How to Become a Virtual Assistant

What Experience do I need to become a Virtual Assistant

There have been many attempts over the last few years to agree a national qualification for Virtual Assistants. Many highly experienced VAs find this insulting. You may find this a strange response but many have been working in the same field for over 20, 30 or more years.

If they do transcription they probably have the equivalent of RSA3 in Typing or Word Processing. These qualifications are onerous and as an ex tutor for RSA in WP I can assure you that advanced qualifications included Spreadsheets and Databases when I taught it.

The real problem is that not all VAs actually word process, I know of two personally who travel, one who lives in Europe goes to places such as Barbados and Toronto. I passed the work on as I was unable to undertake it when it was offered... Another currently travels in Europe but the work will probably expand world wide - how do you create a qualification that covers such varied workers and I never mentioned the type of work that these VAs do - which is quite unique.

There is an on-line directory for experienced VAs, The Alliance of UK Virtual Assistants and they have over 20 distinct skills in their database, if all the subsets of these skills were added it would double or be in the range of 50 or so, so it is difficult to say what exactly the average VA does, but who wants to be average - we all want to excel and so be busy and earn a good income in our chosen field.

There are some very good courses in the US and Canada for VAs. I am not saying that courses are a waste of time - just the opposite if you can afford it and feel that you need the confidence that a course such as this will give you. Do speak to someone who has completed one of these courses before you undertake it to ensure yourself that you are getting the course you need.

In the UK there are courses with Business Link, some Chambers of Commerce and local Enterprise Centers on being in business - I think that these exist in the US/Canada as well - if you get the chance to undertake such a course it is well worth doing as being in business for yourself is far different than being employed.

Word Processing and Transcription

I have been questioned about my many comments that we are not 'home typists' but if anyone has tried to work as a modern digital transciptionist in the last couple of years they will know that they need to have a good knowledge of many types of media and the software and knowledge to make this media work, they also have to learn and expand their knowledge in their own time to keep up with the ever changing digital world. I will detail the requirements for this type of work when I go into some of the more common work that VAs undertake but although this is what many VAs do, it is not the 'easy option' that many clients think.

What can 'I' do?

The best way to start is to think back to your first job. Start listing all the skills that you have undertaken in your working life, then highlight the skills that you are most comfortable with and that you are best able to do. Try to find 'sets' of skills. These are easier for prospective clients to understand.

What I can't do?

Don't advertise skills that you have no or only the vaguest knowledge of - this will get you into trouble if you are asked to do an urgent job and you have to research how to do something and so miss a deadline. I will keep saying this, but there are lots of free courses on the Internet - if there is something you want more knowledge of, you can work through one of these courses and then offer the skill when you feel confident. If you want video training on a Microsoft Office product, try our Microsoft Office Training site which is totally free. Just do a search under the product you need help with and a video will be found.

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