Hi friends! Today we’re covering how to become a virtual assistant – one of my personal fave topics. This is an amazing side hustle that can easily scale to a full-time income. And it’s way easier than you might think.
Virtual assisting is a low-skill job with a low barrier of entry and a basically limitless pool of potential clients. You set your own rates. You control your hours. You can work from your bed, pants optional. What’s not to love?
You only need a few things to get a job as a virtual assistant – a marketable skill, an effective plan to market yourself, and, well, actual clients.
But it can be overwhelming at the beginning. It’s easy to dream about a full-time income from VAing but it’s a little tricky actually getting from A to B.
My first few months doing this I was stressed, broke, and generally just had no clue how tf I was supposed to ~manifest~ a business and clients out of thin air. Through a lot of trial and error (and tears lol), I went from 0 clients to having to turn away new ones – a seriously amazing feeling for someone who vividly remembers having $200 in her bank account.
…I’m now set to clear $17K this MONTH. For the first time in my life, I get to work on my passion project, this blog, because I want to, not because I need to.
That is a f*cking mind-blowing number for me that I’m sharing not to brag but to let y’all know that it is VERY POSSIBLE to develop a skill set and brand and market yourself and scale to this level. This kind of money isn’t just for people in tech.
So. Today I’m going to share EVERYTHING I’ve learned – for FREE!!* – so that you can do it too.
By the end of this post I guarantee you’ll have all the info you need to become a virtual assistant with NO experience. I’m going to go over what skills you need to become a VA, how to show off your skills and get hired, and – most importantly – how to get clients as a virtual assistant. Let’s get to it!
*(Need anything from Amazon? Shop via my link if you’d like to say thanks – I’ll receive a small commission on any purchases, at no additional cost to you. This post probably also contains other affiliate links, which I earn commission on too. Thanks for helping keep all content on this site 100% free!)
Becoming a Virtual Assistant FAQ
What exactly does a virtual assistant do?
First things first. What does a virtual assistant actually do? Well, it varies!
TYPICALLY, being a virtual assistant means working with a small business to provide general administrative support. There’s also huge demand for virtual assistants specialising in social media management or Pinterest management.
PS, I’m currently hiring for a superstar Pinterest VA, so if that sounds like you, please shoot your resume over to firstname.lastname@example.org! ❤️ Read this post first 😉
A typical virtual assistant will do some or all of the following (plus a bunch of other random tasks):
- Email management
- Customer support
- Data entry
- Social media management
- Content creation
- Graphics creation
- Calendar management
What do I need to become a virtual assistant?
There are a few core skills that EVERY virtual assistant needs – these are things you need to be successful & also need to communicate to your potential clients:
- Top-notch organisational & communication skills. No one will trust you with their business if they think you’re sloppy and unreachable.
- Commitment and consistency. No one will trust their business to someone who isn’t dependable, and who’s going to flake or not be able to handle responsibility.
- Willingness to learn & adaptability. Virtual assisting is personal. You’ll often be working with a one-person business and clients can be particular, or throw random tasks at you, so you need to be able to roll with the punches.
To become a successful virtual assistant you also need a marketable skill – a specialty, like any other job. I’d suggest picking a few of the skills I mentioned in the previous section, or anything else you have experience or interest in, and really honing in.
Any past job experience you can leverage, any relevant passion projects (i.e. skills gained building a personal blog can absolutely get you “real jobs”), that’s all super useful.
Can I get a job as a virtual assistant without any experience?
YES, 100%! Virtual assisting is generally extremely low-skill work, meaning it doesn’t take major effort or specialisation to develop these skills.
If you want to become a virtual assistant with no experience, start Googling. Google the CRAP out of whatever it is you want to start charging people for. A lot of people sign up for courses, but honestly I think that’s a waste of money. You don’t need a course to learn how to manage someone’s IG.
