In today’s digital age, the concept of a traditional assistant has been revolutionized by the emergence of virtual assistants. But what exactly is a virtual assistant? Often abbreviated as VA, a virtual assistant is a professional who offers a diverse range of administrative, technical, or creative services from a remote location, leveraging technology to support businesses and individuals.
As the boundaries of the traditional workplace continue to evolve, understanding the role and benefits of a virtual assistant becomes increasingly essential for modern professionals and businesses alike.
Let’s learn more about what a virtual assistant is and how it is transforming businesses worldwide.
What It Really Means to Be a Virtual Assistant
Over the past several years, there’s been a growing awareness of virtual assistantship and how it can be the perfect career path for many professionals. But what is a virtual assistant, really?
At its core, virtual assistantship is a pretty simple concept: Individuals are hired to offer professional support services to other business entities—and, as the name would suggest, this all takes place from a remote location.
Given how broad this description is, it’s probably not surprising to hear a wide range of tasks a virtual professional might be hired to tackle. Most commonly, however, these duties tend to fall somewhere under the administration umbrella. Nevertheless, if there’s a duty that a business needs help completing, there’s a strong chance there is a virtual assistant offering that particular service.
Virtual assistantship, as a career option, first gained popularity alongside the rise of the internet. Since then, the profession has continued to grow in prominence, with more and more businesses discovering the wide-reaching benefits of hiring a virtual assistant.
For instance, hiring full-time (or even part-time) staff for in-person office positions isn’t cheap. That’s just one of the reasons many entrepreneurs opt to outsource vital administrative tasks rather than bring in new employees. And, with virtual assistants, it isn’t even like business owners will be sacrificing the quality of the work they receive. All around, it’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.
If you’re not looking to perform clerical work, keep in mind that this is far from the only kind of task a virtual assistant can handle. Maybe you’re an expert in crafting foolproof marketing strategies—it’s entirely possible to be hired as a virtual assistant to handle core aspects of a company’s marketing strategy.
Alternatively, businesses (both large and small) could hire a virtual assistant to help perfect their web design to ensure that it’s both intuitive and up to date, as well as aesthetically pleasing to the target audience. Even essential duties such as bookkeeping can fall into the hands of highly capable virtual assistants.
Simply put, if it’s a task that requires a specific set of skills, it’s entirely possible to make a career out of performing it as a virtual assistant.
What Does a Virtual Assistant Do, Day to Day?
Everyday Tasks Performed by Virtual Assistants
As a virtual assistant, you might also find yourself taking care of the following tasks:
- Answering phone calls
- Sales cold-calls or warm-calls
- Sorting and responding to emails
- Creating and managing a work schedule
- Handling bookkeeping
- Performing data entry
- Doing professional research
- Managing client relationships
- Managing social media profiles
- Writing content
- Taking care of customer support
- Maintaining or designing a website
Depending on the specialized skills you possess, of course, your average day as a virtual assistant could look quite different from another’s.
Virtual assistants can complete either general or specialized tasks, depending on the company’s needs, and that virtual assistant’s own professional ability. For example, general tasks could involve administration and customer support; alternatively, some specialized duties are marketing, setting up and managing pay-per-click campaigns, maximizing search engine optimization, and copywriting.
How to Become a Virtual Assistant (Even With Little Experience)
Even if your professional experience is limited, it’s still possible to get started working as a virtual assistant. Generally speaking, to start your virtual assistant career, you’ll need to take care of the following steps:
1. Determine the Services You’re Hoping to Provide Potential Clients as a Virtual Assistant
For example, are you hoping to stick to general administrative or clerical duties above all else? Or, do you want to use your specialized skills to handle web design, search engine optimization, or marketing? The possibilities are vast, so make sure you have a clear idea of where you’re headed first. Also, a word of advice: Never feel as if you need to spread yourself thin, especially toward the start of your career.
