Great tips for your future as a personal assistant! As a well-experienced team of an employer and a freelancer, we’ll give you useful tips on how to become a virtual assistant that is successful.
Become A Virtual Assistant
Good work ethics, transparency and personal integrity are three key aspects that every virtual assistant needs. We define integrity for a virtual worker as having personal standards that will not be broken by the opinion of others.
What does integrity mean for a virtual assistant?
Personal integrity is crucial for your everyday life. For a virtual assistant, here is how we define integrity;
- You have to be open and honest about what you can and cannot do.
- Be sincere when for example, a task is more than you can do. It’s better than to lie in order to get more work to do. Similarly, when you have a strong skill, there’s no need to hide it. Be sincere and transparent in the work you do.
How to Make Your Work More Transparent?
You can make your work more transparent and understandable for your employer if you grant him visibility on what you do in real time. There are three methods on how to do that:
- Using oDesk’s team application, you will share regular screenshots of your desktop and, therefore, the manner of how you work.
- You can use a productivity tracking software.
- You can make screen recording videos of you doing specific crucial tasks so that your employer can see how you work.
What Does Integrity Mean When You Work As A Virtual Assistant?
You should have two rules.
Have personal standards.
Those are ethical rules you play by and you will not bend for anyone.
Even call your employer on this if he breaks one of your personal rules. Call people on the word they have given.
Say ‘No’ when you can’t do the job.
This does not mean that you are weak or a bad worker. You can show alternatives.
- For example, show motivation to learn the skill needed to do the work.
- Or, research alternative ways to solve the problem.
How Others Define Integrity and Good Work Ethics
You want to get some inspiration on the subject of great work ethics, personal power and integrity? Then, please check out this gallery with quotes about integrity.
I’ve asked my virtual assistant to put together a few quotes and present them as a gallery.
(Click on the picture below or on the right to start the slide-show.)
Quotes that define integrity
How Will Having Integrity Help You As A Virtual Assistant?
Perhaps, at the beginning, it will slow you down when you protect your personal values too much.
But, in the long run, and especially when you work long term for an employer, having integrity will help you succeed.
There is such a thing like an online reputation.
Your reputation as a virtual assistant is crucial.
- If you lie on one thing, your reputation will crumble faster than you know it.
- But if you do as promised and over deliver with hard work, you will get referrals and personal networks that will help you with your career as a virtual assistant.
An Inspiring Book
Read about how Ayn Rand defines integrity.
One great book about the subject of personal integrity was written by Ayn Rand and is called “The Fountainhead”.
(As you can see from a photo, I have read it quite often.)
It is a good read and inspires you to think about and strengthen your ideals of personal integrity.
What Does Integrity Mean For An Employer?
As an employer, you can greatly benefit from the lessons of this article. Having integrity will help you retain virtual assistants for a long time as well as to build trust with your coworkers.
Here are some things that you should keep firmly in mind when you are an employer:
- Pay on time.
- Keep promises always.
- Give your virtual worker a perspective for the future.
- Be ethical when you do outsourcing.
Have your own standards of quality especially for content writing. After all, if you own the article, you will procure good name and reputation under it.
Your Opinion Matters
How do you define integrity?
Show some personality and openly join the discussion in the comments below. Even if you don’t agree with my points of view, I really appreciate your input.
Working as a virtual assistant has many pros. You can easily come with up a lot of benefits that come with working online as a virtual assistant, but you will also see some contradicting arguments against working online. From personal experience, here are thecore problems I frequently come across in my VA career:
Internet outage is the most typical problem when it comes to working online. There may be various reasons for a bad connection. For instance, bad weather or a technical problem could be the culprit. But this problem is something you cannot overlook.
Personally, I have this issue figured out to 90%. Aside from my regular net connection, I also own a prepaid USB internet stick that I use in case my regular net connection goes out of service.
This post has been written by my main virtual assistant from Pakistan. He has a great attitude towards work and attacks work-related challenges in a very self-reliant and self-motivated way.
To show you what’s possible with a good virtual assistant even if there are problems, I asked him to write this blog post.
