This was a question asked of me recently and here’s my answer:
Do volunteer work.
The reality is you need to build experience so the best way to do this is to volunteer. Are there charity organisations or other groups nearby that you could get involved with?
Depending on the skill set you currently have, or want to develop, there is sure to be stuff you can do to help out. And if you don’t know of any groups, then look for Rotary – there are Rotary Clubs worldwide. Or Lions, or Apex or a Chamber of Commerce.
There will be groups local to where you are needing volunteers. No, you won’t get paid, but it also means you don’t have to pay for training.
I have built up some of my own skills simply by volunteering to organisations that need help. A pro bono website here, help with a membership database there, serving on the front line at local events and so on. It’s a great way to network and get to know people locally and, more to the point, for them to get to know you. It’s often the way that referrals start to happen too – because people have met you and trust you. Why not look for a volunteer role today?
Kathie is the owner of VA Directory and is former past President of the Australian VA Association. She founded the Virtual Assistant industry in Australia in the mid 90s, having already been operating a home-based secretarial service. Today the VA industry covers a multitude of office-based services for clients worldwide.