Working from home has its advantages, and it’s not just because you have the flexibility to run the household while building your career. With the right online job, you can juggle different clients and raise the amount of salary you get in a month. For example, if you become a virtual assistant, you can earn up to Php100,000 monthly, according to mom Christine Levine Barraquio, who works as one for an international client.
What is a virtual assistant?
A virtual assistant provides administrative, creative, and technical assistance to clients remotely from a home office, explains Christine to SmartParenting.com.ph. Some of the tasks include:
- email management
- social media management
- website management
- content management
- lead generation and data entry
- email marketing
- sales funnel
How much do virtual assistants earn?
According to Christine, inexperienced or "newbie" virtual assistants can start with $3 to $5 per hour (Php154 to 257), which can equate to $300 to $400 a month (Php15,432 to Php25,720). The more experienced ones can earn between $6 to $10 per hour (Php309 to Php514) or $600 to $1,000 monthly (Php30,864 to Php51,440).
She adds, “You can earn up to Php100,000 a month with multiple clients. I started with $8 (Php412) per hour and increased it to $10 (Php514) per hour. I also have some local clients where I offer my services for $5 (Php257) per hour for a maximum of 20 hours a week.”
How to become a virtual assistant?
Christine, a single mom of three, used to be in a corporate job (she worked in various BPO companies for 13 years) and only did part-time jobs online. Her first online job was as an ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher in January 2017. Then she started working part-time as a virtual assistant in March 2017.
“I started my journey by creating my online profile in Upwork (a legitimate freelance platform). I read about [the website] in a newsletter and just followed the instructions on how to create a profile,” Christine shares. “Luckily, my profile got approved and from there I started applying to the job posts.”
Christine landed an easy project-based task of creating PowerPoint presentations and she earned $100 (around Php5,144). “I got hyped up and realized I can get more project-based or even a part-time job. Then, I applied for a part-time receptionist job post in Upwork and I was hired.”
Her part-time job was for 2 hours a day, starting at 11 p.m. in the Philippines (and 11 a.m. Eastern Standard Time or EST). But when her client asked her to start an early shift (8 a.m. EST), she made the tough decision to resign from her corporate job.
“I informed my client that I can be available for more working hours. She was happy to know that as I am her only virtual assistant and there were a lot of tasks to do. I am working as a full-time virtual assistant for the same client for three years now,” she tells Smart Parenting.
What skills do you need to become a virtual assistant?
Christine, who is a licensed teacher and a freelance event host and coordinator, shares that based from experience, you don’t need to have a college degree to become a virtual assistant. “Iba-iba ang type of clients. Some clients are looking to hire experienced virtual assistants while some are looking for newbies who know how to use basic online tools like Google,” she shares.
“However, there are also virtual assistant jobs that require a certain profession as a job experience,” she adds.
As a virtual assistant, Christine shares that you have to have the following hard and soft skills. Hard skills include:
- Customer service (voice and non-voice)
- Digital marketing skills
- Being tech-savvy
Meanwhile, soft skills include:
- Excellent written and oral communication skills
- Active listening skills
- Research ability
- Attention to detail
- Flexible personality
Currently, Christine does email management, customer service support, blog management, and a bit of social media management in her current job. Here are the different online tools that she uses for work:
“For administrative tasks, we use Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides, Google Drive, Google Calendar, Google Forms, Trello, Asana, Lastpass, and more.
“For social media management, we use scheduling tools such as Hootsuite, Buffer, Later and Tailwind, so you need knowledge in using these social media channels.
“We also do website management wherein we use Wordpress as the platform and different themes and plugins.
“If the client’s business is e-commerce, we use Shopify, Amazon and Ebay. For email marketing, we use Mailchimp, Constant Contact, Benchmark, Active Campaign, etc. Then we also use customer relationship management systems (CRM) like Ontraport, Hubspot, Zoho and a lot more.”
What it’s like being a virtual assistant
One of the advantages of being a virtual assistant is Christine can spend the day caring for her three kids: Ezekiel, 14; Chrizha, 12; and Zamiel, 11.
She wakes up at 4 a.m. to start her “mommy duties,” and prepares the kids for school. Around 6 a.m., she cleans the house and feeds the dogs. Once that’s done, she works some hours for a local client or goes out for some grocery shopping.
“I sleep around lunch time until the kids get home from school,” Christine shares. “Then I start preparing dinner and have an early dinner with them. At 7 p.m., I start working again.”
Because of her good experience as a virtual assistant, Christine also tries to pay it forward to other moms who would like to try working from home. She is a virtual assistant trainer for Filipina Homebased Moms or FHMoms, an online community with a mission to assist and support Filipina mothers in their freelancing journey. There, she shares her knowledge and experience with interested moms who would also like to become a virtual assistant.
Though the work sounds easy, Christine says that like any other job, being a virtual assistant has its own challenges. “You have to learn a lot of tools every now and then. If you’re not tech-savvy, then you will have to learn how to be one because it’s necessary for the job,” she shares.
But once you’ve learned the tricks of the trade, work becomes enjoyable, not to mention rewarding. “Learning those tools and making it work for the client’s business is definitely fulfilling,” she says.