As more and more jobs migrate online, CEOs and business managers are in need of virtual assistants to help them with important administrative and business tasks. In the past few years, the demand for virtual assistants has risen; in fact, reports by Technavio forecast that the virtual assistant market is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 37.29% between 2022 and 2027.
In this article, we will provide aspiring freelance virtual assistants with all of the necessary information on how to start their career, including necessary skills, equipment, qualifications, and ways to market yourself.
Table of Contents [Show]
What Do Freelance Virtual Assistants Do?
Freelance virtual assistants do everything that traditional personal assistants do, only remotely and on a freelance basis. Some of their responsibilities include administrative tasks, data entry, managing operations, and supporting their employers with any tasks they deem necessary.
It is common for freelance virtual assistants to work with multiple clients simultaneously, on either a long- or short-term basis. This requires excellent time management and project management skills, in order to meet deadlines and support all clients to the best of their ability. Some additional skills that freelance virtual assistants should possess include:
✅ Strong Communication Skills: Effective communication is crucial as a virtual assistant. You should be able to communicate clearly and professionally with clients and colleagues through various channels such as email, chat, and video calls.
✅ Organizational Skills: As a virtual assistant, you’ll likely handle multiple tasks simultaneously. Good organizational skills will help you manage your time, prioritize tasks, and meet deadlines.
✅ Time Management: As freelance virtual assistants often work on multiple projects with different deadlines, it is crucial to learn how to manage your time efficiently and stay organized will ensure you complete tasks promptly. You can use time management methods such as the Pomodoro technique to help plan your schedule, or time tracking tools such as Harvest.
✅ Adaptability: The ability to adapt to different clients, industries, and working styles is essential. Freelance virtual assistants often work with diverse clients, so being adaptable and flexible in your approach is vital.
✅ Technical Proficiency: Having a solid understanding of technology and commonly used software applications is important. Proficiency in tools like project management software, communication platforms, and productivity tools will make you more efficient in your work.
✅ Problem-Solving Abilities: Freelance virtual assistants are often faced with challenges or unexpected situations. The ability to think critically and find solutions independently is a highly valuable skill in these situations.
✅ Professionalism: Maintaining a high level of professionalism is essential as a virtual assistant. This includes being reliable, punctual, maintaining confidentiality, and adhering to professional standards and ethics.
✅ Self-Motivation: As a freelance virtual assistant, you’ll need to be self-driven and motivated to complete tasks and meet deadlines. Being able to work independently and take initiative is crucial.
How to Become a Freelance Virtual Assistant
Although tertiary education is not necessary to become a virtual assistant, many clients prefer virtual assistants with specialized training or a higher education. Thankfully, several online learning platforms offer courses and certifications for virtual assistants to improve their job prospects. It can be advantageous to have bookkeeping skills, technical proficiency, and a fast typing speed.
While having previous experience as an assistant (whether virtual or in-person) can be highly advantageous, it is not necessary. If possible, highlight your past experience doing administrative tasks, data entry, schedule management, or any other relevant tasks in your freelance resume to show your potential clients that you are capable of managing their affairs. Beginner virtual assistants can also use websites such as Fancyhands, which caters to professionals seeking VAs for very short periods of time.
To effectively work as a freelance virtual assistant, you’ll need certain equipment and tools. Here are some essential items you should consider:
Computer or Laptop: A reliable computer or laptop is a crucial tool for your work as a virtual assistant. Ensure it has sufficient processing power, memory, and storage to handle various tasks and applications smoothly.
High-Speed Internet Connection: A stable and high-speed internet connection is essential for seamless communication, file sharing, and online collaboration with clients and colleagues.
Communication Tools: You’ll need tools to communicate with clients and team members. Commonly used options include emails, messaging platforms such as or Microsoft Teams, and video conferencing software such as Zoom or Google Meet.
Productivity & Project Management Tools: To organize your tasks, schedules, and deadlines, consider using productivity and project management tools. Popular options include Trello, Asana, or Todoist. These tools can help you track your projects, manage to-do lists, and collaborate with clients.
Cloud Storage: Cloud storage services are invaluable for securely storing and sharing files with clients. They allow you to access files from any device and collaborate in real-time.
Time Tracking Software: As a freelancer, accurately tracking your time is crucial for billing clients and evaluating your productivity. Consider using time tracking software like Toggl or Harvest to monitor your working hours.
VoIP Services: Virtual phone systems or Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services like Google Voice or Skype can provide you with a professional phone number and allow you to make and receive calls over the internet.
Headset or Headphones: A good quality headset or headphones with a built-in microphone can improve your audio quality during video conferences and calls. They also provide privacy and reduce background noise.
Webcam: A reliable webcam is essential for video conferences and virtual meetings. Ensure that it has decent video quality to present yourself professionally.
Backup & Security: Implementing regular data backups and using antivirus software is crucial to protect your work and client data. Consider using cloud backup services and reliable antivirus software to safeguard your files.
Where to Find Freelance Virtual Assistant Jobs
Aspiring VAs can find relevant positions on platforms such as Indeed, Glassdoor, or LinkedIn. Additionally, there are some job aggregation sites that cater specifically to virtual assistants, such as:
Becoming a freelance virtual assistant requires a combination of skills, qualifications, and equipment. By developing the necessary skills, obtaining relevant qualifications, and setting up the right tools, you can position yourself for success in this growing field.
Remember to market yourself effectively, showcase your skills and experience, and continue to learn and adapt to the changing demands of virtual assistant work. With dedication and a strong work ethic, you can build a rewarding career as a freelance virtual assistant.