Looking to Become a Virtual Assistant? These Resources are Invaluable

Looking to Become a Virtual Assistant? These Resources are Invaluable

I regularly get people contacting me through LinkedIn to ask how I started being a virtual assistant (VA). In fact, the frequency and number of enquiries prompted me to write this blog post – after all, I’m all about boosting productivity and efficiency, which is why it made sense to write an informative post and direct wannabe VAs towards it.

First and foremost, before I started my VA business, I did huge amounts of research. I spent a lot of time online digesting as many free resources as I could and absorbing all the advice and tips I was finding – there was a lot!

Google is your friend

A quick Google search for ‘how to become a virtual assistant’ yields a whopping 8.4 million results (at time of writing). Even if you just take the time to go through the first page of results alone, you’ll glean a huge amount of relevant info (as I did more than six years ago).

Next, I looked to satisfy the avid reader in me and checked what books relating to becoming a virtual assistant were available on Amazon. There wasn’t actually that many (at the time), but one did stick out, so I placed an order. It was “The Virtual Assistant Handbook: Insider Secrets for Starting and Running Your Own Profitable VA Business” by Nadine Hill. It’s a great resource because it’s so easy to read. I couldn’t put it down once I’d started and read it from cover to cover in no time. It was definitely worth the cost as it contained information about things I hadn’t thought about.

Another great book written by an acquaintance of mine is How to be a Virtual Assistant: Start and run your own successful VA business by Catherine Gladwyn.

VA Forums/Associations

With my interest seriously piqued and my passion to learn more in overdrive, I joined the Virtual Assistant Forums. Like most Internet-based forums, this one allows you to post questions and discuss topics with people who are virtual assistants already or working towards becoming one.

A great way to gain some exposure in such forums is by linking your blog and Twitter accounts, then adding real value to the conversations that are going on. People will naturally look at your profile if they see you as someone who knows what they’re talking about and may click through to your website/social media accounts as a result.

I then joined the International Virtual Assistants Association (IVAA). It’s a non-profit organisation dedicated to VA development, education and raising public awareness of what VAs do. There are several different membership categories, all of which boast a number of benefits. Check out the IVAA website for more information.

VA Directories

There are two VA directory sites that I’d recommend to anyone looking to start out in this industry: Virtual Assistantville and BeMyVA. They are great places to advertise your services and potentially secure your first clients. Be sure to check out the membership benefits of BeMyVA, as there’s a chance you could feature on their social media accounts and have your articles featured in their newsletter.

Twitter Lists

Twitter lists featuring virtual assistants are great; all you’ve got to do is find some. The easiest way to do this is by using the Twitter search feature to find out profiles relating to virtual assistance, VAs, etc. One you’ve started following some of the profiles you’ve found, go through their accounts and look at any lists they’ve created and been added to. Chances are there will be some relating solely to virtual assistance, which can join or retrieve more useful contacts from.

Hashtags like #VA and #virtualassistant are also a great way to find tweets and profiles relating to the industry.

Facebook Groups

Last, but certainly not least, are all the virtual assistant Facebook groups out there. There are so many, each with their own benefits, that I would never be able to review each one separately. However, I have compiled this list of groups to get you started:

Two other Facebook groups I highly recommend are Freelance Heroes (great for general freelancing discussions and lead generation) and my own Online Productivity Tools & Applications group (great for insights into all the best tools and apps designed to boost productivity).

Over to you…

Are there any resources you use/have used that I haven’t mentioned? I’d love to hear about them. Drop a note in the comments or tweet me @JoHarris0n.

How was your January?

The last day of January, how did 31 days pass so quickly? It seems like only yesterday that it was 1 January and everyone was talking about goals for 2013.

So, how is everyone getting on with their 2013 goals? I for one have made some progress, but not as much as I would have liked.

This month I have launched my Format your own eBook Template which so far has been selling well. It wasn’t something I had even added to my new products/services list for 2013, it was one of those ideas that spring into your head randomly, and I was very happy it did. I’ve given it an introductory price until my eCourse starts, which will hopefully be in the next couple of weeks.

Which leads me onto another of my goals, working on my business on Friday’s. I try not to do any client work on a Friday, although I have been answering emails if they need a quick response. I do need to communicate with my clients that Friday is a non-working day. So over the last few Friday’s of January I have mainly been working on the eCourse, which I have decided will be free. As well as the eCourse I have been doing things like invoicing, filing and admin for myself, rather than others. It’s nice to have one day per week to concentrate on my things, and not having to squeeze everything into an hour here and there during the week.

Learning new things has also been top of my agenda for some time now, so I have purchased a great eBook about formatting in html/css. I want to be able to design eBooks rather than just formatting them, so I am working my way through this for about an hour each day. Not only will it boost my skill level, it should hopefully put me in a different market where I can earn more for the work I am doing and give my author clients more choice about how they want their eBook to look – I have already learnt how to include audio and video into an eBook!

