How to Become a Virtual Assistant in 2022

Written by Coursera • Updated on

Discover virtual assistant opportunities and trends, as well as the steps to launch your VA career.

[Featured image] A virtual assistant wears a white blouse and works remotely on their laptop with a red planner and coffee cup to their right.

What is a virtual assistant?

A virtual assistant (VA) is someone who offers support to businesses and professionals. A virtual assistant uses technology to perform tasks remotely rather than commuting to a physical location.

There are several reasons why business owners hire virtual assistants, including 

  • Making business operations run more smoothly

  • Scaling business growth 

  • Ensuring that tasks outside of the business owner’s core competency areas get done

For example, a virtual assistant can take on administrative tasks such as data entry, email management, or scheduling appointments, enabling a business owner to focus on serving customers, developing new products, and planning the next growth phase. 

Read more: The Executive Assistant Guide: Skills, Guides, Courses

Becoming a virtual assistant: What to know in 2022

The virtual assistant economy continues to evolve and serve businesses in a variety of industries, including health care, online education, interior decorating, sustainability software, publishing, banking and finance, e-commerce, mortgage and lending, IT, and more. Statista defines this industry as “the contracting out of specific business processes” and predicts that industry revenue will reach $122 billion by the end of 2022 and exceed $162 billion by 2027 [1].

Here’s a look at some of the trends and opportunities as of October  2022: 

Virtual assistant talent marketplaces

There are a variety of talent pools available for virtual assistants to source clients and for businesses to find the right support. Fiverr and Upwork are among the more popular and well-known pools. 

Other talent pools include: 

Some of the advantages these talent pools offer are secure payments, client matching, the ability to build a detailed profile and description of your services, and access to success tips and educational resources. In addition, VAs on these talent marketplaces can find work at companies such as GE, Microsoft, Airbnb, COTY, Meta, Google, and AWS.

Popular virtual assistant services 

While virtual assistants traditionally provide administrative services, today’s VAs also offer a wide range of services that require specialized knowledge and skills, as we will cover in more detail in the next section. 

For example, as of October 2022, there are over 35,000 virtual assistants on Fiverr. The virtual assistant tasks and services offered most frequently include: 

What do virtual assistants do? 

Virtual assistants help startups, entrepreneurs, and companies of all sizes improve their operations. VAs can work as freelancers, running their own virtual assistant business and taking on several clients at once and completing short-term projects that last varying amounts of time. They can also find long-term employment opportunities.  

We reviewed virtual assistant service offerings on the talent marketplaces listed above to show the range of possibilities in the table below.   

CategoriesCommon VA services

Administrative

Scheduling and calendar management, typing services
call-in orders, data entry, file management, time management, email management, phone answering, client intake, contacting clients, confirmation calls, transcription, travel arrangements, and expense reporting

Technology

IT support, development, engineering

Marketing

Digital marketing support, email marketing, content marketing, social media management

Accounting and finance

Expenses and invoices, accounting assistance, bookkeeping, transaction coordinator, loan processing assistance, billing

Design and creative

Web design and development, graphic design, audio and video editing, content creation, writing and editing

Sales

Outbound calling, telemarketing and inside sales, sales development, sales assistance, lead generation, CRM automation, store management

Customer support

Chat support, help desk support, customer service

Multilingual

Translation, bilingual sales

Research

E-commerce product research, research and reporting, fact checking, gathering survey results

Project management

Project management, project coordination

Read more: What Is a Salesforce Certification? Discover the Certifications Offered + How to Get One

How much do virtual assistants make?

As you consider launching a virtual assistant career, you may wonder what salary you can expect. Your income depends on the services you offer, the prices you charge, the country you live in, the number of clients you serve at a given time, and your skills and expertise.  

It’s a good idea to research average virtual assistant salaries and hourly rates on different job sites, as follows: 

  • Glassdoor: $43,896 per year in the US

  • Indeed: $20.88 per hour in the US

  • Zip Recruiter: $58,057 per year/$28 per hour in the US

Another useful strategy for estimating how much you can make is to click through virtual assistant profiles on the different marketplaces. How much do other VAs charge for their services? Here are some examples of information you can gather: 

  • On Fiverr, you keep 80 percent of your earnings. 

  • On Upwork, you can set hourly rates as low as $10/ hour or below and as high as $60/hour and above.  

How to become a virtual assistant

In this section, you will discover how to become a virtual assistant from home or anywhere in the world.

1. Decide the services you will offer. 

Answer these questions to gain clarity: 

  • What kinds of businesses, start-ups, or entrepreneurs do you want to help?

  • What business core competencies do they need to focus on? 

  • In what areas of business operations do they need the most support? 

  • What holds their business back from growing and scaling?  

  • What services can you offer that would allow businesses to focus time and energy on their core competencies?

  • How would your service save them time, increase their efficiency, and improve  

  • How will you package and price your services?  

2. Build relevant skills.

Once you know who you can help and how to help them, assess your skills and experience. What skills are your ideal clients looking for in a virtual assistant? What skills do you already possess that can help you offer value to clients? What skill gaps will you need to fill?  

To build virtual assistant skills, consider taking online courses you can complete at your own pace. For example, you can prepare to help businesses improve their marketing efforts with skills developed in the Google Digital Marketing and E-commerce Professional Certificate and the Meta Social Media Marketing Professional Certificate

Placeholder

professional certificate

Google Digital Marketing & E-commerce

This is your path to a career in digital marketing. In this program, you’ll learn in-demand skills that can have you job-ready in less than 6 months. No degree or experience required.

