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Working from home as a virtual assistant

As I wrapped up my working from home series on Monday, I got a number of emails from readers, asking about the world of being a Virtual Assistant (VA). What is that job, how do you become one, how do you market yourself, and how much can you earn?

Great questions — and ones I’m not qualified to answer. I have a VA, but I’ve never been one. Last week, contributor Heather Allard provided some basics about being a VA (along with other work-from-home ideas), linking to Dawn Martinello for more info. Dawn was so helpful in the comments that I asked her to go in to a bit more detail with her expertise.

So, the following are thoughts from Dawn herself. Hopefully this is helpful to you who are asking for more info.

“When I started my VA business 3 years ago, I literally had $20 in the bank and a computer in my office. I didn’t graduate from university and I didn’t have a background in business, marketing or office administration. What I did have was gumption, determination, and a knack for learning on the fly. Our local economy had tanked, my husband’s job was teetering on the brink of death, and I needed to figure out how people would be willing to spend money on what I knew how to do. Within six months, I had managed to use Twitter to fill my dance card with clients. It’s not always this easy to break into the business, but it doesn’t have to be hard either.

You’ll find every definition of a Virtual Assistant under the sun — some people are adamant that VAs are only those who provide general office administration tasks — but the industry has exploded into much more than that. There are product launch specialists, business managers, video pros and communication managers.

“A good place to start (for information, peer support, and finding your first clients) is two of the biggest VA forums out there. You can dig up hot niches, find out how to transition from a full-time job to your new VA business, or just jump in and start asking some questions. Both sites offer RFP sections, though only VAF is offered free of charge.

VA Networking
Virtual Assistant Forums

“What you WON’T usually see on those forums is talk about rates. I’ve seen rates as low as $20 per hour and as high as $100 — especially for technical services. But a solid “general” virtual assistant shouldn’t have any problem commanding $30 to $40 per hour for their services. There’s a lot that goes into setting your rates, so take your time with this.

A “natural” approach to finding a VA

Lisa Byrne, another Simple Mom contributor and creator of WellGrounded Life, found her ideal VA in a fun way:

“My best (and current) experience is with a mom who was one of my past course participants. She loved the course so much she contacted me and asked if there was any way she could be more connected to my work and if I needed some admin help. She has turned out to be an incredible resource, super effective, and thorough — I trust her implicitly, and the best part is that I feel she truly gets what I do. She offers me ideas and thoughts from the ‘student’ perspective, which has been invaluable. Sometimes the best help can come from your own community, who is invested and believes in your work, and has tons of gifts they can offer.

I, too, found my VA in a real-life friend and reader. Jenny came to me as someone who wanted to be part of SLM, and knew that I was swamped. She was skilled and experienced in what I needed, and I also trusted her implicitly. Though we live in different towns, we try to grab breakfast when we can. For me, it’s a great combo of real life relationship and Simple Mom reader and enthusiast.

Interested in becoming a VA?

Jenny helps me take SLM where I want it to go — she only works a few hours monthly, but now that I have her with me, I can’t imagine doing my work without her. She moderates comments, forwards the ones I need to answer, selects and uploads guest posts for me to edit, and filters through HARO requests.

You, too, can be that person for someone else. Dawn has shared these helpful links if you’re wanting to learn more:

I thought it was great fun to find an ideal assistant organically. Perhaps you’re getting to know a blogger or entrepreneur online, and you know a thing or two about social media, email, or graphic design. In a non-spammy, non-stalky way, offer to help in a professional way.

Need a VA?

They’re worth the money, even just a few hours monthly. If you find yourself wearing too many hats for your head to handle, perhaps it’s time to delegate a few tasks to someone who can handle them well.

Want to be a VA? What else would you like to know? Need a VA? What kind of services would be most helpful? (Just so you know, any commercial-like comments will be deleted. We want to hear from real people, not companies or robots. Thanks for understanding.)

Reading Time:

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  1. Ally Lynn

    Thank you so much for this post. I’m interested in becoming a VA and this page is such a great resource to bookmark and come back to!

    • Dawn Martinello

      There’s a wealth of information just waiting to found. Good luck with your decision to start a VA business Ally!

