How to Become a Virtual Assistant-Part 1

By in Guest Post, Make Money | 25 comments

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Virtual Assistant Job Description

This guest article is written by Manette Aquino, virtual assistant.

Along the path to wealth building, the foundation starts with earning more money. Either as a full-time, part-time or 2nd job review this virtual assistant job description and find out if you qualify. Working from home is desirable for those living in remote locations or with home-based responsibilities such as children or others to care for.

In these three in depth articles, a real Virtual Assistant will describe:

Part 1: The Job Description of a Virtual Assistant 
Part 2: How to Market Yourself as a Virtual Assistant
Part 3: The Pitfalls of Becoming a Virtual Assistant

Virtual Assistant Job Description - Learn how to become a VA


The evolution of internet technology brings a new world of job opportunities. It also encourages business owners to advertise online. Consequently, these developments create an increase in job opportunities for professionals who can provide online administrative, creative, or technical assistance.

Research shows a significant increase in demand for virtual assistants. Similarly, more and more students and stay-at-home moms and dads prefer to work as virtual assistants because they can work in the comfort of their own home, make money, and spend more time with the family.

What is a Virtual Assistant? The Virtual Assistant Job Description

A virtual assistant (VA) is an online office assistant who performs various tasks similar to a manager or an office administrator. He or she provides a variety of services, such as administrative support, sales, marketing, accounting, writing, editing, proofreading, graphics design, website development, and desktop publishing services. A virtual assistant works remotely from her home-office using her own computer, licensed software applications, phone, and internet connection.

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Duties and Responsibilities of a Virtual Assistant

A virtual assistant performs various responsibilities that range from administrative to technical to creative tasks. Actually, any work that can be done online is suitable for a VA. Here are some of the general duties and responsibilities of a virtual assistant.

1. Manage contact lists and customer spreadsheets
2. Organize client’s schedule
3. Set up meetings between the client and his customers
4. Make travel arrangements
5. Online and offline promotion of the client’s business
6. Communicate and coordinate with suppliers, customers, and visitors
7. Handle correspondence and transcribe documents
8. Prepare, organize, and ship proposals and meeting materials
9. Translate and prepare bilingual materials
10. Supervise billing and accounting
11. Process customer inquiries via phone, chat, or email
12. Write, edit or proofread articles and press releases
13. Publish email newsletters
14. Complete market or internet research
15. Develop and maintain websites and blogs
16. Manage social media accounts for brands and blogs

Requirements of a Virtual Assistant; Its Not as Easy as it Seems

Being a successful virtual assistant requires skill, personal organization, and a set of connections — friends, colleagues and acquaintances. As a virtual assistant, you should be able to manage your time wisely and produce high quality work. However, there are clients that allow their virtual assistants to work at their own schedule, depending on the nature of the business and the tasks assigned, so that the virtual office assistant can have more time for their family, school, and other activities.

When looking for a virtual assistant, employers vary in their specific requirements for their potential VA. Here is a list of recommended core competencies in the job description of a virtual assistant.

• Adequate determination and desire to ensure that clients succeed.
• Exceptional customer service skills.
• Excellent organizational skills.
• Basic knowledge of business procedures and strategies, such as budgeting, accounting, time management, and creating marketing. plans, business plans, and contracts.
• Respect for intellectual property.
• Team player.
• Willingness to admit mistakes and develop skills.
• Good punctuation, spelling and grammar skills.
• Knowledge in operating basic equipment, like computer, phone, printer, scanner, copier and various software programs.
• Superb communication skills and willingness to ask for additional guidance and direction.
• Initiative is a desirable trait in a virtual assistant. By looking at your VA job description as a partnership, you can increase your worth to the employer.

Some business owners prefer a virtual assistant who holds a college degree from an accredited educational institution while others are fine with a high school diploma along with the skills to perform the job responsibilities efficiently. Likewise, some employers also require certification as a virtual assistant while others also look for virtual assistants who have experience working in the call center industry to make sure that the virtual assistant can provide excellent customer service. References can go a long way for a virtual assistant seeking additional work.

Essential Tools for a Virtual Assistant Job Description

Any worker will need tools and equipment to do her job such as a reliable computer and updated software applications (such as Microsoft Office, Skype, and an antivirus program). When working as a virtual assistant, it is also important that you have a dependable internet connection, smartphone and related apps.

If your job as virtual assistant entails receiving calls from customers or making calls to various parts of the country, it is best advised to get a Magic Jack, a virtual phone number, a headset with microphone, and an application program like Skype. Meanwhile, if your job description includes graphic or web design, you should install graphic applications, such as Photoshop, AutoCAD, and Corel.

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If you believe that you have the skills and abilities to fulfill the virtual assistant job description, then>>>

Don’t miss How to Become a Virtual Assistant-parts 2 & 3:

Part 2: How to market yourself as a virtual assistant

Part 3: The Pitfalls of Becoming a Virtual Assistant

Bonus resource: Make More Money Resource Center>>>

What online work have you done for others or hired out? Would you consider hiring or being a VA?

A version of this article was previously published (some comments remain). 


  1. I did ELance freelance writing for awhile. My biggest frustration was that clients wouldn’t tell me exactly what they wanted and then were not satisfied with the results. Often I didn’t know what website I was writing for, what exactly the tone of the piece should be or the expected outcome the site wanted from the article. When I was given direction, my writing usually blew away expectations and I received rave reviews. I’d recommend communicating often with your VA if you get one.

