After I wrote the blog post about the top reasons to hire a virtual assistant, I have gotten quite a number of questions on the skills one would need to become a virtual assistant. I would have loved to say, just have all the skills an administrative staff should have. But, the expectations for a virtual assistant is different from that made of a full-time administrative staff.
First, most virtual assistants work in select niches, which makes clients perceive them as some pros or something of the sort. No mistakes are entertained. Come on, there must be results for the hourly pay or whatsoever payment plan agreed on. We could talk about the various ways a virtual assistant can charge clients later.
Again, being a virtual assistant makes you an entrepreneur. So, while working with the other entrepreneurs and helping them solve their problems, you have to deal with your own business.
This is to say that, in addition to the required skills that would enable a virtual assistant function in whatsoever niche she or he has chosen, a virtual assistant who wants to remain in business should have the following skills:
1. Time Management
Time management is an essential skill we all need to succeed in life. It’s not exactly easy to manage your time. But, you can’t be be productive, if you don’t. Especially as a virtual assistant – you most likely work with different clients who may be under the assumption that they are your only clients. Sometime last year, I combined a full-time job and working as a VA. My client didn’t care, she only needed results. I had to take every lunch break at my full-time job because the time must be thrown into my work as a VA. That’s aside from the work I put in before going to work at the full-time job. As a virtual assistant, you have to learn to schedule everything and plan out each day ahead. You have to leave room for some pop-ups, they are bound to happen. Google calendar can come in handy. When you get efficient at time management, you can take up more clients and still deliver.
2. Sales Skill
The truth is that as a virtual assistant, you are an entrepreneur. You have to sell your services to get jobs. I understand if you hate to sell as a VA. The idea of selling is scary to me, having some telesales experience doesn’t make it easier. But, to get clients you have to confidently convince them of the value that you can offer. You are not the only VA in your niche. Some could offer their services for a lower amount. But, a fair price isn’t all that matter. Everyone is looking to get value for their money. If you can prove your worth and your value, then entrepreneurs can trust you to work with them.
3. Communication Skill
Communication skill is one of the most talked about skills in business. But, a lot of people don’t have this skill. And you can never be so good at communication that there is no need for improvement. To be able to sell your services, you must communicate effectively. To ensure that your client keeps coming back and possibly recommend you, you must communicate effectively. If there’s any form of misunderstanding, you have to communicate to trash it out. Please, try not to equate effective communication to just being articulate. You have to put into consideration, how the other person feels. Having a good communication skill could also mean understanding the best communication channel to reach your clients and prospects. Each channel involves a different approach. So, as a virtual assistant always works on your communication skill.
4. Basic Accounting Skill
Numbers make me cringe. I still have a beef with whoever invented numbers. That’s on a lighter note. As a virtual assistant, you have to deal with your accounting. You have to be able to understand the accounting part of your business to be able to understand what’s going on in your business. That’s one way to know if you are making profits or not. You can’t leave this to your hunches or your memory. The basic accounting skills would help you determine which clients and projects bring in more profit; figure out which clients pay their bills late; know when your expenses are beginning to increase unnecessarily; understand how to properly charge for your services; and predict which quarter of the year is more profitable to you as a virtual assistant.
5. Commit to Professional and Personal Development
At the speed with which our world is developing, everyone has to be on his or her toes. There are new things to learn every day that could help you grow yourself and your virtual assistant business. Years back, every administrative task is done in the office, now a lot of administrative pros work from home. There are a lot of speculations about the future of work. The question is, are you getting prepared for the changes? How can you provide more value to your clients? Can you become a better virtual assistant tomorrow? Are you learning to improve your business? Developing yourself as a virtual assistant means being a better VA and a better business person tomorrow than you are today. How are you going about that?
Are there other skills you believe every virtual assistant should have? Are there specific skills you look out for while hiring a virtual assistant? Do share in the comment section.