The average income for a virtual personal assistant is affected by her education and work experience. Additionally, the industry that virtual personal assistants work in can also cause their annual income to increase. Virtual assistants who worked as secretaries and/or administrative assistants for executives in offices before they started their online business can earn higher annual income than those who do not have prior administrative experience.
Average National Income
The income that virtual personal assistants are earning have increased. For example, Entrepreneur reports in its July 6, 2004 article, “Staring a Virtual Assistant Business,” that virtual assistants earned about $39,452 a year in 2003. However, work hours for new assistants are often steep, between 14 and 18 hours a day. After virtual assistants gain more experience, they can gain higher-paying clients, work fewer hours and earn larger annual income. According to CNET News, virtual assistants generated $250 million in revenues across the country in 2007. By 2015, virtual personal assistants are expected to generate $2 billion in revenues.
Setting Hourly Rates
Hourly rates that virtual personal assistants charge their clients affect their weekly and annual income. New assistants typically charge between $10 and $12 an hour. However, more experienced virtual personal assistants may charge $35 to $100 an hour. More experienced assistants generally raise their rates because they complete complex jobs for their clients. For example, experienced virtual personal assistants might transcribe legal and medical records, create websites, direct marketing communications and produce company newsletters.
Compared to Other Secretaries
The United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics includes incomes that virtual assistants earn in its annual occupational outlook handbook for secretaries and administrative assistants. As of May 2008, secretaries, office assistants and virtual assistants as a group earned a median annual income of $29,050, with the top 10 percent of assistants earning more than $43,240 a year. Top-paying industries for assistants were management or executives at companies and enterprises. These industries paid assistants $45,190 a year as of May 2008. Government agencies paid assistants $41,880.
Jobs for virtual personal assistants and other administrative support professionals are expected to grow by 11 percent from 2008 through 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. If virtual personal assistants receive certifications such as Virtual Assistant Certification, Certified Professional Secretary or the Certified Administrative Professional, they can charge their clients higher rates and earn larger annual incomes.