Jessica Jones is a Virtual Assistant and Trainer/Mentor running her own business, Jessica Jones Online Business Support.
In this latest ‘I Love my Job’ feature I asked Jessica to tell us what a typical day looks like for her, the qualifications and qualities needed to be a successful virtual assistant, what she loves about her job (of course!) as well as those things she’s not so keen on. She also has some advice for anyone who may be thinking of a similar career.
Over to you Jessica.
On a typical day I try to do a ‘power hour’ in the morning by devoting an hour of complete concentration to a project I need to make head-way on. This could be IN my business or ON my business, depending on deadlines. This gives me motivation as I am seeing progress and then feel more relaxed for the rest of the day. I will complete small tasks for clients during the morning – these can range from travel organisation, email management and diary, to social media and marketing. I usually work fromhome, but sometimes I attend meetings to take minutes, or train individuals one-to-one on IT skills or problems they need solving. Their issues usually arise from a new project they are working on for their business (for example, social media, image creation or ‘techie admin’ stuff like setting up emails or solving printer problems). In the afternoon, I might go out to carry out a few personal errands or the post office if I need to post documents but usually these are emailed or uploaded. The good thing about my days is that they can be flexible – this is really beneficial when you have young children. I try to write daily posts on social media so I will record some ramblings and post on LinkedIn and Instagram! I have just started as an Avon rep so in the evening I might work on that – but not for too long as I like to relax after putting my son to bed at 8pm.
You don’t need specific qualifications per se to be a virtual assistant. However, you need to be very computer literate, and pro-active when it comes to learning new software and processes. Depending on the kind of packages being offered directly to clients or through a virtual assistant agency, English qualifications will be very helpful for communications and proof-reading work, and book-keeping qualifications, for example, for assisting with recording financial transactions. The beauty of being a virtual assistant is the variety of work and the amount of professional development you can ultimately choose to do and the type of work you choose to do! I am trained as a further education lecturer and the qualifications gained from this have equipped me with the understanding and knowledge to provide training services to clients. Being comfortable with social media is important and basic knowledge of web design is very useful if starting your own virtual assistant business.
In terms of the qualities you need for this job being self-sufficient when it comes to organising work, skilled at prioritising, and having confidence in the work you produce for clients is essential. A helpful nature and having a flair for administration, marketing, communications and social media really helps. Being able to spend time alone and working out problems for yourself is rewarding, but isn’t everyone’s preference! Having ideas for your clients and being creative can really make you stand out against your competition which in turn helps to build a great relationship between a virtual assistant and their client.
I love seeing a finished product I have written or proof-read and being confident that I did a thorough job. I enjoy seeing clients happier and less-stressed from having me support them. Getting emails saying “you are a star” is amazing. I naturally like decluttering and having things organised so clearing out email inboxes and creating order is rewarding, and helping people who are struggling with their computer as it’s too ‘technical’ (but hopefully nothing TOO technical though!). I really enjoy writing but sometimes this can be less of a priority when client work needs completing.
On the flip side when working from home you need to be very focussed and have a strict timetable. This can be a challenge, but it can be mastered. As a virtual assistant you don’t have an IT department to help you if something goes wrong – but it teaches you to be confident and solve things yourself. LinkedIn and Facebook groups are good for building up a support network online as well of course!
My advice if you would like to be a virtual assistant is to apply to an agency first of all, for example, Time etc and complete some tasks to see if it suits you. If you want to start a virtual assistant home business, finding clients will be your biggest challenge so be prepared to really get out there! This industry is perfect if you have children or acting as a carer.
If you are looking for more advice and information on being a virtual assistant or starting your own business, add me on social media @askJessicaJones.
A big thank you to Jessica for giving an insight into her business – make sure you take a look at her Facebook page and, if you love your job and would like to be featured in this occasional series, send me an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send you details of how can take part.