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How to Become a Virtual Assistants

Everything seems to be going online these days, so why not add your career to that list by becoming a virtual assistant.

It's no surprise that the virtual assistant business is booming. Virtual assistants remotely provide a business or individual with support. That support doesn't stop at just administrative tasks, either. Social media, design, bookkeeping, and research are all on the list of virtual assistant possibilities.

This is why VA work can seem overwhelming at first. To help, we’ll walk you through the world of virtual assistants in this article. Learn what VAs are, what they do, and what it takes to make it in this exciting career.

What Is a Virtual Assistant?

A virtual assistant is someone who works as an assistant remotely. While small business owners, entrepreneurs, and online companies frequently hire VAs, larger corporations have recently joined the hiring mix.

One of the best parts about being a virtual assistant? They get to work from home.

What Are the Duties of a Virtual Assistant?

Tasks of virtual assistants vary by their skillset. Some may specialize in a specific industry, such as real estate or eCommerce. Below are some of the fields where a VA might prove useful.

Types of Virtual Assistants

A common misconception about virtual assistants is that they only do administrative tasks. In reality, however, a VA can provide a variety of services depending on the client's needs as well as their field of expertise.

Social Media Virtual Assistant

Social media VAs plan, prepare, and post content on social media platforms for businesses or individuals. Social media, in this day and age, is essential for any business to survive. However, while social media may sound like easy and straightforward work, it's precisely the opposite.

Social media marketing requires a lot of thought and preparation. This is where social media VAs step in. By curating and managing valuable content, social media VAs help build their clients’ online presence.

Real Estate Virtual Assistant

The real estate industry is extremely fast-paced. Many realtors hire real estate virtual assistants so that nothing falls in between the cracks. Preparing and filing paperwork, email management, and scheduling meetings are a few tasks real estate VAs could be in charge of.

Virtual Research Assistant

If you love scouring the Internet for research gold, then becoming a VA research assistant might be for you. A research assistant does just that—they research. Compiling data, comparing statistics, and searching for guest blog posts are a few of the tasks they do daily.

Virtual Administrative Assistant

Administrative VAs perform a variety of administrative and basic HR duties. Managing emails and phone calls, scheduling, bookkeeping, and more fall under the tasks of a virtual administrative assistant.

eCommerce Virtual Assistant

eCommerce VAs lighten the work for online businesses. Some of their responsibilities include customer service, product data entry, managing inventory, and handling day-to-day transactions.

Data Entry Virtual Assistant 

Data entry can be time-consuming. To save time and resources, businesses hire data entry VAs. They prepare, sort, compile, and review data for accuracy.

Virtual Bookkeeping Assistant

Another time-consuming task that businesses hire VAs for is bookkeeping. Virtual bookkeeping assistants take care of inventory management, record-keeping procedures, and budgeting, among others.

Virtual Marketing Assistant

Marketing is essential for any business. VA marketers take care of various marketing fields, including email marketing, social media marketing, and much more. Conducting keyword searches, running ad campaigns, and running a blog are just a few of the duties that might fall under this assistant category.

Learning to be a Virtual Assistant

Learning to become a virtual assistant doesn't always follow one direct path and much of it can be trial and error at first. However, there are many resources to help get you started, from online classes to helpful guidebooks and even Facebook groups.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Virtual Assistant?

The time it takes to become a virtual assistant really depends on you. Like many aspects of the career, how hard you work will determine how quickly you secure a client, how much you earn, and how long it takes to become successful.

How to Become a Virtual Assistant: Step-by-Step

Becoming a virtual assistant isn’t as easy as you may think. It requires a methodical approach, from deciding on your niche, marketing your skills, and cultivating a strong clientele. We understand that this may be a daunting venture so we’ve compiled a step-by-step list that can guide you through your VA journey.

  1. Identify your business structure. Are you a sole proprietor, a contractor, or something else? Step one entails setting up and filling out all the paperwork that you will need for your new business.
  2. Choose the services you want to offer to clients. Would you say that you have the expertise of a graphic designer? More into social media posting? Or do you want to purely do research? Once you decide which services you want to offer clients, make a list of them. You can always add to the list as you develop as a VA.
  3. Identify if there is a specific industry you wish to work in. Do you want to concentrate on real estate? The medical field? Or are you open to working in any field?
  4. Determine how much you will charge clients. When you start, it may be challenging to decide what you should charge. Remember to factor in taxes or if you are using a website, consider what fees will be taken out.
  5. Take courses to expand your skillset and learn from the experts. There are many online courses and certificates to expand your skillset and knowledge. Take advantage of these and learn from experts in the field.
  6. Build a presence online. You are your business so you must market yourself. And what better way to create buzz for your new career as a virtual assistant than online? You could start your website, a social media channel, or launch a page on a freelance website. Perhaps even all three. The more you market yourself, the more clients you will get in return. Facebook marketing can be useful for any small business.
  7. Start finding clients. There are so many different outlets where you can find potential clients. You can use previous connections that you might have from work or in the local community. You might also consider using freelancing websites such as Fiverr, Flexjobs, and Belay. If having a middleman isn’t to your liking, research who you want to work with and then directly reach out to them.
  8. Ask for feedback and referrals from previous clients. This is a crucial step as a good review can help get you another job. Clients can also recommend you to other potential jobs this way. Always ask for a review after your job is done.

