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You can be a virtual assistant with no experience

Be a Virtual Assistant with No Experience

I know one of the big hangups for people thinking about being a virtual assistant is that they have no experience.

First of all, you probably have more experience than you think, especially if you’re a blogger.

But even if you haven’t run a blogging business, you have done things in your life that give you some level of virtual assistant experience and credibility.

In this article, I’ll show you how to leverage your real world experiences to become a virtual assistant even if you have “no experience.”

Assess your skills

The first thing you need to do if you have no prior experience is to assess the skills you already have.

I’ve gone over this in some detail in a previous article that focuses on helping you to become a virtual assistant if you have existing blogging skills.

Virtual assistant side hustle for bloggers

But even without blogging skills, you undoubtedly have some real world skills that you can use to portray yourself as a valuable virtual assistant.

You see, there are two sets of skills.

One is “hard skills,” the other is “soft skills.”

Hard skills relate to the technology, software and hardware you have learned to use..

They are typically specific to a particular job or task such as email marketing, graphic design or customer service.

You usually acquire hard skills through some kind of formal training or even through on-the-job experience.

Soft skills, on the other hand, are more like personality traits.

They show how effectively you are able to interact and collaborate with others.

It also indicates how likely you are to be able to work independently, productively and effectively. 

This includes things like your general work ethic, diligence, time management, communicating with others and problem solving capabilities.  

While it’s good to have both hard and soft skills on your resume, it’s a good idea to focus on your soft skills if you have no experience with technologies.

So if you are trying to land a client looking for a virtual assistant to handle customer service tasks, you might feature some hard skills like your telephone, Zoom or Google Meet skills.

But if you don’t have those skills, concentrate on your friendliness, attention to detail, problem solving abilities and dedication to helping others.

Assess your work experience

What experience do you have?

I’m not talking about virtual assistant experience, here.

But you do have experience doing something.

Some of it may be relevant to working virtual assistant assignments.

So think about what you have done, and how it could help you to be a good virtual assistant.

Then, when you do apply for a virtual assistant job or assignment, you can tell the hiring person that while you’ve never had actual working experience as a virtual assistant, you do have relevant experience that would make you perfect for the job.

Then list what that relevant experience is.

Assess your relevant experience

You might think that organizing your parents’ wedding anniversary has nothing to do with being a virtual assistant.

But just think about it.

You probably had little or no experience organizing an anniversary before you were called on by the family to do it.

So you rolled up your sleeves and got the job done.

In the process, you did some things that make you can now highlight to prospective hiring agents,

And you can list those things as experience because you actually did do them.  

It doesn’t matter that you didn’t do them for a paying client.

You still did them, didn’t you?

Example of your relevant experience

So using the wedding anniversary example, here are some things you now have actual experience with, even if it’s not “virtual assistant” experience.

Management

First of all, you had to manage an entire project.

You had to plan the event.

This is called Project Management in virtual assistant jargon.

You had to set a timeline for the completion of  all the tasks required. 

Then you had to oversee the process to make sure things were getting done according to your schedule. 

These are just like the  project management skills you might need for coordinating multiple tasks and deadlines as a virtual assistant

Budgeting

Managing a budget for the anniversary helped you develop financial planning skills.

These are the same skills you’d need if asked to keep control of client expenses or manage project budgets

Time Management

In order to pull off any event, like an anniversary celebration, you have to stick to rigid deadlines.

Running your parents’ anniversary celebration required you to meet multiple deadlines, didn’t it?

You had a deadline for(sending out “save the date” notices, another for  invitations, and yet another for booking an event location.  

All these things speak to your ability to prioritize tasks and manage time effectively.

Scheduling

You could be asked if you have experience with keeping projects on schedule.

Running your anniversary event gave you lots of experience there.

You had to schedule things like food services, entertainment and valet personnel just to keep everything running smoothly.

