How to Become a Virtual Assistant

<P>Want to know how to become a virtual assistant? Is being a virtual assistant a good job?  Yes and no. Virtual assistant services are in principle unlimited; all one has to have is a preference for the particular niche one is drawn to. A virtual assistant is nothing more than an online entrepreneur, and it&#39;s a popular vocation, particularly for women, since it allows one to create one’s own schedule and hours, and it allows individuals (especially family-oriented ones) to achieve a balance of life and work.  </P> <P>Most polls and business trends are indicating an upswing in the demand for independent entrepreneurial services, and virtual assistant services are no exception - in fact, it practically defines what they are. <BR> <BR>The virtual assistant skill set is not really one that is acquired; one either has the “moxie” or one doesn’t.  It does require a good marketing strategy for finding virtual assistant clients, a strategy in which one can "sell the services" one offers, whether they are research, go-between, go-for or simply an assistant in a specific business (secretary, paralegal or entrepreneurial contact).   There are about two thousand such assistants worldwide, and their practices seem to be sustainable and profitable (on average, $40K a year). <BR> <BR>What is the virtual assistant skill set?  It includes a good "gift of gab" and the skills to maneuver and sell services successfully in the internet social media market.   Finding virtual assistant clients is not that onerous a task if one is out there “selling” oneself:  clients, after all, are on the lookout for inexpensive hires, and they hire VAs in order to save money by not employing full-time assistants and secretarial help.   As a result, the skill set is something similar to that of any computer- or internet-centered expert who specializes in one or two particular services. <BR> <BR>The skill set includes: </P> <UL> <LI>Expertise in one’s own field, to the point where one is comfortable assisting professionals: the most prevalent fields are those of financial services, real estate, taxes and tax preparation, legal services and coaching, either job or human resources, as counselor or advisor.  <LI>A willingness to work for particular organizations in those fields for lengthy and irregular hours at start-up; most VAs report having to work 14 to 16 hours a day at the beginning, and their services are in particular demand on weekends and holidays.  <LI>A knowledge of local businesses (it’s always better to start local, even with internet connections, since most businessmen prefer to meet their VAs face to face on occasion).   <LI>A working knowledge of the particular set of services one is prepared to offer—whether secretarial, research, entrepreneurial or advisory.  A VA may complete contracts, research legal questions, sell particular ideas or business plans or assist in human resources counseling—it all depends on what the client requires.  <LI>The research know-how to determine the most prevalent needs in the business world to which one is most attracted, and for which one has the most skills.   <LI>Connections to virtual assistant professional associations.  These organizations are excellent resources to finding out where the jobs are, how the virtual assistant market looks for particular businesses or specializations, and how other VAs are managing their particular businesses.</LI></UL> <P>There are numerous worldwide virtual assistant professional associations to contact, or obtain membership in, such as the IAVOA (International Association of Virtual Office Assistants), IAVA (International Association of Virtual Assistants), VANF (Virtual Assistant Networking Forum, an invaluable networking and support group), the REVA network (Real Estate Virtual Assistant) and Work-the-Web, an excellent support group for exclusively online entrepreneurs.  There are also free internet directories for job opportunities, such as Elite Office Support and Specialist Virtual Assistants Club.  </P> <P>If one has the skills, the desire and drive to sell oneself, the Virtual Assistant position is an enviable one.</P>

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