For many years, Virtual assistants (VAs) have taken on the roles of traditional secretaries and administrative assistants. Responsibilities ranging from administrative tasks to copywriting and communications work are now delegated to VAs.

Almost every type of industry now has the need for VAs. From startups to businesses looking to scale, companies are now beginning to take advantage of having a remote assistant. Capable VAs with clear and strategic instructions can be effective conduits for growth within companies.

The VA market

Advances in communications technologies have made VAs not only effective but more advantageous for companies. VAs are a part of the growing 1.1 million workers in the British gig economy. Businesses now have access to talent around the world to perform non-core jobs in companies, whether full-time or temporary. Special Counsel highlight how hiring temporary professionals provides companies with flexible schedules and minimises costs. It is this shift in how businesses now approach their workforce that has opened more doors for VAs.

This is a fact that is proven by the current global demand. Startups reports that the number of VAs is projected to reach a staggering 1.8 billion by 2021. It is clearly an industry that is thriving, which means there will be plenty of career opportunities in the future. (Something to be embraced and not feared.)

Things to remember when applying:

Some companies prefer hiring third party VA agencies as they have a perception that these are more stable and have better oversight. However, the most cost-effective method to hire freelance VAs tends to be by-the-hour assistants. For a freelancer, it boils down to how much control of your time you are willing to give. Working as a VA freelancer will give you more freedom to choose when and how you work. So here are the skills you need;

Develop a wide range of skills. A VA needs to have an array of skills and continue to develop those skills,  this can help you leverage better paid positions. Place particular importance on in-demand skills, as it shows that you are ready to adapt to the modern business practices. Skills such as email and social media marketing, copywriting, and SEO experience are always good to have. Continue professional development learning or adding new value-adding skills by applying to join the Be Awesome Club.

Know your worth. Make sure you are charging the right amount of money for your time. Underselling yourself is not only detrimental to your earnings but can hurt your future rates. Having a business as a VA is also self-promotion. Make sure you’re searchable on Facebook and Instagram where people can see your personality. This will show prospective employers that you are suited to working for them.

Understand how to manage your time. One common misconception with VAs is that they charge for the time they’re not working. This is why you should have mechanisms in place to track the hours for which you are working with the client. Communicating your availability to the client will also help them to be able to delegate work effectively.

Have the right tools. Ensure you have the necessary internet speed, devices, and software to run a smooth operation. A good phone and computer are essential pieces of equipment needed for the job.

VA work, especially freelance, can succeed with customer loyalty and satisfaction. Going the extra mile will help towards a successful VA career. If you are considering a career as a VA hopefully the above tips will provide useful as you embrace the freelance economy and working to a more flexible schedule.

Article written by: Joe Marshall