Virtual Assistants do many different types of work for many different types of employers. Your experience as a VA will depend largely on the people you work for. When I started my VA journey, I was already running social media accounts of my own. I decided to use those skills by offering my services to social media influencers.
This job has allowed me to work from home, make my own hours, and even travel the world. Traveling is not usually part of the job, but depending on the circumstances and your availability, you can make that happen too!
I was invited as a plus-one on a trip to Paris!
I started as a content creator in 2018 by posting YouTube videos. I took it SO seriously and watched about a thousand ‘How to Edit a YouTube Video’ videos. I learned everything that I could possibly learn about content creation and gaining a following.
Fast forward a few years, and podcasts started becoming more and more common, so my best friend and I decided to start one. Again, I watched videos and did hours of research to learn everything about creating and editing a podcast.
Along the way, I learned a lot from my experience and from watching other content creators. Social media is built on trends, so it’s hard to be a YouTube editor if you don’t watch YouTube. I studied trends and editing styles that were becoming popular.
As I was watching influencers’ videos, I noticed that they were so busy and often mentioned having to cancel plans with friends or family so that they could be home and edit a video. Some creators even mentioned that they hate editing, and it feels like such a chore.
It’s not always easy to make money as a content creator when platforms are oversaturated, so I thought that assisting others would lead to a more stable income.
I had all of these skills that would be so helpful to free up someone else’s time. I spent so many weeks, if not months, studying editing and social media, and I felt super confident in my abilities. The fact that I had been doing all of it for myself for years was a bonus.
My first thought was to become a video editor for YouTubers, but I knew that I could do so much more than just edit videos. That’s when I thought of becoming a Virtual Assistant.
The key to success as a VA is to identify your skills and figure out who would benefit most from your help. Most influencers have to hire several different people for each specific outlet that they need help with, so I realized it could be a great selling point that I was well-versed in most forms of social media. From YouTube videos to TikTok, to Instagram, and Podcasts, I had it covered.
The next step was to make a resume and a work sample to show potential clients what I could do. I thought back to those same creators that mentioned that they didn’t like editing or had to cancel plans, and I sent them an email with my work attached.
Unfortunately, I didn’t even hear back from quite a few of them, and that’s the reality of cold emailing. Some of them may not have had it in their budget to hire another person, or some may have not wanted to give up some control of their work. That is always hard for clients, so I try my best to learn their ‘style’ in the beginning and learn to do things their way.
I decided to reach out to potential clients instead of using a freelancing site because I thought that some influencers may not even know that they need help until it is offered. Sometimes people don’t realize how overwhelmed they are, or that VAs even exists until it’s mentioned to them!
One day while keeping my eyes peeled on social media, a creator that I followed posted that she was looking for an assistant on her Instagram story. She listed the things that she needed help with, and they were all things that I knew I was capable of! She ended up being my first client, and it eventually turned into a full-time gig.
Throughout my time with her, I even had potential clients reaching out to me through emails and Instagram messages asking if I had any availability. I had to turn them down because what was once my little side hustle for myself had turned into a full-time job that gave me the freedom and flexibility to be my own boss.
Tasks of a VA
Virtual Assistants do many different types of work, and your tasks will vary with your employer’s needs. I’m sure there are even more avenues than I can think of: anyone in any field can always use assistance!
As a virtual assistant to influencers, my tasks include:
- Editing (photos, videos, or podcasts)
- Content brainstorming
- Organizing emails
- Engaging on social media
A ‘work day in my life’ video where I show all of my usual daily tasks
A typical day in my life usually starts out with checking emails. I don’t want to keep anyone waiting too long for a response!
Next, I’ll go to Instagram and see if there are any comments or messages from the previous day that need responses. I also create any graphics that need to be made for promotions, websites, or Instagram.
Editing YouTube videos or podcast episodes takes up the bulk of my day. Editing one YouTube video can take anywhere from 3-10 hours, depending on the length, and one podcast episode can take about 6-8 hours.
What Skills Do You Need?
The main qualification to become a VA is to be tech-savvy. No two clients are alike, and they each have different needs. The key is to be ready to learn anything that they may need help with.
To learn editing skills, I would recommend starting with iMovie for video editing, and GarageBand for podcast editing (they both come free on Macbooks!) I love both of these and haven’t encountered much that I can’t do on them.
It also helps to be organized and good at time management. Working as a VA, you are usually in charge of your own schedule. If you’re not good at managing your time, you can quickly become overwhelmed and miss deadlines.
Clients sometimes even seek assistance because THEY aren’t the best at time management or organization, so it’s your job to provide them with that and be their right hand.
For most positions, experience is not needed. Many of the tasks are simple everyday things that clients no longer have time to do him or themselves.
For an Influencer VA, editing is most likely a must. Some influencers have a specific editor, so it may not be necessary for your job, but it’s always good to know how to handle their work and show your value.
You can even take skills from previous work experience, and share how that has helped you become more organized, responsible, etc. Experience doesn’t always need to be in the same field!
What Are The Hours Like?
As I mentioned before, you can usually make your own hours. There are some things to keep in mind with that, though, like time zones. Depending on the work that you’re doing, you may be in a back-and-forth with your client to ask about their preference for colors, designs, etc.
If your client is in a different time zone, this might cause you to work early mornings, late nights, or even weekends. Also, your client may need something done with a short turnaround, so sometimes it’s like being on call.