4.8

(8,064 ratings)

214,921 already enrolled

BEGINNER level

Average time: 6 month(s)

Learn at your own pace

Skills you'll build:

Marketing, E-Commerce, display advertising, Email Marketing, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Customer loyalty, Marketing Analytics, Customer Outreach, Website Structure, Customer Awareness, Google, Search Engine Marketing, Social Listening, Social Media Bidding, Customer Engagement, Social Media Analytics, Social Media Branding, Email Writing, Email list segmentation, Email marketing strategy, Email marketing analytics, Contact management, Digital marketing KPIs, Spreadsheet management, Presenting to stakeholders, Media planning and strategies, Fulfillment and delivery, E-commerce platforms, E-Commerce Strategy, Seasonality, Job preparedness, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Portfolio preparation, E-commerce store optimization, Building customer loyalty

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professional certificate

Meta Social Media Marketing

Launch your career as a Social Media Marketer. Build job-ready skills for an in-demand career and earn a credential from Meta. No degree or prior experience required to get started.

4.9

(12,606 ratings)

161,429 already enrolled

BEGINNER level

Average time: 7 month(s)

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Skills you'll build:

Performance Advertising, Digital Marketing, Brand Management, Social Media Marketing, Content Marketing, Marketing, Social Media Marketing Strategy, Content Development, content management, Marketing Content Development, Campaign Management, Ad Management, Meta Ads Manager, Meta advertising, Marketing Optimization, Digital Analytics, Marketing Strategy, Communication, Ads Manager

 

To gain experience, consider finding an entry-level position in your skill area, remote or onsite, or completing short-term projects on a freelance basis. Be sure to gather letters of recommendation and testimonials from satisfied clients

Reflect on your growing skills and experience to deepen your understanding of potential clients and what they need so that you can tailor your services accordingly. 

Read more: What Is a Social Media Marketer? And How to Become One

3. Create an online presence.

An online presence can make it easier to promote your virtual assistant services, display your skills and experience, and find new clients. Review your services, skills, experiences, letters of recommendation, and testimonials. Draft clear, compelling copy, such as a value proposition, mission statement, services list, and About Me paragraph. Then, set up any or all of the following: 

  • Website 

  • Online portfolio

  • Profiles on virtual assistant talent marketplace sites

  • Social media accounts specifically for promoting your VA services  

You may also find value in joining professional organizations, attending networking events, and connecting with businesses that may need your services. 

4. Look for virtual assistant jobs.

There are several ways you can earn income as a VA, including:

  • Part-time virtual assistant jobs 

  • Temporary VA gigs

  • Remove virtual assistant jobs 

  • A long-term VA position

  • Starting your own VA business 

As you start looking for potential clients or employers, be sure to keep your online presence up to date, enhance your resume, and hone your interviewing skills.

Start your virtual assistant career with Coursera 

Taking online courses and earning credentials can lead to a rewarding VA career. Check out our Professional Certificates in tech, marketing, project management, sales, and more, and start building skills today. 

Placeholder

professional certificate

Meta Social Media Marketing

Launch your career as a Social Media Marketer. Build job-ready skills for an in-demand career and earn a credential from Meta. No degree or prior experience required to get started.

4.9

(12,606 ratings)

161,429 already enrolled

BEGINNER level

Average time: 7 month(s)

Learn at your own pace

Skills you'll build:

Performance Advertising, Digital Marketing, Brand Management, Social Media Marketing, Content Marketing, Marketing, Social Media Marketing Strategy, Content Development, content management, Marketing Content Development, Campaign Management, Ad Management, Meta Ads Manager, Meta advertising, Marketing Optimization, Digital Analytics, Marketing Strategy, Communication, Ads Manager

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Intuit Bookkeeping

Launch your career in bookkeeping. Gain the professional skills you need to succeed in the bookkeeping field. No degree or prior experience required.

4.5

(3,001 ratings)

56,858 already enrolled

BEGINNER level

Average time: 4 month(s)

Learn at your own pace

Skills you'll build:

Double-Entry Bookkeeping System, Bookkeeping, Bank Reconciliations, Accounting Concepts and Measurement, Basis Of Accounting, accounting software, Accounting Cycle, Creating Financial Statements, Accounts receivable and cash receipts, Inventory costing methods, PP&E Accounting, Asset Accounting, Depreciation, Accounts Payable and Payroll, Owner’s Equity and Owner’s Draw, Accounting, Long-Term Liabilities and Note Payable, Accounting for Liabilities and Equity, Cash Flow, Bank Reconciliation, Financial reports analysis, financial statement analysis

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Google Data Analytics

This is your path to a career in data analytics. In this program, you’ll learn in-demand skills that will have you job-ready in less than 6 months. No degree or experience required.

4.8

(92,596 ratings)

1,239,208 already enrolled

BEGINNER level

Average time: 6 month(s)

Learn at your own pace

Skills you'll build:

Spreadsheet, Data Cleansing, Data Analysis, Data Visualization (DataViz), SQL, Questioning, Decision-Making, Problem Solving, Metadata, Data Collection, Data Ethics, Sample Size Determination, Data Integrity, Data Calculations, Data Aggregation, Tableau Software, Presentation, R Programming, R Markdown, Rstudio, Job portfolio, case study

Article sources

  1. Statista. “Business Process Outsourcing—United States, https://www.statista.com/outlook/tmo/it-services/business-process-outsourcing/united-states,” Accessed September 26, 2022.

Written by Coursera • Updated on

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