Focus on honing your skills, defining & marketing those skills, and pitching to clients, and your odds of getting the gig will skyrocket. If applicable, focus on building your personal accounts – ex. if you want to do IG management but don’t have any experience, get some firsthand practice by scaling your own account first. More tips on how to do all of this later on in this post 🙂
Is there demand for virtual assistants?
OH YES. The demand for virtual assistants is absolutely insane right now. Quitting your job to pursue your passion project is trending lol and that means literally everyone AND their mother is starting a side hustle. Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, etc are completely flooded with people trying to escape traditional work by scaling their fledgling businesses.
And as any self-employed person will tell you, that’s not a cake-walk. These new business owners are burnt tf out, drowning in admin, and trying to do 800000 things in 24 hours. So when you come along offering to make their life easier and free up their time for higher-priority tasks, they are going to jump at the opportunity.
How do virtual assistants get clients?
There are a lot of ways to get clients as a virtual assistant. Social media, as I mentioned, is my personal favorite. There’s the most opportunity and the least competition. I’ve gotten every single contract I applied for via FB.
You can also apply for beginner virtual assistant jobs via platforms like Indeed, Upwork, or even LinkedIn, but be warned you are competing with literal hundreds of people who most likely have more experience, lower rates, or both.
LOTS more on how to find virtual assistant clients below, so keep reading!
How much money can you make as a virtual assistant?
The best thing about virtual assisting is that you decide how much money you make. You set your own rates, find your own clients, and work as few or as many hours as you want. It’s an amazing feeling.
Rates can vary pretty significantly depending on your skills/experience, but most people charge in the ballpark of $20-35 hourly. People charging less are getting ripped off imo, and people charging more have a more in-demand skill (or a great sales pitch). Just from people I know I’d say the median is probably about $25.
Another option is to do monthly tiered packages. This is how I initially scaled my business and I think it’s preferable (set price, set hours, set expectations). I’ll cover this more in-depth later, too.
Do I need a website to become a virtual assistant?
You don’t, but it definitely helps to have a professional website. Your business looks WAY more legitimate. If you can pop some testimonials or case studies on there, even better – social proof and data really help.
If you don’t have a website yet, you can start one for just $2.95/mo with the hosting provider I use, BlueHost!
How do I write a resume for virtual assisting?
You’ll need a brand-new, super-focused resume to start getting clients. Rewrite your entire resume to be totally centered around your VA skills. Leave out anything that’s unrelated and try to make everything else sound as relevant as possible.
Say you used to work at a restaurant and now you want to be a virtual assistant for an e-commerce website. You didn’t “take orders”, you “coordinated with team members to streamline order processes & managed POS”. You weren’t a cashier, you averaged $2000 in sales & balanced a cash drawer daily. You didn’t get verbally berated by Karens, you handled escalated customer service issues, addressed customer feedback, etc.
Here’s an absolutely FANTASTIC article about making restaurant experience sound good on a resume, but I think it’d be relevant to a lot of other fields too.
How to Gain the Skills to Become a Virtual Assistant
As I mentioned before, the beauty of this kind of work is that there is a low barrier to entry. The skills you need to become a virtual assistant are not skills you need schooling, paid courses, or even a lot of time/energy to pick up. Google is your best friend.
Want to become a social media manager? Cool. Check out this article about how to improve engagement organically, this article about how to get more followers, this article (from me!) about how to grow an account fast using hashtags.
Want to become a Pinterest manager? Amazing. Here’s an article about scheduling Pins via Tailwind, here’s an article about graphics creation via Canva (don’t forget to get Canva Pro – it’s only $12.99/mo), and here’s one about optimising Pins for search.
And so on. Doing the work will put you ahead of the 99% of people who have literally no idea what they’re doing. Become a pro, and it will reflect in your pitches, your hire rate, and your success.