2. Create a Virtual Assistant Cover Letter
Even if you don’t have any experience working as a virtual assistant, writing a cover letter allows you to discuss any transferable skills you might possess. For instance, were you ever tasked with managing someone else’s email or calendar at your previous employment place? Well, experience with this skill could boost the ease of getting your virtual assistant career off the ground.
3. Decide How You’d Like to Run Your Virtual Assistantship Business
Generally speaking, you’ll have three options here. You can either:
- Work directly for a particular employer.
- Work for an agency that provides other companies with administrative services.
- Provide your own virtual assistant services on a contract-only basis—if you take this route, make sure to create a strong resume and begin networking.
4. Work With Your First Clients as a Virtual Assistant
Depending upon which route you choose, this stage of the process could look different. In any case, it’s time to begin working and building up a strong portfolio and experience.
Interested in getting started with Virtual Latinos, in particular? If that’s the case, we’ve prepared two video guides, taking you through the process from start to finish:
The Benefits of Becoming a Virtual Assistant
Of course, businesses aren’t the only ones that can benefit from the rise of virtual assistant services. The assistants themselves can reap several rewards by venturing down this exciting new career path. The benefits virtual assistants can expect to receive are plentiful—here are just a few of the most prominent examples.
One of the core components of virtual assistant jobs inherent to the position is the ability to work remotely—no matter where you’re located. So naturally, this opens a wide array of possible career opportunities to workers, regardless of any professional limitations placed upon them in their location.
If you’re unable to commute to a specific location, no matter how perfect the position is for your career goals, that opportunity simply isn’t available to you. However, by making the switch to remote work, this is no longer a concern you’ll need to face. Even if the company that hired you is in another country—or another continent, even—it’s just as viable for you to take over the virtual assistant position compared to someone who lives just down the street from their headquarters. This allows individuals to explore many career opportunities that might have otherwise been off-limits.
Plus, with remote work, you no longer need to deal with a tedious commute every day. The ability to remove this from your schedule can make your work life just a bit easier to manage—it can also free up time to get work done rather than spend that time stuck in morning traffic. As long as you have access to a Wi-Fi connection, you’re generally good to go when it comes to becoming a VA.
A Flexible Schedule
Another significant benefit of working as a virtual assistant? More often than not, you’ll be granted the ability to set a schedule around your own availability—even if that availability is on the unconventional side, such as only being able to work during the night or early morning. While this could be a difficult situation to work around in a traditional employment scenario, virtual assistantship makes it far easier for professionals to work around their own schedule rather than just the schedule of their employers.
This flexibility can also come in handy during emergencies. If you find that you need to make a last-second modification to your schedule, it will be far simpler to arrange if you’re working as a virtual assistant than in an in-person office position.
If you ever need to take breaks throughout your day, you won’t be limited to the schedule established by your employer. Again, it’s all up to you and how your professional schedule can best be incorporated into the rest of your life and its many responsibilities.
A Boost in Your Wage
Considering the added convenience of working as a virtual assistant, you might suspect that there’s a catch—for instance, are you going to be sacrificing a good chunk of your paycheck in the process? Fortunately, this is quite far from the case. If anything, new virtual assistants might find that they’re making even more money in this position than in their previous in-person position.
As a virtual professional, you’ll often be granted unlimited earning potential. However, a set wage or salary can be incredibly limiting, and receiving a raise is often out of your personal control. As a virtual assistant, it’s considerably easier to set your own rates and seek clients who are willing to pay what you’re worth for your services.
The longer you work as a virtual assistant, as well, the better you’ll get at streamlining your own work. Seeing as more work means more pay, streamlining duties can allow you to be paid far more per hour than you would in a position with a set wage. As long as you’re capable of working quickly and efficiently, you’ll find that virtual assistantship is one of the most fruitful career paths you can take—without the need for an enormous amount of previous work experience before starting the position.
Vast Opportunities to Grow, Professionally and Personally
Sometimes, in a traditional office position, you might feel like you’re stuck in place—as much as you’d like to move up, you could struggle to break past the position you’re currently occupying. After all, this is typically outside your control if your employment status is entirely in the hands of your boss. As a virtual assistant, however, you’ll finally be able to become your own boss. This means the opportunities for professional growth and development are yours to control, based upon the work you’re putting into the position. The harder you work, the more reward you’ll reap as a professional.
