Adding Virtual Assistant Services to Your Freelance Writing Biz: Smart, or Not?

A couple of decades ago when I was completing my bachelor’s degree in Linguistics, I faced the question time and time again, “What are you going to do when you graduate?” I was quite worried until I stopped to talk to one of my professors one day, and he gave me a pep talk I’ll never forget.

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He told me to do what I enjoy, and the opportunities would open up for me. At that time, of course, I had no idea that virtual assistant training was in my future.

Blending Freelance Writing with Virtual Assistance Services

As time went on, I realized that I wanted to be a freelance writer, so I started a blog to stretch my creative muscles. I dreamed of what it would be like to write for a living. Then through virtual assistant training via VAClassroom I learned about the opportunities that exist for offering writing services as a Virtual Assistant.

As a VAClassroom team member, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working in the VA industry and have benefited from education that helps me fine-tune my writing skills to suit the online environment.

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5 Ways Freelance Writers Benefit from Virtual Assistant Training

Offering VA services are an ideal fit for freelance writers. Following are five reasons it pays to invest in this kind of training.

1. Boundless Opportunities

Freelance writers are in demand by many business owners who simply lack the time to do the writing themselves or require the assistance of a skilled writer to prepare content. For some clients, we may be providing the gift of time that frees them up to perform other tasks needed to grow their business. For others, we may provide the gift of language and creativity if writing is difficult for them.

In any case, there is no shortage of opportunities available for freelance writers — with professional virtual assistant training under their belt. For example, in my work as a VA, I’ve been asked to write blog posts and prepare or repurpose content for resource guides.

Often these are tasks my clients used to do themselves, but have less time for as their business flourishes. It helps them to know that I’m passionate about writing, so as I take the load off their plate, they can be confident I’ll strive to produce quality content.

2. Project Variety 

Many of us who choose writing as a career are creative folk. I know that I tire of doing the same thing every day, and I get a thrill of excitement when a new project is offered. As they say, variety is the spice of life! In a post titled “Should SEO Writers Specialize, or Is Being a Generalist Better,”  Yuwanda Black explains that writing search engine-optimized content has been a great career option for her because “you rarely do the same type of writing all the time.” I wholeheartedly agree!

In the VA industry, clients come from many different niches and require many different types of SEO content as well, so writing projects are interesting and varied. In my work as a blogger and content manager, I’ve had the opportunity to write long-form blog posts about a wide variety of topics. I’ve also enjoyed researching and preparing a number of resource guides on everything from “Editing Tips” to “Virtual Event Technology Tools.”

Each month I look forward to my client’s email outlining the blog post topics I’ll be writing on. Sometimes it’s a topic I know a lot about and can share my stories, and other times it’s something I need to do research on. Whether I’m sharing my experience or learning through research, I love the challenge these blogging projects present.

And there’s variety in not only subject matter, but also format. Other freelance writers may decide they’d like to become involved in Internet Marketing, Social Media, Email Marketing, and a variety of other service areas that contain a writing component. There are many possibilities for us to share our skills and passion for language with clients who need our help!

3. Meaningful WorkVirtual Assistant Training Allows You to Expand Your Service Offering to Your Freelance Writing Clients

Since high-quality content is required for SEO, writing for VA services is more enjoyable and meaningful than ever. Freelance writers who like to add personality and originality to their content are encouraged to, which is music to my ears!

Several years ago, when I was asked to write a blog post, I focused on making sure it contained relevant keywords. But now, although keywords are still important, I’m asked to focus more on making a post practical and enjoyable for users to read.

According to SEO experts like Yuwanda, this is known as themed SEO content. Her SEO writing courses teach this — and a lot more about this kind of online writing. But, back to offering writing as a virtual assistant.

I especially love the creativity aspect and am delighted when my clients say I can let my personality and humor show through. Writing for the web these days is all about adding value to readers, and as a freelance writer, that’s a dream come true for me.

In an article titled “The Importance of Quality Content for SEO”  Marieke van de Rakt highlights the need for skilled writing in online content:

“Writing awesome blog posts won’t instantly improve your ranking. But: in the long run, it will definitely have a positive effect on your SEO! Attractive texts have lower bounce rates and higher chances to receive social media attention. Attractive texts will also result in higher conversions on your website. If your message is properly understood by your audience, chances are much larger for them to return to your website.”

