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How to become a Virtual Assistant

by Elizabeth Harmon
Posted: January 28, 2020

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Virtual Assistants (which are more commonly known as VAs) play a vital role in supporting businesses. Whilst this may sound like a relatively new role, the term “Virtual Assistant” has been around for many years (it was first coined by Thomas Leonard in 1992). As traditional ways of doing business shift, the Virtual Assistant industry is seeing rapid growth, with thousands of VAs now worldwide. There is even a special day dedicated to VAs – International Virtual Assistants Day is on 15th May 2020.

If you’re interested in finding out more about how to become a Virtual Assistant, including what you could earn and the skills that are required, keep reading!

What is a Virtual Assistant?

In very simple terms, a Virtual Assistant is someone that provides professional services to a business. They tend to work remotely, from a home office. Services can include administrative support, customer support, financial support, marketing support and much more!

A Virtual Assistant tends to be self-employed, however, there is an increasing number of Virtual Assistant businesses popping up that contract or hire VAs.

How much does a Virtual Assistant make?

According to PayScale, the average Virtual Assistant salary is AU $60,000 per year or AU $28.78 per hour. However, it’s not quite as simple as that. As a VA, your pay potential depends on several factors such as your experience. You may also decide to become a VA full-time, or part-time (to fit around your other commitments). It also depends on how driven and passionate you are and what your long-term career goals are.

How can you become a Virtual Assistant?

Follow these five key steps to help move closer towards becoming a VA:

  1. Take the leap – Working for yourself is not for everyone. Take some time to decide whether it’s the right fit for you. If you do decide to go ahead, read our blog “How to start your own small business”.
  2. Decide on your business structure – When getting started, you need to answer questions such as “Do you want this to be your side hustle or your main income?” and “Will you be a freelancer or create a limited business?”.
  3. Confirm your services – You need to decide whether you want to offer customers a broad array of services, or if you would prefer to specialise in certain areas. Next, confirm the exact services you plan to provide.
  4. Set your pricing – There are lots of factors to consider when setting your prices, such as how much experience you have, how long tasks will take you to complete, what your overheads are etc. Your prices should also consider sick leave and holiday time. Do some research to establish what others are charging and remember not to undervalue yourself.
  5. Consider your marketing – Now is the time that you need to start telling people about your VA business and the services that you’re offering. There are lots of options here, which you can develop over time, but you may want to start by setting up a website and social media accounts.

What skills do you need to become a Virtual Assistant?

The skills you need to become a VA will vary, depending on the services you offer.

Here are some key skills that every VA will need though:

  • You’ll be working online, so having basic computer and Internet skills is a must! You’ll also need to be comfortable with emails and online tools such as Google Drive, Dropbox and Skype.
  • As you’ll be your own boss, you’ll need to be extremely motivated and organised. Having good communication skills is also essential.
  • It’s important to have a passion for learning. Whilst you may have the basic skills required to become a VA, continued learning can help you stand out from others, allow you to develop your business offering and ensure you stay ahead of your competition.

Are you interested in becoming a Virtual Assistant? With Open Colleges selection of nationally recognised Business Administration courses, you’ll develop some of the most in-demand skills, helping you to advance your career.



Elizabeth Harmon

Elizabethis an experienced Freelance Social Media Consultant based in the south of England. She works with a growing number of clients all around the world, showing businesses how to use social media more effectively and helping them to get the maximum benefit from it.

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