Working as a virtual assistant is one of the top ways to make money from home. While it is a versatile job that is a perfect fit for many people who want a work-from-home job, there are a few skills you need in order to succeed.
I like to break these skills up into two subsections: core skills and industry skills. It’s possible to learn all of the industry skills, so don’t worry if you don’t have those down pat — there are plenty of online tutorials or courses to help you along the way.
Core skills are something different. They can’t be taught, but are instead skills you need to inherently have if you’re going to be successful in running your own virtual assistant business. That doesn’t mean that you should let a lack of these skills prevent you from deciding this is the job for you — just know that you need to hone these traits if you want to be successful in the long run.
This list will help you determine the virtual assistant skills you need for this work-at-home job.
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1. Excellent Communication
Good communication is one of the core skills that is neccesary for anyone who’s working as an entrepreneur, especially a client-facing business like virtual assisting.
When you’re working as a virtual assistant, good communication with your clients is an absolute must. In fact, it is one of the biggest things that can make or break your business.
Excellent communication means that you are available at least by phone and email, and you respond to each query in a timely manner. This doesn’t mean you need to be available 24/7, but you should strive to be prompt in your responses during normal business hours.
Good communication also means that you are comfortable asking questions if you are unsure of the client’s demands. It also means that you’re upfront about what you’re realistically able to do. And if you ever have a problem meeting a deadline, you reach out and communicate to the client right away.
The more available and communicative you are, the more at ease your clients will be in working with you.
2. Interpersonal Skills
Here’s another core skill — dealing nicely with people.
Good interpersonal skills are a must for two reasons: in your business you need to win over your clients, and they in turn may ask you to perform customer service tasks for them. If you’re dealing with customers on the client’s behalf, you become the face of their business, so you need to know how to treat people nicely.
This isn’t a learned skill, but it also isn’t a difficult one. Simply being prolite and professional is all it takes.
Believe it or not, one of the biggest downfalls of most freelancers out there is that they are simply not reliable.
I myself have worked with freelancers who I’ve hired to perform a service, only for those freelancers to fail to do the work, fail to communicate, and otherwise seem to disappear.
It should go without saying, but this is not a way to conduct your business!
Being reliable means that you stick to your deadlines, do the work you were asked to do, and follow through on all delivery or other requirements.
Like the other core skills, reliability isn’t something you can learn — it’s just something you need to decide to do. And if you can master it, you’ll easily set yourself apart from the rest of the pack.
If you want to be successful as a VA, it’s imperative that you stay organized. This is especially true once you start working with several different clients at once.
As a virtual assistant, you’re going to need to handle confidential client matters and materials while you meet deadlines for your clients’ various needs. A good organizational system is important for this job.
This trait toggles between a core skill and an industry one. You don’t necessarily have to have a super-organized-gene from the start, but you do need to know what systems to put in place to get there.
Working from home isn’t always easy, especially if you’re launching a business on your own. It requires a bit of grit and determination, especially in the beginning stages.
There will be plenty of days that you maybe don’t feel like working, or outside activities will tempt you to lose your focus. That’s when having the self-motivation to keep going is key. This doesn’t mean you need to give up flexibility, which is one of the primary perks of running your own business from home, but it does mean that you need to keep going during times you may not feel like it.
6. Writing Skills
Now we get to the industry skills — if you don’t possess any of these, not to worry. They can easily be learned, and honed, as you go.
The first industry skill that’s nice to have as a virtual assistant is writing capabilities.
Many clients are looking for a virtual assistant who can handle some of their writing and content needs. For example, you may be expected to draft a blog post, email responses, or letters.
If you know how to work as a writer, or you at least have a good grasp of the English language and grammar, you’ll be in a good position to offer this as a virtual assistant service.
READ MORE: Top Virtual Assistant Services You Can Offer
7. Tech Savvy
Working as a virtual assistant means you will be on your computer a lot — after all, the job is virtual!
Because you’re dealing with clients online rather than in-person, you’re going to have a good sense of how the tech side of things works.
This means understanding how to use various project management systems, being comfortable working with documents on the cloud, and having a working knowledge of how to use the Google suite of services and/or Microsoft.
Again, don’t let these tech things bog you down or stop you from starting your business, as they can be learned. Just know that eventually, you will need to master this skill if you want to have success.
8. Blog Management Knowledge
Blog management is a useful skill to know when you are working as a virtual assistant because it allows you to offer this virtual assistant service in any packages you put together.
At the very least, you may want to learn or have a working knowledge of WordPress, Squarespace, and Weebly. Not every virtual assistant will need to work with these platforms, but if you are familiar with blog management it can help you expand your business.
9. Social Media Knowledge
Running social media for a client is an in-demand service that many virtual assistants offer. The top platforms include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest.
You don’t need to specialize in all of these — for instance, there are Pinterest virtual assistants whose sole service is to manage that platform — but a working knowledge of each will help you perform basic tasks for your clients.
10. Project Management Capabilities
Clients hire virtual assistants to help lighten their load, so any project management skills you can bring to your business are a great benefit.
While you may be offering project management in a supporting role, any leadership qualities you can bring to the table will also be helpful. Clients want to know that they can offer their virtual assistant a task and then rest assured that it will be completed with minimal oversight or direction.
11. Graphic Design Abilities
If you have a basic knowledge of graphic design and how to put together a nice-looking document or presentation, you’ll impress your clients and make yourself more money by offering this as a service.
Of course, this isn’t something you must know already, but it can be learned, making this another skill that would be an asset to your business.
Finding More Virtual Assistant Info
Working as a virtual assistant might feel overwhelming at first, but you don’t need to walk through the process of establishing your business alone. If you want to further build your understanding of what you need to do for a successful VA business, check out my other virtual assistant articles:
- Pros and Cons of Working as a Virtual Assistant: Top Things to Know
- Must-Have Virtual Assistant Resources: Tools to Grow Your VA Business
- How to Be a Successful Virtual Assistant: Launch your Business to the Next Level
- How to Create Your Virtual Assistant Package: A Step-by-Step Guide
- How to Track Your Virtual Assistant Hours: Top Time Tracking Tools
If you’re looking to build your business from scratch and have no idea where to start, learn from a professional who knows what she’s doing. Abbey Ashley at The Virtual Savvy has created a full-blown course teaching you everything you need to know about creating a winning virtual assistant business.
Her step-by-step proven method has helped more than 3,000 students launch their own virtual assistant business!
Check her out here if you’d like more information about making this the work-from-home job for you!