How to Get Your First Client as a Virtual Assistant
Know Where to Look
To get your very first job as a virtual assistant, I HIGHLY recommend searching on Facebook or Instagram for ads. Professional platforms like Upwork may post more jobs, but they also get more applicants – and those applicants typically have experience and a robust resume already.
I personally have found “boss babe” type FB groups to be an absolute goldmine for VA work and a very easy sell. Some groups you can check out for VA jobs (use the search bar to look for things like “assistant, VA”, etc)
- Bucketlist Bombshells Community (check the #gethired tag)
- Successful Female Entrepreneurs
- Women Business Owners Supporting Women Business Owners (also just a great, non-spammy group with some great insights!)
There are also some FB groups targeted specifically for VA jobs, although to be honest I don’t know anything about the quality of jobs posted or availability. But they may be worth a try. Please be mindful of scams and don’t apply to any jobs that require any type of payment up-front.
Make a Dedicated VA Account
For FB, again, I suggest making a targeted website all about your VA services. Most people in FB groups have a link to their professional site when pitching, and it makes a difference. If you don’t have a website yet, you can start one for just $2.95/mo with the hosting provider I use for this site, BlueHost.
You can also turn your personal FB page into a biz page and start networking that way.
For IG, I suggest making a dedicated VA account and growing it to at least 500 followers quickly (some hashtag strategy here, but otherwise just like/follow other VA accounts to get your numbers up quick!).
Then start running through tags. Try things like #businesscoaches, #womenwhohustle, #sixfigurechick, etc, and look for anyone with things like “entrepreneur” or “coach” or a lot of sales-y lingo in their profile, but only 1 or 2k followers (or less). Then start networking. Like, follow, comment, get yourself on their radar.
Write a COMPELLING Pitch. Seriously.
Advertising yourself is a skill you 100% must master if you want to succeed in the freelance world. It is more important than any experience you might have. I TRULY believe that 90% of getting a gig is proper marketing, and 10% is skill/experience.
Fortunately, you are in luck. Because most people are genuinely f*cking terrible at marketing themselves, lol. So it’s not hard to stand out.
What you need to do is clearly & professionally communicate your experience and articulate how you are going to solve alllll this potential client’s problems.
If their ad mentions they want help scaling their Pinterest account, that’s great news, because you’re experienced in graphics creation with Canva, Pinterest description optimization, AND your optimized Pins typically see 300%+ growth month-to-month, so you’d be happy to take this off their plate. And so on.
Come in confident and knowing your value. Act like a business. Provide clear, concrete info about your past experience and what you can do for this client to deliver results. Convince people they would be an absolute f*cking idiot NOT to hire you.
See the difference here between a terrible pitch (unprofessional, bland, lacks information) and a great pitch (professional, compelling, & full of stats) :
Solve Problems for Clients & Turn Cold Leads into Warm Leads
You do not have to wait for someone to post a job. You can go out and get clients yourself.
That said, there’s a huge difference between pitching to someone who’s expressed interest in hiring a VA, or who’s engaged with you on social media, and someone who is just sitting there minding their own business. If you pop up and hit them with the “hey! looking for a VA?” they probably aren’t going to respond well.
But if you build up a relationship with them, learn about the issues they’re having with their business, and then come in saying hey, I know you have this pain point, and I know I can deliver some value here, you can easily nab yourself a new client.
Social media is great for this. Network with a ton of business owners and watch their Stories every day. Ask probing, but not glaringly obvious, questions about their business. Congratulate them on their successes and commiserate on their low days. If/when they start talking about their business struggles, go in for the kill.
Offer Intro Pricing
A lot of people offer something like a free week to entice new clients, but I am not a fan of working for free, and I don’t want to encourage any of you to work for free, because I think that’s some bullsh*t. If it’s worth it to you, you could trade a “free week” for a glowing testimonial to put on your site, but that’s the limit of what I’d offer for free.
However. If you aren’t getting any bites, you can try out an intro week or month package at a reduced rate. Promo yourself that way and see if you can segue any of these clients into paying your full rate after the intro period. If they like you, they’ll probably be keen, so make sure you do a killer job.
