What is the best virtual assistant training?
So you’ve heard about being a virtual assistant because you want to
- work from home
- run your own business and be your own boss
- have a stable full-time income
- work with a business and learn their best practices (and apply it to your own business!)
You’re wondering how to become a virtual assistant with no experience. You know that you need proper training to become a PROFESSIONAL virtual assistant…
How do you know which course is the best?
If you’re curious (or in a hurry):
Why is it the best virtual assistant training course?
It’s created by an actual successful virtual assistant.
In 2014, Gina Horkey started a side hustle as a virtual assistant. Within 4 months, she was making $4000/month from it while maintaining a full-time job and raising 2 toddlers.
Her course is comprehensive and covers how to start and grow your virtual assistant business in 30 days including how to:
- Select your niche service(s) and rate packages
- Find and pitch prospective clients and successfully interview with and get hired by them
- Onboard and manage client communications
I’ve interviewed one of Gina’s students from her 30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistant Success course here.
In this interview, her student talks about the most valuable knowledge she gained from the training and how long it took her to get her first client.
Here’s also one of many videos where Gina interviews one of her students who shares how she landed her first client!
If you’re unclear about what a virtual assistant does (I certainly was!) and want to learn more about this career, this post will cover:
- What is a Virtual Assistant?
- What’s the demand for being a Virtual Assistant?
- Interview with Gina on how to break into being a VA successfully
Let’s jump right in…
What is a Virtual Assistant?
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:
- Graphic design
- Social Media Management
- Public Relations
- Email Marketing
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.
Virtual Assistants 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 Virtual Assistants 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 Virtual Assistants because they like the flexibility to set their own hours. The work at 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 successful 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.
Interview with Gina Horkey on how to be a successful Virtual Assistant
I’m excited to share this interview with experienced Virtual Assistant Gina Horkey. At her company Horkey Handbook, she offers arguably the best Virtual Assistant training program online.
In this interview, she shares how to land clients, her biggest challenge as a VA, and who is the right fit for this role.
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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 Virtual Assistant 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.
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:
- 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:
- Using social media
- In person networking
- 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:
- 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)
- Freedom (that comes with the whole flexibility thing I guess!)
- 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
- Working with clients
- And a deep dive into about a dozen services you can offer
Plus, much, much more!
Who is your Virtual Assistant training 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 VA 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 Virtual Assistant 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?
Thanks for the incredible insights, Gina!
Bonus Tip on Virtual Assistant Training
If you’re ALREADY a successful virtual assistant and you want to grow your business further and faster…
BUT you’re a one-person operation and can’t take on more clients because you’re limited by the hours of the day…
In Gina Horkey’s Fully Booked VA program, there is a Virtual Assistant Agency course on how to grow your virtual assistant business from being a solopreneur to an agency (manager of virtual assistants).
This course teaches you how to:
- Hire, train, and manage virtual assistants so you can take on more clients and increase your business’ profit (Hiring new people will also expand your company’s services!)
- Transition clients from working with you to working with your new virtual assistant team member
- Promote your new business structure
This course was created by Gina Horkey and Mallory Underwood. Mallory is one of Gina’s students from the 30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistant Success course.
She enrolled in that course in the Fall of 2017. By the summer of 2018, she hired 2 team members to help handle client work. By the summer of 2019, she had 5 virtual assistant team members helping her with her business.
Her average monthly net profit has increased by $2000 in 2019 without her having to spend more time on the business. She shares her lessons and best practices in this course!
I was able to chat with Mallory about her journey and tips. Here’s my interview with Mallory!
Mallory, what has been the most surprising aspect of changing to a Virtual Assistant Agency structure?
The most surprising thing for me is that the relationships with the team members I’ve brought on are so deep and meaningful and were developed very quickly. They work so hard and put in so much effort for our clients to benefit Hartewood Professionals (HWP), and they are exceptional partners.
Sometimes I feel unworthy, but I strive to always have their back, support them, show them gratitude and make sure what they are doing is aligning with their goals as well. This may mean helping them work through challenges with a client or offloading a client tasks from them, even if that means covering the cost to train someone to take over. Whatever it is they need, I want them to know I have their back.
