How to Become a Great Virtual Assistant

Written by
Aileen Danna

With the virtual assistance industry growing at an unprecedented rate due to increase in global demand, it is no longer enough to be good at what you do. You have to find ways to differentiate yourself and become a better Virtual Assistant than everyone else in the industry.

Here are 10 tips from Outsource Workers to help you become a great Virtual Assistant:

  1. Gain experience

Not everyone can jump off from school and become a great virtual assistant. Before you become “great” you must first become “good”. Progress itself is a process that takes time.

To become better at what you do, you must first gain experience. Virtual assistance work does not only mean having the required skills to complete a project. You have to consider the intangibles:

  • The ability to work with people
  • The ability to take instruction
  • The experience to overcome stressful situations

You can only gain these through experience. Before you become a Virtual Assistant, work for a company that offers similar services for at least two years. Working in an office environment will give you a great perspective to view a potential career in virtual assistance.

As the old saying goes, “Before you can work for yourself, you must learn how to work for others.” Having experience from the other side of the fence will help you moderate expectations as a Virtual Assistant.

  1. Define your purpose

Before you commit to becoming a Virtual Assistant, ask yourself why you want to be one. “To make money” is not a purpose because no one works for free unless it’s for a charity organization.

Ask yourself if you want to build a career helping other companies succeed in their business. It takes commitment to become an effective Virtual Assistant because there is a great deal of responsibility handed down to you from your client.

There will be times when you have to work past bedtime, during holidays and time with family could be compromised. Even if you work from home it doesn’t mean your time for work is at your own discretion.

If you approach your job as a Virtual Assistant with commitment and dedication, in time you will be able to build a good-sized portfolio that will lead to a rich and fulfilling career.

  1. Evaluate your competencies

Virtual assistants are no longer just secretaries or personal assistants. The industry has opened itself up to accommodate other skills and competencies that are in demand by businesses.

On a sheet of paper, list down your competencies based on your experience. Number one on the list must be the competency you can present right away as your main service offering.

You must be comfortable enough to present this service to prospective customers. If you have references or samples of your work, these would improve your chances to land clients faster.

  1. Improve your communication skills

Effective communication is a highly sought after skill for a Virtual Assistant because it minimizes the probability of mistakes due to misunderstandings.

There are online tests that you can take to evaluate your proficiency in English. Online job networks like Elance and freelancer.com have built-in tests the scores of which can highlight your profile for prospective clients.

Clients want virtual assistants who can take instruction well and provide clear feedback. Communication is not only limited to verbal exchanges but also written. You should have the ability to compose correspondence in a clear and concise manner.

  1. Test your ability to organize

As a Virtual Assistant, you will be tasked to help organize the business. The client will delegate responsibilities to you so he can focus on functions that require his expertise.

Your objective should be to find ways and means to fulfill these responsibilities on time without compromising the quality of work. This requires the ability to organize and introduce efficiency in the process. The more efficient the process, the higher the level of productivity that can be achieved.

  1. Improve your knowledge on software programs

Virtual assistance work requires the use of several key software programs that have distinct functions. These software programs are used for:

  • Project management. Used to oversee the management of the campaign. This is where team members go to collaborate. Among the popular ones are Asana and salesforce.com.
  • File sharing. These are cloud-based programs that provide secure facilities for file sharing and storage. The best ones include DropBox and JustCloudIt!
  • Communication. These are software programs that allow the parties involved to correspond without going over budget. The most commonly used programs are Skype, Viber, Google Hang Out and Slack.
  • Time-keeping. If you charge per productive hour then you need time-keeping software like Time Doctor.
  • Work audit. There are clients who want to be on top of your work in real time. A program which gives clients access to your desktop is WorkView.
  1. Develop a set schedule

If you plan to manage four or more clients, you have to be prepared to work within a set schedule.

There are only 24 hours in a day, 16 to 18 of which are spent during your waking hours. You should be adaptable to a work schedule which will allow you to allocate time as requested by your client.

Once you design a schedule, you have to strictly adhere to it. Otherwise quality of work plus your reputation as a dependable Virtual Assistant may be compromised.

  1. Invest in good equipment

If you are serious and committed to your career as a Virtual Assistant, you should invest in good equipment.

The computer is your work horse. You must make sure the computer can handle extended work hours. Its software and hardware must also be upgraded to avoid breaking down.

A poorly functioning computer can lead to delays in work submissions and problems in receiving communication.

You should also assure clients on your bandwidth. Your Internet should have at least 3mb. This allows you to receive clear calls and large amounts of data.

  1. Create a productive work space

The problem of working at home is there are distractions everywhere.

Find a place in your home with conditions that encourage productivity. If you are tasked to handle outbound or inbound calls for your client, make sure the room has good acoustics and sound-proof.

Have everything ready on your table before you start working. Remove all possible sources of distraction such as your mobile phone. The computer should only be used for work. A good idea would be to designate a PC for work and a tablet for your surfing needs.

  1. Develop your inter-personal skills

For some clients, they favor a Virtual Client’s personality and overall disposition over technical and fundamental proficiency.

Anyone can be trained to become better at what they do. Some may learn faster than others, but in due time and given dedication and consistency, the slow learners will get better.

But it is difficult to change who you are. For clients, they want someone whom they can comfortably work with every single day.

So build up on your inter-personal skills. Open yourself to the possibility of miscommunication due to cultural and social differences on perception. Understand that conflicts will arise even in the best of relationships. You should know how to deal with conflicts especially with clients.

In the end, the way to become a great Virtual Assistant needs the intrinsic value of time. If you maintain consistency in rendering good quality work, stay committed and purposeful in your approach day-in and day-out, you will have a long and successful career as a Virtual Assistant.

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Business

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