How to get a Virtual
October 13th 2005
The revolution of how businesses operate
is an enormous boon to Virtual Assistants. With more businesses moving
into an internet based atmosphere, the opportunity for growth as a
Virtual Assistant (VA) is exceptional.
Virtual Assistants are modern day Administrative Assistants. Most often
a good VA has the skill sets of a traditional administrative assistant
with the added benefit of being technically web savvy and often
possessing website and graphic design skills, HTML know how and an
understanding of search engine optimization and Internet marketing.
However, there are many levels to what type of work you could choose to
target as a Virtual Assistant. Many Virtual Assistants provide virtual
customer support for clients while others focus entirely on data entry
work. The options are diverse and plentiful.
So Where to Begin?
Many up and coming VA's get their first assignments
from established Virtual Assistant businesses. So networking with other
VA's can be an essential method of getting a shoe in this business. The
obvious place to begin networking is on forums. Do a Google search on
'virtual assistant forum' and you will have a good starting point.
When you are networking on forums, try to be an active participant on
the forum. Ask intelligent questions. Share your understanding on
different topics and comment on what other members have said. The
biggest mistake for many women trying to network or promote their
businesses on forums is to give one-liner answers that aren't
thoughtful. I am far more likely to outsource work to a candidate when I
see that they are serious about beginning their business, it isn't just
a whim. And that they are willing to ask questions and hone their
Build a Website
You really should have a website up for your business. Without one, your
chances to succeed are seriously going to be hindered. There are several
viable options for getting your website started. You can purchase a
template, use a site builder, hire a designer or build one yourself.
Building a website yourself can seem daunting, but it is likely a skill
you will need to develop in the Virtual Assistant industry and this will
give you some hands on experience. I highly recommend building your own
Once you have your website you can begin promoting it on your signature
in emails and on forums. You can advertise your services locally and
provide your customer with a website address to learn more about your
services. The opportunities for acquiring clients and networking with
other VA's expands tremendously once you have a professional website
Find Work Online
There are quite a few places now online where you can connect with
prospective clients and bid on jobs that they have. By far the best
place to do this is www.elance.com. Elance has an excellent reputation
and an excellent advertising budget. They draw thousands of jobs there
all the time. There is a fee, but it is well worth the investment.
Other sources for finding work are: www.craigslist.com, www.sologig.com,
www.homejobstop.com, www.guru.com, and www.getafreelancer.com. There are
really quite a few websites now that focus on bringing clients and
service providers together.
Do a Good Job
When you do land your first gig, do it well. Aim to astound your client.
Be ahead of schedule, respond to their inquiries, and send them daily
updates. Oftentimes first assignments are your best opportunity for
receiving more work. When a business reaches the point of outsourcing,
they are doing well. It is very likely that pleasing the client with
your first assignment can lead to ongoing work and/or glowing
recommendations to their colleagues to use your services.
Starting a Virtual Assistant business is an innovative, legitimate way
to utilize skills that you have. It is quickly becoming a popular home
business and there is tremendous room in the industry for growth. It can
take some time to sign on your first clients, but before you know it you
will have a full work load and a surprisingly abundant business doing
what you love!
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By Lori Redfield
Lori Redfield is the founder of FreelanceMom. Her website
provides support, advice and job leads for women who wish to work from
home. Sign up for her newsletter at:
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