If you have typing, research, and spreadsheet skills but are having a hard time finding a job, there is an answer. If you become a freelancer you can start work and earn money today as an administrative support freelancer. Also known as Virtual Assistants or VAs, freelance administrative support professionals just need some skills, a reliable internet connection and a computer to work from.
Why Businesses Use Virtual Assistant's?
Both web-based and many bricks and mortar type businesses are going online to hire extra help. Hiring virtual staff comes with many benefits including:
- Avoiding the cost of larger office space
- No need to buy phones, computers, other office equipment and furniture for staff
- Virtual staff can be hired quickly (same day) and in quantity if needed
- freelance sites facilitate interviews, billing and payment without the need to add virtual staff to payroll systems
- can pay by credit card
- no legislated minimum call in or maximum hours (other than practical limits set by the VA)
- cheaper overall
- some jobs can be offshored to a place with lower cost labor
So Why Be a Virtual Assistant?
Hiring virtual assistants to do administrative work sounds like a great deal for employers, but what is in it for the worker? Actually there are a whole lot of great reasons to work virtually including:
- Overcome localized job shortage without moving from where you live
- Flexible hours - work as much or as little as you want as long as you do the jobs you accept
- Multiple employers means you will never again lose your only job
- possibility of dedicated full time work from some employers if you want that
- guaranteed payment (some freelance sites)
- ability to raise and lower fee expectations depending on how bad you want the work
- zero commute time and cost
Where to Get Started as a Freelance Administrative Assistant?
There are a number of websites that facilitate connecting employers with freelance contractors. Some are very unstructured like Craigslist where you are fully exposed to the risk the employer might be a fraud. Fiverr is another wild west type site with minimal controls and very transactional structure that does not encourage long-term relationships.
Other sites have varying degrees of service that helps assure both parties that everything is fair and honestly run. My personal favorite is oDesk because it include a payment guarantee - an hour worked is an hour paid. The site also has over 300 odesk qualification tests that help both employers and freelancer figure out who is qualified to do which kinds of jobs.
oDesk has hundreds of thousands of freelancers and employers that together create the "oconomy". The site takes a 10% cut of all transactions, which includes credit card fees it covers. There are literally thousand of administrative support and administrative assistant type jobs available every day on the site. Joining is free and it is reasonable to expect that you can find paid work with hours or at least days of setting up your profile, taking some qualification tests and applying for some administrative jobs. You can make becoming a virtual assistant a full-time gig or just a way to make some extra money on the side, it is up to you.