Christina Jane in Ghana, where she is attending grad school and working part time as a virtual assistant.
- Christina Jane became a virtual assistant as an undergrad, after working part time for Amazon.
- She continued to work as a virtual assistant when she moved to Ghana for grad school.
- These are her four tips for starting out in virtual assisting.
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In April 2020 I started a part-time role as an Amazon customer-service representative alongside my undergraduate studies in Florida. I loved working from home, but it wasn’t flexible.
I needed permission to take time off, and I was not allowed to work abroad because of heavy home-office equipment and security concerns.
Approaching the end of 2020, I found out my temporary contract with Amazon was ending. With my degree due to end in summer 2021, I scrambled to find a job that would allow me to work anywhere as a travel blogger. I remembered the virtual-assisting course I had invested $600 in but never completed. Instead of job searching, I completed the course.
In January 2021 I posted that I was a virtual assistant on an Instagram account I’d created to market my services, even though I hadn’t secured my first client. Shockingly, I received seven inquiries from people needing a virtual assistant.
I didn’t have any startup costs, as I already owned a laptop and had internet. I secured my first three clients within a week of my impromptu launch date. I created social-media content for a branding-and-marketing agency, managed the email inbox of a therapist, and performed data-entry tasks for a finance agency.
I still had three weeks left on my Amazon contract, working 16 hours a week — I balanced my new clients around that and my studies at first, which I found fairly easy. After graduating, I moved to Ghana for graduate school in August and took my business with me.
When I moved, I had accumulated more clients. Getting acclimated to a new environment and culture was challenging, especially with not-great WiFi in Ghana, but I gave myself two weeks to establish a productive working environment.
I’m grateful I found a job that was a bridge from losing part-time work to moving overseas for grad school.
These are my four tips for getting started as a VA.
Establish which services you’re qualified to provide
The course taught me concepts like what to put into my contract for clients to protect myself as a VA and how to conduct calls with prospective clients. But I had to decide which of the skills I had developed I could offer.
Common tasks include managing email and scheduling appointments, but you can offer whatever services you’re qualified to provide. Are you good at creating YouTube thumbnails or writing grant proposals? You can offer both.
Write down a list of tasks you would enjoy doing for other people and have done in past roles. Then think of how much time those tasks may take and how much money you would want to earn hourly for them. This will give you an idea of a price range to quote.
For example, writing grant proposals takes detailed research on the business at hand. You could charge $20 an hour for this or a base rate of $200 if it …….