Here is a short comparison between my regular and backup internet connection:
Cost in USD
USB Wifi Stick
Although I have a backup internet connection, it’s possible for both of my connections to go out of service at the same time.
Also, my backup connection needs to be recharged before use. Sometimes it cannot be recharged immediately (for example, I cannot recharge it late at night because recharge outlets get closed before). However, you can also recharge it through internet banking.
Power Shutdowns And Outages:
Power outages are also a major issue. Over the past few years, this has become even worse. Especially in the summer season, the demand of electricity increases immensely, when the temperature reaches 40°C. I also experience lots of power and with it internet outages, but the good thing is that I have almost completely over-come the problem.
- I have a laptop which supplies me with a power backup for up to 3 hours
- I have a power inverter supported with a battery, which also provides a power backup for up to 3 hours.
Sometimes, due to heavy thunderstorms and rainfall, a power outage can prolong things for up to several hours, but that is very occasional.
An Exceptional Case Study
As you can see from what you read so far, I pretty much keep myself protected from major work interruptions. Over the past week, however, I have faced many exceptional, extra-ordinary circumstances, which immensely affected my virtual assistant routine and life.
My employer (Francis) wants to share my whole experience with you, the readers, in details. Here I go…
On Saturday, August 23rd, 2014, all of the sudden, my laptop encountered an exceptional problem. The problem was due to some hardware component and I was not even able to boot it properly. This was quite alarming and I took it to the repair shop without any second thought.
My laptop vendor told me after a thorough diagnosis that my laptop’s motherboard was dead and needed to be replaced with a new one that can only be ordered via its company and it would take at least 4-5 days to get replaced.
I had no other choice than to trust him and I decided to go out to an internet café in order to complete my work schedule.
It was my first experience going out to an internet café and before that I have never ever worked from there, so this was a little challenging. First, I went to an internet café which was arounda 10 minute walk from my place.
That place was congested and tacky.
- There were small cubicles for each system,
- The overall ambiance was very poor,
- It was very warm and humid
- The chairs were very uncomfortable
- And I also had to wait around 45 minutes in order to get my turn.
Later, when I found a free workstation, there were more problems…
- The PC was too slow and old.
- The internet connection was very slow.
- I had to download many software programs and files from the Dropbox before starting out, which required more than 4 hours (Note that I only downloaded important files from my Dropbox, which is merely 1% of my overall Dropbox size).
Very soon, I realized that this was not going to work and that I should move to a better place. So, I wisely decided to leave that place and go to a better place which was 30-minutes away from there.
This place was situated in a large shopping market in my city and was a very nice place.
- They have touch screen all-in-one computers,
- it was air-conditioned,
- and the place was clean and clear.
So, all in all, it was little expensive, but a nice place to work. I downloaded all my important programs and Dropbox files here and have started to work on them.
Although, the place was very nice and had good ambiance, I still found the following hurdles in order to work smoothly:
- I also had to wait around 30-minutes in order get a free workstation.
- Food was not allowed there; however, I was able to bring a bottle of water and a soft drink with me.
- In case I had to go out for lunch or food, I had to keep my workstation reserved. In other words, I have to pay for it even if I was not working. Otherwise, I had to go to another workstation and re-install and re-download all files.
- Although the overall atmosphere was good, but still I was not feeling like home and was not comfortable working there for a long period of time.
Here is a short cost-comparison about how much additional money I spent while I worked from an internet-café:
- Café-Charges: $1/hour ($12 billed for 2 days work)
- Food Cost: $4/meal (Total $8 for two meals)
- Transportation Charges ($6)
- Total Cost: $26 in 2 days
So that was the most exceptional case study of my life as a Virtual Assistant where I had to go out to an internet café in order to complete my working hours.
Even if you get trained yourself for every consequence, it is nonetheless possible that you come across something that is completely inescapable.
Although it was a tough experience for me, I still learned a lot from it. Most importantly, I am able to lay all my experiences down on paper. I hope you liked my post. If so, feel free to leave your thoughts in a comment below!
Not all virtual assistants will be this proactive and problem solver about internet problems. In fact, the way my main virtual assistant handled this issue was extremely good.