All these things are valuable experience when it comes to managing a virtual assistant’s daily or weekly schedule.

Communication

You had to use very strong communication skills when organizing the anniversary event.

Just think of all your interactions with vendors like the facility manager, party favor companies or persons, florists, photographers, caterers, and DJ’s or other entertainment persons.

You needed to use good business communication skills like negotiation, collaboration, problem resolution and others.

And you had to handle a variety of communication technologies like telephone, email, text messaging, direct messaging, perhaps even video conferencing.

One of the most important things you can offer companies is your communication skills.

The work you did to organize the anniversary event testifies to your ability in this regard, even if you think your resume presents you as a “virtual assistant with no experience.”

List Management 

Any event requires you to create and maintain contact with a list of guests.

Just sending out “save the date” notices and invitations is a form of list management.

It shows you have the ability to manage contacts (guests), follow up with them, track RSVPs, minimize no-shows, and let them know if and when there are pending changes.

You could manage this list with a simple notebook, but you might also use something a bit more technological like a spreadsheet or email system.

Anything you do will add to your skillset, here.

Risk Management

You undoubtedly had to build some sort of risk management contingencies into your project plans.

You probably didn’t think of it as “risk management.”

And if a potential client requires that you have risk management experience, you might quickly say “no.”

But you probably do have that experience if you managed an anniversary event.

Here’s an example.

Our event will be held outdoors at the Legion Hall.

But there is a risk with an outdoor event.

It might rain.

What if it does?

Well, perhaps you should have an entertainment or party company set up a tent outside.

It can be used as “indoor dining” for people uncomfortable sitting in the sun.

But at the same time, it could mitigate the risk of being rained out of your event.

If it rains, you can simply move everything to the tent.

Or, you could speak with the Legion Hall manager and see how you could move your event indoors inside the main hall if weather conditions require a sudden change from “outdoors” to “indoors.”

Then, you’d turn to your guest list and advise that this backup plan exists if necessary.

This risk management plan ensures that (1) you will have a dry place for the event no matter what happens with the weather, and (2) your guests won’t have to guess or no-show if the weather turns bad. 

They will attend the event without worrying about the weather since you have communicated the option that you have created as part of your risk management planning.

Quality Control

As part of your event management, you have no doubt exercised some quality control measures.

You’ve done what you can to make sure the centerpieces look like what you had contracted for, that the food will be prepared as specified, and that there will be adequate parking and parking assistance for your guests.

These are just a few of the many quality issues you must take necessary measures to control.

Get virtual assistant training if you have no experience

Having skills is obviously great for your resume and will help you be a more effective virtual assistant.

But you can learn these skills as the need arises.

What will probably help you more in the beginning is to get some basic training.

You can often get this training at a community college or workshop.

I suggest you try to do some basic training, but keep it simple.

Don’t take 6 months to “train” when you could be getting started today.

Just go to YouTube and search for Virtual Assistant training.

I think you’ll find some very valuable training videos, they cost nothing and they can help get you up and running fast. 

You can be a virtual assistant with no experience

I hope you get the idea of how to use your common life experiences to bolster your credentials when contacting hiring agents and clients.

I used the example of managing a wedding anniversary, but it could be almost anything.

Have you ever organized a birthday party or your family vacation?

Maybe you traveled somewhere and had to rent a car and find a hotel.

Or you might have just finished an online course in dog training.

All of these things show that you can organize things, use good judgment, be diligent and focused, and solve problems.

These are great skills to have, and will help you on the path to being a virtual assistant even if you have no experience.

Donna

PS: Don’t forget to share this article on your favorite social sites. Much thanks 🙂

Donna Merrill
Donna is a well known blogger and creator of "Blogging Magic" - an intensive guide to blogging. "Blogging Magic" is for beginners who are trying to figure out how to bring their blogs to life with tons of visits, comments and social media interaction. It's even for advanced bloggers looking to reach new levels of authority and engagement with their audience.

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