Every virtual assistant posting seems to end the same way. “Experience necessary.” “Experience preferred.” Some of them even say, “5+ years in business.” Many newbies are facing the same conundrum: How do you get experience if you have never worked virtually? How do you get a client with no experience?
There are two ways to work around this dilemma. The first is to focus on things you have done and show how they translate into virtual world. The second is to do more things to create more work experience.
Unless you have been living under a rock for the last several years, you have done things that can called experience. Any membership groups, organizations, or activities you have participated in can be considered experience. Try to highlight any of the accomplishments these types of groups have had, even if you did them as a team. Brainstorming, recruiting new members, presenting ideas to other people all can be considered work experience. Even past work experience, helping neighbors, or volunteering in groups can be considered experience. You simply need to tailor these experiences to meet the needs of the client’s needs you are trying to fulfill.
Ask other virtual business owners for informational interviews. Many working professionals are willing to share their experiences and help people get started in the field. They can give you direction on how to gain the necessary experience. Be sure to attend any virtual conferences and take advantage of membership sites that socials groups maintains. Join professional organizations and network with as many people in your area of interest as possible. You never know who you might impress or who may provide that first job opportunity.
Consider joining a non profit org, looking at internships, or mentorship opportunities. These can be life changing experiences that open the doors for many clients. While you are building a portfolio, you will also be making a contribution to the world and learning about yourself and your abilities. Although these are usually considered volunteer positions, you may be given room and board and a monthly expense allowance. You will gain experience and skills in ways that will make connections with people that can last a lifetime.
Gaining experience and building a portfolio is certainly a challenge for most people just starting out in the virtual world. With some creativity and perseverance, it can be done.