Working from home has its own perks-- it could save you from the stress of the daily commute or the stress of getting stuck in traffic, you’ll get more time for yourself, you’ll have more time with your family, and you can basically work anywhere in the world with just your laptop. No wonder a lot of people are now leaving their 8-5’s for a ‘more fulfilling’, ‘better paying’, or whatever their reasons are for these kinds of gigs.
One of the most popular freelance gigs is to work as a Virtual Assistant aka VA. Compared to other online gigs where the client will pay you on a per project basis, this is more like a regular job where the employer will most likely hire you for a definite period of time so this way, the income of the VA is still more or less stable.
Personally, we have one full-time Virtual Assistant from the Philippines and she’s amazing. Her name is Yvette, I’m sure you’ve read her name in my posts. She worked as a Digital Marketing Manager and has been with us since 2016 and hiring her is one of the best decisions we’ve made. We also have part-timers and freelancers but today I’ll be talking about on how to do this and make it as your full-time profession. For this post, I’ll be answering all Frequently Asked Questions, discuss the pros and cons and guide you on how you can successfully land on a job as a VA. :)
What is a Virtual Assistant?
A Virtual Assistant is generally self-employed and provides professional administrative, technical, or creative (social) assistance to clients remotely from a home office.
What gears do I need to have to become a VA?
Being a VA isn’t a piece of cake. It’s a real job and most of the employers mean business. You have to be fully equipped with the following gears for you to be able to land on a job:
1) A working laptop or PC. Most employers prefer the latest models, depending on the kind of work you have to do; and
2) A stable and fast internet connection. This is essential for all online gigs. Don’t be surprised if some employers will even ask you to have a back-up connection in case of power interruption.
What skills do I need to have to work as a VA?
More than the gears, you need to have the skills. This is the primary thing that employers consider in hiring a VA. They don’t look at what kind of laptop you have, they look at your resume to know if you’re fit for the job.
1) Excellent communication skills. A good command of english is necessary, both written and oral. Most employers are foreigners and english is the best way, if not the only way to communicate with them.
2) Time management skills. I’m telling you, being a VA is ‘real work’. Others may think it’s so easy as you’re ‘just staying at home’ but trust me, it’s not something you do when you have time for it or if you feel like it. You need to make time for it. It’s very demanding and you need to be able to manage your time well.
3) Reliability. A VA is hired to ‘solve’ or to go about all the small details about the client’s business. You are needed to make the client’s business run smoothly. You have to be reliable and think straight when solving issues without or with least assistance from the employer. Kailangan dito ma diskarte ka!
4) Basic knowledge of Computer and Online Applications. You at least need to know how to work with Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, and Gmail. But most importantly you’re familiar with Social media!
What does a VA precisely do?
There is no precise method of how a VA works or the tasks they do because it would really depend on the business of the employer. Some could ask you to post items on amazon/shopee/ebay, write and send emails, edit photos, write a description of items on sale, research, manage their calendar, marketing, manage social media posts, etc. It could be one of this, some, or perhaps all of it!
Our business is basically blogging and as for our VA, she is the one managing our emails as well as our calendar, scheduling our post for Twitter and Pinterest, editing some photos, drafting our blog posts, editing our previous articles, and processing our Rent-A-Flight Service Requests. You may think it’s a lot (and yes it is) but she’s working for us full-time :)
Where can I find a job as a VA?
You may find gigs online with Freelancer, Craigslist, and Upwork. Just sign up with them and create your profile. There are a lot of websites so just try your luck with the others. Be careful-- scammers are everywhere (yikes!). Once they ask you to send them money prior to your employment for training or whatever, then it’s definitely a scam!
You can also inquire directly to small business owners or professional bloggers.
Do you have any tips for a successful application?
Competition is very tough, especially online so it won’t be easy to find a job. Just be patient and be mindful of some tips that I have here:
1) Make your Cover Letter and CV stand out. Write down your skills and your previous projects (just be mindful of what you should not put). Also, make a cover letter that in english that is free from any flaw.
2) Put a decent photo. Please, forget about the peace sign. People here means business and so should you.
3) Don’t apply for every job you see. Be picky. Not all the job posted is the right one for you. Check out the details like the Employer’s Profile including his feedback, the Hours of Work, the Skills Needed and the Tasks you have to do. If you think you’re not fit for the job, then find another one that will suit you. It’s always better than getting hired for a job you’re not really fit for and then getting fired after. It will reflect on your profile.
4) Be competitive. Do not settle for less. Check out how much an average person would pay for the same work for a Filipino and charge the same. I challenge you not to go beyond that (or else babaratin nila lahat ng pinoy!!).
5) Be yourself. Once you are shortlisted, there will most likely be an interview via phone or video call. Make sure you earn the employer’s trust in this few minutes as this is the most crucial part. Try to make your potential employer feel comfortable. If he starts to joke, then laugh and do the same. If he is serious, then you have to be one too or try to break the ice (if it doesn’t work, then go back to being serious). It is very important to know your potential employer’s character as you will be working together. Just be yourself. Nothing beats this. :)
6) Be honest. Tell him what you can and you can’t do so he won’t expect things from you.
7) Be careful with your choice of words. Rather than saying “It’s difficult”, use the word “challenging”. Instead of saying “I can’t do it”, say “I’ll do my best to do it” or “I’ll find my way on how I can do it”. Your choice of words could make a lot of difference in your interview! :)
8) Invest in your skills. Again, competition is very tough and a lot of people are better than you so you have to keep on striving and making yourself better. There’s a lot to learn! :) Head on to Udemy or Skillshare where you can get thousands of online courses! (Some are even offered for free)
How much does a VA earn?
As per Payscale, an average Filipino VA earns PhP 228,000 a year for a full-time job. That’s only 19,000 Php a month for a newbie. It really depends on the employer and what skills you have to do.
You could be paid hourly (which could range from $2 to $30) or monthly which could go as high as $850, sometimes even more. You could also be hired on a per project basis where the pay could range from $20 to $100 if you’re lucky :)
What are the cons of working as a VA?
Again, working from home isn’t all rainbows. There are some things you’d miss out:
1) You’ll work alone. You’ll have no supervisor and no friends around to help you out and check if what you’re doing is correct. This could also lead to boredom or laziness at work.
2) You might end up doing a night shift. Most employers are foreigners so you have to match their time zone. But don’t worry, this is not always the case.
Basically, that’s all you need to know! Hopefully, this post could let you land on your first job as a Virtual Assistant! Feel free to ask any questions below!
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