Virtual Assistant = Online Secretary?

The first time I heard about being a Virtual Assistant (VA) was in the 4 Hour Work Week. Author Tim Ferriss raved about saving money and time by hiring Virtual Assistants to handle the administrative tasks in his business.

Naturally, I had this picture that a Virtual Assistant is an online secretary. Answers email. Books travel. Schedules appointments. (There’s nothing wrong with offering these tasks. They’re a necessary part of doing business.)


There is no “one size fits all” Virtual Assistant job description.

I’ve since learned that the range of jobs a Virtual Assistant offers can be much wider.

There are Virtual Assistants offering expert-level services in:

  • Blogging
  • Graphic design
  • Social Media Management
  • Public Relations
  • Email Marketing
  • Bookkeeping
  • Editing
  • Writing
  • Research

Here’s a list of over 150 services you can offer as a VA.

Interestingly, a VA can offer any service – online or offline – to a client for money.

A VA is almost like a business consultant. Except instead of just offering a recommendation, the VA executes it.


VAs are in demand!

In this increasingly technological world – and with the rise in online businesses, VAs are an in demand job.

Like Tim Ferriss, clients are hiring VAs because they can pay for a task or just the amount of hours worked and save money. This also frees up their time to do other business building projects.

People are becoming VAs because they like the flexibility to set their own hours. The work from home benefit. The average pay is $25-40/hour (with some making $100/hour). It’s the perfect role for stay-at-home moms.


How do you become a professional Virtual Assistant?

Like any job, you can jump in. Sink or swim. If you don’t want to waste time and make serious money fast, there are best practices to follow. You need to get the best Virtual Assistant training.

Gina Horkey is an experienced Virtual Assistant. At her company Horkey Handbook, she offers arguably the best Virtual Assistant training program online.

I’m excited to share this interview with Gina, where she shares tips on how to become a Virtual Assistant and how to land clients.

Gina Horkey, Founder of Horkey Handbook


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Gina, how did you become a Virtual Assistant?

Hi, I’m Gina [waving]. I started a freelance writing business on the side of my full-time job (in personal finance), in the spring of 2014 to “test the waters” for a potential career change.

At the time, I was (and still am) the sole breadwinner of our little family of four and my husband was (and still is) a SAHD to our two kiddos. Our youngest was less than a year old at the time!

That fall I added in virtual assistant services as a way to stabilize my income, make it more predictable and use some of my other skills to help small business owners. Landing my first VA client is what gave me the confidence to put in my notice and quit my day job.

I haven’t looked back since!


How much money can a VA make?

From the little research that exists, the average North American virtual assistant earns between $25-40 per hour.

This is going to depend on your experience, skill-set and areas of expertise. I.e. The more specialized your services and the more experience you have, the more you can charge.

I’ve seen people in our community charge as little as $15 per hour and others earn more than $100 per hour (including myself). Ultimately it comes down to being really good at what you do and finding clients that value what you’re offering them.

How quickly you start earning honestly depends on how quickly (and frequently) you start putting yourself out there for hire. Click here for some real live examples of VAs in our community that have built successful businesses.


In my opinion contracting and working virtually is the way of the future.

People (clients and virtual assistants alike) crave increased flexibility. And what better way to obtain it than to build a business and/or team virtually?

Clients (typically small business owners, entrepreneurs, etc.) aren’t always looking to manage people or take on full-time help. Instead, they’d like to contract out for specific services they need help with. It makes it a win/win for both parties. 🙂


What kind of person is a good fit as a VA?

What I hear from clients over and over is that they’re looking for someone that’s:

  • Communicative
  • Organized
  • A self-starter
  • And reliable


So while they’re looking for people that can provide select services, they’re mainly looking for the above. As long as you’re trainable, you’ve got a shot!

You also need to have a computer (desktop or laptop, doesn’t matter) and reliable internet. Don’t worry about having any fancy programs or applications – most clients will give you access to their cloud-based tools and software programs that you need to complete your work for them.


