Virtual Assistant Success Story: Sara – Home Based Travel Agent
What’s it’s really like to work as a Virtual Assistant?
Our successful VAs share their stories to help you get hired.
Meet VOT Virtual Assistant Sara Reynolds, a remote travel specialist.
Her boss has never met her face-to-face, but that’s okay because Sara Reynolds is always just a text, call or Skype away. This Plymouth, Indiana-based virtual assistant, works from her home as a freelance Travel Coordinator where she helps her clients book travel, find deals, and organize trips. She mostly works with corporations where she arranges group travel itineraries for business meetings and conferences.
“Some people think it’s just a scam – that you can’t actually get hired to work from home,” she said. “But, I’m living proof that you CAN. I work from home and love what I do.” She says that technology has made working from home possible and even commonplace. “From text to online chat to Skype, I’m in constant contact with my co-workers, managers and my clients,” she said. “I can virtually be anywhere they need me to be.”
A Dream Come True
Until 2015, Reynolds worked as an administrative assistant in a corporate Human Resources office. She started freelancing part-time in the evenings and on the weekends after finding a temporary remote assignment throughout VOT VirtualAssistantJobs.com When that project ended, she got another one. And then another. After about a year of taking on short term remote jobs, she decided to look for something more permanent. She was eventually offered a position with World Travel Holdings as as full-time homebased Customer Travel Rep. In 2017, she resigned from her day position and started living her dream as working as a full time virtual assistant.
Reynolds said her goal was to have the flexibility to work virtually doing what she loves while being able to support herself and her family. “I’d say I accomplished that pretty well,” she said.
She says that VOT Virtual Office Temps made her dream possible but it wasn’t the only factor is landing a job.
Married mom of two, Sara Reynolds works at home as a Virtual Travel Specialist.
Q&A with Sara
Below, Reynolds answers your top questions about working from home as a virtual travel assistant:
How have you found work as a “virtual assistant” ?
I signed up with VOT because it was free so I figured I would have nothing to lose. And honestly it took me a long time to figure out how to really compete. I signed up in 2013 and didn’t really do much with my account until I got serious. But then I realized that it would take effort on my part and that I couldn’t just keep sitting back and dreaming. I started by fixing my VA Profile to make it the best it could be. And then I created a website for my resume and skills and freelance services, and submitted it to the VOT virtual assistant directory. That’s when things started to change.
What does a “virtual assistant” do and what’s the best way to land a job?
I think it depends on who you work for. For some virtual assistants, you’ll be doing document processing, typing and data entry, email and other correspondence, and invoicing. For me, since my focus was on the travel industry, most of my work involves booking hotels, airlines, car rentals, and planning corporate trips such as group cruise ship bookings or corporate retreats.
I think you should focus on what you enjoy. There is a lot of competition and employers are going to recognize when you’re not being authentic or you’re just trying to throw a million resumes at any job. I think it’s better to find what you love, focus in on that, get skills and training, get references in the field, and then really focus in on that industry. If you create your VOT VA Profile and virtual assistant website with your niched field in mind, you will get a lot more “hits” from hiring employers.
What do you like best about working as a Virtual Assistant?
I really love having the freedom to work from home. It allows me to spend my time with my husband and children, but I also think it has allowed me to get rid of some stress in my life. My children are young and mornings were hectic back when I worked outside of my home. Now it’s so much easier to get them up and off to school while getting myself ready for work – because getting ready for work is basically turning on my laptop and plugging in.
There are so many things you can do from a home based office. All of my work involves working with clients via phone anyway so why would you need to go to an office for that? I just log-in to the same system that all the employees do and then I get to work. I am actually really productive in this situation so I am able to accomplish even more goals. I think my managers can see that which is why they continue to hire remote virtual assistants for these roles.
What’s your advice on getting hired as VOT Virtual Assistant
Keep trying! And be professional. Sometimes it seems like people don’t take these opportunities seriously. But these are real jobs with real hiring managers who will make a decision based on your skills and abilities – just like a brick and mortar employer. Be sure that your VOT profile is solid and includes keywords for the industry where you want to work. And make sure to include a link to your virtual assistant website. When the hiring executive lands on your website, it’s a bit like meeting you face to face so you’ve got to make a good impression. A little extra work upfront will really pay off!
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