Becoming a Virtual Assistant

29 replies
Hello all,

I am interested in becoming a Virtual Assistant, and was looking for some advice on how to get started and getting clients.

I have been working online with my own business for about 8-9 years now.

I have the following online skills:

- SEO
- PPC
- Copy Writing
- Article Writing
- Headlines
- Video (screen capture, text/slideshow videos)
- Video Marketing
- Website Creation/Design (HTML, and Wordpress)
- English and Spanish Translations
- Social Media (Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter etc..)
- Traffic Tactics (Media banner ads, PPC, CPV, SEO, etc..)
- Conversions (Help to increase conversions for current website.)
- Autoresponder Setups
- List Building
- Basic graphics (product graphics, header graphics)
- Clickbank Product Setup and Approval
- Flipping Websites
- Selling On Ebay
- Publishing Books On Amazon
- Product creation (ebooks, video courses, software)
- Project Management
- Reputation Management
- Transcripts
- Customer Service
- And more.....

So I figure I need to setup an account on Odesk for example and apply for VA jobs.

What should I charge per hour? I can not go really cheap like some VA charging $500/mth for full-time work. I need a proper US/CAN salary, because I have US/CAN bills to pay.

Is it possible to get $10, $15 or $20+/hour as a VA based on my experience and skill set?

Any other advice would be welcome to help me get employed ASAP.

Best Regards,
Kyle
#assistant #virtual
  • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
    Banned
    Just a question, Kyle (and lack of a response will not offend!), but with all those skills - of which you have incomparably more than I do - why do you want to be someone's VA, working for their business rather than for your own? I admit this is also high on the list of things I'd be asking you as a potential employer ... (though that may not be true for others, of course).

    Originally Posted by kyleoxenham View Post

    I can not go really cheap like some VA charging $500/mth for full-time work. I need a proper US/CAN salary, because I have US/CAN bills to pay.
    This also makes me curious. The "world of being a VA" is a very international one, and in pursuing this kind of working arrangement, you're really choosing, inevitably, to compete with the highly skilled online labor forces of such countries as India and the Philippines, where people don't have US/Can bills to pay.

    That's the market.

    Originally Posted by kyleoxenham View Post

    Is it possible to get $10, $15 or $20+/hour as a VA based on my experience and skill set?
    I don't know.

    I'm posting not just to waste your time and worsen your indigestion, here. I was interested in your thread because I've fairly recently been going through the process of employing a VA (well, actually two, at least for now), and am therefore coming to the conversation from a completely different perspective, admittedly. I do see that some of the skills you've listed seem immensely valuable (especially copywriting?) and potentially highly paid, but I suspect that the major hurdle you have - if looking to earn $20 per hour steadily - is to satisfy potential employers that you're going to produce five/six times as much as value for them as a kind of "top-of-the-range" Filipino VA whom they might pay $3.50/$4 per hour (or even a little less).

    I see many items on your list of skills which I'd guess could easily command $20 per hour, if really well marketed, with "samples", "testimonials" and a little website of the kind employers like to see, even if it's only really a 3-page blog. But it's not easy for me to see how just applying for VA jobs through Odesk is really going to enable you to compete very successfully in such a (by definition) international field?

    (I've never crossed the Atlantic and am not familiar with prices there, but I suspect that $10 per hour is a bit "minimum-wage-ish" for US/Canada?)

    I suspect it may help you to select carefully the markets in which you choose to compete, and to concentrate on your rarer/more valuable skills? It must be mostly about how and where you market yourself?

    I may be wrong, of course, but - if you'll excuse them - those are the "instinctive reactions" of someone who has hired a couple of VA's, this year! And good luck to you, anyway.
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  • Profile picture of the author Tim Franklin
    I think there may be a market for a service where the user can provide superior service and skills, with one caveat,

    Most of the VA services have this volume service thing, they want to work full time, but they only really work about half of the time they charge your for and sometimes even less.

    Working by the hour is like paying someone to cut your grass by the hour, we have a contract for lawn maintenance, they come by and get the entire thing done in like 45 minutes, we pay a flat rate per month.

    But imagine paying someone by the hour to cut your grass and it takes them 8 hours to get it done...

    How would you feel about that?
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    • Profile picture of the author Greg guitar
      Originally Posted by Tim Franklin View Post


      But imagine paying someone by the hour to cut your grass and it takes them 8 hours to get it done...

