This guest post is by fellow freelancer and military spouse Jessica Gettle. You can see her bio at the bottom!
What is a Virtual Assistant Salary?
Just starting out in the freelance world? Curious about what you might be able to learn? Discover more in this post about what it means to say someone has a virtual assistant salary and how to set the best rate for your new venture.
This is a guest post by Jessica Gettle.
Considering becoming a virtual assistant? Have you started your business and aren’t sure what to charge? Should you charge an hourly rate or by the project type? What important factors should set your rates?
Even though you probably think of your take-home pay as your virtual assistant salary, almost no virtual assistants receive an actual salary unless they are working full-time or part-time with set hours for a client. Most VAs are freelancers or independent contractors, meaning that their “salary” is more up to them and what their clients are willing to pay.
According to payscale.com, on average, a virtual assistant’s salary is $15.73 an hour. While this is a good starting point, it’s important to remember that your own salary or hourly rate as a virtual assistant might vary.
Virtual assistant salaries are based on a few things:
- Services Offered
- Specific Specialties or Niches
New to the field? Learning how to set your rates is super important. As a virtual assistant, there are a number of things to consider when setting your rates.
Setting Your Salary as A Virtual Assistant
Virtual assistant salaries vary greatly. VAs have all sorts of talents and you’ll find people across the board with different pricing. A more experienced VA is likely to charge a higher hourly rate and so is a virtual assistant who has advanced skills in certain types of software. There are a few questions you should ask when you’re figuring out what to charge, including:
- What services do you offer?
- What’s your niche? (A VA in the medical space, for example, might have advanced training as a nurse and might charge higher for their expertise.)
- How many hours are you putting in a week?
- Have you figured out what your gross income needs to be?
What kind of experience do you have? Are you a graphic designer? Have you worked in an administrative role for years? Are you completely jumping ship from a career in healthcare to becoming a VA? These things are huge factors when figuring out your rates as a virtual assistant.
Let’s go into a bit more detail on this subject. if you’re just starting out your career as a VA, it’s important to keep that in mind. Many times, especially if you’re just starting out, gaining experience may be more important than making the “big bucks.” Trading services may also be a great way to gain experience and build your business.
Remember that you can always raise your rates as you go along, so don’t lock yourself into a long contract with a client at $15/hour if you’re not yet sure that’s what you want to charge forever. Take things one month or three months at a time.
Experienced virtual assistants charge upwards of sixty dollars an hour, but a virtual assistant with general admin skills can expect to start at around twenty-five dollars an hour.
How Can I Get Work if I’m Brand New as a Virtual Assistant?
Although it’s important to bring in money, gaining experience in the beginning of your career may be more important.
Maybe you’ve just met your dream client, instead of setting your rates at twenty-five dollars an hour, try twenty. In exchange for your services ask them for a review or recommendation on LinkedIn. Try exchanging services for a referral so you can learn a bit more about how the process works.
As you gain experience, begin raising your rates to earn a better virtual assistant salary.
How to Set Your “Salary” as a VA
The easiest way to determine your salary is to divide what your gross income needs to be. Take that number and divide it by the number of hours you’re available to work in a month. If you were working forty hours a week, what would you need to make?
Setting your salary as a virtual assistant involves a number of things. If you don’t already know, as a virtual assistant you are considered an independent contractor. As an independent contractor, you are responsible for purchasing your own supplies, insurance and paying taxes for your business at the end of the year. Part of your income goes to each of these things.
Supplies, health-insurance, daycare, all of these things should be factored into what you charge for your services.
Generally, setting twenty to thirty percent of your annual income is a great way to make sure you are able to pay these taxes. So, if you need to make 4,000 dollars a month after taxes, make sure you’re setting your rates high enough to cover the taxes, too.
Here’s where that important connection between hourly rate and salary comes into play. If your hourly rate of $20 does not cover all your expenses and sets you up to receive a very low salary for a virtual assistant, you might consider upskilling or looking for better-paying clients so you’re closer to the hourly rate you need to make that target salary.
Additional Things to Consider When Setting Your Salary as A Virtual Assistant
As a virtual assistant, there are a number of ways to figure out what to charge your clients; before you do, you have to decide how much time you have to put into your business. Is this a side hustle? Are you committing forty hours a week to your business?
Say you have ten hours a month to commit to your business, only eight of those hours may be considered “workable.” Two hours should be set aside for marketing, managing and taking care of your business.
Working as a virtual assistant remotely has it’s advantages, one of them being flexibility. You get to decide how you charge your clients. There are a number of options:
- Hourly: Although this isn’t the ideal route for everyone, virtual assistants can set their salary by charging clients an hourly rate. Hourly rates don’t necessarily mean a guarenteed income.
- Retainer: Talk with your client, do they have a specific number of hours they are willing to pay for each month? A monthly retainer may the best route for your business to guarantee a set salary each month.
- By Project: As a virtual assistant, a great way to charge clients is on a project-by-project basis. The perk to this is that your client gets to charge a flat-rate fee. Starting as a virtual assistant project pricing may be hard to price and an hourly rate may be your best bet in the beginning.
Setting your salary as a virtual assistant may seem stressful in the beginning. As you learn your talents, your niche, how long projects take you and the ins and outs of your business the easier setting your rates will become. Hop on Facebook Groups, Google, and any other resources availible to you to help set your business up for success. Don’t be afraid to trade services for experience or to raise your rates as you learn how much time is being put into your work.
Jessica Gettle is a communications professional with a passion for words that stretches back to her childhood. She blogs over at Gettles Goodies.