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Is a Virtual Office Assistant Side Hustle Worth It in 2023?

Updated: Jul 17

Affiliate Marketing Disclosure

Over the past few years, side hustle bloggers have published article after article encouraging hustlers to take up virtual assistant work as a way to make money. And with millions of Americans nationwide looking for ways to increase their income, VA services have exploded in popularity.

Today, I'm here to help you decide - is working a virtual assistant side hustle still worth it in 2023?

What is a virtual office assistant?

Virtual office assistants are freelancers that usually work as independent contractors in order to support clients on behalf of a business by handling administrative and support functions.

Virtual assistants typically support small to medium sized businesses in a fully remote setting, working from the comfort of their home in order to complete their duties.

VAs really perform any work that makes life easier for the business they're supporting.

What work do virtual assistants complete?

The reality is that the work virtual assistants perform can vary greatly depending on what small business clients are looking for.

Generally, though, virtual assistants perform a number of tasks following into a few major categories:

  • Data entry

  • Bookkeeping

  • Preparing documents or memos

  • Managing social media

  • Other similar tasks

What skills do you need to be successful?

Given the large variety of tasks you may be completing, it is important that you have a number of key skills that will help you be successful in your VA gig. Among the most important skills that you should possess are:

  • Communication: Given that your responsibilities may vary from client to client and that you're likely going to be working in a remote environment, it is really important that you're an apt communicator. Bonus points if you can communicate well verbally and in writing.

  • Organization: Organization is so important to VA work. Keeping clients straight is one thing, but you'll likely also need to balance multiple deadlines and priorities at the same time.

  • Tech-savvy: You'll need to be proficient with technology, as you'll likely need to work with a number of software and web applications. Among the tools that you'll probably work with include email systems, financial systems, CRM tools, and more! Gaining familiarity with tools like Microsoft Office, Salesforce, and QuickBooks will help you to get more work.

How to start a virtual assistant side hustle

Before we can truly evaluate whether becoming a VA is worth it or not, it is important to understand how you would get started.

Getting your virtual assistant side business off the ground is a five-step process:

  1. Do research

  2. Decide what services you'll offer

  3. Set your pricing

  4. Market your side hustle

  5. Take on clients and impress them

1. Do competitive research

Before you officially launch your VA gig, you'll want to learn more about the line of work. Browse sites like Fiverr and Upwork to see what kind of tasks other virtual assistants offer. Pay attention to other details too, such as pricing details.

Start to think through how you'd like to get your VA gig off the ground.


Note that you may also apply for VA jobs on a number of job boards online. If so, you may skip this section, which is geared towards helping you start your own gig. I will provide more information on where to find online VA roles in a couple of minutes.

2. Decide on virtual assistant services to offer

Next, you'll need to decide on what services you're going to offer as a VA. I encourage you to think through your strengths, as well as those things that interest you. Do you like working with data sets, for instance?

If so, you may opt to take on spreadsheet work and other functions, like reporting requirements.

Really ask yourself two questions. What functions are you interested in helping businesses with? And is this a value adding activity for your target clients?

Here is a more all-encompassing list of services you may consider offering:

  • Reporting functions

  • Social media management

  • Content creation

  • Inventory management

  • Database management

  • Email/phone support

  • Digital marketing help

There is no shortage of specialties you can choose from.

3. Set your pricing

At this point, you'll want to begin thinking about pricing. Beware - it is more common than you think to underprice your services. As a side hustler, you're going to have overhead costs and recurring expenses that you'll need to pay for.

Things like Microsoft Office subscriptions, web applications, and marketing expenses will take a bite out of your hourly earnings. So to account for these expenses, I recommend that you start by charging 20-30% more than you need to earn per hour to make virtual assistant work worth it for you.

You'll also want to remember to price in uncertainty. As a side hustle, you won't have benefits, paid time off, sick days, or health insurance. Therefore, you'll need to account for the fact that any time off that you take will be unpaid.

Other factors that can influence the price you charge include:

  • Your experience level in certain fields/job lines you've worked in

  • Any past testimonials or reviews you have from past work

  • Any niche/special skills you have (writing R or SQL code to streamline process, for example)

All of these bullets make you a more valuable virtual assistant. And while it can be uncomfortable to share your pricing with prospective clients, it is really important to stay confident in your offer without wavering. You are bringing an immense amount of value to those businesses that you work with.

How much money do virtual assistants make?

According to a February 2023 CNBC article, most virtual assistants earn between $18 and $21 per hour, though high performing VAs can make more than this. Remember my 30% rule. If you're looking to net $20 an hour, you're probably going to want to charge somewhere between $25-$30 per hour to start out.

Then, in time, you can increase your rates further.

At some point down the line, you may opt to start a full-fledged virtual assistant business and hire a number of freelancers to work as VAs for you.

4. Market your virtual assistant services

There have never been more options out there to market your services as a virtual assistant. The easiest and most cost-effective way is probably to use freelancing sites like:

All of these sites will allow you to create a profile and advertise your services, as well as communicate directly with potential clients and customers.

You may also opt to find online virtual assistant jobs by considering the following other strategies, including:

  1. Building a LinkedIn business profile

  2. Start a blog

  3. Register for networking events in your area

Build a LinkedIn business profile

To support businesses nation and potentially worldwide, you'll need an online presence that appears both professional and trustworthy. This is more important with virtual assistants than other side gigs because you'll likely never meet your clients and customers in person.

