In our experience of training virtual assistants, the journey that someone takes to become a VA looks a little something like this: they find out that they can legitimately work online, remotely, and make decent money in this new-ish profession.
As they investigate how to become a virtual assistant, they come across the dilemma: What virtual assistant services should I offer?
Then they might spend a lot of hours trying to figure out where to start and what to specialize in.
If this sounds like a frustrating and time-consuming process, it’s because it is.
That’s why we’ve designed two shortcuts for you, because we want to make sure that nobody who wants to become a virtual assistant gets stuck in the research phase.
We’ve researched and brainstormed until we came up with a list of over 150 VA services that you can offer. The list is yours to download for free:
This here post, in which we outline the ten most popular virtual assistant services and what you should know about them, in a nutshell. Hopefully, by the time you’re done reading this post, you’ll have a good idea of what services to offer as a VA.
Here are 10 high-demand services you can turn into a profitable niche:
1. Social Media Management
You may think that hanging out on social media is awesome and personal. And who would want to outsource that?
But social media stops being fun for your clients when it takes too much time away from their business and from working on revenue sources with a higher ROI. Although there are MANY benefits to having an active social media presence, there is a lot to know if you want to do it right, and you need to learn something new almost every day if you want to stay up-to-date.
Enter: a virtual assistant specializing in social media management to save the day.
What you do for your clients all depends on where their social media marketing stands when you take over. If their presence is close to zero, you could offer packages to get their profiles up-and-running. If they have some social media profiles already set up, but they’re not very active, here are some tasks that you could pitch them:
- Branded account set up – if they want all their social profiles to look the same and send the same message to potential customers;
- Scheduling updates;
- Original content creation (e.g. images, updates, polls, etc.);
- Setting up scheduling tools (Buffer and Hootsuite are the most popular ones);
- Interacting with followers (retweeting, liking, replying to comments, etc);
Start by managing a few social media profiles, and only add to those as you get familiar with the work. For example, you could start with Facebook and Instagram. Once you have those two profiles up-and-running, you can add Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn or any other social platform that applies to you client’s business.
2. Blog Management
You may think that there’s nothing much to do when you’re blogging. You just type your thoughts away, and then you hit publish, right?
That may be the case when you’re blogging as a hobby.
But when blogging becomes a business, there are quite a few moving parts to keep track of behind the scenes. A good blog manager starts by putting together an editorial calendar. That way, your client doesn’t have to scramble for a post idea at the last minute.
A virtual assistant doing blog management would also be in charge of:
- Uploading and formatting posts;
- Adding inbound and outbound links to posts;
- Sourcing photos (Creative Commons Zero, if your client would rather not pay for images);
- Creating graphics and adding them to the posts;
- Optimizing the SEO of the post – there’s no point in writing excellent content if nobody finds it;
- Adding optins and lead magnets to the blog posts (a crucial step if your client wants to grow their email list).
If your client’s blog also accepts guest submissions, then you’ll have to coordinate with guest writers – from pitching topics, to following up on deadlines and setting up cross-promotion once the post is published.
You can impress a potential client by taking the lead on researching blog topics. Figure out who their competition is, and then see what they’re writing about? Is there anything that they’re not covering that your client could?
3. Customer Service
This task is a particularly crucial one to outsource to a VA, especially if dealing with customers is eating up a good chunk of the time a solopreneur could use to create products or services, or even strategize for their business.
Gina went super in-depth on the topic in this recent post. Suffice it to say, there are a lot of reasons why outsourcing customer service makes a lot of sense, both from a professional as well as a personal point of view.
Here are a few things that a virtual assistant can take care of, when it comes to customer service:
- Onboarding new clients (this could also include creating personalized welcome packets);
- Responding to recurring customer inquiries (including creating canned email responses or an FAQ page with the answers to the most common questions);
- Regularly checking in with long-term clients (you need to make sure they’re still satisfied with what they’re getting);
- Dealing with customer complaints and refund requests. (They do happen!)
The first few times you perform these tasks, you can hop on a video call with your client and let them walk you through it. It will be easier to clarify their systems in real time rather than going back and forth about the rules via email.
4. Email Management
According to a survey quoted in The Washington Post, we spend about 20.5 hours a week checking email. And that’s just the average for a regular office worker. Imagine how much more email a webpreneur has to deal with.
That is becoming a huge time waste, which is exactly what makes it a good opportunity for an organized and detail-oriented virtual assistant.
We’ve had already Rachel on the blog talking about how to do inbox management as a virtual assistant.
But here are, in a nutshell, the kind of tasks you can expect if you pick this niche:
- Checking your client’s email inbox.
- Setting up a system for labeling, replying or archiving incoming emails
- Setting up automatic filters
- Keeping a list of frequently asked questions; it might come in handy when your client needs new content ideas.
Is email management the same as customer service for a VA?
It could be, but it doesn’t have to be. Some clients will feel comfortable with letting you take over their entire inbox (which also includes their personal emails), while others might prefer to outsource just the client interaction side of things.
Some will even keep the two separate by creating a new email address especially for customer service. It’s really up to the two of you to work out the terms of your agreement.
Always make sure you’re on the same page when it comes to what you’re expected to do in your client’s email. Are you just checking once a day, or three times a day? Are you supposed to stay logged in and reply to emails as they roll in? Set clear terms from the get-go.
5. Lead Generation
If your client’s business is sales-intensive (in any way, shape or form), they will need someone to take over the very time-consuming task of generating potential leads.
Great lead generation is more than just a numbers game. If your client is in real estate, for example, it would be a waste of their time to generate useless leads that have no plans of needing their services anytime soon. As a lead generation virtual assistant, you have to be strategic about who you contact, and how you do it.
