How to become a VA

Our Virtual Assistant Spotlight Series focuses on members of Meadows Resources Virtual Assistant Team and how they came to decide a career in virtual administration was the best fit for them. Below we speak with Amanda Vigil:

When did you decide you wanted to be a virtual assistant and what made you consider the change?

I originally went to Texas A&M for music and then went into accounting but realized accounting wasn’t what I enjoyed. I went into business and fell in love with marketing. My next thought was what can I do with marketing? I started working with Houston Area Council and the American Women’s Business Association and became their Publicity Coordinator and I would say that is where my career in virtual marketing took off.

Did your career background and experience fit into the general realm of virtual assistant work or was this a complete change in career?

It felt like something I was always supposed to do. I did go to college as a music major. From looking at that to where I am now is a huge jump. I ultimately didn’t want to be a music major and thought “Well maybe I can become a music teacher.” I then really thought I wanted to do accounting after jumping into business and then moved to general business as my concentration as a start with the notion that I could change my mind later. I was like “I will take this accounting class,” and realized it wasn’t for me. I then went to marketing, but before went to management briefly. I decided “Let’s do marketing,” but stuck with a general business degree to learn a bit of everything. I always felt strongly about marketing even through the changes in major I made in college.

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Our Virtual Assistant Spotlight Series focuses on members of Meadows Resources Virtual Assistant Team and how they came to decide a career in virtual administration was the best fit for them. Below we speak with Jennifer McPeak:

When did you decide you wanted to be a virtual assistant and what made you consider the change?

I actually was attempting to launch my own VA business last year. With having more than 15 years in administration, clerical, social media management, I felt that it was time for a change. I had already been doing the work and I wanted to do that from home with my clients.

Did your career background and experience fit into the general realm of virtual assistant work or was this a complete change in career?

For me, it was kind of both. It wasn’t a complete career change because of most of my background being in administration and I worked in administrative roles. It was a slight change because it moved from clerical to a contractor so it was a little different but played up on skills. Also going from a brick and mortar-type job to working from home can be a change.

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There are many instances when being self-taught can be a cost-saving way of becoming trained in a certain field. While this may work, you may be shortchanging yourself on many different opportunities you may have found putting a little money out to get formally trained. Most times, you do not need to pay thousands of dollars for a college degree and can instead get certified and trained in a field without much money being put out there.

Virtual assisting is a field that is best left to be taught by the professionals. There is much to learn on the subject and you need to be the best you can be with the knowledge to properly conduct yourself in a way that will continue to a lucrative and fulfilling career. Here is why being trained as a virtual assistant is a great career move:

All Information is Located in One Place

Being taught formally in virtual assisting can help keep everything you need to learn organized. What does this mean? Well, you will have learning modules, PDF’s or Powerpoints made available to you that are easily accessible if you are ever in a bind. Most VA School’s offer many workbook pages and other pieces of information that can be kept in the same place.

Meadows VA School’s Best Practices is an organized list of all the best practices for virtual assisting all in one place.

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Okay, so you really feel like you can make a go of it as a virtual assistant. You like the idea of working at home because you may be a mother, retiree, or simply looking to leave your office job in search of a bit more freedom.

Luckily, virtual assistant positions offer the freedom to work from your home, a coffee shop, or wherever you can find high-speed internet, a place to sit and work and the ability to take calls in peace.

Now, here is the caveat to it all, you may or may not be best suited for this position after all–even if you want to take part in being a person virtual assistant. This does not mean you will never succeed in the position, you just may have to try a bit harder than others to be able to fulfill all the administrative duties and needs of a virtual assistant.

Below are some of the most successful personality traits that tend to succeed in the business of a virtual assistant position.

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Becoming a virtual assistant is a smart move for someone looking to find a rewarding career helping other companies by offering your administrative skills virtually.

What may have been viewed as a job for stay-at-home moms or retirees has now come into the spotlight as being a great career for those young and old, with children or without and can bring just as much respect and happiness from a career as an in-office worker.

Now, the decision to change should not be a light one and should not just be because you want to work from home and you think it’ll be simple work. Just because you are not in office does not mean as a virtual administrator that you will not work hard and have deadlines. You will also not just be sitting around all day as your clients WILL need you.

Below are some tips to ensure your career starts off on the right foot as a virtual assistant.

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Being a virtual assistant means having to work on your own. You will, of course, be given training, direction and help with all tasks, but in terms of your location of work–it will be a home office or area with an internet connection.

With that being said, you will not be in a position where you will be given a desk and have the obligation to keep it clean. Furthermore, you will not have a supervisor around to ensure your work area and computer are kept organized either.

To some, this may seem intimidating and if you are not an organized person it may not come easily to you. Luckily, there are ways to ensure your physical desk and computer (both online and offline) are kept neat and professional for the work you will be handed by your employer.

Google Drive

Google Drive has been a very great asset to both in-office employees, but even more so to virtual assistants. Now, you can easily share documents, make group edits, comment and critique projects and collaborate without all being in the same place. Also, you are able to categorize files, upload, download and keep everything in one location so you are not constantly looking through folders on and offline to find a document or file you need.

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Becoming a virtual assistant can be a very lucrative career if you put yourself out there and make the most out of the virtual employment sector.

Now, one thing that has been beaten into our heads since the internet emerged is that you cannot trust everything you see online–and jobs fall into this statement too.

Have you ever seen a job that was too good to be true or you felt that little gut check hit you as you applied for a position you didn’t feel right about–but did anyways because you NEED the job?

These instances have happened to so many, but virtual personal assistants need to be even more aware of who they are speaking to and what information they are giving out. The internet has made your information open to the public and if it falls into the wrong hands, it could be problematic.

There are ways as a virtual assistant looking for work to be on top of everything and make sure you are only applying to quality virtual assistant positions.

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For stay-at-home moms, professionals looking for a more flexible schedule, or someone just looking to make a bit of extra money, the idea of work-at-home job is appealing on many levels. There are many home business ideas out there, but most are based on sales. They require not only selling and marketing a product, but the purchase of the product before you can even sell it. Many of us are not natural salesmen and marketers, let alone versed in the economic planning needed to purchase and then turn profit on a product with regular efficiency. These skills can be learned, but if you don’t find them as a natural fit, then the chances of sticking with it sharply decrease. You have to believe in the product you’re selling and marketing, which is much different than merely liking it. Believing in a product requires an understanding of the philosophy behind it, the culture of who’s producing it, the target audience, and the process of how it is made. Luckily, the revolution of virtual administration gives you a product that you do believe in, yourself. You know exactly the amount of effort you’ve put into the acquisition of your skill-set, what you’re about, and what you have to offer.

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At some point in everyone’s professional career, the desire to be your own boss arises. Fantasies of making your own schedule, controlling how things happen, and not having to run around fulfilling seemingly unreasonable demands and deadlines set in. Why are things done this way when it would be much easier and time effective to do it differently? If I could only be taken seriously when I make a suggestion. Why do others get to make so much more when I put in the hard work? I’m tired of others getting recognized and rewarded for my ideas. The commute to work alone can often ruin your day; the lost time and heavy traffic, the stress of making it in on time when something slows you down, fuel and maintenance for your vehicle. There are uncountable reasons that sap the joy from your day. If I could only . . .

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