      How would you feel about that?
      One guy I know does his own, and that is about how long it takes; he isn't slow. It's a big lawn. Doesn't really change your point, which is well made, but it amused me anyway.

      On a serious note, I hire Filipinos, and I don't know how long they really work, but they always give me my money's worth, or far more usually, and I feel guilty enough for how little I pay them without quibbling about how long they really spend. I guess I could check on them with software, but as long as they're productive, it seems a little too Orwellian for my conscience to deal with.
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  • Profile picture of the author kyleoxenham
    @Alex Smith - Yes I know, I want to be able to run my own business, but need funds. I have relocated and dried up my funds and I need a virtual job to stay afloat and save so I can grow my business further, it's not easy getting clients or getting hired when you are not able to go to meetings.

    @Tim Franklin - Yes you are right, paying per project is best, that is what I do with my outsourcers. I was just seeing Odesk jobs were they say 30 hours per week etc.. so that is what I was basing it on.

    Plus, to take 8 hours to do a 45 minute job is not going to get me very far, I have worked virtually for small to big companies, and I am fair and work hard, so if it takes an hour I will work to get it done in the hour. But if I have to do per project that is fine too.

    Anyway, when it comes down to it, I just need a job I can do online to build some savings so I can work on my main business. I would rather work on my business, but it will take time to build it up, so I need to get some more money coming in while I do that, and it can be hourly or per project.

    So maybe it is better I contact SEO and Web agencies and firms to try to get hired rather than a VA.
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  • Profile picture of the author AlwaysAwa
    Just a suggestion why not create a plr article and sell it here? Or sell ur service here?
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  • I was going to chime in here and add my two cents to what Alexa already said, but we don't use pennies anymore so I'll round it up to a nickel worth. I'm gathering from your post Kyle that you have a business online, and now you want to supplement that income by becoming a VA because your funds are dried up?

    My question then is, if you are planning to do VA work, are you looking to offer the same services that you offer as a business? Or is your business strictly SEO, and you want to use your other skills as well?

    If it's the latter, then why not simply tack on those services as part of your business offerings, and then hire VA's to do the work? This would keep you operating as a business, and you could possibly charge more for the same services (because you have a "team" working for multiple clients while you sleep), as opposed to offering the same services as a one person VA, (and you are adding more hours to your day for less income).

    I'm just thinking as a business entrepreneur here, but I'm sure you will come up with a plan.
    Alexa asked: "why do you want to be someone's VA, working for their business rather than for your own?" And that's a question you will have to ponder...
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  • Profile picture of the author writeaway
    The warrior for hire section is always available. It doesn't cost much to list your ad there. All service markets are SEGMENTED. There is always space for great providers.
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    • Profile picture of the author TimothyTorrents
      Originally Posted by writeaway View Post

      The warrior for hire section is always available. It doesn't cost much to list your ad there. All service markets are SEGMENTED. There is always space for great providers.
      I also recommend opening a thread here. I browse that part of the forum quite regularly to monitor my competition and my own thread. Occasionally I see people offering their services as a VA and each thread gets quite a few responses.
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      • Profile picture of the author mariomvr
        Hi,

        It is totally possible to charge $20 per hour for a va service. The first thing you need to think is the market. Warriors are looking for cheap labour so is the warrior forum a good place for you? No.

        Also what I would do is, focus on one skill that has a higher perceived value. You can use Odesk and elance to do that research and then start prospecting, there are a lot of successful business owners that would pay you thousands of dollars to have you on their team.

        But again, none of them are here on the warrior forum.

        Cheers
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  • Profile picture of the author SoloAdMonkey
    It can be difficult to get into the virtual assistant market, especially with competition from nations with cheap labour. To many of them making $5 an hours would be more than sufficient, it is hard to compete with. But you seem to have a great skill set so someone will hopefully realize the value you can provide.
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  • Profile picture of the author Niche Profit Online
    Banned
    It helps to build up your reputation online pacefully. I would encourage you to take up small jobs initially, do a great job and start building up from there.
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  • Profile picture of the author Billy Rey
    start with small jobs and get recommendations. Build up your skills so you can eventually charge more.

    You can also focus on certain tasks first and build that up so serve people that want only those skills.

