As a virtual assistant, you wear many hats. From a receptionist to a bookkeeper, you’re keeping your hands busy with many different projects, some involving graphic design. But is learning design worth it for a virtual assistant?
Learning graphic design can increase your value as a virtual assistant and earn you more money. Knowing how to design will also help you develop communication, creativity, and presentation skills. In return, expanding your VA skills will improve your professional relationships, increase your self-worth, and open doors for future opportunities.
Expanding your skillset into graphic design might be the best thing you can do as a virtual assistant.
Read on to learn more about how becoming a graphic designer can elevate your virtual assistant services to the next level. And discover how to easily get started, even if you don’t have any prior design skills.
How Graphic Design Expands Your Skills as a Virtual Assistant
You might be one of the many virtual assistants who already engage in responsibilities such as copywriting, copyediting, blog writing, web design, project management, or social media management. Most (if not all) of these things benefit from graphic design, so picking it up can expand your service offerings and elevate the value of your work, not to mention earn you more money.
If you do a lot of writing and web design, it’ll allow you to market yourself as someone who can put together the whole package. This will make you more appealing to more clients and help you stand out from the crowd as offering efficient virtual assistant services.
Better yet, many of these skills might give you a fresh understanding of the tasks you already do. That way, even if you don’t stick with graphic design, you’re already a better virtual assistant than before.
Here are some things that you’ll learn and develop while expanding your graphic design skills:
You probably know that good communication is essential for a virtual assistant. Likewise, good design is an important means of visual communication. It takes a good deal of problem-solving to develop a creative way to communicate your ideas through graphics. Your graphics will be the key to making your employer’s projects stand out. In graphic design, you’ll learn to communicate ideas in the clearest and most visually appealing way possible, which is just one reason that it’s a great virtual assistant skill to have.
Did you know that one of the top things employers look for in their virtual assistant is creativity? Practicing graphic design allows you to unlock your creative potential. Training your eye to be visually creative requires a shift in your perspective, but it starts with paying attention to how other people present their thoughts and ideas.
When practicing, there’s no shame in taking design inspiration from anywhere you happen to look. Eventually, you’ll be able to come up with your own creative communications!
If you ever took a painting class in school, you might remember the concept of color theory, which uses the color wheel and mixing techniques to figure out which colors go well together. Great graphic design follows these principles too. An appealing color scheme enhances your message, so don’t neglect it!
Theme and Aesthetics
Learning to use a theme or an aesthetic will give your graphic designs a cohesive look. When everything goes together, from thumbnails to social media posts or web design, your client appears more professional and knowledgeable, which is essential to making them happy. Having a coherent theme for a particular online business is the cherry on top.
Did you know that Steve Jobs audited a calligraphy class at Reed College? Calligraphy, completely divergent from his career track, was something he just took for fun. Later, when he designed the first Mac, typography was one of the most important components that made his products at Apple a success.
He added a visual, creative component to technology when everything else on the market was boring and visually unappealing. As a graphic designer today, and virtual assistant, typography plays just as crucial of a role.
Each kind of visual device requires different image sizing requirements for proper viewing. For example, a graphic you use for a more phone-intensive platform, such as Instagram, will be a different size than a graphic for a YouTube video or website. There are plenty of graphics sizing charts available to help you understand this.
Formatting your graphics is essential to getting your message across. If your text or image is awkwardly formatted, viewers will be scratching their heads to figure out what you’re trying to say instead of understanding your work as a helpful visual aid. Formatting can be different for each kind of design project you do.
If you’re a more ambitious virtual assistant, perhaps having your own online business, you may want to take the time to learn some basic coding to get your ideal client. There are many different coding languages, but the one that most graphic designers use is HTML. However, there is plenty of software available that eliminates the need for coding, so it’s not absolutely necessary to know how to do it yourself.
Design Improves Professional Relationships
As an employee or independent contractor, you are your own business identity: YOU LLC. Your boss is your customer, and you want them to come to you for as many things as possible. Expanding your skillset with graphic design could take that good, symbiotic relationship you’ve developed and bring it to the next level.
There are three ways that a company handles a new task:
- The owner handles it.
- It’s delegated to an existing employee.
- They hire a new employee.
If your employer has a need for social media graphics, book covers, flyers, or business cards, you want to be the one to create them. Studies show that employers would rather hire a trusted employee or contractor for a project instead of going through the trouble of finding someone new. This puts you at a huge advantage, even if you don’t consider your skills to be the best.
