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Earn money as a freelance secretary

Nadia Krige 6th Aug 2019 2 Comments

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Looking for a way to earn some extra cash? Administration second nature to you? Sell your services as a freelance secretary!

Sure, the term ‘freelance’ has become synonymous with creative industries (e.g. writing, design and photography). but there’s a huge need for administrative professionals and freelance secretaries who can offer their services on a short-term basis.

Let’s take a look at your options:


What does a freelance secretary do?

Earn money as a freelance secretary

Well, if you’ve ever filled a secretarial position, you’ll know the question should probably rather read: ‘what does a freelance secretary NOT do?’

What can make this role quite challenging is you’ll have to familiarise yourself with the history and systems of the company or executive you’re working for in a very short space of time. In other words, being a fast learner and a hard worker will serve you very well!

Basically, there are two types of positions a freelance secretary can fill:

Temping in the place of another secretary

While the CEO may think she’s in charge of her organisation/business/company, we all know it’s really the secretaries who have keep things running smoothly.

So, when life happens and a secretary has to take time off – whether it be for a holiday, maternity leave, family responsibility – he/she leaves quite the gap to fill.

It is at these times that your services as a freelance secretary will become a godsend!

One of the challenges here is that companies tend to prefer working with people they already know – especially for such an important position. So, if you’re in the early stages of setting up your freelancing business, be sure to make yourself as visible as possible. Create a stellar LinkedIn profile, ask previous employers for references and ask friends and family members to help spread the word about your endeavour. You never know who might be listening!

Virtual assistant work

The second option is to ply your trade as a freelance secretary entirely online. This means you can work from anywhere in the world, choose hours that suit you best and work with clients you prefer.

Small businesses that can’t afford secretarial services often enlist the help of virtual assistants for typing and administrative work.

The job can involve a wide range of tasks, from answering phones and sending emails to book-keeping, business planning and desktop publishing. The more specialised your skills are, the more you’ll be able to charge. For example, if you’ve had five years’ experience working in the marketing industry and have extensive knowledge of Microsoft Publisher, you can advertise yourself as a virtual assistant specialising in marketing and desktop publishing.

Find out more in our article about earning money as a virtual assistant.


How much can a freelance secretary earn?

According to PayScale, the average annual income for a secretary in the UK is £20,148.

If you’re planning on taking on temp work, as mentioned above, you and the business/company in question will probably agree on a rate that fits into these margins. So, you’d probably be looking at earning up to £80 per day.

If, however, you’re more inclined to go for a virtual assistant position, the average rate is about £25 per hour.

This means, if you work a full 8 hours a day for 22 days a month, you’d be making more than double the amount you would as a temp secretary.

However, this will rarely be the case, as clients would typically only require a couple of hours’ of your time a week.


Where to find freelance secretary jobs?

Earn money as a freelance secretary

So, now that you’ve decided to set up your freelance secretary business, it’s time to find some work!

Here are good places to start:

Facebook groups

Joining an online community of freelancers is always a good idea. Apart from being able to engage in and follow relevant conversations, this would also be the place where people post job opportunities.

Simply search for ‘freelance secretary jobs UK’/ ‘virtual assistant jobs’ / ‘VA jobs’ on Facebook and you may be pleasantly surprised at what pops up!


Personal references

Even though we have the world at our fingertips, when it comes to job searching, personal references still seem to carry the most clout.

If you’re keen on getting temp work as a secretary, ask your friends and family working in offices to keep an ear to the ground for any opportunities.

Should they be willing to go the extra mile for you, they might even pass your CV on to the HR department.



If you’re in need of some extra cash, but don’t need to make a full salary, Upwork is a great place to search.

Clients post jobs on the platform and then freelancers place their bids to get the position. In many cases, the jobs aren’t too demanding and also don’t pay very much.

Visit Upwork to find out more about how it works.



Ah, good old Craigslist! Even though it may attract some annoying scammers, there are a wealth of legitimate job opportunities to be found.

The site also has a whole section dedicated to ‘admin/office jobs’, which makes it easy to find exactly what you’re looking for!

Visit Craigslist to find out more.



PeoplePerHour has made a name for itself as a reputable job site for freelancers.

When you set up your profile, name your services clearly (i.e. ‘virtual assistant’ / ‘freelance secretary’ / whatever best describes what you do) and set an hourly rate that isn’t exorbitant, but also don’t do yourself in.

Once you’ve done this, clients will be able to find and recruit you for jobs quite easily.

Alternatively, you can search and apply for freelance jobs on the site.

Visit PeoplePerHour to find out more.


Has this inspired you to become a freelance secretary? Maybe you’re already getting work as one? Let us know in the comments below.


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Bonginkosi Eugine Ntshakala
Bonginkosi Eugine Ntshakala
3 years ago

Where do I subscribe for Visual Assistant specialising in Secretariat??

4 years ago

A very informative article.

Jasmine Birtles

Your money-making expert. Financial journalist, TV and radio personality.

Jasmine Birtles

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