How to Become a Virtual Assistant and Get Your First Few Gigs?
First things first, we have already discussed some of the most important basics in the first article of this two-article series on how to become a virtual assistant. Please check it out before getting to this one, as we will pick up from where we left in the last article as well as discuss more advanced things.
We talked about some unique skills you may want to consider acquiring before trying to look for your first VA job, so let’s get to some general, more common ones as well before discussing the more advanced things you need to know about how to be a virtual assistant and find work as one.
There’s a HUGE demand for data entry VAs, although the pay isn’t very impressive. However, as someone that’s just starting out in the highly competitive VA industry, you may want to focus on getting your feet wet than looking for the highest-paying VA job.
And the good thing about working on data entry virtual assistant jobs online is that you don’t need to be very skilled at it. It’s usually very basic stuff that most people would have no problem working on.
However, knowing some basic commonly used features and functions of tools like Microsoft Excel and Word, as well as calendar management, email management and more.
This is definitely not at all an easy skill to learn, but it can instantly set you apart from most VAs out there. However, it’s important to note here that along with your spoken English skills, you may also need to develop a US accent to be able to work on cold calling online assistant jobs.
While it can take you quite a while to develop this skill, it may very well turn out to be worth it. If you have developed this skill and are also good with your general communication skills, you may be able to get yourself hired at a rate much higher than what most VA jobs typically pay.
How to Get Your First Gig?
Getting your first gig is likely going to be the hardest thing when trying to become a VA. In fact, getting even your first few gigs can be difficult, but once you do get them and perform well, you may never have to look back.
However, you can make it easier if you follow some highly effective ways explained below.
Being clear when describing yourself
When you’re trying to get your first gig through a freelancing platform like UpWork, you would find that clients there are often not interested in reading a pile of text just to be able to find out whether you would be a good fit for the job or not. So your best bet may be to describe yourself very clearly, as quickly as possible.
Sure, you can have a longer profile description, but then you should have a reason for doing so. Do you have a lot of skills you want to talk about in detail? Do you have some interesting past experience that may make clients more likely to hire you?
However, even those things shouldn’t come first, as not everyone may be interested in reading about them. Just describe yourself and what you can offer clearly, and you will likely have much better chances of getting your first gig surprisingly faster.
Sending a detailed, laser-targeted proposal
When sending a proposal to your potential client as someone with no reviews or recommendations, a stellar proposal will be your best shot at getting the job. Make it a generic one and you might as well throw away the opportunity.
However, if you manage to come up with a laser-focused proposal based on the details the client may have shared in their job post, you may certainly catch their eye. If they do end up contacting you, make sure you show utmost dedication and commitment to their project, and an eagerness to be a great resource for them.
This is easier said than done, and it may take you a few proposals to figure it out properly. Not to worry though, if you’re committed enough you will get there eventually.
Sharing on social media
LinkedIn can be a great way to make yourself look professional in the eyes of potential clients as well as get some exposure to your profile. If you have put time into growing your professional network, simply sharing on LinkedIn or even personal social networks like Facebook and Instagram may make you more likely to land your first gig.
However, the crucial part of this process would be to get your skills in front of businesses that are more likely to need the help of a VA. Think of E-commerce sites, bloggers, people selling on Amazon – you get the idea.
Reaching out to potential clients directly
There are many forums where people owning online businesses hang around. If you do a bit of searching around using Google, you may find a few major ones in no time.
However, simply registering an account and shooting out personal messages to potential clients will do you no good. Take the time to build a good, professional profile by trying to showcase your skills through your posts.
When you have a good few posts and a fair bit of activity on the forums, you can carefully analyze which members own a successful online business and are looking for some help to take some work burden off their shoulders.
Once you have a few targets down, you need to craft a “genuinely interest” personal message, be detailed but precise, and NEVER ask for upfront payment. Sure, there’s a bit of a possibility you may get scammed and end up working for a few hours for free, but that’s not much to lose and established members on such forums usually never do that (they care for their reputation and, honestly, have no reason trying to save a few bucks that way).
Who knows? You might find a long-term client that may keep you busy for months to come.