You want to be a virtual assistant.
You have basic knowledge about what it takes. Heck, you’ve even taken my free course on how to make money from home working as a virtual assistant in Nigeria.
So you’ve done your research and you know this is what you need to make money while working on your own terms.
But, now, they said you need to have a virtual assistant portfolio.
Potential clients are asking for a portfolio.
Job boards are asking you to share work samples in your application
They don’t get it. How will you get relevant experience when you need to get work to gain experience.
You have no clue what to do to get started.
In this post I share how to create a virtual assistant portfolio from scratch. Even if you have no experience, no client and no website.
What is a Virtual Assistant Portfolio?
A Virtual Assistant portfolio demonstrates your skills in your VA niche. It contains samples of your best work as a virtual assistant in the niche you want to get paid for. Your portfolio should only have relevant, up-to-date content that showcases your best work.
Some potential clients won’t hire you unless they have seen samples of work you have done.
Here’s How to Build Your Virtual Assistant Portfolio from Scratch
1 .) Decide On The Services You Want To Provide.
Before you start anything, you need to carefully choose the virtual assistant services you want to get hired for. This is also known as niching down. If you put too many things on your portfolio, it might be difficult to attract the right clients. You have to choose what you are good at and can bring results. If you have no idea, you might want to look at the skills you already have and see if any of them fits with working virtually.
Some Services You Could Provide Are:
- Executive/Administrative Virtual Assistance: this includes services like email management, data entry, calendar management, minute taking etc.
- Technical Virtual Assistant: this type of VA completes tasks like website creation, website management, landing page design etc.
- Course Launch Virtual Assistant: VAs in this category focus on helping course creators create and launch their online courses easily. They might also double as technical virtual assistants and are savvy with a lot of membership platforms and learning management systems.
- Digital Marketing Virtual Assistant: This type of VA focuses on marketing. Think facebook Ads, Google ads etc.
- Social Media Virtual Assistant: this covers VAs that manage social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, community Facebook, Telegram WhatsApp or Linkedin groups etc.
- Podcast Virtual Assistant: this type of VA completes tasks like podcast setup, research, podcast editing, guest scouting, transcription etc. Essentially everything a brand needs to run a hassle free podcast
- General Virtual Assistant: a general virtual assistant is responsible for a wide variety of tasks. It may include a little of everything other virtual assistants do.
2 .) Profile Your Ideal Clients
When you profile your ideal clients, you’ll know the best way to present your portfolio for it to attract them easily. Like flies to poop. Tailor your portfolio to your ideal client. Always keep your niche and your ideal client in mind.
3.) Create Work Samples
The easiest way to gain experience and work to flaunt on your portfolio is working for yourself. It doesn’t have to be work for an actual client. Just make up a name, do the work and add it to your portfolio. There’s even a fancy name for it and everything. It’s called a mock client. Your portfolio gives you ‘street credibility’ as a virtual assistant. All potential clients care about is that you have work experience.
For example, if you want to provide website creation services, build one for yourself first. You can then display your website as a work samples in your portfolio.
If you offer canva graphic design services, you could create some fancy canva graphics to display on your portfolio.
If you provide writing services, start a blog or guest post on someone’s blog. Writing a guest post means you’ll write for a blog for free so you can have something to put on your portfolio. Don’t forget to take screenshots, create mockups, and have stuff to show
You might also decide to work for free. All you have to do is pitch your services to your ideal client. If it is something they need help with, they’ll be happy to have you take care of things, especially since they won’t be paying you.
4.) Make Sure Potential Clients Can Reach You
This seems like a no brainer, but some virtual assistants miss it. You must add your contact details on your portfolio. Not just a link to your instagram account. Add links to your relevant social media accounts, website, your email address, and phone number (if applicable)
5.) Choose How to Display Your Portfolio
If you’re a general VA or offer a variety of services, I recommend organizing your portfolio into categories.
· Text-only list portfolios
This option is usually taken by writers. They just add a bunch of links to their work. Zero effort. It feels like they are saying, here’s a bunch of links just because everyone says I need a portfolio, take a hike. I think making a little more effort to add other visual elements makes it look better
. Visual-only portfolios
Using only mockups, screenshots and other graphics without any text isn’t a good idea. If it’s a mockup or screenshot, a little 1 to 2 lines descriptive text just before the graphic always looks better than just slapping a couple of graphics on a page and calling it a day.
Text + Visual portfolios
A title, photo/graphic, some text and a button or link to view more is always the best option. It entices the reader to want to learn more. There’s a huge difference in appeal between a text-only or visual-only list of samples and one with both text + visual items.
6.) Choose The Platform To Display Your Portfolio
You have work to flaunt on your portfolio.
And you have a mental picture of what it should look like.
Now you can create your virtual assistant portfolio. Thankfully there are multiple platforms you can display your portfolio. So you are spoilt for choice. There are two main ways you can display your portfolio.
- On-site (on your virtual assistant website)
- Off-site (off your virtual assistant website)
What You Need To Know About Displaying Your Portfolio On Your Virtual Assistant Website
The most commonly used option is to display your portfolio on your VA website. It makes sense because you own your website and it houses content you have already created. It’s just like with my social media link in bio, I created a page with all my relevant links. Instead of using sites like linktree. This is because bringing people to my site often (instead of a third party) means they’ll likely click around. Perhaps to learn more about me and/or my services.
Not to mention the fact that you can employ SEO best practices to help you get found when people Google stuff.
You can display your portfolio on WordPress, Wix, Squarespace, Weebly etc. I use WordPress So I’ll only talk about it. You can create a page in your WordPress site and name it Portfolio or Virtual Assistant Portfolio. After that, design it with a page builder like Gutenberg, Elementor or Thrive Architect and add your mockups, links, and screenshots. Alternatively, you could also use a free WordPress portfolio plugin like TLP portfolio to make your work easier.
