I am pretty certain that you just returned from your work or perhaps even still at work feeling frustrated about the traffic, your annoying boss, not being appreciated for your effort, and the take-home paycheck not able to take you home. Yet in all this mess your kids' school fees have to be paid, your rent/mortgage is due, and you need to prepare diner. Oh yes, the medical bills are waiting! What do you do? Don’t worry. You’re not alone in this. There are millions of people in your situation. But that’s not the consolation. The consolation is that millions more were once in your situation but took a leap of faith and got out of the mess. How possible? I just heard you exclaim, “Not in my kind of situation!” Oh, I tell you what, if they could do it, you can do it too. Let me ask you this question, have you tried doing something extra to earn more income? Your answer is probably that you don’t have the time and resources to start any business. That may be true, but there are lots of business opportunities that do not require much to start and can be done during your spare moments. Just remember what Nelson Mandela once said, “It is always impossible until it is done”.
What Low-Cost Business Can Fetch Me Extra Income
Have you thought of online businesses that people engage in to make some extra income? The internet is full of tons of opportunities to either start a business or a more fulfilling career. Starting your own online business today is easier than you can ever imagine. From the comfort of your home or office, and with a simple computer (even your tablet or smartphone) and an internet connection, bingo, you’re good to go. You don’t need tons of money to get started neither do you need to be a tech genius. All you need is a little start-up cash, and basic knowledge of the computer about how to surf the internet, upload, and download stuff.
In this article, I’ll be telling you about one of the proven, easy to start, low budget online business ideas that you can actually make money and live a more fulfilling life. You can become a Virtual Assistant.
Who is a Virtual Assistant?
A virtual assistant (VA) is a non-employee of an organization or individual who renders administrative and other back-office duties to clients from outside the client's premises. The typical day of the virtual assistant involves working from home or any convenient and suitable location of their choice outside the client’s office. But they have access to the client’s documents online provided they have secure internet access. I emphasize secure internet access because you don’t want to compromise the data of your client.
As a virtual assistant, you can sign up with a virtual assistant agency. These agencies will source for the virtual assistant jobs and pass them on to the VA. In this case, the VA will either pay the agency a subscription, a commission, or both depending on the terms of the agency. When the VA chooses to operate as a freelance they are not tied to any one entrepreneur or business owner but can perform for multiple clients.
The work of the virtual assistant is similar to the ones performed by office Personal Assistants (PA), or any other person performing a clerical task that does not require physical presence. The only difference is that the VA works remotely. So what are you waiting for? I mean you, the PA, and all you back-office staff, you out there saying you’re unemployed, that student who is looking for financial freedom, and you looking to supplement your income.
To Freelance or Use VA Agency
Freelance VAs can work for as many clients as they choose. This sounds more appealing than working for a virtual assistant agency. After all, the freelance VA keeps all of the money they make whereas the agency will keep some of the money as commission and may even control the work schedule of the VA. But for starters, I believe it is more strategic to use the agency option to enter the virtual assistant business. This is because as a beginner you are not yet known by the clientele. Besides, there are several people out there offering the same service, making some VA roles very competitive.
How Much do Virtual Assistants Earn?
While it is generally acknowledged that VAs can earn a decent amount of money, a lot depends on several factors such as the skill set of the VA and the value placed on the task by the client. That said, the earnings can range from as low as $10 per hour to as high as $200 per hour. Those whose skills are in very high demand may even earn way higher than $200 per hour. For starters, I suggest quoting between $10 and $30 per hour, taking your skills set into account.
Now let’s do some arithmetics here. Assuming you devote 2 hours a day from Monday to Friday, and 4 hours a day on Saturdays and Sundays to your VA work. At the end of the week, you would have devoted 18 hours to the work. Now let’s say you earn $20 per hour. At the end of the week, you would have earned $360 extra income, i.e. 18 x $20 = $360. At the end of the month, you would have earned a total of $1440, i.e. 4 x $360 = $1440.
