For some people, working a mundane 9 to 5 office job seems to be their only option. But with a rise in digital and remote work, there are many who are deciding to change their lifestyle and switch to online work.
One fast-growing field within the remote world is a virtual digital assistant with plenty of jobs out there to choose from. To become one is not a particularly difficult process, but it takes some gumption.
At least at the beginning, it takes some honing of skills and finding those first couple jobs. Like any career, once they can tap into the field, it is much easier to find consistent work and live their best life.
But before we dive into the logistics of becoming a virtual digital assistant, let’s talk about what it is…
What is a Virtual Digital Assistant?
A virtual digital assistant is essentially what it sounds like: someone who assists with tasks. It is someone who typically does a number of administrative-like tasks for an employer or client via the internet.
This could be for a local nonprofit organization, the CEO of a company, a small start-up, a blog, a huge corporation…the possibilities are endless!
It could mean preparing statements, documenting or scheduling meetings, making travel and accommodation arrangements, paperwork, social media, finance and more. Although the work itself might be more mundane than other more creative remote jobs, some people don’t mind when they can kick their slippers off and work in bed if they feel like it.
The most beautiful part is, they have the freedom to work remotely. This means they can spend more time at home with their family, travel, or simply bask in all the benefits of having a home office.
More secure than some other remote jobs, a virtual digital assistant might have job security, health benefits, and set monthly salary. However, some might struggle to stay on-task or organized at first. This part takes some adjusting and self-discipline.
- Flexible schedule
- Can work at home
- More financial security
- More mundane tasks
- Self-discipline to stay on task
- Competitive field
Virtual Digital Assistant: A Day in the Life
A virtual digital assistant will wake up on a schedule either they set for themselves, or one set by their employer. They will likely set up shop in their home office and depending on their preference, may stay in their robe most of the day.
They will likely have a list of administrative tasks to do each day, and will be checking their email and making calls periodically through the day. It might be the case that a dedicated landline or specific cell phone for work is necessary. If one of their main duties is to make calls, this comes in handy and helps to maintain a healthy work/life balance.
It might also be the case that a phone is not necessary at all, and most of the work they are doing is through email and creating excel spreadsheets. They may have scheduled meetings with their employer via skype as well, in which case throwing on a button up shirt and combing their hair wouldn’t hurt.
Although a virtual digital assistant has the freedom of a remote lifestyle, traveling around while working may pose some challenges. For one, having a strong wifi connection, an easy to reach phone number, and being in the same time zone may be more important. But of course, it depends on the job, and if it’s a virtual assistant’s goal to live the life of a digital nomad, they should target which jobs will be more suitable for this lifestyle.
Virtual Digital Assistant Jobs
There are a number of virtual assistant companies or firms who hire people outright for jobs and outsource services. These companies tend to have many clients, so there is some financial security there, but they might have more strict stipulations or structure as opposed to a more independent worker.
A digital assistant can work either part-time or full-time and may have more or less flexibility in their schedule depending on the role.
Virtual digital assistants can also be freelancers and work for many clients at once, or as temporary or seasonal work. Some companies experience big surges of work during holidays or for large events, and require an assistant for specific tasks. If this is the case, the digital assistant should maintain a stream of opportunities and good relationships with their clients so they can find other work or be re-hired.
Other job titles that are synonymous include: executive assistant, administrative assistant, personal assistant. There are also a variety of options when it comes to the type of work, as we discussed before, and finding a niche is part of the process.
If they are helping to manage a blog or social media, they might have less financial stability than someone who transcribes meetings and manages an organizational calendar. However, they likely have more freedom and flexibility. As we weighed earlier the pros and cons, anyone can make this career fit their preferred lifestyle.
Becoming a Virtual Digital Assistant in 2020
Now that we’ve covered what a virtual digital assistant is and the types of jobs available, let’s get into how people become one.
Hone Skills & Multi-tasking
Being able to show you have desirable administrative skills is helpful. Most virtual digital assistants will do a variety of tasks that require high-level organizational and multitasking skills. Proving they have these skills through previous work experience or by taking online courses can be beneficial.
If they’re a social media or blogging guru, there are plenty of ways to show their skills here. Having an active social media account or blog, or a track record of this on other accounts is a good place to start.
In addition, to be able to increase productivity and organization, a virtual digital assistant will want to show their employers HOW they stay on task. This can be by using Google tasks or other preferring platforms. It shows the employer or client that staying on task is not a problem, and this is largely one of the biggest concerns with remote work!
Create A “Home” or Portable Office
Having a sufficient home office is likely necessary. Some digital assistants may need to fax, scan, or copy items. They might prefer to have a desktop and separate area to be able to make phone calls in private (away from their barking dog or screaming children).
If they are not home, having all the things they need with them to complete their tasks is absolutely necessary; their livelihood depends on it! So if they are traveling as a digital nomad, having tools with them such as an international WIFI router, a phone they can use anywhere, a reliable laptop, and all the adapters they’ll need are muy importante.
Specialize In A Niche
A virtual assistant should focus on getting their foot in the door however they can in the beginning. They might already have a niche or area of interest that they are building their skills for. Or if they have already been working in the administrative field, going digital after reading this should be easy, breezy, beautiful.
When just starting out, figuring out how to land that first job as a virtual assistant might be a struggle. If this is the case, they might try volunteering a day or two a week at a local nonprofit or, if they know a friend who owns a business, asking to help with some tasks so they can build up some experience.
Scout for Jobs
After all these steps, scouting for jobs is likely the next step. Tons of job sites out there such as flex jobs or indeed.com post hundreds of legitimate virtual assistant jobs. If it feels like slim pickin’s, they might check out LinkedIn or contact blogs or companies directly with a CV. They might also reach out to one of the virtual assistant companies or firms and get started that way.
For freelancers, it is worth it to look at Upwork or Fiverr. These platforms offer a variety of jobs, and setting up a decent profile and sending out personalized (emphasis on this part!) proposals can help them to land their first couple gigs.
So there we have it…the skills and steps to become a virtual digital assistant online.
If a virtual assistant lands a full-time salaried job, hoooray! They have some job security and don’t need to worry about finding clients or gigs. For freelancers, hustling is their game. And, once they get the hang of it, they can blossom into the mature and brilliant freelance professionals they were meant to be.