How to Make Money Online as a Virtual Assistant
While most people view the Internet as a place to shop, post, game, gossip and fritter away their leisure time, it has also become a lucrative platform for freelancers and independent entrepreneurs to make money. From stay at home moms and college students looking to pay off their student loans to ghostwriters and web designers angling for an inroad into their industry, the Internet has become a viable money making tool, especially if you know how to market yourself. These types of online entrepreneurs are broadly defined as virtual assistants.
Whether they are offering their clients secretarial skills, marketing savvy or ghostwriting creativity, one thing is for sure, they are not navigating the gridlock of a Monday morning commute to sit in a microscopic cubicle at an office park. Their offices are mobile. A virtual assistant can be conducting business with a client in California from virtually anywhere—from an apartment in New York City, to a farm house in Montana to a houseboat in Antigua. The flexibility is definitely one of perks of being a virtual assistant, but because it can be tricky to market your skills and find jobs, knowing where to start is key.
Marketing Your Skills and Finding Potential Clients
While working from home might sound like a dream come true, it takes discipline and creativity to get the ball rolling. At first, those potential clients are not going to find you. You are going to have to spend hours marketing your skills, building a strong portfolio and scouring the Internet for potential jobs. You are going to have to set up a strategic networking campaign through social media sites like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and LinkedIn. Posting your services on Craigslist is also a good idea.
Real estate, law, financial services and accounting are the business niches where virtual assistants can typically find work. However, a virtual assistant can also do something as easy as answer telephone calls or type emails for a particular business. They can do foreign translation for a company. Web design and ghostwriting are also possibilities. In other words, there are many stay at home careers that fall under the virtual assistant umbrella. Before you embark on the journey to become an independent entrepreneur, be sure to carefully access your skill set and particular training in the field.
What You Will Need and How Much You Will Make
So, what are you going to need to make this stay at home dream a reality? Well, there is no need for power suits and six-inch high heels. There is no need for Brooks Brothers shirts and briefcases, either. A car? That depends, too. Virtual assistants conduct business with minimal accouterments, but there are a few key things you will definitely need to acquire if you don’t already have them. You are going to need a fast, reliable, state-of-the-art computer and a high speed Internet connection. You are going to need a fax machine, a landline and a cell phone. That is it.
And as far as money goes, there is no way to be able to tell how much money you will make as a virtual assistant. Freelancing has its ups and downs. You might be contracted to work for a couple hours a day or for a couple of months. It all depends on the clients you work for and the type of job. While many virtual assistants work from home as a second career, other make a full time living by doing Internet work.
There is still a lawless, Wild West quality to the Internet. Schemers and scammers are only a mouse click away. If you want to begin a career as a virtual assistant, then you need to proceed with caution. Whether you are content writing or doing secretarial work, make sure the business you are working for is legitimate. Read the forums and reviews. Do your research. The last thing that you want is not to get paid or to have your personal information swiped by a hacker.
Americans have always loved the idea of opening their own business and being their own boss. The Internet has made that idea more feasible. While you might not get rich working as a virtual assistant on the Internet, if your office is a houseboat in the Caribbean, then it does not really matter.
Allen is an avid networker and marketer. He writes about home and family topics for YourLocalSecurity, check them out for great deals on a home security system.
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