If you ask any successful CEO or business owner how they got where they are, they’ll probably tell you that they could never have done it without a fantastic administrative assistant and support staff. If you feel you are not getting the recognition you deserve at work, you might want to consider a new career as a virtual assistant.
Virtual assistants are self-employed administrative professionals who provide personal assistant or office assistant services. But instead of going into an employer’s office to work, you work “virtually” from the comfort of your own home or another location of your choice. The career is a good alternative for administrative professionals who aren’t getting what they want from an office job.
Clearly the way companies do business is changing, and workers are learning to adapt to the changing marketplace. A recent Money Magazine article on CNNMoney.com entitled “The Rise of Freelance Nation” states that, “about 30% of the U.S. job market – roughly 42 million workers – is made up of independent contractors, part-time or temporary staffers, and the self-employed.” Experts predict this number will grow to 40% by 2019.
Jennifer Fishberg, author of the FabJob Guide to Become a Virtual Assistant, the textbook for IAP Career College’s Virtual Assistant Certificate Course, reports that “Unfortunately, there are many administrative assistants who work tirelessly for years in support of others, for little financial reward or appreciation.”
In addition to working long hours, some administrative workers spend countless hours commuting to an office, have to deal with office politics, and are never fairly recognized for their contributions. An assistant working in an office may even be thought of as “just a secretary”, which is usually far from reality, and may not be given the opportunity to grow in her career or to focus on those aspects of the job that she or he truly enjoys.
If any of this sounds familiar, or if you are just seeking interesting new challenges, higher pay, or more flexibility and freedom in your life (or if you are concerned about your company downsizing), becoming a virtual assistant could be your dream career.
The type of virtual assistant work you might do depends on your personal interests and the clients you choose to do business with. For example, you might choose to work for corporate clients who have an increasing need for virtual assistants because of downsizing and outsourcing of jobs that were previously done by in-house employees.
Or you might choose to take interesting and creative virtual assistant jobs providing virtual office assistant or virtual personal assistant services for busy professionals such as authors, entrepreneurs, real estate agents, doctors, or lawyers. You might even become a virtual assistant for professional associations or nonprofit organizations.
“Virtual assistants have the satisfaction of doing what they love and contributing to the success of their clients while experiencing the financial rewards and freedom of entrepreneurship,” adds Jennifer.
When you start a virtual assistant business you can also choose to specialize or offer a variety of virtual assistant services. You can earn an hourly rate of $25 to $60 per hour or more providing services you enjoy doing which might include a range of skills such as customer service, project management, event planning, marketing, or research.
A virtual assistant’s specialization can fall into two general categories, though some may choose a sub-specialty within that niche: clients who work in a particular industry and/or a specific skill or area of expertise.
Some virtual assistants use a combination of these areas to create a unique specialization, such as social media and internet marketing (skill area) for coaches/counselors/therapists (industry-specific). Others may choose to become experts on a particular industry-specific type of software, such as fundraising databases (skill area) for nonprofits (industry-specific).
The more you can individualize your niche, the more you will stand out from the crowd and the better equipped you will be to connect with and help your clients.
To learn how you can become a virtual assistant, check out the Virtual Assistant Certificate Course Online offered by the International Association of Professions Career College (IAP Career College). For more information, visit https://www.iapcollege.com/program/virtual-assistant-course.