How to Become a Virtual Assistant

Jul 10, 2020
12 minute read

Are you looking to start a business that will allow you to work from anywhere in the world, set your own hours, and work on a variety of different projects, all while earning a great income? Working as a virtual assistant might be the right choice for you.

Even if you’ve never thought about offering virtual assistant services before, our in-depth guide will provide you with answers to many of the most common questions that aspiring virtual assistants have, along with tips on how to start your own business. You’ll find out if being a virtual assistant is right for you, what to expect of this career path, and how to start a virtual assistant business of your own!

What is a virtual assistant, exactly?

Is a virtual assistant basically a remote executive assistant? Well, they can be, but a virtual assistant can do much more than that! 

In the broadest sense, a virtual assistant is a person who performs tasks assigned by their client from a distance. That means a virtual assistant in one part of the world can work for clients anywhere else in the world since the nature of the work is remote and can be done online (or sometimes by phone).

As you can probably gather from that definition, the potential role of a virtual assistant can take on many different forms, and it all depends on what kind of work you are interested in doing. Nowadays, with so many company functions taking place online, the types of services you can offer may extend well beyond the typical tasks of an executive assistant.

Virtual assistants can choose to market themselves as generalists or specialists. If you start your own virtual assistant business, you can take stock of all the relevant skills that you have (or are willing and able to learn), and either list all of them under your services or choose a select few to specialize in. 

As a virtual assistant, that choice is totally up to you. That’s one of the best things about this business: you can choose to be a generalist and take on all kinds of different clients and tasks for lots of variety, or you can choose to specialize and spend your days doing only the kind of work that truly interests you, or that you’re particularly good at.

Is a virtual assistant an employee?

A virtual assistant is a contractor, not an employee. That means that you will either be a sole proprietor or create a corporation for your business (we’ll get into more detail about why you might want to consider each of these options later). Either way, as a virtual assistant, you will not be an employee of your clients. Instead, you’ll be an entrepreneur, offering your services at an agreed upon rate.

Depending on what kinds of projects you take on for your clients, you may end up having just a few big regular clients that keep you busy full-time, or a bunch of smaller or more short-term clients. It all depends on what kind of tasks you want to work on, how you want to structure your days, and what clients you happen to land at the beginning. 

Just because they aren’t employee