Guest Post: Three practical tips on being a successful virtual assistant

Virtual assistant tips

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and Ambro

VA’s or “Virtual Assistants” provide essential office support to small business
owners…from their own home! Today’s guest post is from Manilyn Moreno, a professional freelancer, offering 3 quick tips to help you get started in the field. 

If you think you’ve already had enough of the 9-5 work, the demanding boss, pesky coworkers and suffocating office cubicle, you might want to consider working at home, wouldn’t you?

There are over 16 million home-based freelancers and that could swell to 20 million by the turn of 2014! It only shows that the trend is rising among professionals. Who wouldn’t want to? After all, working virtually means no prying eyes of the overbearing boss and, most especially, pressure’s off the air. You strike a work-life balance and you can choose to work at a time when you’re most convenient–boosting your productivity and fulfillment at work in the long run. But remember, jumping from a being a brick-and-mortar office worker to the virtual environment isn’t as easy as you think it is.

Do you want to know the secrets to becoming a successful virtual assistant? Here’s our list of practical tips to help you out as you shift career:

1.     Do what you love

In her book VA Secrets Revealed! An Insider Guide to Being a Successful Virtual Assistant, Alyssa Gregory explains that an important thing to consider to become a successful VA is to identify the services that you love to offer. Perform a personal inventory of the things that you’re great at and the work that you have experience doing. Consider what you really love the most—is it data processing?  Are you having a great time making and receiving calls? Or would you rather prepare high-impact sales presentations? While you can’t necessarily translate your passions into service offerings, it still helps to understand your strengths and weaknesses. After all, it doesn’t work well to offer services that you don’t love, right?

2.     Have a space of your own

Whether it’s a small corner in the kitchen or an extra room, you need to have a place where you can feel comfortable working at. Keep in mind that as your business grows, it is likely you will need more equipment, file storage and general workspace, so may want to plan for that, Gregory adds. She also suggests improvising. If you don’t have a room for an office space, you may want to shop for a shoji screen to separate your workspace. Make it a habit of pulling the screen to let your family know you are working and that you cannot be disturbed. It also makes sense to prepare at least the basic items for your home office, such as: computer, relevant software, printer, high-speed internet, email, telephone, and fax machine.

3.     Market & Marketing

Two of the most vital words used in small businesses are market and marketing. You need to know your niche market (to whom are you going to offer your services) and marketing (how are you going to reach out to your potential market?). You don’t immediately join the competition. According to Jance Byer and Elayne Whitfield-Parr, authors of How to Build a Successful Virtual Assistant Business, it pays to research the viability of your business and to whom are you going to sell that business. Tracy D’Aviero, who works as a virtual assistant, explains that VAs should have a set of marketable skills which will enable them to confidently sell to potential clients. While the services that a virtual assistant can offer range from the clerical to administrative work, it will be even better to work with your strengths and market them confidently, rather than spreading yourself too thin over different fields.

Author’s Bio: Manilyn Moreno is a freelancer. In addition to being a caterer and event planner, she has also done various online jobs like marketing, research, data entry, and content writing. Currently, she’s affiliated with a company offering software for catering.

 Think about all the extra money you could make by being a mystery shopper, starting your own business, or working from home for a legitimate company.  Take control of your income and check out our LEARN page for a list of classes, books, and more!

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