Most virtual assistants agree that they enjoy being virtual assistants mainly for their flexibility in terms of working hours and location, being in control of their own schedule, and working from the comfort of their own armchair.
But virtual assistance isn’t for everyone, and it sure doesn’t work well if you don’t focus on a specific niche. I’ve spoken a lot about virtual assistance and becoming a niche VA and I believe it’s vital to becoming a successful entrepreneur and VA business owner.
First off, having a niche is a must in terms of profitability. Having a niche allows you to grow your set of skills within that specific niche, which in turn, allows you to be able to charge higher for your skills.
Secondly, having a niche allows you to better market yourself and your skills. Because you know exactly what you can offer, you will eventually know exactly who to target and how to approach them, which makes it a lot easier to get new and repetitive business.
Finally, you become a valuable asset to your clients which leads to more ongoing work, repetitive business, and higher earnings!
So how can you become an expert at a specific niche as a virtual assistant? Below are a few steps that I found helpful when trying to find my niche.
- Just like everybody else in the career world, you probably don’t exactly know what you like or what you want to really focus on doing. There’s no harm in rotating within different work categories or trying to do a bit of everything, as long as you take note of what you like and/or dislike and get closer to finding your niche. When you’re starting out, you’re usually looking to earn a bit of money and will take any job you get just to improve your rating!
- When I first started working as a freelancer, I had just quit my full-time job and although I did not know what I wanted to focus on in specific, I had an idea about the type of work that I wanted and the areas of work that attracted me such as digital marketing and data related projects. So I started working on what I was good at and what I enjoyed. From there, my skills expanded and clients started hiring me for similar projects, and suddenly, I found myself with somewhat of a niche!
- Look for jobs that mix with your personal interests. For me, I enjoyed working with spreadsheets and data, so any job that involved research and organizing data was interesting to me. It, later on, evolved to become more than just organizing and researching which is how I wound up with my SEO agency.
- Once you know that you enjoy certain types of jobs more than others, it helps to go out and look for these jobs, as in the search for the skills that you have and that you enjoy utilizing and applying to these jobs. On Upwork for instance (previously Odesk), you have the option to buy additional credit in order to be able to apply to more jobs. You also have the option to search and filter available jobs by keyword, duration, and payment type which comes in very handy once you’ve narrowed down your interests.
- Some jobs are plain routine and thus offer little chance for advancement and building skills. Unless you’re planning on working for a fixed rate per hour or per project for the rest of your life, avoid monotonous repetitive jobs that require little to no head-scratching. These jobs, regardless of how much they pay – although they usually pay peanuts – will not enable you to increase your rate much in the future or acquire any new skills.
To put it in a nutshell, virtual assistants can start off earning as low as $3 per hour on websites such as Fiverr, Freelancer.com, and Upwork. But if you get really good at doing one certain thing or several things within a single category of work, and if you improve your ratings, you eventually have more control over what you charge your clients and can go on to charge as high as $100 per hour. So if you’re planning on being a long-term virtual assistant, go ahead and find your niche!