Negosyong Pinoy: Start a Virtual Assistant Business

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As we always read in books, what we watch in movies, and such, being a worker will not allow you to build your hectares of Real Estate and your dream car. You won’t be able to buy luxurious goods and brands easily and without going broke.

This is why the best alternative or thing you can do is to transition to being an entrepreneur. Now it might sound easy and light but a majority of people who start have the troubles of knowing “what” they want to do as an entrepreneur.

Virtual Assistant
Image was taken from The Self Employed |

There are a lot of things you can do. As a matter of fact, it could be anything and you can start any time. With the Internet right by our sides, trying to find what’s the best for you never became so easy. One field that people love is the Virtual Assistant (VA) business.

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In this article, we will be giving you a guide on how you can start a virtual assistant business, define what a virtual assistant does, and try to expound on the benefits of having a virtual assistant in order for you to properly gauge whether or not this business is for you.

What is a Virtual Assistant?

To give you a short background, a Virtual Assistant (VA), based on what it’s called, is a person who can assist a specific business in what they need in terms of their back office or back work. They are assistants of some sort that help a specific business in taking inquiries, orders, analysis, technically whatever a business or a company needs.

Read: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) of Starting a Virtual Assistant Business

A virtual assistant business is usually a very low-cost investment and can give you high returns depending on who or what the client needs. They would usually operate from a remote location and would either be paid per productive hour or per contract (again, depending on the company).

If you think that this business is something that’s just out of the books, think again. There currently is a growing demand for virtual assistants especially when the online world became abundant.

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Isn’t a virtual assistant the same as administrative (admin) work?

Technically, a virtual assistant is an all-around worker and would usually have a specialization. We will dictate those to you in a bit but just to clarify, a virtual assistant is usually a person who is a hybrid or an extended employee who does admin work. To put simply, a virtual assistant would have a more technical take on what he or she is tasked to do.

From this alone, we can arrive at the conclusion that virtual assistants are entrepreneurs, not just workers. Why? Because a virtual assistant can start being a virtual assistant to try and build the profile and then that person can eventually hire more people to be the virtual assistants. Thus, making a network or a string of workers rooting from one single worker.

The types of virtual assistant jobs

There are multiple jobs that virtual assistants can accommodate to. As mentioned earlier, virtual assistants are more technical and would most often have a special skill that would highlight their entire portfolio.

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Here are the most common types of virtual assistant jobs:

  1. Data entry
  2. Administrative work
  3. Graphic Design
  4. Picture and video editing/enhancement
  5. Payroll
  6. Accounting
  7. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  8. Email marketing
  9. Social media marketing and management
  10. Market research
  11. Content writing
  12. Basic – complex programming

As you may have noticed, a virtual assistant would be one of the busiest employees and workers of a specific company or business. With the sole reason of them handling whatever a physical and present team can handle, we can therefore conclude that they’re some kind of a one-man-team.

How can I start a virtual assistant business?

List down the set of skills you can contribute

Before we guide you on how you can start a virtual assistant business, you must need to know that there are two (2) types of skills: Soft and Hard.

Soft skills usually refer to the behavior and specific work ethics of an employee. They are commonly known as key attributes of a person that would define how they operate within a company. Most usually, businesses would look for the following soft skills:

  1. Respectful
  2. Team player
  3. Disciplined as regards time and work delivery
  4. Professional
  5. Pleasant
  6. Able to operate in any type of environment

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Hard skills, on the other hand would usually define what a specific virtual assistant can do for the company or the business. This would be the skills that you can list down which will make you different from any other worker. Some of the best qualities that businesses would look for are:

  1. Work efficiency
  2. Can compose a formal and a professional email
  3. Good command of the English language (written and spoken)
  4. Proficient and can operate basic office applications (MS Word, MS Powerpoint, MS Excel, MS Outlook).

In addition to those common traits, some companies would also want to see if their virtual assistant has a certain specialization. So, listing down these qualities in your portfolio can make the difference:

  1. Web Design
  2. SEO-writer
  3. Lead generation
  4. Sales ability
  5. Graphic and Web design
  6. Marketing skills

Set up your office

Now, this could be at home or at a specific location where you want your business to operate. However, most people love the idea of setting up a home office because they can avoid the hassle of traveling.

Setting up an office in your home is not that difficult. As a matter of fact, the following are only the things you need to say that you have a home office:

  • A working computer or a laptop
  • Printer
  • Workstation
  • Office chair
  • Stable and reliable Internet connection

These are the only things you need. However, adding some accent to it or some sort of efficiency can not just help you with design, but with your overall productivity.

  • Whiteboard
  • Wall clock
  • Scanner
  • Filing cabinet
  • Folders/Clear folders
  • Business permits

Both the whiteboard and the permits would be drastic help in the efffectivity and the efficiency of your business. So, try to prioritize these two first if you ever plan on building a home office.

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Establish an online profile

You know when you have to submit a resume when you apply for a job? An online profile works the same way for your business, actually. So, giving it time and effort would be a great turn and can help you achieve what you never imagined.

Creating an online profile would neither be difficult nor easy. What you need is to be able to project the skills, accomplishments, and qualities that you and your business have in a clear and impressive manner.

Here are some of the best tips to be successful in creating an online profile:

  • Draft it first; don’t post it without proofing it or without editing it;
  • Know that a profile or a portfolio should have the following:
    • Contact Information/Personal Information
    • Objective Statement
    • Strengths
    • Education/Certification
    • Experience
    • Achievements
  • Summarize and keep it as simple and straightforward as possible.
  • Use just around a minimum of five (5) to a maximum of eight (8) or nine (9) qualities in detailing what your experience, strengths are.
  • Don’t be too technical in writing your portfolio; keep it simple and straight.

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Establish rates and create your network

To give you an example, most entry-level virtual assistants get paid $2.50 to a total of $4 per hour. If you think of it, this is not the type of business that would bring in millions of pesos and dollars to you but at these rates, you’re earning more than your previous office job, correct?

If you’re still unsure of how much you would charge, you can ask around and check online. People engage in forums and try to converse with current virtual assistants for their rates and processes.

Finding clients is probably the trickiest part of it all because not all businesses and companies are looking for VAs. Now, some VAs use the following strategies in grabbing clients:

Online job sites

Currently, a lot of freelancers take advantage of the fact that there are online platforms where they can showcase what they can do. Websites like UpWork, Guru, 199jobs, are among the most common.

Group meetings and discussions

Probably the most difficult way but can be the most rewarding if it permits. Getting to know new people can actually be a key factor in getting a hold of clients because you would be able to impress people as to what you can do.

Social media

Now this, I can say, would be the most common way on letting thousands of other people know about a situation. Social media brags of the number of visitors everyday and you can take advantage of that.

Traditional grabbing of clients

You can run caravans, you can distribute flyers, any traditional way of advertising can also be effective if you will be running an admin work type of business. Of course, a combination of digital and traditional is always best.

Read: 21 Home-based Business that Filipinos can do

There you go! You now know how you can start a virtual assistant business. Although the tips we gave you are basic tips and simple strategy, those are what most people miss out on and it can either make or break your success. So, be sure to study the basics and to go back to it as much as possible.

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