Registering as a business on LinkedIn can be a great start to building that trust. And if you already have a LinkedIn profile, do not be afraid to ask your existing connections to like and/or share your new business' page and posts.

Start blogging

Blogging is an awesome way to spread the word about your VA services. Not only does it help you establish a web presence, but when done right, blogging can help your site's search engine optimization (SEO) and help you to rank higher on Google.

Blogging about your niche can help you find your target clients and directly them right to your website, where they can request more information, schedule a meeting, and learn more about the work that you do.

Attend networking events in your area

Another thing that you should go is register and attend local networking events in your area. You never know who may be at these events, and building relationships is never a bad thing in business.

A quick Google search can help you see what types of events are offered in your city, town, or county.


As you're thinking about the best ways to market your virtual assistant side hustle, it may be worthwhile for you to return to your competitive advantage for some time. Doing so can help you gain valuable insights about how your competition markets their services, handles client acquisition, and prices their work.

You never know what you may learn!

5. Take on clients and impress them

Eventually, with successful marketing and client acquisition work, you'll take on your first virtual assistant client(s). This is a critically important phase, where you'll want to do whatever you can to assure that your virtual assistant work is perfect for the client you're serving.

The foundation of your future business is built upon its first clients' positive reviews, testimonials, and experiences.

Finding virtual assistant work

There is no shortage of other online sites you can leverage to find virtual assistant work.

You may also opt to find virtual assistant work for another company altogether. And while this may feel more like working a second job instead of a side hustle, you may deem it worthwhile to avoid having to build your own practice from the ground up.

Among these sites are:

  1. Belay

  2. LinkedIn

  3. ZipRecruiter

1. Belay

Belay Solutions is a site famous for pairing businesses with remote virtual assistants looking for work. Belay focuses very heavily on the remote VA world, but you may encounter stubborn application requirements such as college degree requirements and previous experience.

Whether you get hired or not, Belay is a great tool to use to browse open listings and see what skillsets are considered valuable.

2. LinkedIn

Given its status as a social network for professionals, LinkedIn can also be a great aid in looking for virtual assistant work for businesses and entrepreneurs across the country. You'll want to work on your profile and outline your skills and objectives.

But then once this done, you'll just want to network and get to know entrepreneurs on the platform. You never know when somebody is looking for help on their business.

3. ZipRecruiter

ZipRecruiter is a more traditional site for those looking for work. You can use ZipRecruiter to browse VA openings, apply, and understand the services being commonly requested.

Pros and cons to working as a virtual assistant

Still considering work as a VA? Here are our favorite things about the job, and a couple of things you should probably be aware of.

1. Work from anywhere in the world

Arguably the greatest perk of being a virtual assistant is the flexibility that accompanies it. When supporting the businesses you support, you'll be in a completely remote environment (hence the name of the job). This means that you can work from your couch in pajamas if you want to, or potentially from anywhere else in the world that works for you.

As long as your agreed upon responsibilities are done well, you won't have an issue.

2. Low start up costs

This one goes hand in hand with working from anywhere in the world. You'll find that your costs and expenses to run your virtual assistant business are low, like incredibly low. To be successful, all you'll really need to get started is a computer and internet access.

And while you may one day expand and need access to other systems or platforms, plenty of virtual office assistants make a really good living from their affordable laptop.

3. Transferrable skills

Virtual assistant skills are very much transferrable across sectors and industries of the global economy. This is a pro because you can easily pivot if you get bored constantly supporting the same types of businesses or if, for whatever reason, work dries up in a certain field.


No side hustle will be absolutely perfect of course. Here are a couple cons you should know about being an at-home office assistant.

1. Low pay rates initially

If you don't have much experience, you should probably know that you won't make really good money for awhile. And that's okay, since being a virtual assistant is closer to entrepreneurship than it is to being a side hustle. But over time, with experience, relationships, and referrals, you will begin to carve out a niche for yourself as someone that is talented and worth working with.

At that point, your earning potential could begin to accelerate. And with enough scale and growth, you may be able to hire your own VAs to support businesses while you step back and run your business instead. But in full transparency, it will not happen overnight.

2. Largely independent work

This one can be a positive or negative, depending on whether you are an introvert or extrovert. But virtual assistants are known for largely independent work that they complete without interacting with large teams or sitting in group meetings.

Is becoming a virtual assistant worth it?

Time for the million-dollar question. Given the content and competition out there, do I believe that working as a VA is still a good side hustle?

I absolutely do, given the right circumstances. If you're realistic about what it will take to get your VA side hustle going, then by all means try out your luck.

Being a virtual office assistant may come with some tedious responsibilities at times, but as far as side hustles go, this is still one of my favorites. Offering what seems to be the perfect combination of flexibility and money-making potential, becoming a VA may be a great option for you.

Other side hustles we recommend

Reselling concert tickets

Wrapify for your car

Pallet flipping

Starting a pressure washing business

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About Nathan Zarcaro

Nathan Zarcaro is the founder of The Student Debt Destroyer and is passionate about personal finance related causes.  A 2018 graduate of Providence College's Liberal Arts Honors Program, Nathan studied Finance, and worked for one of the world's largest asset management firms before starting his own consulting practice.  In his free time, Nathan enjoys playing golf and traveling with his wife Brigid.

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