FREELANCING / NOV. 03, 2014
version 6, draft 6

How to Work From Home as an Administrative Assistant

Despite what many websites would have you believe, writers, coders and translators aren’t the only roles available for people who are keen to work as home-based freelancers. Indeed, it is entirely possible for anyone - even people aren’t natural wordsmiths, geeks or linguists – to make a decent income working from home.

Take admin assistants for example. Remote admin assistants (also known as ‘virtual assistants’) are in great demand these days as they are able to provide employers (and their clients) with essential office-type services on a very flexible ‘as-and-when’ basis.

The great thing about remote admin assistant roles is that, unlike writing, coding and translating, they don’t favour prospective candidates who have a natural talent nor require them to undertake prolonged periods of study. This means that, within reason, practically anybody with the right aptitude, attitude and work ethic can work from home as an administrative assistant.

So how does one go about it exactly?

Well, let’s start at the beginning...

 

Step 1: Get some courses under your belt

Unlike many other freelance careers, virtual admin assistants do not need to have certain qualifications or governing body awards to ‘prove’ they are bona fide. “Great”, you may think; “I’m already halfway there!” However, this is very much a double-edged sword as it means there will be many other wannabee admin assistants competing with you. The most effective way to get ahead in this respect is to get as many industry relevant courses under your belt as you can. As well as looking good on your CV, obtaining qualifications in modern admin essentials like Microsoft Office, shorthand, speed typing, minute taking, and business document production will show prospective clients that you are someone who takes personal development very seriously.

Step 2: Gain some experience

Most clients and employers who hire virtual assistants tend to opt for individuals that have at least some experience therefore you need to be able to ‘tick this box’ for them. It doesn’t matter if the experience you gain is through paid, ad hoc or volunteered work, it just needs to be such that you will be able to recount it with accuracy (and passion) when trying to win prospective clients over in Skype interviews. Obviously, this is especially important if you’ve never worked in an admin-type role (e.g. secretary, receptionist, PA) before.

Step 3: Specialise

It is a fact that ‘virtual/remote admin assistant’ is a pretty all-encompassing term these days, frequently equating those in the industry to being a ‘Jack (or Jill) of all trades.’ Of course, it is not possible for any assistant who is just starting out to be an expert in all areas of online business. With this in mind, it can often be advantageous to become specialised in a particular skill, market, or package of programs. Here are some examples:

- Email marketing specialist

- Social media expert

- Sales copy, SEO, and SEM guru

- Affiliate and ecommerce site creator/optimiser

- Travel and schedule organizer

As well as enabling you to play to your own personal strengths, focussing on one (or two) key online business areas will also make it easier for you to market yourself.

Step 4: Market yourself

Needless to say, getting the word out about your super-duper admin abilities is vital. Once you have some suitable qualifications, awards and experience, you’ll need to put yourself ‘out there’ and show your credentials off to as many potential employers/clients as possible. Posting your all-singing, all-dancing CV on popular industry-related sites like Virtualassistants.com is often a good starting point, as is setting up an online profile on freelance marketplaces like Elance, oDesk and Freelancer.

Of course, social media can also be great way to ‘spread the word’, so make sure you take the time to be active on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Building professional relationships and networking on Google+ can also be a very effective way to increase your online presence and generate work opportunities.

It is worth noting that having your own website can be a big plus when starting out in this ultra-competitive field. As well as acting as your own personal shop window, that is having a website (particularly one that is attractive and engaging ) will give you the chance to promote your specialist skills/abilities in greater detail. On top of this, it will help convince potential clients that you are an ambitious and resourceful professional who is willing to do whatever is required to succeed.

Step 5: Get an office

Once your marketing has the desired effect and work starts to trickle in, you’ll need to designate yourself an office from which to work from. In essence, this just needs to be an area where you can go about all of your tasks without fear of being disturbed. If you’re single or have a partner who works away from home on weekdays then this won’t be a problem (the kitchen table will do very nicely). However, if you share your home with others then you’ll need to create a space that is easy to retreat to, peaceful to be in, and comfortable to work from.

In many ways, the ideal solution is to base yourself in an annex of some kind (a garden office or basement is perfect) as this will enable you to be at home yet keep your work distinctly separate from the daily dealings of domestic life. If this isn’t an option, then you will have to make use of a spare room or take refuge in the least frequented room in the house (if you’re a parent of small children then this will probably be your bedroom...).

Do you work a virtual admin assistant or have ambitions to become one? If so, please feel free to share your thoughts with us here at CareerAddict by leaving a comment in the box below...

 

Image source: lifesetgo.com, 10 tips for building a successful virtual assistant career

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