What You Need To Know About Displaying Your Portfolio Off Your Virtual Assistant
If you don’t have your own virtual assistant website yet, all hope is not lost. You could create it elsewhere. There are multiple free off-site portfolio creation sites that can help you put together samples of your best work in an hour or less.
These type of portfolio creation sites are designed to make it easy to create your portfolio even if you have zero coding or design skills. The best part is that you can build your portfolio very quickly too. However, most of them have a freemium option. If you want to unlock all their features, you’d have to pay. Like I mentioned earlier, pointing someone to a site that isn’t yours has it downside (why I don’t use linktree etc. and preferred to create a links page on my own website).
5 Off-Site Platforms To Display Your Virtual Assistant Portfolio
This has been on my to-do list for the longest time. Writing this post, I have set out a deadline to get it done and finally tick it off my to-do list. Linkedin is perfect to find clients. So I recommend creating a portfolio on Linkedin even if you have a portfolio setup elsewhere. It solidifies your authority and potential clients can see that you’re the best thing since sliced bread without even leaving the app.
LinkedIn provides a section to add additional content–links, images, videos, PDFs etc. Use this to display your best work. One thing I’ve seen and you can also copy is to include link to your work in the experience section. However, using the portfolio part is better, in my opinion.
Before you create a portfolio on Linkedin, you need to optimize you Linkedin profile to attract clients easily.
- Crevado is a free and easy-to-use portfolio builder. You can get your portfolio up and running in very little time.
- Google docs
- Canva: Create your portfolio, get the view only link, shorten it with a link shortening tool like bit.ly.
- Google Drive/ Dropbox: Create your portfolio as a PDF and save it to your drive. Get the view only link, shorten it with a link shortening tool like bit.ly.
Don’t have the money to start a website, or don’t have enough time or design skill?
Go the off-site route. Using an off-site option is better than waiting till you have all your ducks in a row before you flaunt your work to attract your ideal clients.
Have some money for a website (or a website), basic design skills and have some time on your hands?
I highly recommend that you display your virtual assistant portfolio on your own website.
If you need a website and don’t have design skills or time to DIY, I’d be happy to create one for you in 7 to 14 days.
7.) Have A Simple Link To Your Portfolio
Always have a handy link ready. I do not subscribe to having your portfolio in a PDF. Let it be online. Some clients request only a link and not a document. All the platforms mentioned above give you a quick link to share. Make your link simple.
8.) Fill Up Your Virtual Assistant Portfolio
So you have only one item on your portfolio?
That spells inexperienced starving VA in font size 1,000
You need more.
My advice is to have at least 3 items on your portfolio for a start. The good thing is you can create as many work samples as you need.
Make sure everything looks neat and tidy. Don’t make your portfolio an endless scroll. Like I mentioned earlier, spice things up with images and organize your portfolio into sections with headers. This is to make it easy for potential clients to navigate and find the information they need.
9.) Create Multiple Portfolios
As a multi-skilled VA, coming up with a single portfolio to house all my work samples can be hassle. I’ve been looking at a lot of Linkedin offers and have been inside a dozen facebook groups for VAs trying to find relevant info. First for work I can do and secondly, for offers to share with the new and aspiring VAs I coach.
One thing I have noticed with most of these offers is that they are very specific. For example, when a content writing job wants a portfolio. It is not great to send in my general portfolio, they might not look through 75% of the page before realizing I’m a badass content writer. Especially if the portfolio page starts with my website creation samples and they aren’t looking for a website creator. They get hundreds of portfolios to go through.
A solution I found for myself is to have separate portfolios for everything. So my content writing portfolio is separate and focuses on only my work as an SEO content writer. While my website creation and management portfolio is different etc. I still have the general portfolio just in case. So depending on what I am applying for, I have a portfolio to match.
10.) Educate Yourself
Educating yourself is very essential. When I pitch for a content writing job, I tell them I have two SEO certificates from yoast. Those courses were free during the pandemic and I took advantage of them. There are no longer free. A digital marketing certificate course by Google is free. You should seize this opportunity while it lasts).
I also have multiple certificates from Linkedin but have never paid for Linkedin premium. I used the free trail to acquire as much knowledge (and certificates) as I could.
I’ve taken other paid courses but chose to highlight the ones I got for free so you can see that getting an education doesn’t have to cost an arm. Find free certificate courses in your niche and complete them.
Although you don’t need an education to become a VA, it’s wise to have one just in case. Some clients ask for a background in a particular field e.g. marketing. Sometimes, a certificate course can be used when you don’t have a degree. Always have this at the back of your mind. Hundreds of other savvy VAs are also applying for almost every job you apply for. So you have to seize every opportunity to stand out.
11.) Update Your Portfolio Regularly
Your virtual assistant portfolio isn’t something you should create and forget about. Your portfolio is always a work in progress. It needs to be updated with your best work as often as possible. My best work of 2017 dwarfs in comparison to my best work of 2021. As you gain experience, your work will improve, and you’ll quickly replace sample work you needed to fill in blanks, with work from reputable brands.
12.) Flaunt Your Portfolio
No one is going to know how great you are unless you show off your work. Add a link to your portfolio on your social media bio link, website navigation menu, share it on your WhatsApp status and anywhere you can. Don’t keep your portfolio a secret
I hope you have seen that nothing can stop you from creating your virtual assistant portfolio today. You don’t need to have a website, experience or even clients to make one. Your virtual assistant portfolio can help potential clients decide you’re the right fit or not.