How do you become a virtual assistant?
Are there any specific skills or requirements to become a virtual assistant in Australia? What skills does a successful VA need?
Would love to get your thoughts on this @Kathie Thomas !
Thanks for asking. Generally VAs are people who have worked in office based roles in the corporate world, or other businesses. It's important that they have a minimum 3-5 years' working experience so that they're in a position to make decisions, deal with clients, and offer the best options when asked by clients.
VAs should have good keyboarding skills and know the software well, that they wish to provide services in. There is a huge range of services that VAs provide these days - doesn't look like I can add an image here, otherwise I'd share a pie chart showing the range of services but it can include administration, secretarial services, telephone/reception services, social media support, broadcast emails, spreadsheets, database management, website management and a huge number of other things.
It's important for people to know and understand that VAs here in Australia are self-employed - they're not employees. As a result, they work with several clients, rather than just one. The ATO would deem them an employee if they were getting the bulk of their income from the one client source, so there's that to think about too. So important that anyone considering becoming a VA starts with that thought in mind, as well as the things below.
I know that offshore VAs charge less $$ per hour than we do, but you need to think about these things:
- Offshore VAs often only work with one client, and do this through an agency. Consequently they offer 60-100 hours a month to that one business. clients need to think about if they have enough work to outsource to fill those hours.
- Offshore VAs generally have a lower cost of living (I'm talking mostly about the Asian countries). UK VAs have a higher cost as do some other countries.
- Australian based VAs need to charge to cover their overheads - just as clients do in their own business. So VAs charge accordingly.
- Australian based VAs understand our geography better and also the Australian culture so less misunderstanding
- The client's IP is important and they need to keep it safe - Australian VAs are covered by Australian law
- As with the client database - it stays here in our country and for the majority of businesses, their database is their bread and butter.
It would serve prospective clients well to understand that VAs are usually very well versed in the services they provide - they've already had the necessary training and charge accordingly. Yes, they have to learn about the client's business but they don't generally have to learn about how to do the work. And VAs generally save their clients a lot of time, so that the client can concentrate on their business while the VA concentrates on the behind the scenes stuff.
I think I've shared about the offshore vs Australian based above but if you want me to take it further - perhaps a new question specific to that I can answer? Or do you want to keep it in this thread? I have done presentations on this in the past.
Re marketing - there are VAs with marketing experience. It really depends on the client and what they want. So probably needs to be more specific what you're asking perhaps?