You may remember in my blog post at the beginning of January, Incredible Goal Setting for 2013 that I have been using Leonie Dawson’s great workbooks. Well I haven’t forgotten about them just yet, and have picked them up numerous times to check that I am headed in the right direction. Tomorrow, as it’s the 1 February I have set aside some time to go through them and write out my calendar for February. The written income goal each month is great, I hit January’s, and really hope that I’ll hit the increase I will be adding to February’s. Just by writing it down doesn’t work though, there are steps you have to take to make it happen…

January wasn’t an easy month, and I am sure for a lot of people January is a real struggle. What with Christmas, and then a 5 week month! With a trip to the vet last week (Hatchi was suspected of eating rat poison) and other expenses through the month, it’s not been easy, but I have made it and the rent will be paid tomorrow… I have a roof over my head for another month! 🙂

One of the things I didn’t manage in January was completing the blog challenge, I found it difficult to come up with blog posts for every day of the month, and also the time needed which took me away from earning that rent money! I have now set-up a new blogging schedule, which I WILL stick to… I will be posting to this blog on a Thursday, and on Monday’s I will be posting to my eBook formatting blog.

I hope the first month of 2013 has been kind to you, see you all in February.

The Last Two Weeks

As I am half way through the Ultimate Blog Challenge, I can’t believe it’s already day 15, so I have decided to do a bit of a cheat post today (plus, my Internet connection is likely to be disconnected at some point today, so I need to be quick!) and list all the posts I have published over the last 14 days.  I wouldn’t normally do it like this, but as I have been posting both on this blog and my eBook formatting blog you may have missed some.

Day 1

My Top 10 Posts of 2012

Day 2

Social Media for Authors – Part 1

Day 3

Why France?

Day 4

Paperback or eBook?

Day 5

Incredible Goal Setting for 2013!

Day 6

Virtual Author Services – DIY or Outsource?

Day 7

5 Simple WordPress Plugins

Day 8

How are eBooks Evolving?

Day 9

Who needs a schedule?

Day 10

Sneak Preview – eBook Marketing eCourse

Day 11

Flick the Off Switch More Often!

Day 12

Education Never Ends

Day 13

Twitter Follow Back Rules

Day 14

12 Steps to Format an eBook

Like a Challenge? Join me on the Ultimate Blog Challenge this January!

Like a Challenge? Join me on the Ultimate Blog Challenge this January!

It’s that time of year again, I’m not talking about another New Year, I’m talking about the Ultimate Blog Challenge!


I have decided that I’d like to take part again this January, but now I have two blogs I will be posting on alternate days on each.  I’ve already managed to put together a list of topics I will be posting about, although I only have half of the 31 required.


Like the previous year I will be posting on various topics including: social media, virtual assistance, working from home, eBook formatting, self-publishing and other topics I hope you’ll find of interest.

I amounted quite a following when I did this last January, so I would be really pleased if you joined me again this year and helped me build my followers both on this blog and my eBook formatting blog which I only started in October.

Anything you want to know?

If you have anything you particularly want me to write about, get in touch, leave me a comment… there are never too many blog ideas for my little ideas book!

My first post will be on this blog on New Year’s Day – Tuesday 1 January, and then I will be alternating between both blogs.  If you want to keep up with my posts, why not subscribe to my RSS feeds which you can either add to Google Reader or similar, or even get my posts via email each day, here they are:

Writer’s Block Blog Feed
eBook Formatting Blog Feed

Review: 31 Days of Twitter Tips

5 out of 5 Stars

I love eBooks like this and I was excited to get the chance to download the eBook for free so I could review it for Becky Robinson, the author, of Weaving Influence.

Having been on Twitter personally since 2009, and then as a business since 2011 I was interested to see what sort of tips Becky had come up with in the book.

I was pleasantly surprised at the depth of information contained in the eBook, the contents alone give you lots of ideas before even reading the rest of the book:

Finding Your Why
Reviewing/Optimizing Your Twitter Profile
Installing a 3rd Party Application/Installing a 3rd Party Application to your Mobile Device
Creating Twitter Lists
Following and Contributing to Trending Topics
Direct Messaging
Finding New Connections
Searching for Customers
Searching for Thought Leaders
Exploring Hashtags
Setting Up Auto Follow Backs
Creating a list of tweets
Tweeting your own blog posts
Showing off Your Best
Sharing Something Off-Topic
Follow Friday
Embracing Serendipity
Getting to Know Someone New
Making an Introduction
Deepening a Connection
Giving – promoting others
Surprising and Delighting
Saying Thank You
Experiencing #TWIRL

A Note About Twitter and Numbers
Should I Have More than One Twitter Account?
Getting Started Guide
How to Add People to Lists
31 Day Twitter Tip Challenge

Becky has done a great job, everything explained in the book is easy to follow and understand.  It’s aimed at Twitter beginners, but there are plenty of tips in there for more experienced Twitter users.  

I use Twitter a lot and many of my clients come via Twitter, especially for my eBook formatting service.  I was surprised to find a few tips which I’d not really thought about before, so I’ll be looking at implementing those in the near future.

I think for Twitter beginners this is the perfect way to start your tweeting career, in the Appendix you’ll find all the information you need to create a profile and how to start following people and creating lists (something I wish I had done when I followed a handful of people – it’s a much bigger job now!).

You’ll also find the 31 Day Twitter Tip Challenge at the back of the book, using just 12 minutes per day.  As an incentive to take the 31 Day Twitter Challenge, they will send you another resource, the 12 Minute Media Strategy and Branding Playbook (a $57 value) to help you extend your influence — as a thank you gift.

If you’re looking to spend less time on Twitter but getting more from it, then this is the book for you.  I would definitely recommend  getting a copy of this and working through it.

The eBook is $7.99 and available to purchase at the 12 Minute Media website.