    Youll have your hands full soon enough
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  • Profile picture of the author jedsonack2
    You have very good number skills and also very useful.
    Easily you can get a good Virtual Job.
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  • Profile picture of the author squadron
    If I were you I would charge by the task completed rather than by the hour. Come up with some packages and put a fixed price on that package. It will encourage you to become more efficient and also reduce the risk for your clients.

    Some examples:

    Research and write a 500 word article - $12
    Build 25 blog comment links from relevant pages with PR2 or better - $20
    Design a 468 x 60 pixel banner ad with animation - $25
    Produce and upload to Youtube a 3 minute screen capture video - $15

    Come up with a menu of services and prices and hand out flyers to local business owners.
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  • Profile picture of the author Greg guitar
    I have heard that there is a whole higher end VA market that most of us Warriors don't know exists, as most of the clients for that market probably don't know about our much cheaper sources. I seem to recall some VAs charging $50 or more per hour performing high value VA services to successful business people that don't mind paying higher prices if they feel confident about the quality.

    You would have to research to find those markets. But I like what others have said about pushing your own business. I think you can do it without spending much.

    Someone suggested Warriors For Hire; not a bad idea. If you do that, focus on specific service packages like SEO, or writing sales pages or emails, and charge bu the package; not the time it takes. You don't have to be limited by what people perceive your time is worth, which usually comes out lower than if you charge a flat rate for a certain package of work.

    With your skills, I believe you could very quickly gain offline business clients who would pay you far more than $100 an hour, if you provide high value services like SEO. I don't understand why you need a lot of money to get some clients; lots of ways to do it are fairly cheap.
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  • Profile picture of the author DTGeorge
    Originally Posted by kyleoxenham View Post

    Hello all,

    I am interested in becoming a Virtual Assistant, and was looking for some advice on how to get started and getting clients.

    I have been working online with my own business for about 8-9 years now.

    I have the following online skills:

    - SEO
    - PPC
    - Copy Writing
    - Article Writing
    - Headlines
    - Video (screen capture, text/slideshow videos)
    - Video Marketing
    - Website Creation/Design (HTML, and Wordpress)
    - English and Spanish Translations
    - Social Media (Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter etc..)
    - Traffic Tactics (Media banner ads, PPC, CPV, SEO, etc..)
    - Conversions (Help to increase conversions for current website.)
    - Autoresponder Setups
    - List Building
    - Basic graphics (product graphics, header graphics)
    - Clickbank Product Setup and Approval
    - Flipping Websites
    - Selling On Ebay
    - Publishing Books On Amazon
    - Product creation (ebooks, video courses, software)
    - Project Management
    - Reputation Management
    - Transcripts
    - Customer Service
    - And more.....

    So I figure I need to setup an account on Odesk for example and apply for VA jobs.

    What should I charge per hour? I can not go really cheap like some VA charging $500/mth for full-time work. I need a proper US/CAN salary, because I have US/CAN bills to pay.

    Is it possible to get $10, $15 or $20+/hour as a VA based on my experience and skill set?

    Any other advice would be welcome to help me get employed ASAP.

    Best Regards,
    Kyle

    So I figure I need to setup an account on Odesk for example and apply for VA jobs.
    That's a start, BUT
    1. Don't limit yourself to Odesk of course - there are dozens of sites.
    2. Start up your own website and drive traffic there through doing things like guest posting, forum/comments marketing, facebook marketing, paid ads, etc. Make sure that there is interesting content on there are good sales content.

    What should I charge per hour?
    Whatever you want. BUT you have to position yourself in the financial target market you're looking for. The vast majority of people on bid sites(E.g. Odesk, Elance) won't pay a livable US wage, ALTHOUGH you may be able to find quite a few if you look hard enough.

    Is it possible to get $10, $15 or $20+/hour as a VA based on my experience and skill set?
    Yes

    Any other advice would be welcome to help me get employed ASAP.
    Haste makes waste.

    If you are looking to get employed ASAP, you will end up passing up opportunities that will be far better for you in the medium and long term.

    Have a long term plan, something besides "get employed ASAP" and work towards that - preferably something where you have your own business and are your own boss.


    That's my 2 cents anyway.
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  • $500/month for a VA? That's expensive! I pay mine no more than $150 each.

    There is absolutely no reason for anyone to hire you as a VA, when we can get someone far cheaper.

    HOWEVER, there is one thing that cannot be outsourced to the third world:

    Sales teams.

    If you know how to sell, then there is always work out there.

