I still don’t know where to start.
If you’re still saying this after several freelancing discussions, you might be overthinking things, leaving you with too many plans and zero progress.
So, let me tell you: When in doubt, start as a Virtual Assistant (VA).
You won’t go wrong with this universal skill.
Forget your hesitations and park those other skills your planning to learn (for now).
Here are the 5 reasons why it’s smart to start as a VA:
Remember that regular office assistant, who does almost EVERYTHING from receiving calls, typing documents, all the way to serving your boss’ coffee?
A VA is just the online version of that (except you can’t serve coffee through Skype).
But you can do tasks that make your online bosses’ lives easier such as posting on Facebook, replying to emails, booking flights, writing an article, researching papers, etc.
Now don’t be too alarmed if you don’t know everything. There are different VA tasks to choose from.
The most important thing is that you understand English, know how to use Google, and can follow instructions.
Let’s take Tin, for example.
She is a VA for an American client who sells handmade jewelry. She helps manage her Shopify store by replying to product and shipping questions.
Now before getting hired, Tin has never heard of Shopify. She had no idea how online stores operate.
During training, her client showed Tin how her business works. The more she completes her tasks, the more she gets familiar with the e-commerce platform.
When you start out as a VA, you can get clients from various industries. You can provide virtual assistance to coaches, authors, online marketers, doctors, game developers, and so on.
You’ll also get trained to use different apps and systems. As you get exposed to more VA work, you will also strengthen your online skills.
Eventually, VAs will have to specialize in order to increase their value. While working as a VA, you can study a new skill on the side. You may also get some practice by offering add-on services to your existing clients.
Let’s go back to our example.
Even though Tin loves being a virtual assistant, she has always been interested in SEO. She enrolled in an online course and had been watching the lessons during her free time.
She wants to add SEO to her profile soon, but she’s got a problem: she didn’t have SEO experience yet.
But because she has good relationship with her client, Tin offered to help improve her store’s SEO. And since she’s still practicing, she offered her services for free, with some permission to add her work on her SEO portfolio.
What do you think her client said?
Yes, of course! Well, who would say no to a proactive VA, offering additional services for free!
Now Tin is getting paid as a VA while getting hands-on experience and building up her new portfolio. She didn’t have to stay idle while learning. Definitely a WIN-WIN!
If you haven’t started freelancing because you’re still learning bookkeeping, copywriting, graphic design, online marketing, etc., becoming a VA first is a great move.
In our example, another benefit for Tin is that she can find out whether SEO is something she truly enjoys or not – before diving into it full-time. If not, she can easily focus on something else.
VAs can add focus skills to their profiles in order to reflect the areas they want to prioritize. This way, they can still get Virtual Assistant jobs while attracting niche-specific clients. Their job titles can look like:
- Virtual Assistant with a Specialization in SEO
- Virtual Assistant with Graphic Design Expertise
- Virtual Assistant |E-commerce Support
…and so on.
When you’re still starting out, you may or may not have a focus skill, depending on your preference.
If after working with clients you realize that you want to focus on something else, you can easily modify your profile until you find the best field for you.
The thing about getting Virtual Assistant jobs is that they’ll always help you discover your strengths. Your experience assisting business owners will lead you to find your niche – as a freelancer or as an entrepreneur. This can happen deliberately or accidentally, immediately or eventually.
I have met several freelancers online who started as VA’s and are now Instagram Marketers for Fashion Designers, Lead Generation Experts, Blog Writer for Fitness Coaches, etc.
The online possibilities are endless.
So what are you waiting for? Instead of delaying your freelance goals, waiting for that perfect moment, START by applying to VA jobs today.