Moving from EA to EVA

Moving from EA to EVA

You might not know, but in 2009 while on maternity leave with my second child I received a phone call to advise I no longer had a job to go back to. While most people would consider redundancy to be some of the worst news one could get while on maternity leave, I knew better. I knew that I had a choice to either wallow in self-pity and struggle to start again when the world was suffering a GFC or make it on my own.

I chose to make it on my own and become a Virtual Assistant (VA).

When I talk to fellow EA’s and PA’s about what I do, the fascination of being able to work completely remotely and from home around my children is one they would love to have but aren’t sure of where to start.

If you are considering or have considered giving away the 9-5 job and looking to work as a VA or EVA, you may be wondering what are some of the skills you could learn to help you find work and have the skill set businesses are looking for to compliment what you already do.

Soft skills

Soft skills are important because it takes a certain type of person to be a Virtual Assistant. When you step out on your own, you’re the boss, marketing manager, accounts manager, sales and business development manager right down to the VA doing the work for clients.

The following list is by no means complete, but it will help you to get started and get your foot in the door of the industry and offer the kind of assistance most business owners are looking for.

Communication skills

Your communication skills will make or break your success as a VA. Being able to build a relationship of trust and value are two major factors when being a VA. It’s also two that are important when you are working with an Executive in an office.

Great communication skills will help you to communicate processes and be very clear on what your client wants and will also help your client understand exactly what you can and cannot do, which ensures that you can have positive outcomes.

Time Management

While working from home sounds lovely – a bit of washing here and cleaning there – in most cases you are still going to be committed to deadlines which you need to keep building trust and integrity. Clients are buying your reliability as well as your technical skills so you can’t afford to let them down.

Part of being able to manage your time is knowing and giving ample time to complete tasks so be sure to be realistic with communicating these time frames and time it takes with clients as quite often most business owners have no idea.

Organisation skills

Often you will be juggling more than one client or one job at a time. It is important that you are organised so your client can be, too.  As your business grows and you become busier, your organisational skills, which includes great communication and time management will be what keeps you on track.

Technical skills

While you might have all the technical skills available for being in an office one thing I’ve learned is that when you move from being an EA to VA you need more. If you’re considering becoming a VA then starting to upskill in different areas or additional areas of what an EA would do in a smaller business is an absolute necessity!

Again, this list is by no means complete but what it should do is help you to start to plan and focus on things you need to start up skilling on.

Event Management

Some Virtual Assistants specialise in certain areas and event management is one of them.

With events ranging from online webinars through to exhibitions or conferences, there are lots of opportunities for you to show what you can do.

Website Design or Management

Again, this is an area of specialisation, but with many websites built with WordPress or Joomla, you may be asked to update and maintain a client’s site. It’s also likely you’ll be asked to upload blog posts to the site, too. An understanding of the way WordPress works is essential.

If you’re looking for an opportunity to learn WordPress feel free to register your interest here for an online course I created for clients to learn from. It’s in the final stages of development so I’ll be in touch as soon as it launches!

Content Writing

Depending on your service offering being a VA can involve writing emails and replying to incoming emails. You are responsible for maintaining the client’s professional image so good writing skills are essential here.

Often Vas can be asked to write blog posts or short content pieces, so knowing how to structure a blog and learning about blogging can be a good idea. Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn and take a look at some of my articles which cover how to write a blog.

Building a knowledge base on different industries will be a must here so it helps to think about this when signing up with a new client.

Social Media Management

While this is an extension of your writing skills, it also requires you to understand how social media works, the difference between the platforms and how to formulate a message that suits each audience. You will also need to be comfortable with scheduling tools like Buffer or Hootsuite and be able to create content to post.

Email Marketing

Email is still a huge part of most marketing efforts and it’s the primary way businesses maintain contact with their current and potential clients. You will need to be able to use email systems like MailChimp or Constant Contact which will enable you to help set up newsletters and campaigns for clients.

As I said earlier on in the post, these are just some of the skills you might need down the track so don’t worry if you don’t have all the skills right now. If you have the personal skills, you are half-way there.

Becoming a VA starts with making a choice, so if it’s a path for you start looking around for short courses in areas you want to build knowledge on or get coaching to build on some of the skills you need to work on.

PA Pages

PA Pages is all about YOU! We know that the role of the Personal Assistant or Executive Assistant along with other various Office Professional roles within the Australian workforce has changed substantially over recent times. Today many of these roles hold a large amount of influence, decision-making and require us to be a Jill (or Jack) of all trades. Our mission is to provide you with the ultimate online resource where Office Professionals like you can be inspired and empowered to be the best leaders, problems solvers and support person in the office. We aim to provide you with everything you need through our online community whether you have a question about the workplace or your career, need to organise a team building activity, send a gift, book a chauffeur driven car, or want to know how to do something you will find it all here on PA Pages. Personal Assistants, Executive PA, Virtual Assistants, Secretaries, Receptionists and more!

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