Getting Started as a Virtual Assistant

What It Takes To Be a Great Virtual Assistant

So, you think you want to be a virtual assistant? Good for you! What does it take?

Being a Virtual Assistant is a wonderful profession that, if you work at it, can be very profitable and rewarding.

Yes, that’s what I said … it’s going to take work.

You should know that working from home is not the same as being at home on the weekends.

When you decide to become a Virtual Assistant, you become a business owner … an entrepreneur.

It is essential to realize this when you are starting out, and it is frightening how many people do not realize it at all.

When I tell people that I work from home, I am often greeted with the squeal of, “Oh, I’d love to work from home!” and I can see that ‘bonbons and TV all day long’ look in their eyes. It’s not like that. At least, it’s not like that for me.

Now don’t misunderstand me … I’m not some cut-throat career lady who wants to run a conglomerate from my home office, and you don’t have to be one either.

Why am I a VA?

I want to do work that I enjoy, I want to schedule my own time, and I want to make a comfortable living. That’s why I am a VA.

Why do you want to be a VA?

When you get clear on what you really want to get from working for yourself, then you need to see if it will be the right fit for you.

To be great Virtual Assistant takes four things: organization, skills, compromise and support.

What It Takes To Be a Great VA : Canadian Association of Virtual Assistants


Being organized is a big requirement when you are going to be a VA.

You need to be able to handle a large workload with a lot of different priorities.

You need to be able to manage your time and to schedule as much as you can.

For your business to be successful, you will be working with more than one client, and you need to be able to manage and prioritize their tasks well.

I keep a task list of projects I am working on, and I schedule a time slot for each of those tasks during my day.

One of the key ways to manage your time well is to know how long each project will take you – and you also have to allow time for mistakes, problems, and even last-minute requests from clients.


VA skills are different for everyone, and they are obviously a really important piece of your business.

You can be a generalist VA, or you can offer specialized services. It really doesn’t matter.

As long as you stick to projects and tasks that you are skilled at, everyone will be happy.

Market yourself with tasks that you do well. Don’t take on projects that are outside your abilities. You will spend more time learning the ropes, and it will cut into time that you could be billing for work that you know how to do well.

Schedule time to learn new skills outside of client projects and master them, and then offer those services to your clients. With the speed of technology evolving all the time, it’s important to keep on top of your skill set, and it’s good practice to learn more about the services you offer so you can grow with your business.


Getting back to working with multiple clients is often where compromise comes in.

You can organize and schedule every last item, and you can have a very impressive skill set, but you will still need to be able to compromise from time to time.

What if your client isn’t happy with your finished product? What if it ‘wasn’t what they expected’? Or what if they can’t pay you right away? What if two clients have urgent projects – which do you handle first?

There are so many reasons that things may not go ‘quite right’, and you need to be able to handle it when it happens.

Handling compromise well comes with experience, but be sure that you are aware that these things could happen from time to time.


Finding your own support is one of the most important things that you can give yourself when you are starting out as a VA.

This can come in many forms: a mentor, a forum, a community, an organization.

I have been in business for myself since 1996, and have learned much through trial and error.

If I had a ‘do over’, I would have really liked someone to turn to for advice and support in the early stages. I still turn to colleagues and mentors for support as an established.

Be sure to incorporate a support network into your business, and use it when you need it!

Still want to be a VA? That’s great!

Be sure to do your homework, as you would do if you were opening any type of business, and you will set yourself up to go a long way with your VA business.

Do what you know best, put a system in place to keep everything organized, find your support network and practice communicating and compromising.

What you should do next:

Join CAVA: Canadian Association of Virtual Assistants

If you need help with getting your business foundations set up, look no further than your VA community!

An annual membership in CAVA is the answer. CAVA is a professional association for Virtual Assistants in Canada. We provide community, visibility, resources, connections, training, client opportunities and so much more.

Check out our full list of benefits here:

About the Author: Tracey D’Aviero is a Virtual Assistant Coach, Trainer, Speaker and Author. After operating a busy VA business of her own since 1996, Tracey began teaching others to run their VA businesses in 2010 through Your VA Mentor. She also owns CAVA VA association and now teaches and coaches VAs exclusively. She has a vast amount of experience working in many different industries which helps her to offer her students and coaching clients a unique perspective and sound advice. She is a proud advocate of the Virtual Assistant industry. Learn more about Tracey’s journey in the VA industry here.

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