Attractive texts are things that freelance writers can readily provide for clients in the VA space! And a good virtual assistant training program will prepare you to confidently offer popular services like this.

4. New Content Channels to Explore

While working as a VA, I’ve discovered many great tools and content channels I never knew about before, presenting opportunities to enhance the quality and scope of my writing. I recently completed VAClassroom’s Content Development VA Certification and learned new ways the content I write can be published and distributed for clients.

For example, blog posts can be repurposed into articles on sites like Medium.com or turned into infographics, checklists, ebooks, and the list goes on. And as blog posts themselves are shared on a variety of social networks, our writing is exposed to a worldwide audience. As Seth Godin said, “Content Marketing is the only marketing left,” and who better to produce that content than freelance writers.

Through the Content Development VA Certification program, I was thrilled to gain skills in graphic design tools so I can add images and infographics to the blog posts I write. When I expressed an enthusiasm for offering these services, my clients were very receptive, and I’m excited about the possibilities going forward.

Other freelance writers may find a love for online presentations or podcasts and write text for slides or scripts. The sky’s the limit when it comes to producing content for online businesses.

5. Earn More & Stabilize Income

This may be the most important benefit — especially for long-term success as a freelancer.

According to a study done by Upwork in concert with the Freelancer’s Union on the state of freelancing today, the independent workforce grew from 53 million in 2014 to 55 million in 2016 and currently represents 35% of the U.S. workforce. And, the majority of those polled said that having a diversified portfolio of clients is more secure than having one employer.

This is underscored by a survey FreelanceWriting.com ran from April 10th to May 9th (2017), entitled “The State of Freelance Writing, 2017.” The biggest problem the overwhelming majority (69.12%) of freelance writers cited? Finding enough work. Having an additional skill you can offer — like virtual assistant services — helps to build a more robust, diversified client base.

Virtual Assistant Training: 20 Services You Can Offer

As a VA you can offer a wide range of services that are closely related to writing — and/or not related all all — but keep clients coming through the door. And many of the services can be automated, which means you can keep your earnings consistent without necessarily working more hours.

Following is a small sampling of the services you can offer as a virtual assistant.

  • Transcription
  • Word Processing / Typing
  • Forum/Blog Commenting
  • Basic Bookkeeping
  • Billing/Payroll
  • Online Research
  • Ebook and Special Report Research / Writing
  • Creating Graphics (for social media, ebooks, reports, etc.)
  • Video Creation / Uploading
  • Blog Content Creation/Uploading/Distribution
  • Personal Assistant Services (bank runs, travel arrangements, paying household bills)
  • Social Media Marketing (updating client accounts with content they provide)
  • Social Media Writing (writing short, snippet posts for client SM outlets)
  • Overdue Bill Collection / Payment
  • Data Input (runs the gamut from Excel to MS Word)
  • Event Scheduling and Coordination
  • Answering Email /Creating Email Responder Series
  • Newsletter Creation & Distribution
  • Email List Building
  • Web Design/Updating

FYI, VAClassroom has a list of 60, in-demand services you can offer to potential clients. You can offer as many or as few of them as you like. And here’s where my thoughts return to the advice my professor gave me years ago.

As I’ve learned more about VA services, I’ve seen that there are many ways a freelance writer can market and package them. And the great thing is that opportunities open up when you choose the ones you enjoy. I’m glad I listened to my professor, and I’m thankful to be doing meaningful writing work in this vibrant and growing Virtual Assistant industry.

What to Look for in a Virtual Assistant Training Program

A lot of virtual assistant training programs, ebooks and ecourses are popping up now. This is a good thing because it underscores how in-demand this type of side (or full-time) hustle is, if you will. But anytime something is “hot” popular, there’s always a dark side.

So when you’re researching virtual assistant training programs, be sure that you get it from a reputable provider; someone who’s currently or has been a VA. This is the kind of business where there are a lot of moving parts, so you want training from someone who can give you first-hand insights of what it’s really like. This way, you can confidently offer services, secure in the knowledge that the training you received came from an experienced source.

Kelly and Craig Cannings, Founders: VAClassroom.comAbout the Author: This guest post was submitted on behalf of VAClassroom, which was founded in 2008 by Craig and Kelly Cannings. Via its VA University, VAClassroom features over 40 certifications, workshops and courses, on everything from social media marketing, to content development, to internet marketing.

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