Virtual Assistant

How does making upwards of £100 a day from the comfort of your home sound to you?

If that seems like an exciting prospect, then you might want to consider becoming a virtual assistant.

The demand for remote work has gone up to unprecedented levels, especially after the pandemic. So, if you have the right skill set, there’s probably a job or even a career for you.

Virtual assistants enjoy many benefits, including the ability to work from anywhere, flexible hours, and good wages.

woman working on laptop at home. telework. freelance

What is a Virtual Assistant?

A virtual assistant, commonly abbreviated to VA, is an independent contractor or a full-time employee that provides a range of administrative, secretarial, or creative services to clients or a company from a remote location.

What Does a Virtual Assistant Do?

Virtual assistants perform virtually anything that can be done remotely, including data entry, technical support, and general administrative duties, among others. The type of work is highly dependent on the client’s needs. Typically, VAs carry out one or a combination of the following tasks:

  • Manage a calendar, schedule appointments, and arrange travel bookings
  • Respond to emails, phone calls, and enquiries
  • Create web content, moderate comments, and manage social media accounts
  • Perform customer service, payment processing, and website maintenance for online business and e-commerce stores
  • Source photos, create graphics, and edit pictures
  • Handle bookkeeping, invoices, and payroll

A VA may also offer services that can include transcription, email outreach, and lead generation. Some can even provide personal assistance, such as shopping for a birthday gift online or planning a family holiday.

How to Become a Virtual Assistant?

Here are a few ways to get started as a VA:

  • Change careers from a secretary, administrative assistant, or office manager
  • Learn the necessary skills through free courses, videos, and resources
  • Earn a certificate by completing an online or in-person Virtual Assistant training course

A background in administrative support is most helpful because it gives you many transferable skills when transitioning into virtual assistance. If you’re in another line of work or just left school, though, you could still learn what it takes to become a VA through a relatively short course. 

Once you’ve learned the ropes, you can explore several options to find work. You may choose between the following:

  • Become a self-employed freelancer and look for clients through your network, family, and friends
  • Join a virtual assistant agency or freelancing platform such as Upwork or Fiverr
  • Set up your own business and website and start marketing your services
  • Apply to full-time virtual assistant jobs on career websites and job boards

A good resource for aspiring and seasoned virtual assistants in the UK is the Society of Virtual Assistants. The platform provides information, tools, and even access to job openings.

What Skills Do I Need and How to Be a Virtual Assistant?

Potential clients look for varying skills in a virtual assistant depending on the type of work. Truth be told, if you’re a quick learner with a decent computer and reliable internet connection, you may only need Google to perform a basic virtual assistant job. That said, you may not be able to charge as much for your services as a more highly trained VA.

Nonetheless, here’s a list of the most common VA skills:

  • Familiarity with communication and project management tools, such as Microsoft Teams, Slack, and Trello
  • Expertise with productivity and image editing software, including Microsoft Office Programmes and Adobe Photoshop
  • Ability to touch type with good speed and accuracy (many jobs require a minimum of 60 words per minute with 99-100% accuracy)
  • Excellent organisational, problem-solving, and time management skills
  • Reliability, resourcefulness, and diligence

Test Your Typing Speed and Accuracy Here!

As mentioned earlier, the desired skill set largely depends on the client’s needs and the sector. Some jobs require a financial background, while others entail proficiency in certain software. 

Therefore, it’s a good idea to specialise in a niche and master the tools and tricks of the trade to market yourself as an expert rather than a general VA.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Virtual Assistant?

It takes between no time and a few weeks to become a virtual assistant depending on your previous work experience and background. For example, a secretary can transition seamlessly into a VA, while a fresh school-leaver would need some time to acquire the basic skills of the profession.

How Much Does a Virtual Assistant Earn?

Virtual assistants in the UK earn an hourly wage of £12 to £25 with the average being around £15 per hour. The annual salary ranges between £19,000 – £38,000 but averages £27,000 per year.

A few factors influence your earning potential as a VA, including years of experience, hours worked, and sector.

Interested in perusing a career as a virtual assistant? Pitman Training is an independent and flexible training provider that offers over 250 training courses in qualifications for VAs and other careers. With over 100 years of experience, Pitman Training’s premium courses are your best bet to get the education you need to jumpstart your career today. Contact us for more information or check out our list of premium courses!