How To Be a Virtual Assistant with No Experience
It is possible to become a virtual assistant with no experience? Depending on the type of job, requirement, and availability, yes it is. With the technology that we have available to us, it has immensely become more accessible to work from home office or anywhere remote. One such job that is increasingly becoming popular is a virtual assistant. Organizations and busy sole traders prefer to source skilled people over the internet rather than to find them locally. Because there's a wider selection of people, and also for the cost reduction purpose. Today in this article, we'll find out how to be a virtual assistant with no experience.
What Is a Virtual Assistant?
A virtual assistant (VA) is a self-employed assistant who provides work and communicates over the internet. The task can be anything according to the requirement by whoever needs assistance.
Many organizations seek to source someone who can be responsible for carrying out administrative activities. In this case, the job can be pretty much the same job description as an 'assistant' 'secretary' or 'gatekeeper' would. On the other hand, a VA job can be something more specific, technical or creative.
The job is an opportunity that doesn't require traveling. Therefore the position can be sourced from any part of the world, as long as it meets the requirement and can communicable.
Responsibilities of a Virtual Assistant
So just as I mentioned earlier, the job of a virtual assistant is not just limited to general administrative or managerial tasks that an office requires. But a variety of tasks are available, like the examples below. You can be expected to do only one of them, or required to carry out multiple tasks according to their needs.
- Emailing, managing schedules and logistics
- Invoicing clients
- Data entry
- Daily bookkeeping
- Social media management (publishing and posting replies)
- Web researching
- Video/audio editing
- Website maintenance
- Customer relations (generation, negotiation or after service)
- Event organizing
Basically any kind of work that can be performed online or submitted online, but work that 'assists/helps' the business. For example, a VA job for e-commerce can be either simple or complex. The business might want you to just sort the product listings daily, or just resize photos. Other e-commerce business might expect you to be involved in the actual product listings. In which case you're required to have a knowledge in SEO.
The Least You Need
The least you need to become a virtual assistant is not necessarily extensive knowledge or skills. But you need basic knowledge of internet, email communications, and a good personality.
When someone wants your assistance, they want it as soon as possible unless they state the deadline. Of course, you are not expected to complete all your tasks right away, but they want an assurance as to when each job is going to be done. So when you receive an instruction or request, it's important to respond as soon as you can whatever the circumstances.
"I'm out right now but will be home in 2 hours from now. I'll sort it out within 4 hours, by 7pm your local time." is a kind of answer they're looking for.
Nobody wants to hear your dramas every other day. They'll understand your personal circumstances, but just like any other jobs, no boss wants to keep hearing excuses such as "I'll be late because my boiler's broken down" "I was late because my child was sick" too many times too often. You'll lose trust otherwise.
Good Internet Connection and Knowledge
It may sound obvious, but your internet connection should be working, and you're expected to have an acceptable level of internet knowledge. Except for rare emergency, "Sorry I wasn't available for the past 3 days because my internet was down" isn't exactly an acceptable excuse. If the connection really goes down, you should be able to explain a little more. For example, was it down just in your local area? Cyberattack? You don't need a small detail, but find it out and explain it to your boss.
'Can-do' attitude is appreciated. Even if you're not totally confident with the job you're asked to do, try your best and present a decent result. They may be at least pleased to see your willingness. But... Don't say that you can do the job that you have no idea of. Providing a lousy result will waste your time and your boss's time. They are paying you for your time, and you'll lose your future reputation!
Have Good Research Skills
Virtual assistance job would often involve various researching (on the net). You don't have to do the job they don't expect you to do. They can't, and should not expect you to conduct research if it's not in your job description either. But instead of refusing to serve because you don't know certain terminology or instead of keep asking them questions, it's better to allow yourself a certain level of flexibility and do some researches by yourself.
A simple google search, just like you searched for "how to be a virtual assistant with no experience" and arrived at this page - an ability to research will not only benefit your skill but gain trust from whoever employs you.
If a 'research' is part of your job, you are required to find out useful information for them to save their time and efforts. For example a new office space to rent or new recruitments. Market research or competitor research - products/services, identify their audience, investors, events that are happening around them, etc. If a subject is not your field of expertise it may be difficult, but you can get as much information (a) from the competitor's website, (b) by googling or (c) from social media such as LinkedIn.
Strong Communication Skills
Communication is at the core of being a good assistant. So in you do not have good communication skills - neither written nor oral - then this may not be the job for you.
If you are a peoples person, good at communicating and resolving conflicts, then there are some virtual assistant job that involves Skype and conference calls. So you can focus on developing your career that way.
Depending on the type of role you're given, the job can be spontaneous and exciting. Or can be clerical and repetitive such as data entry and sorting web documents. Whichever type it is, it's essential to update the progress of your work; hence communication skills are definitely needed.
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Be Self Motivated
Self-motivation is required not just for a virtual assistant but anyone who works from home since there is no one to monitor your work. You can motivate yourself by planning your task and making sure not to miss the deadlines.
One idea to keep motivating yourself is to actively ask for feedback about your work. Because if you unexpectedly receive bad feedback after your work's presented, depending on your personality, the adverse feedback could either make you or break you. But by asking them for 'areas of improvements', you may be willing to do better next time.
Where To Apply
You can advertise your availability as a virtual assistant on sites such as Fiverr, Upwork, Freelancer.com, etc. The first thing you want to do is to check what other VA applicants offer, and decide how you want to present yourself. Mainly;
- The pay rates others are offering and
- How they advertise themselves.
Since you have no experience, you can try offering lower rates than others first. Each time you complete your job, you'll receive a rating score. As you build up your experiences and a number of excellent public feedbacks, you can start thinking about increasing your pay rate.
Appeal Your Quality
You don't need a specific educational background to become a virtual assistant, and not everyone's looking for a perfect executive assistant with certified qualifications.
You have no experience, therefore you want to emphasize that you have a quality to offer in some other way in your profile. There's no face-to-face interview process, so you want to appeal that your non-related career or academic experiences can help them, and you are a good candidate. Such as;
- Your jobs in the past and what you did to help each employer/organization grow their business. How you made a difference to improve the system.
- What systems/tools you can use (e.g., Photoshop, Microsoft Office, Google spreadsheet, etc.)
- Your approach towards work (well-organized, have interpersonal skills, know how to operate technology)
- Your personality (honesty, patience, professionalism, being personable, and focus)
- Tell your educational background if you think it's beneficial. Unlike your local job applications, some people in different countries will be interested to know.
- Offer to answer any questions - they will ask anyway, but by saying so, it will show that you are easily approachable.
How To Be a Virtual Assistant with No Experience
If you think that you have with the skills to help other people with growing their business and managing it, then there is no reason as to why you cannot or should not apply to become a virtual assistant.
It can be a very rewarding job to see businesses grow and prosper. Besides, at times you would be required to manage calls, communicate with various individuals across the industry, so you would need to have good interpersonal and communication skills. All this will make you not only an ideal assistant but also the knowledge and experience will help you to find better jobs in the future or start your own business.