    Alternatively - with the skills you have, rent a bunch of VA's yourself, train them up, and then hire them out to other people.
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    • Profile picture of the author Greg guitar
      Originally Posted by PerformanceMarketing View Post

      There is absolutely no reason for anyone to hire you as a VA, when we can get someone far cheaper.
      This is nonsense imo. I am sure you didn't intend to demean him, but the statement reduces him to a commodity (which to be fair; potential clients will almost always do if you let them), for which price is the only variable between different VAs.

      But nothing could be further from the truth; the guy is not a commodity; he's a person with unique skills, abilities and perspectives. We really don't know his potential value to someone's business if we haven't used him; he might be worth less than $2 an hour, or more than $100.

      It might well be that he would do someone's business more good than 20 $2 an hour workers, which would make his $20 an hour the equivalent of a 1/2 price special bargain.

      The fact that he's a project manager who also has many of the skills online or offline businesses need might be invaluable. I have many times had to spend as many hours getting someone up to speed as I paid them for. When you have several low cost workers doing different things at the same time, the communications can become almost a full time job, and there are times when it's hard to tell if a given worker is doing you any good at all; sometimes they make mistakes that take longer to fix than the hours you owe them for.

      Low cost workers have overall been worth it to me because what they did was something that would have taken me even longer to do, but had they been a good project manager with better skills, it might have saved me spending all those hours trying to help them get it right. If my own time is worth $100 an hour (a man can dream, right?), the $20 an hour guy would have been the cheaper option in that scenario because of the time he'd have saved me in managing, correcting, etc.

      If he does a great job of writing sales copy, and can crank out a high converting sales page in 10 hours, then $20 an hour ($200 total cost for the page!) is a fantastic bargain; lots of people on this forum pay a few thousand for a good sales page.

      Or if he can manage the heck out of a launch, taking the stress out of it, while making it perhaps 2x as successful as it would have been without him, then who knows what that's worth; depends on the project, but it could be thousands.

      You have to look at what someone can do for you before you judge them overpriced. There are $2 workers that cause more problems than they solve, which means paying $0 would be a bad deal. On the other hand, paying Jay Abraham $50K per day usually results in an insane ROI for his clients! Why would someone hire him? Because hes worth many times the high fees he charges!

      A lot more research would be needed than just reading his posts (although his list is an impressive start) before you could come up with an educated guess on the benefits the op offers, and even then it's still a guess until you try him out. Shopping only on price would be absurd. Jay Abraham among many other wise marketers have been very clear that one should never ever let potential clients turn you into a commodity that they will simply price shop for.
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      • Profile picture of the author vaital
        Search for VA companies like Lexorsoft and ask them if they need VAs. You should start on the warrior for hire section also. Another method is to promote your talents on craigslist for free!
        Hope that helps, good luck
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        • Profile picture of the author ScottFox
          Those are really strong skills, Kyle.
          Unfortunately you'll be competing with the whole world, much of which has much cheaper costs of living and can charge less than you'd likely want.
          I would do some research online to find out which of your skills to focus on - ideally a set of expertise that you want to develop further anyway - and that requires strong native English language expertise.
          For example, sales copywriting is really hard to do well even if you are a native English speaker, so if you can do that, you'll be way ahead of much of the overseas competition.
          Then think about where the best target customers are for you. WF members are likely already using Odesk or Elance themselves so while you could start there, you may want to dig deeper to find clients who are less savvy online so you can charge more.
          I'd look at blogs that help your newcomers learn your target skills, CraigsList, QuickHelpers.com, or maybe even LinkedIn.
          You might also look to local Meetup groups or other resources in your own town. People will often pay more if they can meet you F2F.
          Good luck!
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      • Originally Posted by Greg guitar View Post

        This is nonsense imo. I am sure you didn't intend to demean him, but the statement reduces him to a commodity (which to be fair; potential clients will almost always do if you let them), for which price is the only variable between different VAs.
        I spend around $25,000/month on staff.

        Believe me - nobody will hire a VA for the rates he is discussing.

        If he is a copywriter - then sure - be a copywriter. But not a VA.

        Generally speaking VAs are commodities.

        Talented professionals however, are not.
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    • Profile picture of the author Marie Cody
      Originally Posted by PerformanceMarketing View Post

      $500/month for a VA? That's expensive! I pay mine no more than $150 each.

