How to Become a Virtual Assistant: 6 Steps To Get You Started

For whatever reason you want to become a virtual assistant, I salute you. You, my friend, has decided to make a humongous decision, one that will have a profound impact on your life and livelihood. There are so many different avenues of earning online you’ll tap into, and I promise things will become clearer as you continue to research and try things on your own. That’s what I did when I commenced my online journey. In fact, I’m still getting my feet wet in trying so many new things.

Becoming a virtual assistant isn’t a cup of tea, but with the right guidance, lots of research, consistency, and persistence your business will soar. Are you ready to become a virtual assistant? Here are a few things to mull over. 

How to Become A Virtual Assistant

  1. Do you really want to become a virtual assistant?

The above question sounds rhetorical but it’s actually important. What is the rationale behind looking into this aspect of business? Working online is not for everyone. I’m not trying to be pessimistic or dissuade you, but when things get tough in this business, you’ll need to revert to ‘why you’re doing this’ in the first place. You’ll need something to motivate you when things don’t necessarily turn out the way you want them to.

Start putting things down on paper and highlight a few reasons why becoming a virtual assistant is the best option for you and your family (if you have dependents).

  1. What can you do? Are you willing to learn?

At this point in time, you should know why you want to become a virtual assistant. You’re off to a good start. On that note, it’s time to do some soul searching. What are you good at? At your previous employment, what did you do? There are so many services you can offer online, so make a list of things you’re skilled at. Prior to working online, I worked full-time as an SEO Content Writer. I subsequently used that skill to gain a few others. At present, SEO is my expertise.

Make a list of what you did at your previous employment, what you’d want to do (your passion), and then compare those against what actually sells online. Keep an open mind. In this industry, investment and growth are important. You must be willing to invest in your skills and concoct new ways to make your business work.

  1. How fast do you wish to get started?

Are you hungry to become a virtual assistant? If you are, taking a course or reading books that directly address becoming a virtual assistant is a great way to start.

  • Courses: I honestly didn’t look into that avenue when I got started, but I did make some investments when things started coming in. I did not take a course specific on how to become a virtual assistant, but I took courses to hone and learn new skills so that I’d be more marketable. For example: I have taken several SEO, social media, graphic design, and affiliate marketing courses. Some of the courses you’ll encounter will be a little pricey (especially if you want a complete package) but if you’re not able to quickly come up with a thousand bucks at once, buying small packages is definitely a factor. For example: You can opt for a course that will actually show you ‘how to get clients’, ‘how to write a proposal to send to clients’, and ‘where to find clients’. It’s totally up to you.
  • Books: I love books! I prefer to curl up with a good book and refer to its pages whenever I need some info or guidance. To add, I am trying to preserve my sight, so whenever I do get a chance to rush away from the computer, I take it.


In more ways than one, books are much more detailed than courses. However, you’ll find that against reading books, courses offer many demonstrations and practicality. Some people are more susceptible to learning when it’s shown through a video or through pointed worksheets. Unless the book you’re buying contains a DVD at the back or ‘how to’ screenshots, you’ll pretty much have to practice everything on your own.

Below you’ll find a list of books that’ll teach you specifically how to become a virtual assistant. Those books can be sourced on Amazon, or you can opt to use my affiliate links. By buying through my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission (at no additional cost to you). 

  1. Get A Work Portfolio Up and Going

I’ll go ahead and be honest with you; it’ll be difficult getting work done without a portfolio, references, or testimonials. A portfolio does not have to be a literal portfolio held in hand, but it could be a few samples of previously done work. If you don’t have a portfolio to showcase your talent and expertise, I suggest you get started now. Here are a few things you can do to build a portfolio:

  • Get some practice

This is not always easy, but possible. For example: let’s say you decided to offer your writing skills online. If you’re only interested in writing about a specific niche/topic, get a few titles going and write a few articles. Ensure to put your all into it, as those writing samples will determine if clients hire you. After writing a few sample articles, store them in a safe location that you’ll actually remember. I recommend using DropBox, One Drive, or Google Drive because you can actually send prospects a shared link to your work and access them from any location.

The same applies if you want to offer your skills as a graphic designer. You can opt to create a logo (maybe one that will be used for your own business), Infographics, social media images, and the works.

  • Give something free just for references

Yeah, I get it; no one wants to do free work. But guess what? It can actually make a difference. When I first started sourcing clients in Facebook groups (bear in mind I already had a strong portfolio), I decided to offer an hour of free labor.

Not only did that action get me a new reference, but that client hired me to do other work. See where I’m getting at? Once you put your foot through the door, do your utmost to stay in!

  • Get a website

A great way to showcase your work and expertise is to get a website. If you’re not able to establish one at the moment or don’t have the ‘know how’, get your services listed on a PDF and have a link handy to share when clients request it.

  1. How to locate clients for your virtual assistant business

Opportunities are endless. There are so many different platforms affording virtual nomads the opportunity to network and find prospects. My first client came from Elance (now Upwork). To date, my biggest clients came from that platform. In fact, I’m still doing consistent daily work for a client I met in 2014. Upwork can be a nightmare, so ensure to do your homework and actually vet who and what you’re willing to work for. If you don’t want to get scammed on that freelance marketplace, do not opt to accept payments outside of the platform, unless you’ve developed a strong relationship with your clients. Here’s a list offering at least 75 freelance marketplaces. I will be creating a course underscoring several other ways to get clients that actually takes you away from those freelance marketplaces, hence cutting out the middleman. Please look out for that.

  1. Bear in Mind the Legal Aspects of Things

I won’t say much about how to legally set up shop because I’m here in Jamaica and things work differently in different countries. If you want to learn more about the legal aspects of becoming a virtual assistant, I’d advise that you consult a legal professional who’ll be able to provide clear-cut information on legal matters in your country or state.

After considering the aforementioned points on how to become a virtual assistant, are you ready to become a virtual assistant? Drop me a comment and let me know what expertise you’ve decided to bring to the table.


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