Check out the post from another virtual assistant from the Philippines having the similar kind of problem, but a different approach.
From my real life experiences working together with virtual assistants, we (the employer and the VA) will teach you honestly and without holding back the best ways and attitudes to have, if you want to become a successful virtual assistant.
Which Level of Skill do you currently have?
- Did you just start out informing yourself about becoming a freelancer?
- Are you considering working online and want to become a virtual assistant?
Then you are at the right place.
As an employer I think that you have a real chance for being successful as a virtual assistant, especially if you follow our tips. Since I have made excellent experiences with some great personal assistants, I think more great employees need to have the opportunity to find great employers.
It goes both ways.
- You need to do your best to do your most effective freelance work online.
- An employer needs to do his best to hire the right person and cooperating with him in an ethical and right way.
Top 2 advices:
If you can follow these two advices from my point of view as an employer, everything else will fall into place.
Here they are:
- Master the English language.
- Be eager to learn as much as possible, as fast as possible.
And one extra tip:
- Go the extra mile.
Do that and you’ll become a virtual assistant that your employer will be happy and proud to pay well.
Time for you to be taking notes…
Let me be more specific with those tips. Whatever your skills may be, knowing about SEO, knowing about article writing, knowing how to work online doing data entry…
All these skills are secondary in my honest opinion.
About the knowledge of the English language:
If you understand English well, I as an employer can teach you anything. If you are smart and are able to voice your own opinions, you can please your employer and impress him when you give him your constructive ideas.
That’s what I mean by going the extra mile.
Not only is it best if you do your work in the most excellent way possible, but you also open yourself to new opportunities.
If you give your own opinion now and then to your employer, a good employer will be able to respect and appreciate your point of view. Especially if it brings him closer to the solution for his problem!
An example of being proactive …
If you are a data entry specialist, for example, you know the INs and OUTs of Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and all other office tools. Say your employer asks you to do some tedious task using Excel.
Now it’s time to shine and show off your skills!
Do the work exactly as he tells you to. If you think that you have a much more efficient way to solve the problem, additionally make your own suggestion and write your employer a separate email!
Tell him that you could optimize his process and make it much faster to solve – if he wants to adopt your practice.
Then it’s up to the employer. Such an email is hard to reject, believe me.
- If the employer wants his work done his way, you have done it already. You have completed your objective. There is no need to be angry with you whatsoever.
- But if for some reason you have accelerated his work and his future work, your employer – I guarantee you – will be greatly pleased.
He will see that you are proactive and intelligent and that you can be trusted with more responsible work. This ultimately will bring you closer to a position where you become a virtual assistant with a permanent position. You’ll be able to do better work for a better pay.
- Here’s how we define integrity for a Virtual Assistant.
- Check out this story of how my main VA took care of internet outage problems in a very proactive way!
The least you can expect is excellent feedback for your work. This will open even more doors and opportunities.
Take home lesson:
It’s very much possible for you to become a virtual assistant. Let us say you don’t have a high level of academic education; there is still a lots of college degree experience online work out there.
- Data Entry
- Transcription jobs
- Web research
- And much more.
Be efficient and focus when you work. When you use outsourcing platforms like oDesk , it is of crucial importance to know how to work online effectively, without interruptions and in a focused way.
oDesk takes screenshots from your desktop at random intervals. If your employer sees you more than once surfing Facebook instead of working, this will leave a very bad impression. Avoid this at all costs.
- If needed, use productivity software to keep you on track.
- Consider using software that blocks distractions in order to work more efficiently.
There is not much that pleases an employer more than a personal assistant that is never distracted and always focuses on his work.
For me personally, as an employer, it is one of the primary reasons to keep someone on my payroll for long. Prove that you can work in a focused way consistently and this will be the best virtual assistance certification that you could ever hope for.
Are you looking for more lessons on how to become a virtual assistant?
We have an virtual assistant training program that you can get email!
You’ll get useful insights, lessons and advice on how to jump start your success as a freelancer – right from our experience.
In addition, I recommend you follow our posts – they will teach you a lot about how smoothly an ideal assistant-employer relationship should be working. We don’t hold anything back!
It’s like watching over our shoulders.