How to become a VA


Question: What is a Virtual Assistant and how can I become one?

Answer: A VA is a person who works from a virtual office providing support services which can be transcription, typing, translation, social media, web design etc., to assist clients, businesses, and companies, etc.  

I’ve been in business as a Virtual Assistant (VA) since 2001 and I run a full-time business from my own office working for clients. You need to work at finding clients to support you, so the job consists of marketing, advertising, and networking, debt collection, your own office administration, client liaison, etc. You need a presence on social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, etc), a website or blog or both. Be prepared to do all this if you want a thriving business, and it is an ongoing process. It’s all about building a business and a career.

Being a Virtual Assistants, Transcriber, Social Media VA etc., is a career choice just like being a PA is. But being a Virtual Assistant etc., there is the added tasks of being a business owner and being your own boss.

Any questions let me know and I will try to answer for you.

Email: or Whatsapp: +27 082 871 3452


Being a Virtual Assistant is about running your own business, owning your own business, you are not working for someone else, and you are not an employee. You are a business owner, your own boss. You do not work for clients, you work with clients, you do not work for other VAs, you subcontract to other VAs or you can work as an associate in a multi VA practice. I find a lot of people who want to become Virtual Assistants actually have no idea what a Virtual Assistant is and what we do. We are service support companies; we offer our skills and experiences to clients. We work as any business does but we have to do our own Bookkeeping, administration, marketing, advertising, networking, fixing our own office equipment etc.

One of the first steps you should do is your research and homework, Google ‘Virtual Assistant’ or ‘Transcription/Transcriber’.

Here are some sites to do research; the ladies who run these sites are leaders within the VA Industry worldwide:

South African VA Groups

TAVASA • The Transcriptionists and Virtual Assistants of South Africa, foundered and run by Alison Fourie and Gayner Paynter. Join our yahoo group, online email forum ‘TAVASA’ free membership.

To join:

OIVAC Online Convention

A must for all virtual assistants worldwide

A fantastic learning opportunity and a great opportunity to network with VAs from around the world.


Attitude also plays a huge role in whether you will succeed or drowned. You have to be able to multitask, be able to prioritize, deal with clients on an ongoing basis, be friendly, and have excellent time management skills. You have to have the right personality to do this type of job. You need self-discipline, you need to have it in you to get up every morning and physically go and work at your computer as you are doing a job, this is a career and you are running a company. The VA concept is taking off in leaps and bounds within South Africa at the moment; there is lots of work out there for everyone. The word is spreading and more and more clients are moving towards VAs and are learning about our concept. So there is work available but to get that work ‘you have to do the work to get the work’, it is as simple as that, the work will not just fall into your lap.

Today becoming a Virtual Assistant is a safer option for a woman; working from home, therefore cutting out the risks of traveling to work re hijacking, car breakdowns, traffic etc. Being your own Boss means you can schedule your workaround yourself. Being a VA can become a hectic full-time job working from home. If you are thinking of moving out of the Personal Assistant arena, becoming a Virtual Assistant could be the position for you. It could be the next step to take. Running a viable VA business is worth it, but you must work at it like any other business.

  • To become a VA you will need to start your own business, prepare your paperwork, create a website – blog, have profiles on social media and use this to assist with your marketing.
  • Create and build your business plan by adding the procedures that you are going to use to run your company, your company standards, create your company name, mission statement, log, company colours etc, have a marketing, networking, advertising strategy, and budget.
  • Create your office setup.
  • What experience do you have, what tasks have you got experience in that you would like to offer as services to clients, do you have an office background, if so, then that is a good grounding to opening up your own VA business.
  • Many VAs are ex PAs, secretaries, office managers, WAHMs etc.
  • Many VAs go into this industry because they have left their corporate jobs to start a family and then have the baby and would like to try something from home to be with the baby.
  • You are responsible for finding your own clients and you do this through networking, marketing, and advertising which is an ongoing process throughout the life of your business.
  • You are the Boss of your company; you work with clients, not for clients.
  • You do not have a CV, you use a company profile, brochure, website, Linked In, Facebook, blog, etc.
  • If you are off sick then you don’t earn.   become a VA
  • You prepare your rates, price list not the client.
  • You decide who you would like to work with; you do not have to work with anyone you do not feel right working with. Always trust your gut feeling.
  • You can market your services to the types of clients you would like to work with, through target marketing.
  • You offer the services that you enjoy doing. I love doing presentations and typing so these are the service that I offer.
  • Provide quality service to your clients at all times.
  • You are your company, so how you answer the telephone, greet people, it matters. You are your brand.
  • Be careful about how you behave on social media, as you are your brand.
  • VAs can work with subcontractors.
  • As a subcontractor do not expect to get access to your VAs clients.
  • As a subcontractor working for a VA, the VA is your client.
  • As a sub-contractor you need to keep your VA (Client) updated with their work at all times.
  • It is not cost-effective to work as a subcontractor to a VA when you can do marketing, networking, and advertising to get your own clients, but it is a good starting point.
  • A VA will often work weekends, public holidays and nights to make sure that deadlines are met.
  • VAs care for their clients.  

TAVASA · The Transcribers and Virtual Assistants of South Africa

Join our yahoo group, online email forum ‘Tavasa’ free membership.



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