    • Amanda

      Thanks for the article! I have a B.A. in Interior Design and lots of administrative experience from awesome past jobs. My husband recently relocated our family for his job, and I am new first time mom (as of 2 months ago), who is looking for professional work to do from home so I can stay home with our little guy. I love using my design skills as well as administrative skills. Perhaps looking into being a VA is just right for someone like me. This article was helpful and encouraging. Here’s to a new chapter in life and new career (I hope!).

  2. Myrnie

    I had never heard of this career before! It sounds like so much fun, is that odd? This is something that I am already doing on occasion, what a great career it would be!

    • Dawn Martinello

      It really is a fun career path Myrnie. The VA industry is really in it’s infancy stages though people have probably done this for a long time before the term VA was coined and people like yourself are already part of the industry without even knowing it!

      I hope you’ll check out some of the forums Tsh listed and maybe you can make the jump to a brand new career!

  3. Joanna Smith

    Wow! Thank you Tsh! I’m a full time graduate student always looking for ways to earn additional income that won’t disrupt my class schedule or studying. A VA sounds like an excellent position. Thank you for the tools to research this excitin new career opportunity!

    • Dawn Martinello

      Joanna, because of your schedule, you may find working for a multi-VA business right up your alley. There are plenty of top companies out there that hire people to help with their client load. This usually means more flexibility in your schedule.

      • suwarto

        hi, i’m from indonesia, how to joint VA from indonesia?
        thank u verry much

  4. Christina

    In my previous life, the one before kids, I was an assistant to a senior exec at a Fortune 100. This could be a good gig for me, especially as my hubby and I want to fully fund our emergency savings (thanks, too, for leading me to Dave Ramsey!). I appreciate the great information!

    • Dawn Martinello

      A good place for you to start Christina is to write down (literally) everything you know how to do. Then you can start looking at how that could translate into assistance for entrepreneurs and small businesses. Before you know it, you’ve got a business running in your basement!

  5. Marcia Francois, Organising Queen

    I love having VAs to help me in my business for all the things I don’t want to do, or just simply, hate doing (tech stuff :)).

    And you’re right – once you start delegating, you’ll never look back!

  6. Nicole Boyles

    Fabulous post! Thanks for drafting such a great resource for those of us who want to break into the VA business. I am a Microsoft Office trainer and have been looking for ways to stay home more. I all ready teach a couple classes a month virtual, but being someone’s assistant would be great as well.

  7. Heather

    As a military wife and soon-to-be-expat at a “remote” post, I want to utilize my computer skills and educational background but it is difficult when we move every 18-24 months. I have a niche is mind that may be perfect for my law enforcement background…thank you for sharing the information!

    • Dawn Martinello

      Being a virtual entrepreneur is almost a must with a military family – especially when you’re wife or hubby is posted someone so remote. Promise you’ll let me know what your niche is when you’re up and running?

  8. Holly

    Thanks for the great post! I work as an administrative assistant in an office now, but figured I’d have to give that up when we started our family next year. I’m really going to have to look into this as a future career.

  9. Sarah

    Any suggestions on the best sites/services to find a VA. I like the idea of finding that perfect VA through other means as cited above but I haven’t so far. I’d like to know of good places to go recruiting.

    • Dawn Martinello

      Hi Sarah!

      There are plenty of places that you can place RFPs in addition to the two I’ve mentioned above.


      You can also throw a request out to Twitter (be prepared for a lot of responses), or you can ask around for some referrals.

      Submitting a good RFP is going to be key to getting a good response. The more information you can provide, the more apt you are to find the right person. Be prepared to give some information about you and your business, your budget, what your “must haves” are, and what type of work you’ll want your VA to do. Most VA’s will do a little recon of their own before they submit their RFP because they want to make sure you’ll be a good fit for them as well.

      Another thing you’ll want to consider is whether you’d be okay with a multi-VA firm. You may find two types of these companies: one where there are literally hundreds of VA’s that work for the company (something like Team Double Click) or smaller groups that have a handful of specialized and general VA’s available to take on a wider variety of tasks (like my company).

      Another tip: have an initial conversation with the VA before you commit to a contract. Your gut instinct will tell you gobs of information!

    • Lisa

      Hi Sarah,

      I know from experience that finding the right fit isn’t always easy at first. My biggest suggestion is that when you want to begin working with someone, start small…just invest in maybe task by task or 1-2 hours of paid ahead work so you can really get a feel for how they work and whether it is a good fit for you before you invest too much too soon!

      They really are an “employee” and finding someone with the same work ethic and quality that you expect is so important!

      Good luck!

  10. Julie E.

    There are also a few yahoo groups that help. I got one very good job being part of their directory.

      • Hannah

        I came across this in my search for an at home assistant position. Do you have any new ideas on how to find one? I have a business degree and administrative/customer service/human resource experience but cannot seem to get a call back or many opportunities to apply that look legitimate.

  11. Shannon

    Wow. Thank you for such wonderful information. I will definitely be checking out the different resources today. It sounds like the perfect career for me. Being a military family means we move often and finding a job is difficult. Even more difficult when you need to find childcare! Being a VA sounds like the perfect job for my situation, my personality and my skills as a former office worker. Thank you again!

  12. Missy June

    I’m an executive assistance in real life, and would love to make the jump to the virtual world as well – I see potential here!

    • Dawn Martinello

      A perfect fit Missy! Another resource you may enjoy is the Virtual Assistant Chamber of Commerce – I think your skill set would fit perfectly with how they view the VA industry. {they are – dare I say – old school – when it comes to the types of work a VA performs in that they view virtual assistants as those who have a strong background in office administration and perform general administrative duties for businesses}

      You can get to their website by clicking on the pricing sheet link in the article.

  13. Bethany

    I am unable to work outside of the home and this sounds like the absolutely perfect job for me to help make ends meet. I cannot thank you enough for sharing.

  14. Tsh

    I’m so glad this may potentially help some of you! Feel free to ask any questions — Dawn is here to help on the VA side of things, and I’ll do my best to answer as someone who uses a VA. 🙂

  15. Julie

    I have been wanting to get started with a career as a VA for some time now. After being laid off from my job at a bank (after a merger) I went back to college working on my business administration degree. I have worked as an office manager or admin assistant for nearly 20 years now, I just never had that nice piece of paper to back up my knowledge.

    We recently moved for my husband’s job and I am now living in the middle of nowhere with no vehicle during the day. I definitely need something I can do from home. I am now off to read all the articles you linked to. Thank you so much for a very helpful post.

  16. Amy Lynn Andrews

    Great tips, Tsh. I also thought I’d throw out Lisa Morosky as a possible resource. She’s a VA who works for bloggers specifically. I don’t have any formal connection to her but I got to know her organically on Twitter. She interviewed me several months ago and I was so impressed with how organized she was (quite a difference compared to some of the other experiences I’ve had). I’m not sure she offers help to up-and-coming VAs but I thought it might be helpful for some to have another example of a successful VA. I know for myself, I glean so much valuable information just perusing the sites of people who are doing something well.

    • Lisa Morosky

      Again with the mentions, Amy! You’re being awfully nice to me. Appreciate it. 🙂

      I’m always up for answering emails from folks (can contact me on my site – name is linked to it)! Like blogging, I’ve found the VA industry to be full of people who want others to succeed.

      One of the biggest tips I can give to up-and-comers is to absolutely specialize. General, administrative VAs are a dime a dozen nowadays. But a VA who works just with bloggers (like me), real estate agents, medical professionals, authors, speakers, whatever – that’s where the success is. It also helps if you have experience in the market you’re in (i.e., I was a blogger and Internet marketer before I started supporting other bloggers and Internet marketers). That will set you apart every time.

      And charge what you’re worth from the beginning. A lot of VAs (me included) make the mistake of competing on price when they start out. You should always compete on your experience, knowledge, and quality of services provided. 🙂

      • Tsh

        Thanks so much for your $.02, Amy and Lisa!

  17. Jennifer

    I work for a non-profit, but I am basically a part-time VA for one of the VPs three time zones away. Pre-kids I was a chemical engineer, so I have an interesting skill set to bring to the job. Since we are so far apart, my job is less about answering phones and more about tracking his schedule, booking travel, helping with the department budget, and doing a lot of internet research and web posts. I work during nap/quiet time and a few evenings a week from the comfort of my bed (thank you Wi-Fi). Conference calls can be a struggle because they are never during nap time, and I feel like I need an assistant to help me at home since my normal cleaning times are now work times, but the flexibility of the hours and the great bunch of people I work with who are doing great things makes me feel really blessed.

  18. Stephanie

    What great information – thank you ladies so much for providing so many resources. I have been working as a Human Resource assistant for many many (many) years, and recently made the transition to a stay-at-home-mom. While I love my kids and the time I’m able to spend with them, being able to provide a little income would be wonderful. My goal now is to find a good spot so I can be of assistance to someone else!

    Thank you again.

  19. Jessica

    Thanks for this great post!! I think this job sounds like so much fun! I’m about to start work on an IT degree and this would be a perfect job for the skills I will be learning, not to mention the organizational skills/passion I was born with! Can’t wait to sit down and check out the links in this post!

  20. Living the Balanced Life

    I recently met on twitter, a VA who targets specifically the direct sales industry (Avon, Mary Kay, Pampered Chef, etc.) Found it very interesting that she has a targeted niche, but that would seem to make it easier for her to market and also to become very proficient in the type of work her clients need done.
    I think being a VA could be a great option from moms wanting to work from home! It would take some time to build, and you probably won’t get rich at it, but definitley could earn from home!
    Thanks for sharing these resources!

    • Dawn Martinello

      Bernice – you are absolutely right about the targeted niche – and that would hold true for any entrepreneur. So many people worry that if they reduce their market size they won’t do as well but most people find their business sky rockets when they drill down and find a small(er) audience to target.

      Building a VA business is definitely hard work – but don’t ditch the idea of getting rich from your business just yet. There are plenty of VA’s who earn 6 figure incomes from their biz.

  21. La Monica

    Let me tell you, God is good! I haven’t even read this post yet and I already know that there’s something in it for me. A friend of mine who is a motivational speaker, has asked me about joining her team because her speaking engagements are picking up and she needs help. She wants me to tell her what services I can offer her, and I remembered reading Tsh’s post about the people who help her with her business, including a virtual assistant. So I hurried over here to dig up that post, and BAM! Today’s post is about being a virtual assistant. lol So again I say, God is good!

    Off to read now! Thank you!

    • Dawn Martinello

      looks like you found a sweet gig to get your hands dirty as a VA – and perhaps even a niche to boot! Congratulations and good luck!

      • blouson franklin marshall

        Meskipun aku akan lebih suka jika Anda Pergi ke detail sedikit lebih, aku masih punya inti dari apa yang Anda dimaksud. Saya setuju dengan itu. Ini mungkin bukan ide yang populer, tapi itu masuk akal. Pasti akan datang kembali untuk lebih dari ini. Pekerjaan Work.Good Besar, blog indah … benar-benar menikmatinya dan ditambahkan ke bookmark sosial saya. Keep up the good work

  22. Dianna

    Thanks so much for the article and the resources. In college (8 to 10 years ago) I was sort of a virtual assistant. I helped run an ebay business from my dorm room of a guy I had worked for in my hometown while in high school. It was just 10 hrs a week or so, but I did all kinds of office stuff, including paying the bills. I would love to have something like that again now that I’m a stay-at-home mom with three kids, but never thought it possible until now. Are some of the sites listed above places where you would essentially post a resume? This seems like a great opportunity!

    • Dawn Martinello

      The forums that are listed aren’t really meant to submit your resume. The RFP sections allow clients to post their want ad that would go out to their members. From there, you would send your information to the client.

      If you’re looking for a place to hang your hat, I’d suggest looking at the sites of virtual assistants to see if they are accepting applications for their own companies.

      Good luck!

  23. Heather Allard

    Such a great post, Dawn!! So, so helpful.

    I see many budding VAs here! 🙂


  24. Amy Lynn Andrews

    Love the tip to think organically. That is so true. I worked as a VA last year and was “found” organically. Turns out what my dad always told me is right (or at least partly so): “It’s not what you know, but who you know.” I think that’s as true today as it’s ever been.

    When I first heard the term “virtual assistance” I had no idea what it meant and just assumed it wasn’t for me (sounded to techy). But once I realized it’s really just the ability to help someone from a distance, all sorts of possibilities opened up. I think many of us probably have some skill set we could offer as a virtual assistant; it’s just a matter of thinking creatively and a bit outside the box. For example, lots of moms were teachers at one point. True, it’s hard to teach a class of kids from a distance, but how about offering one-on-one tutoring online? I talked to one woman last weekend who is a Marriage and Family Therapist. She’s leaving her “real” counseling job next month, moving to a new state and will start taking clients online only. Those might not be considered “virtual assistance” in its purest form (most of the time virtual assistance refers to administrative help), but I think they are great examples of what could be. Yay for the internet! 🙂

  25. dani

    I am a full time VA and love my job. I market myself as tech savvy as I used to work in IT for over 8 years.

    Love it!

  26. Linda

    I work from home as a dispatcher/receptionist. I’ve done this before, also. I first worked for a court reporter answering phones, setting appointments, contacting clients and other court reporter from a forwarded cell phone. The job grew to legal transcription which paid a separate rate. It was good while I could do it. Now, some years later and after my husband’s stroke, I found myself needing to bring in some income. God is good and had a friend call me who has a computer business and needed help answer phones and dispatching techs. Again, I do it from a cell phone and laptop. It works well for me and I can be home with my husband, homeschool my daughter and keep my home.

  27. Avraham Desires Saltoun

    I believe working from home, it is extremely hard, especially if it is a small house, and you have a lot of small kids. I’m a big believer in separating things family and work

  28. Haley

    I also need a VA now.Thanks for your sharing

  29. Tiffany

    I’m currently interviewing folks for a VA position with my blog, all thanks to the post you wrote earlier showing all the bloggers that outsource in some way! While we haven’t gotten started yet, I can already tell that this is going to be a game changer for me, professional and personally!

  30. jensgifts.etsy

    Thank you so much for this post! I’ve never heard of a VA before but it sounds like something I’d love! I have a degree in Communication but am currently devoting all my time to my kids. I do miss working- you know, checking off things on my to do list that don’t reappear the next day. (And the income!) This sounds like a win-win and something that I could build as my kids enter school. I’m definitely going to check out your links, Dawn. Thank you!

  31. braintory

    A VA is so important to support your data to website

  32. Dana

    Hi Dawn,

    Thank you for the amazing information. You have inspired me to get my VA business started. I am going for a media/film/public relations niche as I have a huge amount of experience in the feature film and TV industry. I am wondering, in order to get started RIGHT AWAY, before a website or anything, is setting up an email to some people I think who could use this service letting them know about what I’m offering be a good idea? Do you have another suggestion for starting today to generate clients prior to all the official business stuff being in place?

    Thank you very much!

    • Dawn Martinello

      Hi Dana,

      I’m sorry I missed your question when it was originally posted, so I’m hoping you get this response.

      I know you’re really eager to get your business off the ground and start pushing clients through the door, but I really think you’re going to need to have the basics of your business in place before you do that. Your website should be in place – even if it’s very, very basic (read: one page with your contact information official “launch” date and a bit about you)

      See, when I started my business, everyone that I spoke to said it took them months to land their first client. I landed my first two clients in the first two weeks and it continued that way for six months when I had a completely full dance card. So the point is – if your systems aren’t in place first, you may just find yourself overly successful with no time to backtrack and get what needs to be done done.

      You may want to look at other VA’s who are hiring contractors so you can get some experience under your belt, or afford you a paycheque while you’re getting business up and running.

      Now, with regards to your email idea: I think you should definitely let people know what you’re up to. A “hey, you’re going to need this so hold some space for this” type of email is going to work wonders at breaking the ice. A really smart idea will be to have a very basic website in place that will also gather email addresses as you build momentum in your business.

      I hope that helps Dana. If you have more questions, don’t hesitate to ask. You may also be interested in the guide sessions I do (

      Good luck!

  33. Stephanie

    I’m already doing something similar with a marketing company, but starting my own VA business sounds much more exciting and fulfilling. Thank you for posting this! I’m going to look into it more.

  34. Stephanie

    Have you written a post about exactly what your VA does for you? I’d be interested in that side of things.

    Also – Can you tell us more about how you use HARO?

    • Dawn Martinello

      I’m sure Tsh will sneak in here with her perspective on HARO and hopefully more on what her VA does for her but I wanted to give you some thoughts from this end of the world too:

      For anyone who doesn’t know what HARO is: it’s a free service that joins reporters and sources. With almost 30,000 journalists and over 100,000 sources that offer up over 200 queries a day there’s a great opportunity for free PR or to find some highly qualified sources for a story you may be writing.

      Personally, I’ve used it on both sides in the past: as queries come in I scan them to see if there are any relevant stories that I could reply to. If I need a source for an article I’m writing (or for a client project) I simply offer the information about what I need and wait for the queries to pour in.

