This is a question asked at a VA forum recently.
I feel it really depends on the individual. You may be well experienced at providing the service you wish to provide (transcription, data entry, word-processing, etc) but what about actually being a business operator? It may well depend on what the course has to offer.
I do believe that most VA courses are about being a VA, setting up a business, setting rates that are right for you, developing an online presence, finding clients, etc. They’re not about teaching you to develop new skills for providing a service. Some new VAs come into the industry and already have business experience and probably don’t need to do the course, but of those who have come straight from a job, where they still have the employee mindset, then doing one of those courses would be very beneficial to them. It will help them to learn how to market their business, how to think like a business owner, get into good practices for managing the business and so on.
Even with just word-processing and data entry as primary skill service offerings, if the new VA has business experience, they probably won’t need to get training. They can start with what they have.
Word-processing, or typing, does command a reasonable amount of work. Typing resumes, letters, memoirs, tidying up documents, reformatting, assistant authors with their manuscripts, minutes of meetings for not-for-profit groups and so on. It might also mean the management of client newsletters, whether in print or email format.
Data entry can mean typing into Excel, or into databases. Many clients have online databases these days. You could be entering the business cards they’ve received from networking events and putting them into their databases for them. And if you’re supporting a membership-based association or not-for-profit, their database will be needed for maintaining the memberships.
PowerPoint does have some requests come through from time to time and if you’re really good with PowerPoint, you could focus on that as your niche offering, with examples of your work showing on your website.
With respect to targeting clients – you could choose to target a particular type of client, or target a particular skill-set and promote that. It can work either way. I find that business coaches, professional speakers, authors, business consultants, solicitors, doctors are all people who use the VA industry extensively but it’s not limited to just those client types.
If you wish to provide other services, but don’t yet have the skill-set, then yes, you need to do a course. Not a VA training course but rather a course that is focused on building up that skill-set.