching for traditional virtual assistant jobs from home.
However, you may need a virtual assistant job while you are building your business and I would highly recommend it if you are unemployed as it will be a few months at the very least before an online business will provide sales.
If you are interested in learning more about building a long-term passive income for your retirement or simply to live a different lifestyle please read my review on Wealthy Affiliate of browse the affiliate review section of my website.
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