The Best Virtual Assistant Courses and Training

One of the best ways to get started as a virtual assistant is learning from the best in the business. Find courses taught by expert VAs in various formats below.

Online Virtual Assistant Courses

Online classes are prevalent, especially now. You have the opportunity to learn how to become a successful virtual assistant without leaving your house with some of the following classes.

Become a Virtual Assistant

  • Provider: Udemy 
  • Duration: 3.5 hours
  • Prerequisites: None
  • Cost: $39.99

Become your own boss with the Online Virtual Assistant Course offered through Udemy. The class teaches technical skills that large corporations and small businesses look for in VAs. The course is designated for anyone serious about landing a high-paying VA role. The course offered through Udemy is often on sale so the price may vary.

30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistant Success

  • Provider: Gina Horkey Handbook 
  • Duration: 30 Days 
  • Prerequisites: None
  • Cost: $498

Launch your own successful VA business with the help of Gina Horkey's 30 Days or Less to Virtual Success Course. The class will walk you through the step-by-step process of setting up your online business. Enjoy free lifetime access to training that’s intended for those who wish to pursue a VA career as a side hustle or a full-time job.

Free Virtual Assistant Courses

If you're uncertain whether you should pursue a virtual assistant career, then it might be a good idea to dip your toes through one of the following classes. These courses are entirely free and will help you gauge your interest in the VA field.

Virtual Assistant Courses

  • Provider: Alison
  • Duration: Self-paced
  • Prerequisites: None

Alison offers approximately 1,476 classes designed to turn you into a bona fide virtual assistant. Taught by experts and universities, Alison provides a myriad of learning options to choose from, including certificates, diplomas, and training paths.


  • Provider: Google
  • Duration: Self-paced
  • Prerequisites: None

No matter which VA direction you choose to take, you will most likely be working with some sort of Google product. Offered through Google, these e-Learning courses will help improve your proficiency in utilizing Google and all the products it has to offer. The best part besides it being free? You can learn at your pace and become Google-product certified. That's a win, win, win.

Virtual Assistant Books

While the career might be virtual, books are still a powerful resource to start any VA career. Explore some of the below titles for VA career inspiration.

Become A Successful Virtual Assistant: Learn the Business Side & Ditch 9 to 5, Melissa Smith

By expert VA Melissa Smith, this book explores how you, too, can launch a successful VA career. Forget figuring it all out on your own. Melissa is here to share her advice, tips, and tricks that can save you months or even years.

How to Be a Virtual Assistant: Start and Run Your Own Successful VA Business, Catherine Gladwyn

If you wish to start your VA business, then this is the handbook to help you do so. Filled with insider tips, insights, and the do's and don't of the business, this book will set you up for success.

Becoming a VA: The Key to Unlocking the Virtual Assistant Industry, Tracey Osborne

With over a decade of experience under her belt, Tracey Osborne shares the tools needed to start and run your successful VA career. Learn how to start a business with little to no startup fees.

Virtual Assistant Certifications

Certifications are a great way to edge out your competition, prove your skills to prospective clients, and ultimately learn something new. Learn about ways to get certified as a VA below.

Hubspot Academy Certifications

Hubspot allows you to add badges to your LinkedIn page through completely free certifications. Various certifications could apply to a VA career including content marketing, email marketing, and platform consulting.

Coursera Professional Certificates

Coursera also offers a variety of professional certificates. Starting at just $39 a month, Coursera offers numerous certifications, including a Facebook social media marketing professional certificate, a SalesForce certificate, and a Google IT support certificate.

Online Virtual Assistant Resources

In addition to books and classes, there are many additional resources for VAs online. These include the following.

Facebook Group

The Virtual Assistant Networking group might be a great place to start learning and engaging with fellow virtual assistants. The group is intended to be a place of learning and sharing.

Facebook Blueprint

Facebook Blueprint offers free courses on how to start and grow your business via the social media platform. If you're a beginner or a seasoned Facebook advertiser, visit the page and browse through the free online classes that await you.

Should You Study to be a Virtual Assistant?

If you desire to start your own business, create your hours and wages, and work from anywhere you wish, learning to become a virtual assistant is a good first step. However, once you decide you want to become a VA, a genie doesn't appear and grant you your top three clients.

The career of a virtual assistant can be hard work, especially in the beginning. Ultimately your success is up to you. Some might argue that's the best part.

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