Of course, your primary role working with any company might be as a graphic design virtual assistant. After all, hiring a professional graphic designer can be quite costly while hiring a virtual assistant can be much more cost-effective.
There are plenty of tools that can help make learning the design process easier, one of which is Laughingbird Software’s Graphics Creator.
This software is an intuitive and easy tool with over 1,500 unique templates (and thousands of visual elements and royalty-free stock photos) that’ll help you quickly create designs that your employer will be amazed by. Better yet, you don’t need any Photoshop or design skills to get started!
Laughingbird also has a ton of training materials to answer your questions, so it’s the best design software to start you off on your journey as a beginning designer.
Design Can Increase Your Self Esteem
Learning and excelling at a new skill can increase your self-worth, especially when you or your employer finds it to be a useful one. Studies show many benefits to pursuing education, even if you’re out of school.
Here are some benefits of learning graphic design:
- It boosts your confidence. Confidence is an essential attitude in the workplace. You will sound more professional, but you’ll feel great while working, too. Confidence helps increase a positive attitude in the workplace, making you look more energetic and capable. It will also help you obtain your ideal client.
- It challenges you. Challenges keep your mind active and able to fight off boredom. There’s almost nothing more uplifting and encouraging than the victorious feeling after conquering a difficult challenge. Taking pride in your work shows that you are invested in doing the best you can in everything you do, even if it’s hard.
- Continually learning helps you cope with stress. Did you know that learning something can help you cope with worry and stress? Learning a new skill can channel that negative energy into something positive, offering you a sense of purpose and control over your future.
Learning anything will produce similar results, so why graphic design? Ultimately, as a virtual assistant, you want to be able to use the information and skills that you’ve learned in the real world. This should be something that you foresee yourself providing a decent amount of value to any company you’re working for.
The bottom line is that every business needs good design with effective visual elements to put its best foot forward in presentations, digital marketing material, blogs, or company literature. Creating images is a highly sought-after skill, so it will be useful no matter where you go in the future. You might even decide to become a specialized graphic design virtual assistant.
Learning Graphic Design Opens Doors
New creative skills such as design open doors to potential promotions, raises, and other opportunities. A large company or small business owner both hope to find the best employees and independent virtual assistants to be the ones who can do the work of multiple job titles. If your employer can trust you with another essential part of the business, they will be happy to offer it to you!
Furthermore, if you put all of your eggs in one basket, you limit your potential. Experienced VAs know that the best way to get hired is by learning multiple skills. Plus, learning to design graphics will allow you to transition your career if that’s something you ever wanted or needed to do.
Besides, the world is constantly changing. And the business world is no different. It has transitioned drastically from brick-and-mortar establishments to e-commerce and virtual communication, and many businesses are adapting to it. Because of this, graphic design virtual assistants are more needed than ever to grab the attention of consumers. It’s easy to see why knowing design will make you more valuable to any company and assist you in finding your ideal client.
How to Get Started in Graphic Design Fast
As a busy virtual assistant, it’s not reasonable for you to go to graphic design school, take months of design courses, or learn difficult and expensive software. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get proper training.
Typically, an easy graphics program, a few video tutorials, and a virtual design community are all that is needed to start designing. You don’t need to spend a lot of time or money to learn basic design. Many design tools are even free.
Here’s the best way to get started using a do-it-yourself design tool and other simple graphic design resources.
Easy Steps to Creating Graphics as a Virtual Assistant
Follow these steps to start creating designs you can share.
- Grab a free design tool
- Understand the graphic design basics
- Watch these video tutorials
- Create your first design using a template from your free design tool
- Join a free community for design feedback and help
You can fully complete these steps in around 90 minutes, give or take. Then just go back to these design resources as needed and continue creating a portfolio of designs to share with employers and small business owners! To expand your design abilities, you might get access to over 1500 design templates and thousands of design elements from the get-go.
Virtual assistants should consider learning a specialized skill such as design in order to provide a larger sense of value to their employers. Learning a new skill stimulates creativity, elevates confidence, and provides a challenge against boredom and stress.
Every company needs some degree of graphic design, especially for digital marketing materials. And, businesses would prefer to hire you, a valued employee, than an outside person because you’ve already built that symbiotic relationship of trust as a virtual assistant.
Becoming a graphic design virtual assistant or adding other VA services can open a ton of doors for you, including grounds to ask for more pay at your next review or independent contracting job!