These days, working full time from an office seems like a thing of the past. Though the pandemic sent millions of people to work from home, flexibility at work was on the rise well before. In fact, remote work increased 159% from 2005 to 2020, according to FlexJobs.
One of the remote gigs lots of employers are hiring for is virtual assistant. "There are few jobs that are quite as flexible as virtual assisting," says Kathy Kristof, founder and editor of Sidehusl.com. Often the work "just needs to be done by X date," she says, "so if you work best in the middle of the night," as long as you're meeting your deadlines, you can work in those hours.
Here's how to dive into work as a virtual assistant ― either as a side hustle or a full-time job.
The term "virtual assistant" is quite broad, a catch-all for many types of tasks. "It could be content writing, it could be editing, it could be general administrative stuff, it could be social media," says Nick Loper, founder of site Side Hustle Nation. "There's 1,000,001 different niches within the virtual assistant realm."
Before you start booking virtual assistant gigs, consider your skills. If you know the ins and outs of organizing tool Asana, you could focus on that. If you have a background in QuickBooks, you could offer to help businesses with their finances.
You can say, "I'm a personal assistant but I specialize in research," says Kristof, then determine the scope of work per project. Ultimately, "you determine what you're offering as a virtual assistant," she says.
"There's more opportunity to improve your earning power the more specialized you can be," says Loper. "You can say, 'I'm the marketing, copywriting, funnel-building technical person.' Then you're going to command a higher rate than somebody who's raising their hand and says, 'I can do data entry.'"
Take a look at what other virtual assistants offering your skill sets are charging, and nail down your rates accordingly. You can look through salaries on sites like Payscale.com or through job listings on sites like ZipRecruiter.
"If you have organizational skills, you can charge, say, $15 to $25, $30 an hour," says Kristof. "But if you have WordPress skills, social media skills, you can charge anywhere from $25 to $100 an hour."
Angelique Rewers, founder of BoldHaus, a consulting firm that helps small businesses land corporate clients, echoes this sentiment. "You're often talking at least $100 [per hour] and up" for certain virtual assisting gigs, she previously told Grow.
Multiple platforms enable you to apply to open gigs on or to offer your specific services. Here are a few to consider:
- BELAY matches virtual assistants from around the country with businesses that need their help. Their VAs offer services like research and reporting, schedule management, booking travel, and project coordination. They make between $15 and $30 per hour, according to Sidehusl.com.
- Robert Half helps job seekers find work in a number of fields, including virtual assisting. Rates vary depending on the job and location of the employer, but many of their administrative positions pay between $13 and $33 per hour. You can "find very good VA jobs" through the site, says Kristof.
- Fiverr lets you post and list your specialized skills within the virtual assisting world, like social media or bookkeeping. Users create their profiles and list the gigs they're offering, each with its own pay structure. One VA on the site is offering help to real estate agents, specifically, with packages going for $40 to $140 each. "I've heard a lot of freelancers talking about how this site has become an excellent source of income for them," says Kristof.
- Facebook features many different virtual assisting groups as well. Log onto the site and search "virtual assistant groups," then sift through them to see which fits with the type of work you want to do. "Usually joining them is pretty [quick]," says side hustle expert Daniella Flores. "And then a lot of people will post certain gigs that are available or people that they're looking for to help them with a project."
Kristof finds that sites like BELAY are "good places to start, but probably not good places to stay, if you have great skills. That's because a great VA can market him or herself through Instagram or Facebook and earn considerably more per hour than you'll get through the online platforms."
So build up your experience, repertoire, and network, then start marketing your skills throughout the internet to ensure your rates get higher over time. The gig can offer great growth potential: Kayla Sloan turned her virtual assistant side hustle into a six-figure business.
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