  35. Julie

    There is a broken link at the bottom of your post.. Pricing Sheet from Virtual Assistant Chamber of Commerce gives an error when trying to get to it. THought you might like to know. 🙂

    • Dawn Martinello

      Thanks for letting me (us) know Julie. Looks like the pricing sheet has been taken off that resource page. If anyone would like a copy of the pricing sheet I use, please feel free to email me dawn at mondaymorningva dot com and I’ll be happy to send one along to you.

  36. Christy Carlson

    This is a very interesting topic to me! Seeing as we don’t have a lot of job opportunities in my area at the time and I eventually want to be a stay at home mom, a VA career seems almost unbelievable! I would love to do this someday and will be checking out all of the links that you ladies have offered. I’m currently and administrative assistant so I’m hoping that some of my skills can transfer into something new in the world of VAs.

  37. Beth

    I am a college student trying to juggle life and bills and school and working 20 hours a week as a bank teller. Virtual Assisting sounds like something I would love and be great at, but I’m not sure how to get started. I have good administration skills, and I’m good with social media. I’m interested in marketing and I have basic skills with web design and photoshop. Can I get some suggestions about where to begin?

  38. Deborah

    I’ve been an Executive/Administrative Assistant for more than a dozen years. I was laid off as part of a reduction in force in December after more than 10 years with the company. Becoming a VA sounds very interesting and a real possibility for my future. I am completely intrigued and excited about the possibilities available. Thank you for shedding some light on the subject!

  39. Stephanie

    I have heard of people who work as VA and I believe that it is a good working at home option.

  40. Angi

    Just found this article and wanted to thank you for it. I’m a new VA who, after a year of thinking and planning, is ready to “hang her shingle”. I appreciate the links to the other articles as well!

  41. Nisha

    I am interested in becoming a Virtual Assistant but I’m not quite sure how to.

    • Dawn Martinello

      Hi Nisha,

      Your first step is to decide what skills you’re bringing to the table. Are you able to work full time, part time, or just every once in awhile? Are you looking to do this on your own, or would sub contracting for an established business be better suited to you?

  42. Jennifer

    hi there. i just ran across your site cuz i did a search on VAs. now..i have a few questions. first, i have no clue what VA really does, and i cant just go shelling out 100 bucks to train. i want to do it maybe in addition to my regular day job for a while, cuz i have no clue if it will work for me. no clue what i am doin in this tho..or who would hire me. im not good at this but can someone please message me or whatever..and help walk me thru a good job search and maybe land the right VA job? i would very much appreciate any help. thanks 🙂

    • Dawn Martinello

      Hi Jennifer,

      There are no governing bodies that regulate who can become a Virtual Assistant, so unless you’re looking to gain some specific knowledge I’d stay away from the training just to say you’re a trained VA. That said, if you don’t have the background needed, you may want to look at some of the “VA schools” – these are generally put together by people who know the business and want to help others get started. Word to the wise, you’ll spend more than $100 to go through them.

      It sounds like you too would be better suited working for something like or Since this is so new to you, I wouldn’t suggest trying to sub with another VA unless you have an in-demand skill (eg – social media, graphic design, etc).

      Becoming a VA is less of a “job” and more of a leap into the entrepreneurial world. If you have more questions, feel free to leave them here!

  43. Oksana

    Dear all,
    I live in Ukraine and I just got to know about the VA work first in my life.
    As I am a mother of 5 year old daighter, I would like to spend more time with her, than to work 8 hours a day at work, where I earn very few sums of money.
    Could you please advise me whether I can try myself in VA profession. I am office administrator at this time.
    Thank you for the answer.

    • Dawn Martinello

      Hi Oksana,

      It sounds as though you would be better suited either sub contracting for another VA, or working on piece projects through something like

      Becoming a Virtual Assistant is just like any other business, and you’ll often find yourself working (still) long hours.

  44. Carrie

    I am a mom of three and currently work in a law office as a legal assistant. I am also going to school online and will be graduating in the summer with my degree in paralegal studies. I want to be back home and I have been researching being a virtual assistant. This site was very helpful but I need some more help. Is it best to start with your very own business or sign up with some other company? I don’t want to be scammed and I’m not looking to making millions. I just want a steady income to support my family and be more flexible so I can be a better mom. Thanks so much!

    • Dawn Martinello

      Hi Carrie!

      It really does depend on what you’re trying to accomplish. For me, starting my own business was the right path because I was planning on doing it full time as my career and it just made sense . As I mentioned to a commenter below, working within the confines of sometime like may be beneficial for you as well – especially if you have some skillset that is a little more specialized.

