Are you thinking about becoming a Virtual Assistant, part time or full time? You are not alone. The explosion of the internet all over the world has opened up opportunities that previously did not exist. The world has become smaller and you can work at hours that suit you. You are no longer restricted by the 9 to 5 in your time zone.
Different people have different reasons to start something part time and the easiest thing seems like being a virtual assistant. Some people want a little extra money to make up for a car payment or save for a vacation they have been planning or to make up for a deficit due to medical bills etc. Whatever your reasons are, let’s get you started as a virtual assistant.
The question most people have is how to get started and how to find clients. Here are some pointers that will help you get going.
- Open an account with one of the freelancing portals. There is a list of them at http://bloggerkhan.com/list-of-popular-freelancing-outsourcing-platforms/18505
- Don’t just open an account, fill in all the details that they advise you and allow you to upload. That includes your picture, your Bio, your work experience, education, certification, client referrals – anything that would make people get to know you and get comfortable with you. If they allow a short video, make sure you take advantage of that. Doesn’t have to be fancy. Just you talking about how you can help. The objective is to get people to know you, understand your skills and trust you.
- Start actively soliciting. Just opening an account with a freelancing portal does nothing for you unless you start pursuing business. It’s called bidding for business. You are given a certain number of bids for free and then you have to buy additional bids. The freelancing portals also charge 10 to 20% as commission on the work you get through their portal. First exhaust all your free bids and if you get a few gigs, invest that money back into buying more bids.
- Provide superlative service irrespective of what you are getting paid. Some freelancers bid very low to get a project. When they get a project, they start grumbling about how little the payment is. They do a poor job, are paid peanuts and end up getting negative feedback / ratings. Negative feedback is like a death sentence. Who wants to do business with a person they have never met and when he gets a gig does a poor job. Either don’t take a job where the pay is below your comfort level or if you do, do your level best. You must do a great job irrespective of the payment.
- Re-Read the above point.
- Build a website. Hire a web developer and build a professional website. Post your work samples, your bio, testimonials etc. on your website. Most of the freelancing portals allow you to give a link to your website. This allows you another medium to establish your credibility.
- Get social. Get busy on social media and talk about the projects you are doing (without mentioning the client’s name) and share your stories. Every now and then someone will read your posts, may have a similar need and call you up.
- Ask clients for referrals and testimonials. Worth their weight in gold.
- Offer to do some work for free. If you know your client has a need in a certain area that you currently have no experience in but you know you can do it if given a chance, offer the client to do it for free. For example, you know a client needs to write press releases and then send them out. You have never done it. Offer to write them for free. Be honest and tell him that you are going to learn how to, then write and then submit them to press release submission sites or to individual media outlets for free. The client gets something done for free, you get experience and now you can take on additional jobs with that client as a reference.
- Network with other freelancers and virtual assistants and understand what their strengths are. Then collaborate with them, send them some business and they will reciprocate. For example, you are a writer and are good at writing advertising copy. You have come to know some amazing graphic artists. A client needs some landing pages built. You know you can write great copy for him. You suggest your designer friend come on board for this project. All of you collaborate and everyone benefits. Your network of friends will do the same for you. Everybody wins.
Was this helpful? I hope so. Do you have some additional tips? If so, feel free to add them below.