Here are a few ways tasks you can offer as part of your virtual assistant services:
- Setting up a system to source leads (for example, you could set up Google alerts for certain keywords);
- Setting up a system to collect lead information
- Figuring out an ideal customer persona;
- Following leads on social media and interact with them;
- Reaching out to leads via email or social media. (If your client trusts you to do this on their behalf, you can certainly command higher rates.)
Always make sure you agree on a deliverable. How many leads are you supposed to deliver by the end of the week, for example? How much information about the lead is enough before you move on to the next one? This is the kind of task that can really balloon to take up as much time as you’re allowing it to. Don’t worry, the more you do it, the more efficient you’ll get. The trick is to always make sure that you’re still making enough per hour to make it worth your while.
6. Event Management
Admit it, when you read event management, you thought about coordinating a fancy wedding, didn’t you? There’s nothing wrong in finding a client that needs that service. (And more power to you.)
But in the online world, events usually come in the shape of online conferences, classes and webinars. An event virtual assistant is usually in charge of:
- Researching leads for guest speakers (if any);
- Communicating and coordinating with guest speakers;
- Setting up promotion for the event (including creating promotional materials);
- Setting up the tech platform for the event. The most popular webinar platforms are GoToWebinar, Adobe Connect, Join.me and Google Hangouts.
- Being available during the event in case any glitches come up;
- Moderating the chat during the event (for example, by sifting through comments for questions that the speakers can address);
- Managing post-event feedback (by sending audience surveys, or following up with guest speakers and making it easy for them to share the event on their end).
Based on a survey conducted by Ready Talk, between 20 percent and 40 percent of webinar attendees turned into qualified leads. According to the same survey, three weeks of promotion prior to the webinar is the sweet spot. Three is also the magic number in terms of email campaigns sent per webinar. That’s some pretty impressive sales pitch material for a webinar virtual assistant, right?
7. Running Ad Campaigns
Have you ever noticed those ads that show up when you’re busy scrolling through Facebook?
How about the ads on the right side of your Facebook timeline?
Those ads have to be written, designed and scheduled by someone, right? That someone is usually an experienced content marketer or VA. Could it be done by the same person who is doing the social media management? Of course! But setting up ad campaigns is a more specialized skill, and therefore should command higher rates.
According to Facebook, the total number of businesses advertising on the platform had reached four million in early 2017. That’s some serious competition. So if your client wants to have their ads seen, they really have to do it right.
Here are a few skills you can learn if you want to offer Facebook ads management as part of your virtual assistant services:
- Audience segmentation;
- Optimizing ads by changing demographic settings;
- Researching competitors’ fans and followers;
- Audience cloning;
- Designing and writing copy for ads;
- Tracking actions that users take on the ads;
- Determining the cost per action or cost per lead;
- Evaluating the ROI of Facebook campaigns.
Once you’ve learned the ropes of Facebook ads, you can easily transition to offering ad campaigns for other social media platforms. Instagram is quite easy to advertise on, since it’s owned by Facebook, and you can set up both campaigns at the same time
8. Setting Up Sales Funnels
Sales funnels are the best way to turn readers into subscribers, convert subscribers into paying customers, and turn one-time buyers into recurring customers and fans. Funnels are complex to set up, but once done correctly, they’ll bring in a lot of business for your client.
Here are a few tasks you can take off your client’s list when they’re working on setting up their funnels.
- Creating lead magnets;
- Branding lead magnets;
- Setting up landing pages;
- Setting up automation rules;
- Integrating the content marketing platform with other platforms (e.g. course-hosting websites or giveaway platforms).
These skills may have a steeper learning curve, but you can also charge higher rates once you’ve mastered a few platforms. As always, we recommend that you niche down and really master one of these platforms.
9. Project Management
The good thing about marketing your services as a project management virtual assistant is that it might be easier to convince clients who otherwise cannot commit to hiring a VA on a more permanent basis.
But when a solopreneur is in the middle of a big, scary project, they might admit they need a little bit of help (and stress relief).
Here are a few projects you might be able to help with:
- Product launches (generally for digital products, such as courses and ebooks);
- Researching industry best-practices;
- Recruiting team members and contractors;
- Supervising and coordinating other team members;
- Setting up systems and timelines;
- Doing a business audit.
Starting with a project-based collaboration is a great way to get your foot in the door for larger projects or a permanent position. Do a good job, and you’ll become the go-to professional for your client.
Ahh, admin! This is probably the task that solopreneurs procrastinate the most on. That’s because it’s not an easy chore, especially for someone oriented more toward the strategic and creative side of business, and less toward staring at numbers on a screen.
Since it consists of recording bills, invoices, payments, and keeping track of the general financial well-being of a business, it’s something that absolutely NEEDS to be done.
Here are a few things you can take over as a bookkeeping virtual assistant:
- Generating invoices and following up in case of non-payment;
- Making sure bills are paid on time;
- Issuing refunds;
- Preparing balance sheets;
- Paying employees and contractors;
- Reconciling bank and credit card statements;
- Help prepare your quarterly or annual taxes.
- Maintaining financial data in the software preferred by the client. (Tip: Gina prefers Freshbooks.)
Outsourcing this requires a great deal of trust on behalf of both parties. A good way of building trust is by offering to bring recommendations from former clients or past jobs. You can also offer to do a background check if your client is worried about entrusting you with their financial information.
If you’re still not sure what virtual assistant services you can offer, we’ve put together a list of over 150 services that webpreneurs need help with.