Of all the home-based careers, one that is spreading in popularity like the proverbial wildfire is virtual assistance. And why won’t it? After all, the startup investment of setting up your own virtual assistance business is nothing when compared to the potential profits it can rake in for you.

If you have decided to chuck your regular 9-5 job for this flexible, home-based career option, then there are a few things you should know before you take the plunge.

A good starting point would be to shove the thought that any and every one can do this work out of your head. Someone’s obviously not painted the right picture for you. Virtual assistance is, in fact, highly skilled work that one needs to specialize in to be able to do well.

So, what are the skills essential for becoming a virtual assistant? While some of these skills can be learned through administrative assistant training programs and other relevant courses, others you are born with or inculcate over time. Here’s a complete 101 on skills needed to become a virtual assistant:

Inherent Skills

Since virtual assistants spend a lot of time speaking to clients and other stakeholders on the phone, it is essential for them to have proper telephone etiquettes. “Please,” “May I,” “Sorry,” and other such polite terms should be part of your everyday vocabulary.

The importance of effective communication cannot be stressed enough when it comes to virtual assistance. You will be working out of a remote location and will probably never have a face to face exchange with your clients. The downside of this lack of physical proximity can be miscommunication of thoughts and ideas. That’s why clear and concise communication forms an important of efficient virtual assistance services.

The ability to multi-task or handle multiple tasks at the same time is also an essential skill to have if you want to be a virtual assistant par excellence. The reason why you have been hired is because the client wants a one stop shop for all his administrative and clerical requirements. You will always have lots of duties to fulfill and your ability to manage all of them effectively will make you a winner rather than an “also-ran.”

Needless to say, excellent organizational skills are an absolute must-have on your list of personal strengths. If you are the kind of person that forgets appointments, fails to meet deadlines, and finds it hard to fish out a pen out of the clutter on his/her desk when you need to take down an urgent note, then virtual assistance is just not your cup of tea!

And finally, a virtual assistant should be a people’s person mainly because the success of your business rests on your ability to form long-term relationships with your clients. The more you invest in building a relationship of mutual trust and commitment, the better it will be for your business.

Acquired Skills

Now, let’s talk about skills you need to acquire or learn to become a virtual assistant. Most VAs have either years and years of experience in providing administrative support or they graduate from an administrative assistant training program to acquire the skills they need to perform the job.

A typical administrative assistant training program includes courses that will sharpen your office skills. Coursework in keyboarding, grammar, written communication, office procedures, etc. are part of administrative assistant training.

In addition to completing an administrative assistant trainingprogram, you can expand your skillset by taking additional courses in web design, bookkeeping, project management, etc.An enhanced skillset is bound to translate into more projects both in variety and number.

As a virtual assistant, you will also be expected to be adept at using Microsoft Office tools. So, it may be worth your while to complete Microsoft Office training courses to become an expert at using programs like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

If you have the right combination of inherent and acquired skills, you can be on your way to establishing this lucrative home-based business and earn anywhere in the range of $25-$100 per hour selling virtual assistance services.*


* bls.gov/oco/ocos151.htm#earnings

Author's Bio: 

Nancy is a 35-year old stay at home mom of two. She worked as a medical assistant for five years before taking a break to be with her children. Her experience as a medical assistant gave her valuable insights in to the medical transcription industry, which she likes to share with others through her writing. Medical transcription training often finds mention in her writings. Being an SAHM, Nancy is a huge exponent of online vocational training programs that provide women like her the power to be their own boss.

Her other interests include gardening and baking. She stays with her husband and two daughters.