How to make £25 an hour as a virtual assistant


May 19, 2023

Reading time: 7 minutes

It’s International Virtual Assistant Day!

The coronavirus pandemic has caused massive changes in the work landscape. Not only is more and more work being done remotely, but more and more work is also being outsourced. For many businesses, hiring freelancers and independent contractors for specific jobs, rather than keeping more employees on the payroll, is more efficient and profitable. In particular, this has led to a growing demand for virtual assistants.

What is a virtual assistant?

Virtual Assistants (VAs) are basically freelancers who work remotely in an administrative role for a business or client. They hire out their administrative or creative help to various clients and businesses and attend to their needs at home. It’s a win-win situation for both employer and employee. From a business perspective, outsourcing work to virtual assistants means they don’t have to provide a VA with office space, utilities and tools, or provide other additional benefits. While some of the major benefits for virtual assistants include the freedom to choose who they work with, the ability to work more flexible hours, and the chance to earn upwards of £200 a day. In addition, you can do everything from home without having to travel. What’s not to like?

What is involved?

Working as a virtual assistant can involve a wide range of tasks. This will largely depend on who you work for and what they need, but it could involve anything from simply answering the phone and emailing bookkeeping, business planning and desktop publishing. Do you have niche skills? Great. The more specialized your skills, the more you will be able to charge. For example, if you have five years of experience in the marketing industry and have extensive knowledge of Microsoft Publisher, you can market yourself as a virtual assistant specializing in marketing and desktop publishing.

Do I need qualifications?

Although technically no formal training or qualifications are required to be a virtual assistant, most clients will be looking for relevant training or experience in secretarial or administrative work. If you don’t have it, don’t panic! On the one hand, you will have many transferable skills from other roles such as problem solving, teamwork and written communication skills. On top of that, the growing demand for virtual assistants means they are needed in additional roles such as social media, content management, blog writing, and internet marketing. In these cases, experience in the specific role is more relevant than general administrative experience.

What do I need to settle down?

Getting started as a virtual assistant can actually keep the costs incredibly low. Although there are a few things you will need, chances are you already have them. At a minimum, you will need a high-speed internet connection, a separate phone line, a computer with all necessary software, and office supplies. Also, even if you already pay utility bills, you may claim some tax on them if you work from home.

Steps to Become a Virtual Assistant

STEP 1: Sort your skills

Virtual assistants are hired for a range of skills and expertise. Before you begin, decide what your unique selling points are and how you will market yourself.

Here are some tips to start your brainstorming:

  • Do you have niche skills?
  • Do you have professional training or qualifications in a particular field?
  • Is there an area of ​​work you would like to learn or focus on more?

Keep in mind that this is an industry that is continually progressing and developing, so you need to keep your skills and knowledge up to date as software and programs change.

STEP 2: Get started

Register your business

The first thing to do to get started is to register your business with your business name. Think carefully about the name you choose, as this is the first impression a potential customer will have of you. A popular option is to simply operate under your own name.

Once you have decided on a name for your virtual assistant business, you need to check that it is not yet being used by someone else. You can check this with the National Business Register. Additionally, you should also verify that your business name is not a registered trademark. If so, it could land you in serious legal trouble down the line, so better find out beforehand!

Finally, you’ll need to register as self-employed with HM Revenue & Customs, which is free, but if you don’t within three months of working for yourself, you could be fined. Once you have registered, they will send you all the relevant information you will need on national insurance and taxation.

Business Insurance and Taxation

As a virtual assistant, you will need to consider upgrading your insurance policy as working from home may affect your coverage. The Society of Virtual Assistants has a very helpful article here on what type of insurance coverage you need and why you need it.

When you first start as a virtual assistant, you probably won’t have to pay VAT, as you’re entitled to £85,000 in turnover before you have to pay it. However, if your taxable turnover is over £85,000 you will need to contact HMRC to register for VAT. This also means that you will need to comply with recent government changes to Making Tax Digital.

Financing and start-up costs

Initial funding and start-up costs usually prevent you from making a profit immediately. Prepare for that and check out Should You Go Into Debt to Start a Business for more information.

How to find work as a virtual assistant

STEP 3: Find work as a VA

Register with a VA agency

Registering with an agency can be a good starting point for finding work and finding clients. However, beware and avoid agencies that will charge you to work for them. Once you’ve paid for them, you’re unlikely to hear about them again. Likewise, avoid any ‘get rich quick’ or ‘earn up to £1,000 a day’ advertisements. Anything too good to be true in the job market always is.

One of the best websites to check out is the Society of Virtual Assistants. It’s a free service and they contain a lot of useful information for virtual assistants. You can choose from two different membership types: Approved and Standard.

  • The standard membership is designed to help those looking to become a virtual assistant. It includes some useful tools. You will have access to the forum where you can post your questions, the company blog and other resources.
  • Approved membership is for businesses. You will need to agree to a code of conduct and have a professional quality website and email, which will be verified. Once you have been verified, you will be added to the searchable database. They will also give you access to the “available jobs” part of the forum, which will hopefully then lead to gainful employment.

Advertise your business

When you first set up a business, it is difficult to market your services and find clients. Our Finding Freelance Clients article has helpful tips on how to advertise and find clients for yourself.

To get your first clients, you need to know what kind of people you want to offer your VA services to. Make a list of your key skills, what you’ve accomplished, and what you like. Then think about the type of businesses that would need your services. What types of businesses might need you to sort through their emails or phone lines? Which businesses might need virtual help with their customer service?

Consider what you can offer to improve their productivity, how your service will benefit the company, and what sets you apart from the crowd.

Your advertising medium will depend on your target audience. Ask yourself:

  • What literature do these companies read/use?
  • Where these network companies?
  • What form of media is this business likely to come into contact with most often?

Also, creating your own website is a good way to market yourself as a virtual assistant. A website is a useful place to create an online resume, showcase your experience and recommendations, and use it to promote your services. There are many free tools that make it quite easy. How to Set Up a Website for Your Freelance Business has all the information you need to get started.

STEP 4: Increase your skills, increase your pay

Virtual assistants can make more money by increasing the skills they offer. Things like bookkeeping, web management, and copywriting are popular ways to increase your appeal to potential customers. Essentially, the more you can do, the more you are able to offer a potential client, which increases your chances of finding work. A variety of work is the beauty of being a virtual assistant and the more things you can do the more you can charge.

How much does a virtual assistant earn?

How much does a virtual assistant earn?

According to Glassdoor, the average annual salary for a virtual assistant is just under £30,000. Additionally, an annual survey by the Society of Virtual Assistant found that the average hourly rate for a VA in the UK is £27. These numbers can help you get a rough idea, but obviously it largely depends on the skills and experience you can bring to a role.

There are a few important things you need to consider when setting your rates. First, you want to decide if you’re going to charge on a daily or hourly rate. Be wary of hourly billing though, as you can end up working a lot of non-billable hours when researching and performing your own administrative tasks, essentially earning you less than you actually earn. could with a daily rate.

However, as a freelancer, you must also consider a lack of:

  • vacation pay
  • sickness benefit
  • Maternity leave
  • Guaranteed hours
  • pension contributions
  • job security; And
  • Office supplies and utilities provided

You will need to calculate the fact that you are missing these benefits in your pricing. Realistically, an additional minimum of 25% should be added to your price to ensure your expenses and taxes are covered. For example, if you plan to charge £20 per hour, this should increase to £25.

More useful reading

If you’re looking for more help getting set up as a freelancer, check out the articles below: