How to Become a Virtual Assistant Using the Skills You Already Have
If you are considering starting a Virtual Assistant (VA) business, you may be wondering what type of service you could offer clients. Would there be a market for those services? How do I find clients? Where will you learn what you need to know to open and run your business? Starting any business is a big step, and you definitely start with more questions than answers. The good news is that there are valuable resources to help you along the way.
How to Identify Your Marketable Skills
Many aspiring VAs think they have no skills to offer in order to start a business. For most working professionals, nothing could be farther from the truth!
Think about what you have done in your career up to this point. Start a list of the assigned tasks in your current position, as well as anything else you’ve done in the past. Write down everything you know how to do. Then break it down further to what each role entails.
For example, if you are an administrative assistant, you most likely manage emails for a busy executive or business owner. As part of that task, you draft and answer emails on their behalf, assign priority for follow-up, forward emails to other departments, and resolve problems or complaints. Now, write down what programs and systems you use to complete these tasks (i.e. GSuite, MS Outlook). These skills translate to Email Management, which is a highly sought-after skill in the VA marketplace. And that is just one of the skills you have!
Repeat this with your other responsibilities and you will have a comprehensive list of skills you could offer as a VA.
What Would You Enjoy Doing?
A few years ago, when I was considering the entrepreneur life, I asked someone who counseled small business owners about the best type of business to start. His answer surprised me at the time: “Get into a business that you will enjoy doing, day in and day out.” But now that I am in the thick of things, his answer totally makes sense!
Now that you have a list of all your skills, related tasks, and even technology that you use regularly, ask yourself, “Which tasks do I truly enjoy doing?” Everyone has a favorite part of their job that makes them really excited - tasks or projects that they truly look forward to doing. Highlight those and set them aside.
Next, think about who you like to work with each day. Do you prefer working independently or do you like interacting with others? Maybe it is a combination of both! Consider your personality and how you like to do your work when building a business.
Sometimes people say, “Well, I like everything - I can’t narrow it down!” or “I absolutely HATE what I do right now.” Take some time to reflect - even if you have to visit your local coffee shop, library, or another private setting where you can really focus.
One tip you might consider is taking a personality test or assessment to get things moving along in the right direction. A great free option is 16 Personalities. It is based on the popular DISC assessment, and it even gives you career options and tips that may fit your personality best. Try it out - you may learn more about yourself that could save you time in the long run.
You Don’t Need More Skills Training to be a Virtual Assistant
Typically, new VAs are concerned that they don’t know enough or have the skills they need to serve clients. They think after they pick up one more skill or take the latest training course, they can then start their business. Sometimes you need to brush up on software you have not used in a while, but there are plenty of free options to do that. But more often than not, the skills you have from your professional career, plus your basic computer and typing skills, are all that you need in terms of offering legitimate services.
Now if you decide to offer a service where you need more in-depth training to build on the foundation you already have, you have many choices in the online world. Udemy, LinkedIn Learning, and even YouTube are great resources. Specializing in specific programs, such as Salesforce or Ontraport is another option where you may obtain training directly from those companies. Are you more of a hands-on learner? Connect with other VAs who offer those same services to learn new software by subcontracting or completing an internship. You will get real-life experience with the added benefit of feedback and support from a more seasoned VA.
What Do I Need to Start My Business?
Running a business can be an overwhelming proposition for many people. Simply making a post here and there on LinkedIn or Facebook about your new business is a start - but there’s more to it than that. Successful businesses have accounting and marketing systems in place, among other things. And when you are on your own, who do you turn to when you have a question? Many of us need guidance along the way - and if you search for “virtual assistant training”, you will find many results on the web.
Programs range in price from free to thousands of dollars, from a few hours of video training to months of training, with coaches and ongoing support. Do your due diligence and research any program before you enroll to make sure it fits your needs.
When I embarked on a work-from-home career, I did the same research. I searched the web, spoke with people in a few different industries (IT and Real Estate, and then realized I had much to offer without having to retrain in a new field. Through a Facebook ad, of all things, I found Kathy Goughenhour and her Virtual Expert® Training Program. She offers a mix of recorded training sessions, one-to-one coaching, continuing education, and support. There is an active community of VAs who are there to answer questions and support one another on the VA journey. Kathy offers a low-cost five-day training to explore the program as well as a free webinar. I am now a Certified Virtual Expert®, and believe in and recommend the program. Check it out - see what you think!
Are You Ready to Start Your Journey?
Hopefully, now you have some ideas on what you could offer as a virtual assistant and some additional insight on how you can get there. As a working professional, you have SO many skills to offer the VA marketplace. Do more research on how you can move forward and start thinking about the best time to get started. Once you are ready to open your business, either full-time or part-time, consider coaching or other professional guidance so that your VA business is a smashing success!
Let’s Build Talent is proud to announce that we are currently accepting Virtual Assistant applications to be part of our new venture, Achieve VA. If you are an aspiring VA or just starting out in your business, click here to complete our application. Who knows? Maybe you will be starting on your VA journey sooner than you thought!