In a bid to eliminate the expense of hiring employees to manage such activities as email and phone correspondence, social media engagements and chats, online sales, and marketing as well as post-sale customer service, many business owners and professionals are hiring virtual assistants.
Going through the website of a leading virtual assistant provider in Nigeria gave me a lot of insight into the growth of a virtual assistant career in Nigeria. DelonApps hires many fresh graduates and older job seekers and trains them to become high-quality virtual assistants for different companies in and out of Nigeria. For some virtual assistant roles that require high skills, DelonApps hires experienced virtual assistants in Nigeria to fill such roles.
Who Is a Virtual Assistant?
A virtual assistant is a remote employee who works outside of the client’s office to provide additional services that help to boost the growth of the client’s business. A virtual assistant usually works from home but has remote access to planning documents such as shared calendars.
Due to the availability of high-speed internet, document sharing, and cheap calling models like Google Meet and Skype, virtual assistants are in high demand among entrepreneurs and online businesses that require assistance with the smooth running of their businesses but do not want to hire full-time employees. This is because a virtual assistant is not restricted by distance and can be contacted without having to physically move from one location to another.
Employing a virtual assistant can help free up valuable hours for business owners to focus on growing their company and generating more revenue. It is easier and more cost-effective to outsource tedious and time-consuming tasks to someone who is skilled in them.
The demand for virtual assistants is high, and this has resulted in a subsequent increase in available job opportunities. A virtual assistant simply performs the duties of an office assistant, with the exception that virtual assistants work remotely. And if you have any relevant skills, you can work as a virtual assistant in Nigeria.
Virtual Assistant Job Description
Virtual assistants offer different types of services. In fact, there are far more than 100 services you can provide as a virtual assistant, so you have tons of niches to choose from.
The primary responsibilities and duties of a virtual assistant largely depend on the client’s needs as well as the terms of the contract. Some virtual assistants oversee clerical and bookkeeping tasks, whilst others publish regular posts on social media or write blog articles. A good virtual assistant may also schedule appointments, book travel arrangements, handle data entry, and other basic tasks, respond to emails, transcribe documents, prepare statements and letters, organize files, coordinate schedules, and calendars, and generally take charge of administrative tasks to free up a client’s time to focus on other aspects of their job.
A book-keeping virtual assistant creates invoices and follows up with the company’s customers in the event of nonpayment of outstanding fees, reconciles bank and credit card statements, amongst other duties.
A virtual travel assistant compiles travel schedules for specific itineraries as needed for budgeting, makes reservations, and negotiates fares with airlines and hotels, and so on.
A customer service virtual assistant can handle tasks such as new client onboarding, checking in on long-term clients on a regular basis, responding to recurring customer inquiries, handling customer complaints, and refund requests, and so on. Other responsibilities include blogging and content creation, website SEO optimization, LinkedIn profile optimization, etcetera.
As a virtual assistant in Nigeria, you can provide services such as copywriting, bookkeeping, editing, general research, web design, community management, ghostwriting, customer service, calendar management, and many more.
Virtual Assistant Key Skills
Have you ever scheduled appointments, made travel plans, managed someone’s calendar or email, blogged, or promoted something on social media? If you answered yes, you were that other person’s assistant. These are some of the most common virtual assistant tasks that do not require extensive experience or skill.
A virtual assistant should have
- Excellent typing skills.
- Comfortable using various computer software programs.
- Phenomenal written and verbal communication skills.
- Time management and organizational skills, as well as the ability to manage a tricky situation and organize it to a client’s satisfaction.
- Prior experience or knowledge of cloud-based communication technologies such as file sharing, password managers, and phone and video conferencing.
- Tech savvy: have a broad range of computer skills.
A virtual assistant who specializes in bookkeeping should be capable of performing basic accounting tasks like account reconciliations and double-entry bookkeeping.
Even if you have little or no work experience or you just do not have any skills currently, do not be discouraged. You can easily get these skills via online courses or free videos on learning sites like YouTube.
How Much Does a Virtual Assistant Make?
Everyone desires to have a career they enjoy, but we also want a career that pays well and satisfies our basic needs.
A virtual assistant can earn anywhere from $10 to $100 per hour, depending on experience and the complexity of the job at hand. In Nigeria, a virtual assistant can earn up to #100,000 per month. Depending on the agreement you have with your employer, you may be paid per hour, weekly, or monthly.
Being a Virtual Assistant: Pros & Cons
Some great reasons to start a virtual assistant business include:
- It is simple to set up and affordable, especially if you already have the necessary skills and tools.
- To get started, no special licenses or educational qualifications are required.
- You can create your schedule and work as much or as little as you want.
However, before you commence work as a virtual assistant, you should consider the drawbacks of starting this new business.
- Finding your first clients can be difficult unless you already know someone who needs a virtual assistant.
- You must keep up with the latest technology and trends in the services and industries you provide.
- You will have to compete with international virtual assistants who can provide significantly cheaper rates. To make up the difference, you will have to provide a higher quality of service and, ideally, specialize in something more specialized that may necessitate specific technical skills.
I think you will agree with me that the pros far outweigh the cons, right?
How to Become a Virtual Assistant in Nigeria
With over 1000 virtual assistant jobs available, anyone can become a virtual assistant. As a virtual assistant, you can either work directly for employers or for a virtual assistant agency that provides services to other businesses. You can also make your services available on a contract basis.
If you want to learn how to become a virtual assistant in Nigeria and earn money from home, or if you’re already an office assistant who wants the flexibility of working from home, keep reading. Here are the essential steps to becoming a virtual assistant in Nigeria.
1 Acquire Education
Virtual assistants do not require any special educational requirements or qualifications. All else being equal, academic requirements vary depending on your employer’s needs and the tasks that must be completed.