      It’s important to note that subbing is a much more common practice than working for something like Elance. Sub-Contracting would be when you work as a VA for another established VA company.

      For instance, in my business, I have several VA’s that work alongside of me including a graphic designer, a tech VA, and a “general” VA. Generally speaking, your rates for subbing are less than if you were running your own business.

  45. Tabitha

    Thanks for this post! I am looking to launch my site shortly and I need/want all the advice I can get! This post was helpful but I am still a little lost as to where to start. I need to learn more about promoting myself effectively. Also, how do you set it up to where you are guaranteed to get paid and not scammed for your work?

  46. jamila

    I’m 21 and thinking about a career as a VA. Is 21 to early to start and do I need training in certain areas?

    • Dawn Martinello

      Hi Jamila!

      You’re never to young to start 🙂 The most important thing is that you have a viable skillset that business owners are looking for and that you have enough time to actually provide the service.

      Often, people look at becoming a VA as a quick and easy way to make some money, but it takes skill, gumption, and time!

      There is no governing body that provides credentials to VA’s. This is where it can get difficult for businesses to choose a VA to work with. So while you don’t necessarily need training, you do need to ensure you have a strong skillset to provide the entrepreneur.

      Hope that helps!

  47. Jesse Miles

    Thanks for your perspective and info! I am soaking up all of this info on becoming a “VA” I think it might be a good fit for my life right now and I can’t wait to learn more and hopefully get started 🙂 PS – I hope your Kombucha is brewing nicely! I read your info that you are a recent Kombucha convert, we love the stuff 🙂

  48. Jesse Miles

    Oops, wanted to link to follow up comments and forgot to check the box 🙂

    • Dawn Martinello

      Hi Jesse! It can definitely be a great career choice. There’s massive amounts of information out there and it can be overwhelming. If you have any questions, don’t be shy – post away!

  49. Ginny

    Thank you so much for this post. I live in an area where there are very few jobs so I’ve been looking into a virtual career. Thank you for the great links!! I bookmarked them all, as well as this page. I like the idea in the comments to write down everything you know how to do, but curious as to what would come after that. I am a nurse by profession, but am not sure if that would even apply to this career. I do learn fast though, and I am VERY good with a computer and social networks. Just needing to find how to start. Thanks again!!

  50. Jessica

    I read this post and thought it was great information for people looking at becoming a Virtual Assistant. Advice: Listen, soak in the information, practice, and try, try again! I’ve been a Virtual Assistant for over 3 years now and still remember when I tried becoming a Virtual Assistant and the pitfalls I ran into, but I kept at it and it paid off! A good resource that I’ve found to find jobs or just useful tools is I know it was helpful for me, so I thought I would share. Good luck everyone!!!

  51. Bradd

    Is there some one out there who can tell me where I can get a virtual assistant?

    • Selethia

      Brad, are you still looking for a Virtual Assistant? I can help you.


  52. Bradd

    Hi! Can someone give me a feedback about

  53. Melissa

    I am so glad I stumbled upon this post! I’ve been researching ways to find VA jobs. I’ll definitely be checking out the links posted above. I work as an administrative assistant full time but I’d like to find something where I’m working with a different field. Thanks so much for posting this….even if I am just now finding it 🙂

  54. Kathy Weber

    I really want work at home. I would like to try work at home as a virtual assistant. I have been working in the medical field the pay is low and not enough work, which is why I am looking for more work. I have no real special talents I would really love to learn to work at home can some one train me? I am willing to accept low pay to be trained to do this at home. Is it possible to find real work and real dependable pay in this tough economy times. Thank You fior your assistance.

    • Dawn Martinello

      Kathy, it’s definitely possible. There are businesses that accept VA’s and they may be willing to exchange a bit of training for a lower rate. If you’re working in the medical field, try to think of some of the skills you use there and how you can transfer them over to your new career path. For example, if you’re a receptionist, perhaps you could offer simple services to local area medical offices – contacting patients, forms, etc.

      Good luck!


  55. Linda

    I would love to become a VA my husband is terminally ill and it would be to our advantage if I could work from home

  56. James

    Hey guys this site has been very helpful. There is a lot of great information located here. I would love a job like this, being able to work from HOME sounds like big BLESSING. If anyone could get me started in the VA Business I would be forever grateful. God Bless.