It’s okay for them to make mistakes because I know they had a logical thought process in their decision-making and that they are a partner in growing this community together.
One other surprise I found that I had to work through initially was figuring out how to communicate with client leads that they would be working with someone else instead of me. My referrals and reputation were built off of my work, so I should have seen this coming.
I had to try a few tactics here and refine my process over time, but I finally found that pitching a specific team member who is a good match for the lead (and who has the capacity!) was the most successful tactic. Then I would loop them in for a chemistry call after I made an initial connection with the client lead – this was critical.
What is a typical day for a Virtual Assistant Agency Manager?
Similar to solopreneur virtual assistant work, there isn’t a “typical day,” but here’s a list of common tasks that come up monthly or weekly that I fit into my schedule.
This isn’t an all-inclusive list, but it should give you an idea where I spend my time:
- Monthly 1:1 check in calls with team members and quarterly team calls (includes preparing so we discuss HWP values/philosophies, individual goals, lessons learned and successes)
- Reviewing freelancer weekly recap and responding to questions/support requests
- Client work (I still manage two clients)
- Sending a client quarterly newsletter
- Monthly financials (includes paying freelancers, paying bills, invoicing clients, financial reporting and projections, etc.),
- Pitching(!), follow ups and then hopefully lead calls 🙂
- Setting up/adjusting processes (creating workflows for clients/freelancers, updating client questionnaires, setting up referral programs for both clients and freelancers, etc.)
- Later this year I plan to start our monthly newsletter for our email list (right now I’m working on building that up), which will include a free giveway for signing up for it
- Social media updates
- I’m also currently starting to work at being a CEO, which includes value and goal post identification, customer research, marketing and sales tactics, collecting testimonials and client success stories, perfecting our offering and systems, etc.
What are your top tips for being successful as a Virtual Assistant Agency?
Tip One: You are already great!
If you have a successful VA business, keep doing all of that amazing work (being reliable, customer-focused, providing exceptional work, etc.). You’re maxed out and ready to bring on others because you are already amazing!
Tip Two: Make sure you bring on the right people.
They should share your values and have a strong self-driven work ethic. After all, this is your brand they will be representing.
Being in a virtual role, they need to be reliable and tech-savvy. This means they can learn new software quickly, research and set up new systems and teach others (clients!) how to use it as well. This is not a bonus, it is a requirement.
If you have ANY red flags about bringing them on, skip an offer, or try them out with some of your own business tasks before connecting them with a client. In the long run if you need to let them go, it takes time and money to get someone else onboard and up to speed, and if this involves transitioning client work, it also can affect the client’s customer experience.
Once you find great fits, go above and beyond to show them gratitude, have their backs, make sure they feel psychologically safe to make mistakes and know you value them despite any because you trust their thought process.
Tip Three: Learn to step into the role of CEO.
This doesn’t have to be immediately, but as you get settled and the essentials are out of the way, invest time into learning how to become better. Take a course, listen to podcasts, read books on the topic and subscribe to newsletters that resonate with you about this.
Whatever it is, keep growing in your role and you’ll become more comfortable and confident in making decisions for the business. Your clients, team and you will be better served because of it!
Thanks for sharing your amazing experiences, Mallory!
Interested in other work-from-home opportunities?
Here are additional work at home options that are well-paid:
- SEO Writer – make more than $20,000/month
- Online English Teacher (no degree required) – earn $26/hour
- Transcriber – earn $100,000+/year
- Scopist (editing legal documents) – make $4000/month
- Pinterest Virtual Assistant – earn $30+/hour
Other ways to make some money from home
If you only want to earn a little bit of side cash quickly and easily each day, here’s a list of legitimate survey companies with user-friendly sites that I’ve personally tried and liked:
The more companies you join, the more surveys you’ll qualify for taking. If you like taking surveys and being able to voice your opinion and know that it’ll make a difference with brands and products, taking surveys might be right up your alley.
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- Become a Real Estate Virtual Assistant
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