      There is absolutely no reason for anyone to hire you as a VA, when we can get someone far cheaper.

      HOWEVER, there is one thing that cannot be outsourced to the third world:

      Sales teams.

      If you know how to sell, then there is always work out there.

      Alternatively - with the skills you have, rent a bunch of VA's yourself, train them up, and then hire them out to other people.
      Whoah very nice!
      Sales teams. I will note this. lol.
      I don't have selling skills but somehow this encourages me.

      About you who want to become a VA, it is a very cloudy day for you because there are many out there who provides assistance same as you. But try and try until you succeed.
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  • Profile picture of the author techbul
    You have a lot of good skills which people are ready to pay big money for. Why not focus a few of those into designing and marketing a WSO here? Then you can set your own prices, and let other people come to you, not the other way around.
    You can also sell a service. Among those that are well-paid and well-received here could be an SEO package or Article writing or even offer your copywriting talents toward writing sales copies for other people's WSOs.
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    • Profile picture of the author Juliawriter
      I have been working in the VA market place since it was called Teleworking before 2000. There is one skill that is always needed and that is audio transcription via the net. It also can pay very well. I have been heavily involved in the UK market since 2000 and those with a good education and who can provide good transcription and a fast turnaround can earn in the region of £25 an hour. The rates have dropped slightly but I was earning £25 an hour in 2005. I have run support and coaching for VA's and would say that you need one unique thing to sell. Doctors and other specialists do not want or are not allowed to have their work done outside the country of origin so tend to outsource to VA's who are highly skilled in the one task. They can keep you busy full time but you have to build up slowly. I also know many legal firms who get all their transcription done via VA's and need a same day turnaround.

      As for SEO and building sites - everyone knows a kid who can do that - that is why there are so many lousy sites out there never seen in Google. Offer a skill that cannot be outsourced outside your country, needs a fast turnaround and phone and try to get appointments with the companies you specialise in. Have a portfolio of work and testimonials but once you find their greatest need, push for that work. Do not ever do discounts but you can offer an hour's free work as a trial. Be as professional as someone who works in their office but explain how you can cut bills by them not having to pay an on-site worker.

      I have won awards for my support for UK VA workers from UK Government supported work organisations. Try to find a support group near you but DO NOT pay for membership and loads of add-ons. Good sites are free sites be they private of government supported.

      Best of luck
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  • Profile picture of the author Gary Pettit
    You might want to check out VA options on sites such as Elance, Guru, Odesk etc, There are many options out there
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  • Profile picture of the author hsbinmarket
    Its not depends on ur skill. VA payment rate will be set by the hiring manager as per his needs. If u fulfil his demands then u may paid higher and if u have skill but u failed to fullfil his demands u will be paid poor.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jimerson Farveez
    As far as you have skills on SEO. Why don't you setup a SEO website and get more clients and expand your business?

    For an example, you can target some cities (as you know SEO can be done virtual, no physical meeting is the must for it) - So, you may be in Manila, and your clients may be in NY.

    As it is the case, you may design and develop a SEO website targeting people over NY and get ranked for SEO New York, SEO consultant New York - that should give you great number of clients....

    Hope it helps..
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  • Profile picture of the author DaveWilliams1
    Here's a plan for you:

    1. Set up a profile on ALL the outsourcing sites like Elance, Odesk, Guru etc.

    2. Bid on projects on all sites EVERY DAY. The key here is to be consistent with the bidding. I recommend that you start with lower paying projects just to build up your portfolio.

    3. Evaluate results after 10, 20, and 30 days.

    4. Optimize and repeat.
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  • Profile picture of the author freelanceronline
    Yes. You can earn your desired Salary but On Warrior Forum. There is a Competition and you find it on every place even on Odesk(cheapest Place), Fiverr, Elance or any other Place everybody is in search for some cheap service or affordable price services.

    What is VA?
    VA is a Helping person solving other Problems and there is no category or skills special for it. every person has its own typo business and he need different type of skills. But you must have major skills. like office, windows, linux + great learner skills.

    You have to search a Market. by going daily news paper or searching on Google some companies which needs people and they pay handsome amount. for example there is Manta, judysbook type of companies who need workers for solving and managing Database and correcting it. etc VA has no special skills but need skills for what your Client want.

    other than that you can run your own Business Online. which is really a good way to earn more than you want now.
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