The greatest part about being virtual is that you can travel as much as you want and work from anywhere in the world, as long as you’re willing to bring your computer with you.
On average, each client will need about 10 hours of work from you each week. This is great because you can start out while you have another job, and be a VA on the side until your business starts to pick up.
If you’re editing videos for the client, you may be working anywhere from 20-40+ hours per week. It really depends on exactly what your clients need help with!
How Do I Find Clients?
Finding clients can be difficult, but if you market yourself correctly, they can come to you! I have had several clients reach out to me because they found me through social media.
You can sign up for freelancing platforms like Upwork or Fiverr, but since it’s more competitive, you may have a harder time finding clients. Many people on these platforms are desperate for work and prepared to underbid you, so rates may be very low.
On my Instagram, which is just for personal use, I started using #virtualassistant or #videoeditor. If someone is searching Instagram for an assistant, I have a chance of popping up. Also, since I do that on my personal Instagram, it almost acts as a slight ‘interview’. The clients can check out my pictures and see if my content is similar to their style or if we have any common interests.
I mentioned that I have been posting YouTube videos for years, and that also helps clients to find my page and see exactly what work I can do.
What To Say?
Reaching out to someone that has no idea who you are is considered a ‘cold email’. The best way to send a cold email is to keep it short and sweet. These people get loads of emails per day and don’t have the time to read a long one from someone they don’t know.
Here’s a list of things I keep in mind while cold emailing a client:
- Say something personal that shows that you do know of them or their company. (e.g., “I heard you mention in your new video…” or “I saw that you just launched a new product”)
- Explain that you know that their time is valuable and you are willing to take some of their workloads (making their life EASIER is hard to turn down)
- Leave one call to action (e.g., “Let me know if this sounds like something you’re interested in”)
- Thank them for their time reading your email.
- Follow up within about 5-7 days. This shows that you’re organized and didn’t just send out a mass email to everyone you know.
- If there is no response after 1 follow-up, I assume that they aren’t interested. Sending more than 1 or 2 follow-ups can come off as pushy!
If you focus on personalization, this last one shouldn’t happen, but: don’t send mass emails! That’s a great way to end up in the spam folder, and then your email will never be seen.
Do I Need a Resume?
A resume is always a good idea. Before I had professional experience in this field, my resume included my current job at the time (which had NOTHING to do with being a VA or even being tech-savvy). I used that job to show that I am responsible, capable of learning new things, and organized.
I also included that I had been editing my own videos since 2018, to show that I did have knowledge of the social media world. Even if you need to list your own content creation as experience, DO IT!
How to Showcase Your Skills to a Potential Client?
A work sample is just as important as a resume. This position is all based in tech, so it makes sense to showcase your skills that way! A work sample or portfolio can include some of your digital work like websites designed, photographs edited, or graphic designs.
My work sample is like a presentation, where I used my skills to make it look cohesive and still show my accomplishments. This is a creative job, so don’t be afraid to use some color and show that you have a good eye for design! Even my resume is colorful and includes a photo so that they can match a face with my name.
A page from my work sample. It’s colorful and shows off my skill while remaining professional.
How to Travel the World as a VA
I always get asked how my virtual job turned into becoming a world traveler. Basically, I got really lucky. Travel is usually not part of the job description, but if you’re interested, it is possible. Influencers travel often, and if they don’t have an ‘in-person’ assistant, you can express that you are open to travel and that your schedule allows it.
Your traveling tasks could include:
- Checking into the hotel and/or booking the reservations
- Calling for room service or car service
- Taking photos and videos
- Keeping track of personal belongings
- Running errands
Some trips allow for plus-ones, and the client might enjoy having a personal assistant throughout their work trip. Your job description can be completely different while traveling with a client, and switch from all virtual tasks to all in-person tasks.
How Much Should I Charge?
If you are just starting, a good range is $30-$50 per hour, depending on the work and the workload. After gaining some experience, you can charge anywhere from $60-$80 per hour. This is what I’ve heard from others in the business, but I’m not there yet!
Before you get too excited, your rate also depends on your skill set. A VA that edits videos or creates an entire website can charge more than a VA that only organizes emails. So learn as much as you can and expand your skill set!
As I mentioned, some clients may only need your help for about 10 hours per week. In that case, you can have multiple clients at once, depending on how much free time you have. Since you’re in charge of making your own hours, remember not to overwhelm yourself!
It’s not uncommon to have a client that doesn’t have a typical payroll that you would find at an office job. In those situations, you can use PayPal, Venmo, Cash App, Wise, or other reliable money transfer services.
You can choose whether you would like to be paid weekly, biweekly, or monthly, and you can work out what works best for your client. Oftentimes, it can be a little overwhelming for a client to pay weekly, but it all depends. As for taxes, I set aside a percentage of each paycheck to save for when taxes are due. Make sure to keep this in mind, or tax season will not be fun!
Things to Remember
If you want to become a VA, just remember to know your worth and take chances! Reach out to the company that you’ve always admired, or send an email to your favorite influencer. This job is learning as you go, and always doing your best to accommodate your client.
I’m happy to help and answer any questions that you have! I have a Patreon account where I share all of my tips and even templates to help you on your journey www.patreon.com/leannasal. I also post ‘VA Work Days in my Life’ videos that you can find here: www.youtube.com/leannasal.
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