How to Be a Successful Virtual Assistant: Launch your Business to the Next Level

Your Guide to Being the Best at this Work from Home Job

woman working from home as a successful virtual assistant

Working as a virtual assistant is an ideal work-from-home job for anyone who wants freedom, flexibility, and the empowering feeling that comes with running your own business.

It gives you the freedom to be your own boss while setting your own rates, allows you the flexibility to work whenever you are able, and offers a practically unlimited earning potential.

You can pull in a very modest full-time income as a virtual assistant. According to Indeed, the average base salary of a virtual assistant is $58,329 per year. Not too shabby for a job you can do from home! Some of the most successful VAs make six figures a year.

There’s a keyword in that statistic though –- successful. How to become a successful virtual assistant so that you, too, can enjoy that kind of accomplishment?

In this article, we’ll walk through steps you can take to be the best virtual assistant and achieve the success you desire.

person typing on a computer working from home

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. 

1. Get the Right Virtual Assistant Training

Good virtual assistant training is so important to becoming a successful VA. With good training you’ll learn all the ins and outs of running your own business, including some of the following:

  • How to set up your website
  • The tools you need to run your business
  • Understanding the legal side of things
  • How to deal with taxes
  • How to find clients
  • What contracts to use
  • How to handle payments

Whether you’re just starting out or your a seasoned pro, if you want to be a successful virtual assistant, you need to know how to handle this stuff.

I have looked at several virtual assistant training courses, and one comes out on top time and again — The Savvy System, by Abbey Ashley.

Abbey’s program covers absolutely everything you need to know about starting a virtual assistant business. Here are some of the modules covered in the program:

  • Discover Your Skillset
  • Pricing and Packages
  • Brand Academy
  • Processes and Assets
  • Payments, Invoicing, and Taxes
  • Legalities
  • Marketing 101
  • The Ultimate Marketing Plan
  • Web Development 101
  • The Virtual Assistant Lifestyle
  • Raising Your Prices
  • Building a Team

If you’re interested in learning more, read my in-depth review or head on over to her site here: The Savvy System.

2. Choose a Virtual Assistant Niche

You can’t do everything for everyone — so instead, it’s best to niche down.

If you’re just starting out, it does make sense to offer a variety of different virtual assistant services until you gain a few steady clients, but this isn’t a good long-term strategy. Instead, narrow your focus and choose just a few virtual assistant services to offer.

By telling your clients exactly what you can offer them, you’re better able to attract clientele and command high prices, especially since it will be much easier to convince people that you’re a professional who knows what she’s doing.

It’s also much easier to stay up-to-date on software, training, and the latest know-how for a few specialized services that to try and know everything. When you stretch yourself too thin, it’s easy for your business to start to suffer, which is the opposite of what you want if you’re working for success.

READ: How to Create Your Virtual Assistant Package: A Step-by-Step Guide

3. Stay Organized

It is so important to stay organized if you want to be a successful virtual assistant. By the very nature of this work, you’re responsible for things that impact someone else’s business.

As a small business owner, it’s very likely that you’ll have more than one client at a time. You must stay organized so that you don’t screw things up and impact other people’s work.

It’s essential that you have systems in place to stay on track. This means a good filing setup (on the cloud works), a password manager, time tracking tools, a billing system, and the like.

While your work will vary depending on what you offer, staying organized is key no matter what services you offer.

4. Act Professional

Working from home is an exciting step, but just because you can wear your sweats while you’re sitting down to work on your comfy sofa doesn’t mean you should act casual. Clients really don’t want to get a casual vibe from you, because – whether it’s true or not – it will give the perception that you’re not serious about your job.

To avoid this from happening, pretend that you’re working from a corporate office, even if the reality is you’re working from a messy playroom. This means that making sure all of your correspondence has a respectful tone, your work looks neat and polished, and you deliver what you promise.

Think outside the box too. It’s almost expected these days that any potential client you have will look you up to see what information they can find out about you on social media. You might have a “work” profile, but make sure your personal profiles look good too. If you have anything risqué, unbecoming, too political, etc. on there, people may be less likely to hire you.

Here are some other steps you can take to appear more professional:

  • Get professional headshots for use across all of your brand pages and email
  • Give your business a name, rather than just using your personal name
  • Create a simple website and use an email address connected to that website
  • Have “office hours” — set times you will be available for your clients
  • Get a dedicated cell phone number for your business
  • Create virtual assistant packages of services you’re willing to do for your clients, and present yourself as an expert in those areas

5. Be Honest

If you want to be the best virtual assistant, it might be tempting to take on any job that comes your way. I get that, especially at first. But if you want to make the best impression and hopefully gain more clients in the future, you have to be honest about what you can realistically do.

This might mean turning down a job because you feel like it’s outside your scope of expertise. Or, maybe you need to pass on a task because you have too much work already and you know that just one more thing will cause you to suffer burnout. In other instances, a prospective client might want to pay you far too little for the work that’s required to do the job.

Whatever the case, just be honest with your client. You’ll find most people will appreciate someone who’s forthright and upfront. And if they can’t accept your reasoning, then keep in mind that you’d probably not enjoy working with them anyway.

6. Be a Good Communicator

This is another important point that goes with the last one. Good communication is crucial to success as a small business owner.

It seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how many people are terrible at communicating. I’ve tried to work with other freelancers before and was blown away when people wouldn’t respond to emails or would completely ignore deadlines. That is not the way to conduct a business, and it is a surefire way to sabotage a burgeoning virtual assistant career.

If there’s some reason that you can’t meet a deadline (and really, this should be an extremely rare occurrence), reach out to the client as soon as possible. Be forthright and give an updated time frame, then do everything possible to stick to that time frame.

And while you certainly shouldn’t be expected to respond to every email immediately, do try and respond in a timely manner. Some VAs like to adhere to mainstream business hours, and that’s perfectly fine. Just tell your clients ahead of time that you’ll be available from 9-5 on weekdays (or whatever) and will respond within those hours.

Also be open to meeting clients in whatever form they prefer. Even if you don’t like talking on the phone or doing video chats, there are many clients who prefer to hire someone who likes to communicate in this manner. Stepping outside your comfort zone may help you build your business faster.

7. Minimize Distractions

It can be hard to minimize distractions when you’re working from home — especially if you’re a mom. But in order to be a successful virtual assistant, it really helps to make sure you’re as focused on your work as possible.

Here are some key things you can do to minimize distractions:

  • Create a designated work space. This helps you focus and puts your brain in “work mode”
  • Set a timer and work in “chunks” or “blocks.” Resist the temptation to look at your phone or browse your computer until the timer goes off.
  • Try and work out a household schedule that will give you at least some dedicated work time each week — this means without kids.
  • If you can or need to, leave the house and go someplace like a library or coffeeshop to work.
  • Keep a clean and uncluttered desk.

More Virtual Assistant Help

One key thing you can do to be successful in anything is to immerse yourself in it as much as possible and to learn as much as possible.

With that in mind, here are some other resources you can find on this site to help you:

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