  57. wenn

    Hi I would like to obtain all the information that can to find out how to be a VA. One of the main questions I would like to know is how does a VA get paid?

    • Dawn Martinello

      Hi Wenn!

      Most VA’s start off using PayPal for their payments. As your business grows you may want to move to a merchant account. Hope that helps!


  58. Susan Osborne

    Becoming a VA was the ONE business I tried (out of many) that got me out of my office 8-5 job and into my home office, where I had freedom, flexibility and the ability to volunteer in my son’s kindergarten class. It’s an amazing industry and the sky is the limit. I highly recommend it. I leveraged my relationships with past business coaches, friends and past bosses to land my first few clients. It doesn’t have to be hard or take years to get it going!

  59. Liat Behr

    This is a great post and there are great comments here. I recently wrote about the best Facebook pages that can help virtual assistants connect with other virtual assistants on Facebook. These are also filled with helpful tips and insight into the industry. Check it out and good luck!

  60. BaseTend Communications

    Awesome post with loads of information! A virtual assistant job can be very rewarding!

  61. Renalyn

    Thanks for the good post! It is very helpful. If this is not against your website policy, please allow me to post a brief overview of my background and experience as it might help me to find stable career as a Virtual Assistant.

    I began my virtual career way back 2012 in Upwork, formerly known as oDesk as a Data Entry Virtual Assistant, then brought up my career to the next level in Internet Marketing niche on September the same year. Since the day I was introduced to internet marketing I’ve decided to stick with it and educate myself in some of its area. Specifically, I specialize Solo Ads. Solo Ads is an advertising strategy where people buy clicks or traffic from someone who owns email clients data base and send affiliate offer to the email database stored by a third party email marketing company. Solo Ads is considered by hundreds of internet marketers as the most powerful technique to generate sales for affiliate offers, may it be paid or a free offers.

    Now as an experienced Virtual Assistant and a Solo Ads Manager, I am still passionate about helping start-up business owners and internet marketers with different nationalities to run their internet marketing business and I am proud that I took some of them to next level. As an Internet Marketing Virtual Assistant who deals not only on a simple data entry and research tasks, I have now upgraded my skills to work on managerial responsibilities and taking administrative assistant role who does the marketing strategy, technical support, setting up email newsletter using email autoresponders, customer service and optimization marketing software and programs.

    I keep on educating myself on new things related to virtual work hoping to land a promising opportunity who offers me a stable career and a long term employment as a Virtual Assistant.

    Thanks in Advance,


  62. Sarah Depew

    I know I’m late to the game here, but I wanted to see if anyone had advice on how to develop skills that are marketable as a VA. Right now my background is in Social Work. I currently work with homeless young adults for a non-profit. I would really like to start working from home in order to spend more time with my (foster) daughter and to have more time to dedicate toward writing and developing my blog (still very much in the works). I feel like my background in social work does not translate well to the skills employers would look for in a VA. However, I am a very teachable, dedicated and fast learner. I am so reliable and I am very interested in learning more about social media, web development/blogging, SEO etc. as well as administrative skills. Is there any type of certificate program that would allow me to learn some more about various online programs or forums? I feel like I need to know how to use things like mailchimp and wordpress (as examples) really well before I can step out as a VA, is this correct? Thank you so much to anyone who can offer advice!

  63. Mariane

    Great article Tsh! By the way, thank you for sharing your experience with your VA who is your helping hand from a distance. You can make him your friend whom you can trust. To become a virtual assistant, you must enhance your communication skills, typing, online research, writing and computer knowledge (Word doc, Excel, PowerPoint). These basic skills may help you on your future tasks.

  64. mva

    Thanks for this post. And to have more ideas about marketing. Click Here and offers a lot of packages. We recommend you to visit.

  65. jessie

    Stop wasting your time setting new appointments, here they manage your calendar and set your appointments for you. Experience the most powerful marketing in 2016, we’ve been in this company for 5years now. With their 24/7 Back-link building service, your links will look more natural while rapidly increasing you position with the Search Engines. Thank you so much Magnetic Virtual Assistant for taking care of everything. Let you and Choose

  66. Herson Jay Gumawa

    Thank you so much for this post. It is really inspiring. Being a virtual assistant is possible to achieve. One needs to have strong determination and a motivation to start to keep going. I will follow your advice.

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