However, almost all employers do not require a high school diploma or any equivalent degree. Just a few require a university degree. You do not need to worry about your qualifications if you already have a high school education. Most employers are concerned with your work accuracy, skills, and, most importantly, experience. All of these will undoubtedly improve over time as you put in additional effort to improve performance.
It is also advisable to seek the guidance of someone who has years of experience in the field. Be keen to know about the potential mistakes you are likely to make once you get started and be intentional about mitigating those mistakes. By asking these and other pertinent virtual assistance questions, you will be in an excellent position to understand the work of a virtual assistant better.
2 Define your services
The best thing you can do, especially if you are just starting out, is to specialize in a niche and provide your services to a specific type of business. As a virtual assistant, you can offer varieties of services. However, focus solely on the skills you already have and genuinely enjoy doing. Eventually, becoming an expert in your niche will pay you more per job.
To be candid, you simply cannot handle every single facet of office operations. This is another reason you should define the services you will provide as a virtual assistant. You should determine whether you prefer simple tasks like responding to emails and reading or more complex tasks like bookkeeping.
Find out what you are really good at, what you can do with ease, and what a large number of people need. Take a close look at your employment history and target people in that field. For example, if you perform better at academic research, your ideal clients will be professors, scientists, and other scholars in the field.
Defining your services and niche will position you as an expert in that field, and you will receive more good inquiries and projects as a result.
3 Get the mandatory training
There is no accredited certification required to become a virtual assistant. However, you may need to train yourself by enrolling in an educational program to acquire relevant skills. There are numerous websites that provide online training programs for virtual assistants. You can find them on Google but keep an eye out for scam websites as well.
Most employers are not always concerned with how you obtained your training; in fact, they may never inquire. They are usually more concerned with your skills and knowledge. What matters most to them is how you will apply all your skills to help their business grow.
However, this does not imply that you should not invest in training yourself in areas where you are inadequately skilled, as this may allow you to stand a chance with future employers.
Obtaining the necessary virtual assistant training and certification will increase your credibility and enable your clients to regard you as a professional in your field. To be successful as a virtual assistant in Nigeria, you should have stellar communication skills, very good typing skills (at least 70 words per minute), excellent grammar and writing skills, etc.
4 Obtain the necessary tools
Just like any other career field, you must evaluate your tools and resources to ensure that they are up to date and will meet the needs of your clients.
Having the necessary tools and resources to carry out your duties as a virtual assistant is a sure way to success. Some of these tools include a personal computer with a high-speed Internet connection, a printer, scanner, photocopying machine, fax machine, a working mobile line, and, most importantly, a distraction-free home office. You should also have writing apps (WPS, PureWriter), transcribing apps (Speechnotes), graphics design apps (Canva), Google Workspace, and other software applications that can help make your work as a virtual assistant easier and faster.
5 Get your paperwork ready
Before fully launching your virtual assistant business, you need to prepare all necessary documentation. This includes getting a contract document that your clients will sign before you start working. This will prevent you from getting scammed by dishonest people.
Some of the key points that your contract document should contain are:
1 Work overview: this is where you give an explicit description of the work you are going to be doing for your clients so that they would know exactly what they would be paying for.
2 Payment terms: you must explicitly state how much you will be paid for each service you provide, when your invoice will be received, how you will be paid, and when payment is due. This is an essential component of a contract agreement.
3 Non-disclosure agreement: as a virtual assistant, your client might give you access to sensitive information like their passwords, marketing strategy, and client personal information. You will need to clearly inform your client about how you store their information to show that you will keep their confidential information safe.
4 Termination notice: this notice includes information about payment at the time of termination, who can file for termination, and how the termination will be delivered. Having this included in your contract agreement would prevent an incidence whereby you would complete your work and your client then decides to terminate your appointment (because they do not want to pay you).
5 Non-solicitation clause: this is an important part of your contract that must be taken seriously. Some clients may present you with a non-solicitation clause and ask you to sign it if they do not want you to market your services to their clients. It is critical that you read it carefully and have it reviewed by a lawyer before signing. Including this clause in your contract agreement document prevents your clients from presenting you with rigid restrictions and puts their minds at ease about your “loyalty” to their company.
6 Set-Up your website and social media
If you want to work remotely, you must establish yourself as an expert in online communication. The best way to accomplish this is to showcase your skills and the services you provide to your potential clients. Creating your website is critical to the success of your business as a virtual assistant. This would serve as your “virtual” CV or portfolio.
Social media is an important part of your business, but you do not have to be present everywhere all the time. Ascertain where your potential customers are and then set up a strong social media presence on that platform. Are they on Facebook? What about Instagram? Twitter? Or how about LinkedIn? Set up a profile on those platforms to position yourself as an expert in your chosen field, and then follow your potential clients there to show them that you understand their brand.
Working remotely can be a lonely activity. You will always need a support group, a set of people who understand you and can help you by giving you advice that could help you grow and achieve your set goals as a virtual assistant. Look for a group of people that share your goals and work alongside them to build a successful business. You can also listen to podcasts that are centered around virtual assistant topics.
Join Facebook groups, blogs, and forums that are in your niche, and network with other virtual assistants. This can also help you be better informed about potential job opportunities.
Take every available opportunity to ask for feedback from your clients. Use every positive note as a testimonial and ask your best clients if you can use them as referrals. This will help you improve your visibility and get more clients.
Finally, it is important to point out that virtual assistance is currently one of the fastest-growing businesses in Nigeria and all around the world. The best time to start working as a virtual assistant is now. Gather the necessary skills and put in the required efforts, and you will be able to start making legitimate money online from the comfort of your home.