    That’s my first goal in blogging: make enough money that we can afford a VA to expand more quickly!


    September 25, 2012

  2. I would LOVE to hire a virtual assistant. I keep intending to spend a few hours reading about how to select/train one, but (ironically) I always feel too busy. Of course, if I had a VA I wouldn’t be so busy ….

    Paula @ Afford Anything

    September 25, 2012

  3. @Paula-Sounds like a catch 22. You need one, but don’t have time to hire, train, and manage. I completely understand.
    @Joe, Thanks for the insight into your elance experience!!


    September 25, 2012

  4. I have worked with several VA’s the past few years and much confusion and mistakes abounded. I didn’t select or know how much they were paid, but I can say they cost me money in lost prospects and clients.

    Brent Pittman

    September 25, 2012

  5. I was sort of a VA in the form of doing social media management and freelance writing. I agree with Joe when he says communication is key. I’m considering doing it again, and sort of expanding. I would love if more people hired VAs in the USA but I know lots of people focus on hiring people from the Philippines and India to save on the cost. But support us native English speakers and get more quality results 🙂

    Briana @ How's Married Life

    September 25, 2012

  6. @Brent-So, I guess the VA’s you worked with were not appropriately skilled or trained to do the job??? Thanks for the input.
    @Brianna-I totally understand your position. It’s tough to be living in the USA and competing globally when cost of living is so much lower in many international locations.


    September 26, 2012

  7. Great post. I have thought about doing this as a part time gig to generate some extra income. I haven’t had the time to make it a reality yet though. I am thinking of maybe doing it when I go on mat leave.

    I have also thought of hiring one but I just don’t have the cash right now.

    Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter

    September 26, 2012

  8. @Miss T-For the employer and employee, there is always a certain amount of time required to maintain the relationship and make sure the lines of communication are open.


    September 26, 2012

  9. I hire out a virtual assistant once in a while to help me out with my office tasks or things I just don’t have time to do.. you know the tedious data entry stuff. One of the qualities I look for when hiring a virtual assistant is that they must have the expertise in their field of work. It is always good to do a bit of research on their work background and see their ratings before hiring them. It is also important to regularly communicate with them to make sure that they are doing all the tasks you want to be done correctly. I then implement a checks and balances system and some of my ninja project management skills to round it all out. Finding good help is hard though :/

    Dominique Brown

    September 26, 2012

  10. I was a virtual assistant for a year when I first started my online career. When I started out I knew very little about online work but I learned a lot as I went through with my work. It’s a great way to earn and learn at the same time.

    Credit Donkey

    September 27, 2012

  11. Ultimately, the skills and talent of a virtual assistant are the distillation of the many years of experience dealing with a lot of clients and their tasks. What a great list!


    March 17, 2015

    • I really think so too, a VA’s skill is an accumulation of the experiences and new learnings he/she has obtained through various exposure to different tasks or deliverables carried out in the most efficient way possible.


      June 15, 2015

      • Good point. The more skills the VA has, the greater their value. I’m working with a VA now to improve my older post images and make them more Pinterest friendly.

        Barbara Friedberg

        June 17, 2015

  12. Hi Cloudsecretary,

    Thanks for stopping by. You are so correct, VA’s must have a wide range of skills in order to do “the job”.

    Barbara Friedberg

    March 17, 2015

  13. Such an informative article about pursuing virtual assistant job. This will be very helpful for newbies who are nothing but hesistant to try shifting careers. Great work!


    April 22, 2016

  14. I found this article of great help! Happy to say I have just got my first VA gig so advice like this is perfect.

  15. The comments above are very illuminating. I am a multi-skilled Canadian businesswomen embarking , my first VA position, with a view towards making this a perfect legacy career (I’m in my early 50’s and LOVE this type type work). I get the importance of communication and managing expectations. If this goes a planned, keep a solid Cdn VA in mind as an alternative.


    December 15, 2016

  16. Dear Michelle, I’m happy for you that you’re embarking on a “next stage” career. Several online site for work are upwork and fiverr. Also, word of mouth is a great way to get clients. What are your specialties and what type of tasks are you seeking?

    Barbara Friedberg

    December 16, 2016

  17. hi, i was looking for information on becoming a VA and stumbled across this article. I must say that its quite an insightful article and i look forward to reading the rest. I was given direction and at least now know where to start on the VA journey.


    February 4, 2017

  18. this article really helps me a lot, i’m planning of making VA as a part time jod.


    June 10, 2017

  19. Good luck in your future endeavors. A VA is a great work at home job. Let us know how your work as a VA progresses.

    Barbara Friedberg

    June 11, 2017

  20. I like to work as a online virtual assistant but I don’t have experience on how to do the job.i will appreciate if anyone here could share some of your thoughts. Thank you


    July 10, 2017

  21. VA does take some time, but once you’ve gotten some good experience, it can be a lucrative way to make money. Great thanks for sharing this very informative post.

  22. Great read! I found it so helpful and it gave me so many insights! Thanks for sharing this.

    John Signe

    September 4, 2019

  23. Like you, I am also an advocate of outsourcing and working with all different types of virtual assistants to provide a much better and efficient method of fulfilling tasks for our clients.


    September 9, 2019

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