What Is A Virtual Assistant?

Posted by:

Abbey Ashley

What is a virtual assistant?

If you are CURRENTLY a virtual assistant, you are probably well familiar with this question!

Did you know…. that once you learn something, you lose the ability to remember what it was like to not know it?

This is called the “Curse of Knowledge.” Don’t feel bad – it happens to everyone. It’s like, you can’t just open with a punchline without first providing the setup.

As a Virtual Assistant, have you ever caught blank stares – or, worse – wandering eyes from people when you’re talking to them about your Virtual Assistant business?

As a Virtual Assistant, it’s YOUR job to help clients reverse their curse of knowledge when running their business or speaking to customers. However, we can fall prey to the same curse if we’re not careful.

I wrote this post to act as the setup to your punchline – to give you words that help explain to your clients (and family and friends) what a Virtual Assistant actually IS.

Today, we’re going back to the basics. Elementary, my dear Watson.

But first, check out this quick video I recorded to give you
a bit more insight into
“What is a Virtual Assistant?”

What is a Virtual Assistant?

A Virtual Assistant is a professional who offers services to clients virtually.

Virtual Assistance is best understood as an umbrella term. Under the umbrella of Virtual Assistance exist an incredible number of services. There are even specialists inside of each service. For example, Virtual Assistance covers the service of Social Media, which in turn covers specialists like Pinterest Managers or Facebook Ads Managers.

This umbrella covers administrative, creative, design, financial, management, marketing, personal, social, or technical skills, among others!

Some virtual assistants may offer a variety of services, and some may choose just to specialize in one or two services.

Virtual Assistants can also choose to “niche down” by industry, like the wedding, construction, or photography industries.

They may have a range of services or one specific service.

Their services may change over time.

They may call themselves a Virtual Assistant or something else.

As you can see, there are a LOT of nuances – but all in all…

If you’re working remotely and providing a service to another business owner, your business technically falls under the Virtual Assistant umbrella.

What Services Can I Offer as a Virtual Assistant?

If you’re reading this and are interested in possibly starting a virtual assistant business, I’m glad you are here!

If you’re just starting out and you feel like you don’t have anything to offer – think again. You ABSOLUTELY do!

(Trust me – I’ve been around Virtual Assistance for a long time.)

Some of my first tasks as a VA were simple. I performed tasks like data entry, email/calendar management, appointment setting phone calls, and customer service emails. You can learn more advanced skills in the future, but you can start TODAY with what you already know. If you already have a competitive skill, like web design, graphics, or Facebook ads, that gives you an even bigger edge in the VA world.

If you’re still stuck on ideas, here is a list of the 30 most common services offered by virtual assistants:

  1. Email Management
  2. Calendar Management
  3. Customer Service (email or phone)
  4. Content Creation (blog posts)
  5. Email Newsletters
  6. Video Editing
  7. Sales Funnels
  8. Facebook Ads
  9. Graphic Design
  10. Web Design
  11. Custom Sales Page Creation
  12. Social Media Management
  13. Community Management
  14. SEO Services
  15. Webinar Setup and Assistance
  16. Proofreading
  17. Editing
  18. Transcription
  19. Data Entry
  20. Billing and/or Processes
  21. Internet Research
  22. Responding to Blog Comments
  23. Maintaining an Editorial Calendar
  24. Ghostwriting
  25. Social Media Graphics
  26. Ebook Content and Design
  27. Accounting and/or Bookkeeping
  28. Affiliate Management
  29. Branding Services
  30. PR / Press Releases

(Pssst… Check out this post for more services to offer as a VA – 50 to be exact!)

Don’t feel like you have to learn everything there is to know before you begin working with clients. Your business exists to fill a need – which may simply be getting email and calendar out of the way for a client. This is a basic skill that anyone can do. All business owners need customer service. You can literally get paid to be nice to people all day! 🙂

Most clients are willing to train the right person for the job. Don’t let fear hold you back when it comes to offering services as a Virtual Assistant.

What are Virtual Assistant Rates?

I recommend all Virtual Assistants begin with an hourly rate (or package their services by hourly increments). The reason I say this is because most new Virtual Assistants won’t be familiar with how long a certain task may take. The hourly rate protects both parties from spending too much time or too much money on tasks that take longer or shorter than expected.

The hourly rate also helps you, the Virtual Assistant, have more control over which services you offer to which clients. Remember – it’s your business, your schedule, your rates, and your rules.

For a more in-depth look at setting your rates, check out this blog post:
How to Set Your Rates as a Virtual Assistant

I highly recommend all Virtual Assistants start their hourly rate at $25/hour MINIMUM. Remember, Virtual Assistants are self-employed, which means almost 30% of all income will go to taxes. After covering your own health insurance and vacation time, that $25/hour starts to break down very quickly.

If you have some specialized skills, you can charge more for your services – think tech or design.

As a general rule, I see most virtual assistants start their rate in the $25-$30 per hour range.

As they become more advanced in their craft, they raise their rates to $30-$50 per hour to keep up with client demand. Once they become an expert in a certain subject (like Facebook Ads or Pinterest Management), they charge $50+ per hour for their services.

On the plus side, a Virtual Assistant business is one of the most low-cost business options available. There is little to no overhead, and you can get started today using equipment you most likely already have at home.

You literally only need two things to start:

  • A laptop or desktop computer
  • A reliable wi-fi connection

How do I get started?

After you’ve answered the question, “What is a Virtual Assistant”, most people want to know “How can I become one!?”

Remember, when you start your own VA business, you are an independent contractor.

That means you get to choose your own hours.

You get to choose when and where you work.

You choose your rate and what services you offer.

It may seem overwhelming to figure out how to do all of that on your own.

Don’t fret, dearie. We’ve got you covered.

We lay out how to get you started TODAY in the VA Checklist and Starter Kit. We show you exactly how to set up the business side of things.

The very next step (if you’re ready to get started!) is to download the VA Checklist and Starter Kit.

Let’s launch that virtual assistant business, shall we?


Meet Abbey

Abbey Ashley is the Founder of The Virtual Savvy. She helps aspiring virtual assistants launch and grow their own at-home business from scratch. She's since gone on to grow a multi-six figure business and retire her husband ALL from her at-home business. It's now her passion to help others start their own VA business so they can taste the freedom and flexibility of entrepreneurship as well.


This free one-hour training combines thousands of hours of research, years of experience in growing a virtual assistant business!

Popular Posts

Looking for More?

Read posts from our most popular categories.

*This post may contain affiliate links. This means I may earn a small commission (at no cost to you) if you sign up for a program or make a purchase using my link!


  1. Karen on September 2, 2018 at 2:12 pm


    How do I cultivate jobs?

    Love your site!

    Many thanks,

  2. Jessica on September 24, 2018 at 2:50 pm

    How can I just offer services like reply to social media comments?

    • Abbey Ashley on September 24, 2018 at 4:33 pm

      Hey Jessica,

      It all comes down to what you advertise! So if you only want to offer replying to SM comments, then make sure you’re clear in your marketing. 🙂

      • Loudmie on August 10, 2020 at 4:36 pm

        Hi Abbey

        I’m so thankful for your website
        I always had an interest to become a VA. I am living In the Caribbean (Turks and Caicos Island) I would love to get some more information before I embark on this journey and enroll to the courses that you provide.
        Is there any ways I could get in contact with you or perhaps you can do a video for those that are living outside of the USA and have little to no knowledge about VA (like someone who has been a server all their lives.

        Thank you

        • Abbey Ashley on August 14, 2020 at 12:48 pm

          Hi, Loudmie! Thank you so much for the kind words. You rock! We would be happy to chat with you– email my team at [email protected] 🙂

  3. Carrie on February 18, 2019 at 8:47 am

    How do you market your services? Do you use social media and job sites or in person networking?
    Did you find it scary when you first started?

    • Abbey Ashley on February 18, 2019 at 1:16 pm

      I recommend that you market your services in a variety of ways. Make sure to check out my FREE training on the Home page!

  4. Anita Nzenwa on April 27, 2019 at 11:06 am

    How do I find a graphic designer for my business logo? And someone to create a business Facebook and Instagram page, and once it’s created I can maintain on my on. Not that tecky.

    • Abbey Ashley on April 29, 2019 at 11:03 pm

      I love sending my students to Etsy. There are some amazing price friendly logo options there.

  5. Racheal on May 7, 2019 at 4:43 am

    Hi Abbey,

    Wow, I love this. I’ve always wanted to work from home because of a whole lot of things, motherhood being a priority! I’m happy I meet you Abbey! but I couldn’t just figure out what exactly to do

    I didn’t know what or where to start but I will start the services you started with.
    Abbey, please I would like to ask if you can provide little training on those basic services. I’m in Africa and would like to be more aware of the USA system.

    • Abbey Ashley on May 7, 2019 at 11:03 am

      Find a place to start and do it the best you can. You will continue to grow and learn and you will soon be able expand your services and your prices. Take the leap and get out there!

  6. Rachel on July 18, 2019 at 11:36 am

    What are the options for phone calls if you don’t want to give out your personal phone?

  7. Keesha Hills on August 12, 2021 at 2:09 pm

    Hello, I am interested in signing up for your program but I don’t see any contact information to do so. How would I connect with you or are you only taking sign ups at specific times during the year?

    • Abbey Ashley on August 17, 2021 at 2:00 pm

      Hi Keesha! If you want to contact us with any questions, you can email our team at [email protected] and someone will get back to you!

  8. Godswill Dickson on June 30, 2022 at 9:47 pm

    It is really great to be here, i really really love everything here, how does commenting on blocks and transcription works. I wanna become one

Leave a Comment

Become a Virtual Assistant in ONE WEEK

Is it ACTUALLY possible to become a virtual assistant in ONE week!?  While it is a LOT of work to get everything prepared to start your VA business in just 7 days, it is totally possible and in this blog I’ll show you how.  I started my own virtual assistant business back in 2015. There…

Read More about Become a Virtual Assistant in ONE WEEK

Day in the Life of a Virtual Assistant — Tracy Bates

Tracy, tell us a little bit about YOU!!   Currently I am in Austin, Texas. I’m originally from Illinois though, so Midwest roots. I have three dogs. Also, a little fun fact… I have read 50 books so far this year! I have always been a book lover, but in the past few years have…

Read More about Day in the Life of a Virtual Assistant — Tracy Bates

Check these out



Quit Your Day Job Series: Angela Caliver

  Today our spotlight is Angela, a SavvySystem student turned…

Read More


Sorry, we couldn't find any posts. Please try a different search.


Virtual Assistant Skills 2020 (MEGA LIST)

Are you thinking about starting a Virtual Assistant business but…

Read More