Apply Everywhere & Don’t Get Discouraged
Just like any job hunt, looking for VA work can be discouraging. Just keep at it and keep working on building your skill set in the meantime. You WILL get your first client eventually, so don’t lose hope.
If it makes you feel better, I have seen some unbelievably terrible people working as VAs lol – if they can do it, so can you!
What Happens if You Keep Applying But No One is Hiring You?
I firmly believe this is a marketing problem, not a you problem. I know from experience. I’m a marketer and writer first and foremost, and pride myself on being able to convince literally anyone that I can do literally anything lol. I have wormed my way into tech, e-commerce, sales, you name it, solely with a great elevator pitch.
You can get your first VA job with absolutely no experience if you pitch it right. So if you’re consistently applying to VA jobs but not getting any bites, something is wrong. Straight up. You need to adjust the way you’re presenting yourself.
There could be a variety of issues, but the most likely ones I’d suspect:
- you’re casting too wide of a net and need to niche down/present yourself as a specialist in one area
- your pitch is unprofessional
- your pitch isn’t communicating how you are THE person to solve this client’s problems
Try positioning yourself as more of a specialist and target clients who need exactly that one thing from you. Revamp your resume to align with that. Refine your pitch and focus on how you can make this potential client’s life easier.
If you’ve tried all that and still getting nowhere, feel free to email me at email@example.com to book a strategy call. I’d be happy to talk it out with you and help you land your first gig.
How to Get More Clients as a Virtual Assistant
Ok, so you got your first client, amazing. But now you’re wondering how tf to scale your new business to the point that you can tell your boss to f*ck off and ride into the sunset.
Fortunately, once your foot is in the door, getting more clients is a PIECE. O. CAKE.
Gather Case Studies & Testimonials
Even if you only have one client, take full advantage of the work you’re doing for them. Make sure you highlight in your pitches that you “boosted client engagement by 60%” or “drove 30% increase in sales month-to-month” – nobody has to know that it was only for one business.
Social proof is important in this kind of business, so get your client to write you a glowing review about how instrumental you’ve been to the success of their business. Pop that sh*t front and center on your website or in a post/Story. Potential leads will see that and wonder if you can do the same for them.
Network Like CRAZY
The absolute BEAUTY of this kind of work is that people building their own businesses – the kind of people hiring VAs – are pro networkers. They literally have to be if they want to have a successful business (or the appearance of a successful business, lol).
What this means is that there’s an almost 100% chance that your clients know a ton of other people who also have businesses in the same niche, at the same level as them. It is a literal goldmine.
If you want to be proactive about getting new clients, try going through your existing clients’ following/followers list and start adding potential leads. You can try connecting with them via social media and build a relationship or just go in for the kill and pitch them straight away. Instagram is great for this.
Feel free to also just ask your clients if they know anyone else who might need a VA. You’re helping them scale their business, so they should be happy to help you scale yours.
At some point, this actually happens naturally. If you’re doing your job well, around 6 months-1 year into VAing, your business will start “bubbling over”, AKA growing exponentially. It’s VERY likely that by this time many of your very satisfied clients will be telling all their friends about their superstar assistant.
You might find yourself going from 2 clients to 8 clients in the span of a month, thanks to word-of-mouth (this happened to me lol and I was…. overwhelmed, to say the least). Be prepared and have a system in place for time management and streamlining your workflows & billing, it will make your life a lot easier.
Upwork & Freelancer Platforms
Social media is a great place to get your FIRST virtual assistant job, but you’re missing out if you don’t utilise freelancer platforms once you have some experience. It can be hard to get your first client on a platform like Upwork or Fiverr, so here’s a couple tips:
- Create a HIGHLY specialised profile and only target one type of work (i.e. social media management)
- Price low to start and accumulate good reviews, which you can then leverage for higher pricing
- Reassess your resume & pitch if you are consistently applying to jobs and not getting contracts
These platforms really reward specialisation. A client who’s looking for a social media manager wants to see a VA with a social media focused profile, not someone who lists 20 different services on their profile. Price low and then start building out 5-star reviews, which you can leverage for a better rate after a couple months.
