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How to Become a Freelance Administrative Assistant

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Gigly team, Marketing at Gigly
Smiling freelance administrative assistant

The goal of taking your organizational skills and using them to start a business is within reach. Freelance administrative assistants are in-demand. If you have the knowledge and passion for the job, it’s your ticket to the entrepreneurial lifestyle.

Since it’s your first foray into the world of being a virtual assistant, you probably have questions. That’s great because we have answers!

This guide has everything you need to start as a freelance administrative assistant and build a successful business.
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What Does an Administrative Assistant Do?

First, let’s break down exactly what your job includes and what kinds of tasks you’ll be responsible for.

Today’s tech-oriented society often refers to this administrative position as a virtual assistant (VA). This is a professional term for someone who can do just about any task necessary, depending on their skills and knowledge.

So, when you see a job description for someone requesting a VA, check the fine print and ensure it’s asking for things you feel comfortable doing.

Freelance Administrative or Virtual Assistant? It Matters

What’s the difference between “freelance administrator” and “virtual assistance”?

The first gig can happen in person, while the second involves remote work.

When you look at a job posting, if you’re set on distance freelance work, verify that’s what the client intends to offer. Otherwise, you could be applying for an administrative job in an office environment.

As a VA, you can work part-time or full-time from anywhere, juggling however many clients you can handle. The terms are unique to each client, but for the most part, VAs are hired, given a task, then expected to complete it by a predetermined deadline.

Examples of Freelance Administrative Jobs

Because there is so much variety in administrative assistant work, almost anyone can find a job for their talents and abilities. From entry-level to highly experienced, if you can do the position advertised, you can earn a living as a freelancer.

Even better, this is a field that you can always grow in. You don’t have to sit around and wait for your boss to give you a raise. When you’ve learned new skills, you can apply for better-paying VA jobs (which we’ll talk about in a minute).

Some examples of general freelance admin assistant work include:

  • Making cold calls for businesses
  • Managing and responding to emails
  • Setting appointments and managing schedules
  • Working as a customer support representative
  • Handling billing, accounting, invoicing, or bookkeeping entry tasks

These general tasks are part of almost every business’s workflow. Outsourcing to freelancers keeps business owners from dealing with payroll taxes, insurance and benefits, and full-time paychecks.

It’s a massive help to small and medium business owners. Hiring job seekers like you relieves them of the financial burden of a full-time employee.

Since the jobs are customizable for particular skill sets, no experience is necessary. Although, organization and communication skills are always helpful!

Discover: How to Answer the Question “How Much Do You Charge?”


How Can I Find Work as a Freelance Administrative Assistant?

Freelance Administrative Assistant searching for work

The potential jobs for someone in your role may seem infinite, but it’s crucial to search for things in your skill set.

Before you head to any of the popular platforms (which we’ll discuss later), go ahead and create your resume.

After you analyze the skills you can offer, the next step is to decide which job title fits best:

  1. Administrative support
  2. Freelance personal assistant
  3. Executive assistant

What Type of Freelance Administrative Assistant Job Should I Apply For?

General assistants handle jobs like those we listed in the last section. They’re entry-level positions for people who don’t want to get involved in complex tasks or those who don’t have a lot of work experience yet.

This category is highly competitive. There are thousands of people who want the benefits of working from home without the need for any particular skills. General VAs average a median pay of around $36,000/year, making this an ideal job for parents or people in transitional life stages.

These jobs are readily available on sites like Upwork, Freelancer, and TaskRabbit.

Personal Freelance Assistant

If you want less competition and more money, consider becoming a personal freelance assistant.

As the term implies, a personal assistant caters exclusively to one person or business. You’ve seen them alongside celebrities, business execs, and professional athletes.

In this position, you’d help out with personal tasks.

Your day could consist of:

  • Ordering groceries for delivery
  • Seeking a refund
  • Scheduling transportation and lodging for trips
  • Anything else you can achieve online or over the phone

While your virtual job might not be glamorous, it pays better than a general assistant role. You can find these jobs on the above sites, as well as Indeed and ZipRecruiter.

Executive Assistant Roles

The highest paying administrative assistant jobs go to executive helpers.

These freelancers have in-demand knowledge and computer skills and can multitask. With these talents, exec assistants command a higher hourly rate.

As an executive VA, your tasks include office manager-type administrative duties like:

  • Managing emails, calendars, and phone calls to help with time management
  • Dealing with Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, creating Powerpoint slides, and other data entry tasks
  • Scheduling appointments and handling the logistics of small or big events
  • Booking travel arrangements
  • Taking care of any specialized tasks that you’re certified to complete (e.g., accounting in QuickBooks, real estate management, or marketing)
  • Social media management
  • Following up on referrals
  • Project management and coordinating with others on the team to complete long-term assignments
  • Writing, proofreading, and editing communication and documents as necessary

According to US News and World Report, executive assistants are the second-highest paying job you can have without a bachelor’s degree. You’ll find advertisements for these opportunities on more professional sites, such as LinkedIn.

