A home-based-business is something that many individuals hope to pursue. While there are a variety of home-based-businesses that you can launch; one of the most in-demand professions is a Virtual Assistant business. The Virtual Assistant industry is a profession that is growing more in popularity every year. Although the Virtual Assistant industry is highly recognized today; some individuals are still unaware of this profession. In fact, there a variety of questions that is often asked about the Virtual Assistant industry. The answers to many of these questions will be reviewed here in order to provide a better understanding of the Virtual Assistant field.
1. What is a Virtual Assistant?
A Virtual Assistant, or “VA”, is a highly skilled independent entrepreneur who utilizes state of the art technology and provides administrative support and other specialized services to businesses, via the Internet, email, fax, and phone, in order to support the growing needs of organizations worldwide.
A Virtual Assistant is a lot like a traditional assistant. The main distinction, however, is that a virtual assistant in Thailand provides their services from their home office. While businesses hire a traditional assistant to work 8 hours a day, 5 days a week; a VA is hired to work on an “as needed” basis. For example, businesses will hire a VA for overflow projects, taking on monthly tasks, or simply to become an extension of their office.
2. What services do Virtual Assistant’s provide?
A Virtual Assistant can provide a wide variety of services, including:
Web Design & Maintenance
Transcription (General, Medical, and/or Legal)
And much more
Services provided by a Virtual Assistant, however, are dependent on one’s experience and skills. For example, if you have experience and do well in word processing and data entry then you should offer these services. Do NOT offer services in which you have no experience.
If you are interested in other services but are not skilled in those areas, it does not mean that you cannot add them to your list at a later date. You can always get the training needed in order to provide more services to your clients. The main thing to remember, however, is that you want to excel in the areas of services that you offer. When you excel in even one area of service and provide excellent results, your client will be willing to offer you more work at a later date, and even refer other clients to you. So remember when you first start out, be true to yourself and start with what you know.
3. How much would I make as a Virtual Assistant?
Rates charged by Virtual Assistant’s range from $25 – $100/hour based on experience and skills. Some services require a lot more work and, therefore, the rate is higher. For example, a VA who offers word processing would not charge as much per hour as a VA who offers web design and maintenance. It basically comes down to the complexity of the service.
In addition to the standard hourly rate, VA’s also offer monthly retainer plans. A monthly retainer plan is a set number of hours per month offered at a discounted rate. Clients may purchase monthly retainer plans in advance or you may choose to invoice them on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.
4. Do you have to be in the same area as your clients?
VA’s are not required to work in the same area as their clients. In fact, most VA’s clients are in different cities, states, and sometimes countries. Some clients, however, like to work with local VA’s so that they can meet with them. Clients who are just learning about the VA industry, for example, may feel a little more secure when they can meet with the VA face-to-face. So even though VA’s provide their services virtually, don’t forget about local marketing. You never know where your clients may be.
5. Do I need experience?
Many individuals who start Virtual Assistant businesses today often have previous work experience in the services that they offer. In fact, many organizations feel that you should have at least 5 years experience in the corporate world (non-virtual world). If this is not the case for you, don’t give up hope. There are many places you can get the training needed to start your own VA business. There are a variety of online training courses specifically for VA’s. Also, if you need to improve your computer skills you can always take classes at your local community college to get the experience needed in order to learn the variety of programs required for VA’s as well as how to build a website. Many community colleges even offer online courses for those who are unable to attend campus classes.