I actually got my first two VA jobs via Upwork (one as an Instagram manager and one as a website assistant working on copy/admin/customer service). I priced at $20/hr when I started out three years ago and leveraged that experience to gain more clients via FB, social media, and word-of-mouth.
Develop a More Specialised Skill
Once you’ve been working for a while you’re likely to pick up some more skills. You should do this intentionally. Why do the same jobs everyone else can do, for less money, when you can become a specialist in something more lucrative?
There are a LOT of options for specialising here, but a few I’ve come across:
- Facebook ads specialist
- Graphic designer
- E-commerce copywriter (product descriptions are easy peasy and pay is great)
- UX writer (my current gig & the rates are insane, y’all. I do have a background in product and would not suggest this field to anyone without ANY experience, but if you can find a way to get your foot in the door with tech, do it ASAP)
Setting Your Rates as a Virtual Assistant + Other Boring Info You Need
How Much to Charge as a Virtual Assistant
This honestly really depends on the type of work you’re doing, and it’s also like… not at all an exact science. It’s the Wild West out here lol.
Some ESTIMATES of standard price points:
$20-30/hr for basic work like Instagram management, Pinterest management, data entry, customer service
$30-40/hr for more involved work like accounting, copywriting
$40-50/hr for more specialised work like SEO
I suggest doing some market research too. Look at other people who are VAing in the same specialty as you. Poke around their websites and IGs, take a look at their monthly packages, and see what the standard rate is. Base yours off that.
If you feel you’re uniquely positioned to drive more value to your clients, then absolutely bump up your rate, but be sure that you’re able to provide a compelling reason for people to hire you.
Just as a baseline, most people I see seem to set their basic package between $250-350/month. However, what clients actually get for that package varies pretty wildly. Some people are offering 30 mins of IG engagement 5 times a week for that money. Some are offering 3. Some are offering engagement, 10 posts, and Stories. Some are asking for $700 for 30 mins 5 times a week.
So there’s no hard and fast rules. I would say just go with what feels right, and try not to over or under value yourself.
Choose a rate that you feel is appropriate for your skill set, high enough that it feels worthy of your time and effort, and reasonable enough that a client will actually pay it. Start out with that and adjust as you scale your business.
Account. For. Tax. + Platform Fees
I am the worst self-employed person ever and literally always forget to account for tax. Do not be me. You will lose a good chunk of your paycheck to taxes, so account for that in your rate. If you want to charge $20/hr you don’t actually keep $20/hr, just like any other job. So if your goal is to actually take home that much, charge $26. And so on.
Also, as a general note, please do not spend all of the money that hits your account from freelancing. You still owe taxes on it. This money is not yours, and if you are earning a full-time income freelancing your tax bill will be in the tens of thousands during tax season.
Do. not. forget. about. tax. Set that money aside and don’t f*cking touch it.
I also suggest tracking all of your income streams with a spreadsheet, it’ll make your life a hell of a lot easier come tax season. It’s also fun and motivating data to see your income grow month-to-month!
When setting rates through a platform like Upwork or Fiverr, you have to keep their fees in mind too. Upwork takes 20% of your first $500, 10% $500-10K, and 5% at 10K+, so you have to account for that. Set a rate of $20/hr on Upwork, for example, and you’re actually walking away with more like $13.50, after tax.