Increase Your Job Options and Pay With These Add-Ons

You don’t need to go back to college to push yourself into this level, but you could invest in a few skills and certifications.

Right now, you’re probably looking into the basics of setting up your freelance business. You can add more skills and certifications for free (or inexpensively) with a few online courses as you get settled.

If any of these specialties catch your eye, they could be worth the time investment for your administrative resume:

  • Business marketing
  • Learning Microsoft Office inside and out
  • Video and audio editing
  • Social media marketing
  • Writing and editing blogs/content creation/ghostwriting
  • Graphic design
  • Website design and/or development
  • Transcription
  • Research
  • Search engine optimization marketing

See also: What Kind of Insurance Do You Need to Work for TaskRabbit?


What Do I Need to Start My Freelance Business?

Technically, you don’t need any official requirements to start freelancing. You can create a profile on any platform or accept work from a client and get started.

If you want to make your business official and get all the benefits and tax deductions it provides, there are a few government requirements.

Setting Up an Official Business

First, you’ll need to decide on a business name that you’ll “do business as” or a DBA. Run this name through your state’s record search for DBAs, ensure it’s available, and head to the Internal Revenue Service’s small business website.

You’ll use your DBA to decide whether you want to be a sole proprietorship or a limited liability corporation.

Getting Organized

Filing for official business registration with the IRS is an essential first step. The designation lets you get business permits, licenses, and insurance if you need any of that in the future.

Next, you’ll need a method to organize and record your income and deductions to capitalize on those tax benefits.

As a freelance administrative assistant, you may do these tasks for other people and let your own organization slack. Start right away with a process to keep track of your documentation, so you can file taxes quarterly and make it easier to handle those obligations.


Are There Any Resources That Can Help Me as a Freelancer?

Freelance Administrative Assistant resources

Business structures, taxes, deductions, oh my!

Even if it all sounds confusing, don’t give up. Many resources are available to help you get your business off the ground.

Small Business Administration

The Small Business Administration wants you to succeed so much that they’ll hook you up with a personal mentor. Sign up to request a mentor under the SCORE Mentoring category on the SBA website.

You’ll get connected to someone in your area who can help you:

  • Create a business plan
  • Learn what you need to do to work with the IRS
  • Get access to online and in-person workshops

Not only are these excellent learning opportunities, but they also introduce you to a network that might need your skills.

Insurance

When you work with other people’s sensitive information and property, you are responsible for keeping it all secure. Because of this, many freelancers opt for general liability and/or cyber liability insurance.

If your administrative tasks require clients to come to your office/home (or you pick up their property), look into general liability insurance. This coverage kicks in if anything happens to cause property damage or bodily injury while you’re completing a job. It also covers you in the event that someone accuses you of libel or slander.

Cybersecurity protection is a must for every freelancer. It’s not required, but if you’re using your computer, you want to ensure any breach of sensitive data doesn’t come from your network. It could cost millions of dollars to fix the damage if it does. An inexpensive policy can minimize your responsibility if that happens.

One more policy to consider is health insurance. We all need coverage, but most of us leave our employer-sponsored policies behind when we start freelancing.

Try Gigly

Platforms like Gigly offer health insurance policies at a group rate for their members.

Gigly partners with the Alliance of Gig Workers to give you discounted rates on indemnity health policies and more. With your membership, you’ll gain access to reduced prices on your everyday shopping and entertainment as well!

Gigly is for entrepreneurs like you. When you invest in a membership, you’re getting everything you need to create a successful small business.

Small Business Loans

One of the reasons administrative assistant jobs are so popular is that they don’t come with many upfront expenses. Yet, as your business increases, you may want to buy better computer equipment or expand your work areas.

Small business loans are available as long as you’ve registered with the IRS as an official entity. Most of these lenders will require a business plan, which your SBA mentor can help you with.

Instead of traditional bank loans, which have long approval times, consider short-term loans, equipment loans, and SBA microloans. Try to avoid using high-interest credit cards if you can.

You may also like: A Freelancer’s Guide: How to Set Payment Terms


Conclusion

You have the skills to be of use to someone else; now, all you need to do is put yourself out there.

Head to the platforms most popular for your particular administrative talents, and create a profile. Start applying for jobs, and you’ll see how quickly you can enter the world of freelance work.

With the help of resources like Gigly, you’ll have a thriving freelance administrative assistant business in no time.