How does a VA get clients?

We cover more than a half dozen prospecting methods in 30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistant Success, but a few of our favorites are:

  1. Using social media
  2. In person networking
  3. Tapping into your natural market

Methods for finding and attracting high-quality clients haven’t changed much over the last decade, but really understanding what they are, which you’re best suited for and how to go about them in the right way are important. Luckily for our students, prospecting and building effective client relationships are kind of our speciality.


What is your favorite thing about being a VA?

The list is long!

What ranks at the top of mine is probably:

  1. Flexibility to work from anywhere on my schedule (i.e. you don’t have to keep banker’s hours in most cases when working with clients)
  2. Freedom (that comes with the whole flexibility thing I guess!)
  3. Unlimited income potential (you choose how much to charge and can raise your rates as you gain more experience, look into other ways to make money online, etc.)


What is your biggest challenge as a VA?

The biggest challenge for most aspiring virtual assistants is not getting started in the first place!

You’ll never be fully equipped for any role/job that you take on – if you are, you should probably challenge yourself by going after something else! Instead you need to start where you are, learn as you go and not let fear get in the way of putting yourself out there for hire. New skills will be accumulated as you start working with clients. 🙂


How can someone interested in becoming a VA get started?

We’d be honored if you’d consider enrolling in 30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistant Success.

This 13 module course will literally walk you through starting your new business – it’s perfect for newbies, but existing VAs have taken it and moved their business to the next level as a result too.

We cover everything from:

  • What services to offer
  • Who to offer them to
  • How much to charge
  • Where to find clients
  • How to setup your website (including what should be on it!)
  • How to effectively pitch clients
  • Invoicing
  • Contracts
  • Working with clients
  • And a deep dive into about a dozen services you can offer

Plus, much, much more!


Who is your course for?

You need to be motivated, disciplined and have a desire to be self-employed.

While the course provides a great framework for you to plug yourself into, there’s still work to be done on your part. If you like to read all of the things, but don’t really enjoy taking action, this course is NOT for you.

Point blank, you’ll get results if you do what we tell you to. But if you think that all it takes to start a new business is spending a little bit of money to purchase a course (and not doing anything as a result), you’re going to be sorely disappointed.

We do offer a very generous 7-day money-back guarantee. Meaning if you find out right away that the course isn’t the right fit for you, just send us an email and we’ll refund your purchase in full.


What kind of results can you expect to obtain from the course?

Most students make their way through the material in a month or less.

Many end up getting hired by their first client before they finish. Results will vary based on the time someone has available, the amount of action they take and the skill-set they enter the course with.

Some students have the goal of bringing in a few hundred extra dollars each month, while others want to replace a six-figure salary. We’ve watched numerous students accomplish both goals over the last several years – most land somewhere in between.

My personal favorite is when someone sends me an email or tags me on Facebook that they’ve just quit their soul-sucking job. 😉


What makes your VA training different from other VA courses?

I haven’t taken other VA courses, so I don’t know for sure.

What I do hear from our students is that our course is extremely robust, without feeling overwhelming or “fluffy.” Our goal is to help people take control over their career futures by repurposing their current skills and/or learning new ones and then marketing them to small business owners in need of help – everyone wins in this scenario!

Not only do many of our students land their first client inside of 30 days of their course enrollment, we also help them to get hired by sharing unique client leads within our community!


What is your #1 piece of advice for someone who wants to become a VA?

You’ll never know what you’re capable of if you never try.

Don’t think about what the worst case scenario could be – instead think about what’s the BEST POSSIBLE OUTCOME that can come from trying something new?

Why not YOU, why not NOW?


If you’re interested in how to become a VA, check out Gina’s article on How to Become a Virtual Assistant: Everything You Need to Know.


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How to make up to $100/hour as a Virtual Assistant