How to Become a Virtual Assistant in Australia
Working from home is the ultimate way of achieving a home/life balance once you have children, and becoming a Virtual Assistant is a great way of doing just that! If you worked in an office in your former life or are handy on a keyboard, perhaps this is the perfect job for you!
What You Need to Become a Virtual Assistant:
There are a few essentials that you will need to have before you even start advertising for work. We list them here for you:
- A reliable computer
- A decent internet connection with at least 50GB to allow for uploading and downloading of documents
- A word processing program such as Microsoft Word or G-Suite
- A spreadsheet program such as Excel or Google Spreadsheets
- A colour printer
- Cloud storage such as Dropbox
- Public Liability Insurance
- An email address that you check regularly
- Business Cards with your contact details including email address.
- Good typing and grammar skills.
- Administration skills
- The ability to use multiple computer programs.
Other things you may or may not need depending on your circumstances:
If you are trading under your own name, you won’t need to register your business name. However, if you have already thought of a wonderful name for your business, you will need to register this with ASIC (The Australian Securities and Investments Commission). This does incur a cost, but it is essential.
- Register your Business Name with ASIC
- Apply for an ABN number
- Register for GST (check with the ATO regarding your earnings)
Although there are no formal qualifications for becoming a Virtual Assistant, qualifications are looked upon favourably and there are a few really great online courses to look at that will not only help you get a head start in your Virtual Assistant business, but will also look great on your Media Kit (which will will talk about further down this article!).
There is also some excellent Virtual Assistant software available that helps you to run your empire at home. They include:
Hubstaff is a way of your clients being able to monitor what you do during the day. The program takes a screenshot of your computer every ten minutes or so – and the client can have access to this screenshot. This is particularly good if you have employees under you so you can monitor their work! It is also a great project management tool and a place you can store all your files and discussions regarding a client.
Dropbox is a cloud-based file sharing tool that is pretty outdated now, but loads of people still use it so it is probably good to have an account. You can set up a free account and scale up as you need more and more online space.
This App is brilliant – and if you haven’t started using it all ready for your personal life – you should! Great way of using it to set appointments, remember deadlines and even share with others.
Oh, I love love love love LastPass. You know how you need about a bisquillion passwords for everything in your everyday life? Well if you are working online, multiply that by a hundred and that’s how many passwords you will need to remember. But not with LastPass – you only need one (one really shit-hot password) – and it remembers the rest of them for you! Makes life so much easier as you don’t have to reset passwords you have forgotten or look for that piece of paper you wrote it on last time you logged in. Absolutely highly recommend!
How to Market Your Wares as a Virtual Assistant
Once you have all the ticks and balances in place, it is time to start earning some money! And to do that – you need to market your business and get the word out there that you are looking for work.
You should do the basic marketing strategies such as:
- Starting your own Virtual Assistant Facebook Page, list you location and services offered.
- Go to local business meetings and events to tell people about what you do.
- Join various Linkedin groups and Virtual Assistant Facebook Groups so you can meet other Virtual Assistants and trade information.
- Print a Media Kit and drop it into local businesses
- Have former happy customers leave a review
- Check out our article on 50 Ways to Grow Your Facebook Business Page for more great hints on marketing your small business.
Virtual Assistant Facebook Groups to Join:
- Virtual Assistant Jobs Australia
- Virtual Assistant Network (Australia)
- Virtual Assistant Jobs (US)
- VA Institute Australia
- VA Directory
Where to Find VA Work
Here are websites where you can find Virtual Assistant work right away!
Upskilling to Become the Best Virtual Assistant You Can Be
Although formal qualifications aren’t required to become a Virtual Assistant, it still looks shit-hot to have some under your belt. And like starting any small business, you need to learn the ropes before you jump in feet first. The good thing is that there are now multiple ‘Virtual Reality Schools’ where you not only learn how to be a Virtual Assistant, but you can put that course on your Media Kit for future employers to look at.
Best Virtual Assistant Course in Australia:
Stay at Home Mum has done hundreds of hours of research to come up with the very best Virtual Assistant Course in the whole of Australia. The VA Institute. The VA Institute provides training, hands-on practical support for you during the start-up phase. They offer three different and affordable learning programs.
- The Six Week Accelerated Start Program (online delivery)
- The Six Week Accelerated Start Program (Face to Face Delivery)
- The two-day VA Start-up Intensive RETREAT (learn everything in a two day weekend, cost includes accommodation and meals)
Why we love them so much:
- Your own business website setup and support
- Business email account setup and support
- Business Plan
- Electronic copies of essential business documents
- Social Media review and set up
- VA Industry insider tips and tricks
- Payment Plans
What to Sell?
So you are all set up as a Virtual Assistant, so now what? Now you need a ‘schedule’ of all the tasks that you are capable of in your new position. You want to accentuate the things that you are good at – and leave the things you don’t know – out! If there is demand for a service that you have limited knowledge for – this is where you should upskill.
Not all Virtual Assistants do all jobs, in fact, if you specialise in a particular area, you could demand more money for your services!
Putting all this information together is called a ‘Media Kit’ or ‘Rate Card’. I’ve enclosed a copy of mine for public speaking so that you can get a good idea of what to do. I put it together in Canva (which is FREE) and a great way to get a professional looking Media Kit with just a bit of time and tenacity!
Think of a Media Kit much like a resume.
An example of things you should include on a Media Kit includes:
- Typing Speed and Accuracy – rate per word or per hour
- Computer Programs that you know are are competent in eg: Word, Excel, Photoshop
- Other skills such as data entry, social media management
- Contact details including your email address and mobile number
Try and keep it to a single page if you can.
How to Price your Media Kit
As exciting as it is to become a Virtual Assistant and earn money whilst working from home, you still have responsibilities as a business owner. That includes taxes such as GST if you are earning over a certain amount, covering yourself for superannuation, the expense of new business equipment or computer programs you need and remembering that you really have no paid holidays.
You need to take all your costs into account, and your experience when coming to a price.
On top of that, you may want to charge your services out for a whole job, rather than an hourly rate.
A typical Australian Administrative Assistant or similar earns around the $25.00 per hour mark – and that can go up from there.
Becoming a Virtual Assistant is a great way to ‘Future-Proof’ your career and is something you can always fall back on. Get the information right, upskill and learn how to do it the right way, good customer service and a keen attitude will steer you well.
We wish you all the best!