Making money online has as easy as it is today and with the right virtual assistant skills set, you can create a substantial passive income for yourself. The most important of these is communication, which is the foundation for all your interactions with clients and other persons. Before starting on this journey, you should also consider whether you have any special skills such as marketing or digital design.
You’re probably wondering what a virtual assistant does. Well, a virtual assistant is someone who provides administrative support through online communication and technology. They can help with various tasks like managing your calendar, taking care of your finances, making travel arrangements, and more.
So how do you become one? You need to be an excellent communicator and have strong organizational skills. As well as being able to multitask at the same time. Good knowledge of basic computer programs such as Microsoft Word and Excel is also essential because this will allow you to complete some tasks remotely if needed, for example, creating spreadsheets.
Understanding What It Means to Be a Virtual Assistant
Virtual assistants are a rapidly growing trend that combines the benefits of working remotely with the potential to earn money. The role is perfect for those who want to work from home but don’t want to give up their career or passion. A virtual assistant has many responsibilities and can be hired by anyone, from businesses, entrepreneurs, individuals, and more.
Understanding what it means to be a virtual assistant before starting your own business or looking for opportunities in this field is essential.
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What Does A Virtual Assistant Do?
The role of a virtual assistant is to provide administrative support to an individual or company. Many people get confused by the term ‘virtual’ and think that these assistants are based in other countries, but this isn’t always the case. Many virtual assistants work from home or in their own office and provide their services remotely.
Virtual assistants can be hired for general administrative tasks or specific ones such as email management, research projects, and scheduling. They can also be used for social media marketing and project management purposes.
Why Are Virtual Assistant Skills Important?
As a virtual assistant, your skills and background will be the things that make you stand out from other applicants. If you don’t know your skills, how can you expect to include them in your résumé? And if you don’t know what to include in your résumé, how can you expect it to get noticed?
If there are specific tasks that are unfamiliar to you or intimidating because they seem too difficult, then this is where learning comes into play. You should start becoming familiar with these types of work so that when an employer asks if something is within your wheelhouse (and it probably will), then yes. You have experience doing just about everything on their list of requirements for the job.
It’s worth mentioning that just because something is within our wheelhouse doesn’t mean we’re good at it or even enjoy doing it all the time, but maybe that’s not important right now. The most important thing here is getting started on growing those skillsets so we can move forward confidently into our new career path as virtual assistant extraordinaire.
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Compulsory Virtual Assistant Skills
If you have the following skills and experience, you’re well to becoming a virtual assistant. Thankfully, most of these skills can be learnt from online platforms such as Udemy and Coursera where you might even get a certificate for your efforts. These critical virtual Assistant skills are explained in detail below, alongside some other necessary skills you need to be efficient as a virtual assistant:
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1. Basic Accounting Skills
As a virtual assistant, you’ll handle a lot of bookkeeping. The key to doing this well is having a good understanding of basic accounting principles. This includes knowing the difference between cash and accrual accounting, as well as being able to work with accounts payable and receivable.
You should also be able to maintain financial records (e.g., balance sheets) and prepare reports for your clients on their progress in meeting budget goals or making payments owed to vendors and suppliers.
2. Organization Skills
Organization skills are a must if you’re applying for a virtual assistant job. Virtual assistants need to be able to:
- Keep track of their tasks and time.
- Prioritize their work effectively.
- Work in an ever-changing environment.
- Multitask while maintaining high-quality results.
3. Email Management Skills
The importance of replying to and following up on emails promptly is an essential skill set you must have as a virtual assistant. The virtual assistant must be reliable, thorough, and efficient. There is no room for error when it comes to email management.
So you have to be conversant with how to set up email filters, delete and archive emails—creating templates for everyday tasks that you do regularly, such as scheduling meetings.
4. Communication Skills
Communication skills are essential for any virtual assistant. Your clients will need to be able to reach you easily and quickly, and your team will need to be able to get in touch with you as well. To get the most out of being a virtual assistant, you must have these communication channels:
3. Instant Messenger (Slack, Facebook Messenger)
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5. Computer/IT skills
You should be able to use Microsoft Office and have at least a basic understanding of internet use. You’ll need to be comfortable with email, social media, web research, and digital marketing.
You should know how to manipulate Google Docs: a word processing software, Sheets: an excel-like spreadsheet tool, Drive cloud storage, and Calendar Slides: presentation software. It would help if you also had an intermediate level of Gmail Hangouts, the chat messaging service provided by Google.
6. Travel Research and Arrangement
As a virtual assistant, you’ll be tasked with researching the best deals for your clients. This includes checking flight times, hotel rates, transportation options, etc. You may also need to make reservations for them or find out about different travel insurance policies. Additionally, many virtual assistants assist their clients with booking events and activities while they’re away from home by using apps like Expedia or Booking.
7. Attention to detail
Attention to detail is vital in a virtual assistant position, as you will be responsible for completing various tasks. You need to have the ability to follow instructions precisely and not miss any details.
If you’re given an assignment that involves formatting text or numbers into columns on a spreadsheet, for example, you must make sure every row has the same number of characters or numbers. If too many or too few characters or numbers are in one column, it will throw off the entire document and make it difficult for your client to read.
Another example is ensuring that each piece of information within an Excel spreadsheet has been transcribed correctly from its source document (email attachments often contain multiple files).
Also, remember that abbreviations like “approx.” instead of “approximately” can confuse when transcribing information from one source into another. Similarly, it’s best to write out numerals (“three,” not “3”) whenever possible, so you don’t miss out on any vital information.
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8. Quick Thinking and Effective decision making
A virtual assistant needs to be able to think on their feet and make quick decisions. They must also be capable of solving problems, working creatively, strategizing, and thinking positively or negatively. A good virtual assistant can think calmly under pressure because there will always be many challenges in this line of work.
Bookkeeping skills are a must. You need to keep track of all the money flowing in and out of your business, so you know how much to pay yourself, how much is owed, and how much is available for other purposes.
The best way to start bookkeeping is by keeping a simple spreadsheet. This will allow you to quickly enter transactions as they occur and see everything in one place. Your budget must be realistic, so don’t forget about taxes or other expenses that will come up throughout the year, like insurance.
Job Opportunities as a Virtual Assistant
The job opportunities as a virtual assistant are endless. As the name suggests, you can work from home or anywhere else. This means that if you have a skill set that is in high demand and an employer is willing to pay for it; then you might be able to work remotely.
The industries that hire virtual assistants range from healthcare and education to retail and technology. In addition, these jobs can be found in all different locations throughout the world. With freelance platforms like Fiverr, Upwork and others are great places to get virtual assistant work with ease.
There are also many different levels of experience required depending on what type of organization or business you want to work for: some companies only need someone with basic skills. In contrast, other companies will require advanced expertise.
If your goal is simply income generation, then having just a few years of experience could be enough but if your goal is long-term career development, consider getting additional training so that no company has any reason not to hire you.
In this article, we talked about how virtual assistants are integral to the growing trend toward remote work. We also covered some skills needed to become a successful virtual assistant. To sum it up, many different types of jobs may be classified as “virtual assistants,” and they vary widely in what they entail.
Some are more technical than others, but most require some knowledge of computers and basic software programs like Microsoft Office or Google Docs. The important thing is that you’ll want your virtual assistant skill set to be able to handle whatever task you might have to face.
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