Take back control over your work-life by becoming a virtual assistant today.
The Opportunity to Learn and Meet New Professionals, All Across the World
Seeing as virtual assistantship is an inherently remote position, you’ll be granted the unique opportunity to form professional and personal connections with others abroad. At your previous in-person position, you likely wouldn’t be able to connect with such a large pool of potential business partners—while as a virtual assistant, this pool is practically endless.
For instance, if you once worked as the front-desk receptionist at a busy office building, your interactions were often still limited to those within your region—especially if you weren’t working for a major corporation.
The more individuals and enterprises you’re able to work with, the more opportunities there are to learn about your craft and continue to grow as a professional.
Working for a USD Wage (Or Comparable) From Outside the Country
If you’re a virtual assistant hired by an American company, you’ll have the opportunity to work for a USD wage, regardless of where you’re located. If you’re looking to boost your earning potential, this is a fantastic way to do it.
Essential Virtual Assistant Skills
Although a virtual assistantship is a relatively versatile position, this doesn’t mean certain skills won’t be necessary to thrive as a virtual assistant. However, to succeed, you’ll first need to develop (and then continue to master) the following professional skills:
You’ll Need to Be an Expert Communicator
As with any remote, work-for-yourself-type position, your ability to communicate (regardless of the method of communication) clearly and concisely could be a dealbreaker. If you struggle to be understood over long-distance virtual communications, this will make being a virtual professional a challenging career to succeed in—especially if you’re hoping to get as much work done as possible without needing to pause and sort out miscommunication. In addition, this will make it impossible to truly streamline your workflow and reach your fullest earning potential as a virtual assistant.
You’ll Need to Be Reliable
Before a company takes you on as a virtual assistant, they’ll likely need to be convinced that you’re the most reliable option available. Reliability becomes an even more essential quality whenever we’re discussing remote work, in particular.
You’ll primarily need to be a self-motivated worker; a lack of self-discipline or motivation can make it far too easy to become an unreliable business partner. After all, it’s far easier to pull back from your work if it’s all occurring at a distance rather than in person at your place of work. If you decide to flake on your duties, you’ll have considerably fewer external variables to pull you back in, outside your own volition.
You Should Have Some Professional Experience
While it’s entirely possible to kickstart your virtual assistant career with limited experience, it’s still best to have at least a few years’ worth under your belt. Remember, as a virtual assistant, you’ll often be responsible for managing some of the tasks most fundamental to a company’s overall success. So naturally, this puts a good deal of responsibility onto your shoulders—and this is something that most businesses don’t take lightly.
Generally, as long as you have a minimum of three years of professional experience, a virtual assistant career could be a viable path for you. Otherwise, it will be more challenging to compete with other prospective virtual assistants. Again, professional experience helps you stand out.
You’ll Need to Have Mastered Time-Management
Again, virtual assistant jobs are based on self-discipline and self-motivation, you’ll need to know how to manage your own time. Although a flexible schedule is one of the biggest perks of working as a virtual assistant, it doesn’t come without its stipulations.
If you struggle to create and stick to your work schedule without the reinforcement of a boss or higher-ups, then virtual assistant work might not be the most practical choice.
Further, if you’re working with several clients as a virtual assistant, the ability to manage your own time becomes even more essential. The more multitasking that’s involved in your day-to-day work, the better you’ll need to be at creating a calendar for yourself and prioritizing specific tasks. Disorganization could be detrimental to the efficiency of your workflow, which could also leave you more prone to burning out.
You’ll Need to Be Organized
Finally, if you haven’t worked out a way to stay organized (with little to no oversight), then it’s going to be impossible to tackle all your virtual assistant duties.