A lot of people like to advertise package services, to make pricing and client expectations easier. An example of tiered packages:
30 mins of IG engagement 5x/wk
60 mins of IG engagement 5x/wk
60 mins of IG engagement 5x/wk
5 IG posts & 5 Stories
A lot of people like to do cutesy names here like “seed” “sprout” “flower” or some nonsense like that lol so get creative if that’s your thing! The main point is that it incentivises customers to book a pricier plan with more perks. And even if they go for the basic plan, you know you have a minimum payment per month, set hours, and set responsibilities.
Set Monthly Minimums Per Client as You Scale
I HIGHLY recommend that as your business grows, you only take on, and keep on, clients who will commit to a minimum price per month. Otherwise you can end up with tons of clients billing just a few hours a month apiece, but still dealing with all the correspondence & non-billable time/responsibilities of each. Not a vibe.
There is a LOT of unpaid time when VA-ing. You’ll spend time communicating with each client and doing stuff behind the scenes that you can’t bill.
I can’t send my client an invoice for, like, “FB messages 30/1 – 7/2”, because I personally think it’s ridiculous and off-putting to charge someone for a 2-minute conversation.
With a few clients, that’s whatever. The problem arises when you’re having 2-min convos with all 15 of your clients, multiple times a week. It becomes unmanageable. Not only are you now spending literal hours on unpaid work, you’re also constantly being disrupted.
My business was making great money, but I was in tears and stressed AF 24/7 because my phone was constantly blowing up with chats & requests from clients and my entire life was revolving around juggling and prioritising all their individual needs. It was not in any way sustainable.
Two solutions for this kind of issue.
One, set a minimum monthly rate as mentioned, and drop any clients below that. If someone is only giving you $150/month it’s honestly not worth the mental energy to keep them on as a client. Drop them and that frees up your time & energy for a $1500/mo client.
Two, add a fee on top of your normal rate to account for these extra hours. I would not recommend this (you’ll still be f*cking stressed) and would highly suggest you prioritise higher-budget clients, but if that’s not an option at least up your rate.
Raise Prices FREQUENTLY as You Gain Experience
Do not make the mistake of keeping yourself at the same rate as you gain experience. When you started out you were at one skill level. Now you’ve leveled up. This entitles you to a better payout.
I raise my rates 30% for all clients after 6 months and would suggest you do the same. Since their business is now thriving thanks to your help behind the scenes, they should be able to accommodate the new rate.
If they can’t, unfortunately it may be time to drop them as a client in order to scale your business and give your time the value it deserves. I am a people-pleaser and kept some $20/hr clients on for way too long even as I was getting $50 and $70/hr from other contracts. Looking back I wish I’d valued my time more. Please do not make this mistake!
Also pls note that I said raise rates 20-30% for existing clients. For new clients, that number should be way higher. 50% or more.
My rates in SEO & UX have more than doubled since I started out. And people actually pay them. Initially I was f*cking SHOOK lol but now I own it because… yeah, I’m f*cking good at what I do, I have the experience and the data to back it up, and I know my value.
Hopefully a year from now I can tell someone my rate is $200/hr with a straight face, and they’ll shrug and give me the contract.
RECAP – General Virtual Assistant Tips & Virtual Assistant Jobs for Beginners
Ok, this was a monster of a post, so let’s wrap up with a quick recap of everything you need to become a virtual assistant.
Skills You Need to Become a Virtual Assistant
- Time management
- Top-notch communication
- A specialty in something like social media management, data entry, copywriting, accounting, etc
- A killer elevator pitch
- Knowledge of where to look (FB groups, IG, freelancer platforms)
Virtual Assistant Jobs for Beginners
- Social media manager
- Pinterest manager
- Data entry
- Phone calls
- Calendar management
- General administrative assistance
Where to Look for Beginner Virtual Assistant Jobs
- “Boss Babe” type FB groups
- Instagram networking
Hope this post was helpful and GOOD LUCK guys!! You got this. But if you got through this entire post and still feel like you need some extra guidance, no problem. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to book a strategy call, and I’d be happy to help you launch your business!
PS: If you found this post helpful, don’t forget to PIN it below 🙂