This is money you would not have earned if you just spent your spare time idling. With time as your skills improve and as you devote more time to the VA work and charge more, you can easily double or triple this estimate. But don’t forget that it depends on your skillset, how dedicated you are to the tasks, and the time you allocate to doing the job which ultimately determines how much you can charge for your service.
What Jobs Can Virtual Assistants Perform?
There are numerous opportunities available for the virtual assistant. As I stated earlier, literally all types of clerical jobs can be assigned to a VA. In a typical company premise, you are likely to encounter a telephone receptionist, customer service executive, PR officer, data entry clerk, accounts officer, software officer, PAs to various managers, marketing and sales officers. These are just a fraction of the jobs that are being performed by VAs. In fact, the number of services that you can offer as a VA are in the hundreds. I may spend the whole article trying to mention them. But suffice it to say that whatever soft skill that you have it can be offered as a virtual assistant. There is no limit to which tasks you can take up for a client. The limit is your abilities, interests, what you are really good at doing, and what you are comfortable doing. So just put yourself out for hire and you’ll have several clients come calling.
How do You Become a Virtual Assistant?
I guessed right. I knew that was your next concern. It doesn’t take long to set up to become a virtual assistant, and it’s not difficult either. First, do a self-assessment about your soft skills that you can offer to your potential virtual client. The key thing here is the skills you have, not the certificate or qualification you have obtained. Formal training is not a must-have requirement to be a VA.
Think about setting up your own website. Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be a sophisticated one. You can easily learn how to design and set up your website and learn the basics of digital marketing. It doesn’t cost much either. I learned and designed my website in two weeks from the Digital Experts Academy owned by The Six Figure Mentors. When I told my sixteen-year-old boys about it, they laughed at me that I took too long to learn.
Did I hear you ask why you need a website? The website is your giant digital advertising billboard to showcase your skills. It is the great northern star that leads clients to locate you and your services. There is no better CV than the website design and your social media platforms which can be incorporated onto your website. But merely having the website is not going to do the trick. For a beginner, I suggest you join a virtual assistant agency and use it as a Launchpad.
Attributes of a Good Virtual Assistant
Before you jump into signing up for a virtual assistant job, take note of the following MUST HAVE ATTRIBUTES. A lack of any of these will not make you a good and successful VA. By the way, these are attributes that are assessed by organizations during performance appraisals. Don’t take them for granted. In no particular order, they include but not limited to these 7 attributes that I consider very relevant:
1. Integrity – Being honest and confidential with strong moral principles.
2. Reliability – Timeliness and Accuracy of outputs.
3. Good Communication Skills – Ability to write meaningfully, logically, effectively, and clearly, paying attention to grammar.
4. Analytical Ability – Problem Solving, Resourcefulness, and Ability to Work Independently
5. Ability to Add Value – Soundness of Anticipation, and Recommendations
6. Time Management – Ability to Multitask and Prioritize Work and Make the Best Use of Time.
7. Feedback – Ability to Make Follow-ups is extremely Relevant.
If you are looking to earn extra income or to start earning some income, a very good place to find an easy-to-start, low-budget business that will bring you income is the internet. There are several such online business ideas to consider. One of those business ideas is the Virtual Assistant. A virtual assistant basically provides online support service(s) to an organization, or individual working from a location of their choice without having to be physically present in the client’s location.
As a virtual assistant, there are tons of services that you can render for a decent income to supplement your earnings. Once you have some good soft skills, basics of computing, knowledge of internet usage, and access to good internet, you’re good to go. It can also be your main source of really good income if you take your work seriously.
You can decide to freelance as a VA, but for starters, it is probably prudent to join a virtual assistant agency. So take your time to research the best ones that will give you value for your services. You should also be mindful of the good attributes of a good VA since these would impact your success going into the future.
A Note of Caution:
To be a virtual assistant is NOT to Get Rich Quick, but it surely is a fantastic route to earning a decent living and financial freedom.
See you in the virtual Assistant Marketplace!
Hey, don’t forget to invite me to your virtual party when you make the bucks!!