Often, virtual assistants will need to keep track of different bits of detailed information to perform their duties. For instance, you might need to stay on top of emails, client information, passwords, appointments, other reminders, and much more. If you fail to keep this essential information well-organized, you’re not going to be an effective worker.
What Is It Like to Work As a Virtual Assistant, Professionally?
But, what does your typical virtual assistant’s professional life actually look like?
Ultimately, depending on who you are and the virtual assistant duties you’re tackling, your average work experience could vary tremendously. However, here are some potential scenarios to give you an idea of what working as a virtual assistant actually looks like in practice.
Many successful virtual assistants are parents of young children, for instance. These individuals often find effective ways to balance parenting with their professional lives, even without the aid of childcare services. As a remote worker, it’s entirely possible to manage all your virtual assistant tasks while remaining at home with your children. This is the standard scenario and is one of the many reasons individuals opt to pursue a career in a virtual assistantship.
More specifically, maybe this lack of childcare will motivate you to care for your children during the day while working exclusively during the evenings. As a virtual assistant, it’s possible to create a schedule around these goals.
One of the core aspects of working as a virtual assistant involves taking stock of your priorities and responsibilities outside of work before tailoring a professional schedule to suit your needs. If you’re hoping to succeed as a virtual assistant, this is something that you’ll need to master; otherwise, it will be impossible to remain efficient and get all your work completed at the best possible quality.
Finding Your Work-Life Balance
As we’ve discussed, while it’s certainly true that working as a virtual assistant provides far more opportunity for time and financial freedom, everyone’s experience will be different. For example, some virtual assistants (especially those who are new to the career) may be expected to work far more frequently than others—possibly around the clock, in some cases.
No two jobs are the same, and that principle certainly applies to the daily lives of virtual assistants. That being said, compared to what’s possible in a traditional full-time career, a virtual assistantship is better suited to flexible scheduling and more expansive earning potential.
How Much Does a Virtual Assistant Make Per Hour?
Many factors go into how much a virtual assistant is paid on an hourly basis.
Notably, depending on the virtual assistant’s location, the average pay they receive can vary. For example, if you’re a professional virtual assistant based in the Philippines, you might only receive hourly pay of around $3 to $5—this certainly isn’t a cap on potential earnings, although it is an average.
However, as a Latin American virtual assistant working with Virtual Latinos, you can expect to make $5 per hour at the lowest end. But, through our services, it’s possible to make up to $25 every hour. So, if you’re a Latin American professional considering virtual assistantship, you’re in a great position to get started—and earn an impressive income in the process.
At the end of the day, the amount you make as a virtual assistant is dependent upon your level of expertise, as well as whether the services you’re providing are highly specialized. You’re more likely to take in a larger income with specialized services than a virtual assistant who focuses on general administrative tasks.
Companies With the Best Virtual Assistant Services
Examples of popular companies that provide virtual assistant services are:
Virtual Latinos: The Top Company for Virtual Assistants in Latin America
Nevertheless, if you’re on the lookout for the best virtual assistant company in Latin America, it’s time to get in touch with Virtual Latinos. If you’re a resident of Latin America, you’re in the prime location to work as a virtual assistant for American companies—and you can accomplish this through Virtual Latinos.
Compared to countries such as the Philippines, Latin America is well-suited to providing virtual assistants for North American businesses. This is true for several reasons, including:
- Latin American virtual assistants tend to possess greater cultural competency due to the notable similarities between American culture and their own.
- Latin American virtual assistants often possess stronger English skills compared to virtual assistants from other regions.
- Latin American virtual assistants are likely to reside in either the same or a similar time zone while working with American companies.
Begin Your Virtual Assistant Career With Virtual Latinos
At Virtual Latinos, we provide virtual assistant opportunities to professionals across Latin America, including in Mexico, Costa Rica, Chile, Venezuela, and many more countries. Do you want a clearer idea of the skills and specialties we’re looking for as we recruit new virtual assistants onto our team? If so, take a look at the Virtual Latinos Online Menu. You can also apply to work as a virtual assistant with Virtual Latinos through our website.