Virtual assistance has a super special place in my heart because that’s how I got started working from home, and is one of the services I provide currently.
Becoming a virtual assistant is how you and many other moms can get started working from home.
Take the skills you already have (or learn new ones) and create your own virtual assistant business and make money from home.
As more and more online businesses pop up, the need for virtual assistants is on the rise.
What is a virtual assistant?
A virtual assistant is an independent contractor or business owner who works from home and provides administrative and/or high level services to clients to help grow their business.
There is a wide range of services that virtual assistants can do. This includes administrative work, personal tasks, content creation, managing finances, social media management, research, customer service, email marketing, and more.
For anyone with standard skills (or someone willing to learn new skills), starting a service-based business as a virtual assistant is really a no-brainer. It has a low barrier to entry so anyone with a skill, good internet connection, and a computer can get started overnight.
The Pros of Starting a Virtual Assistant Business
It’s super affordable to start a VA business. You don’t need to spend a ton of money on expensive equipment. If you have a reliable computer and internet connection, you can get started as soon as possible.
You don’t need a spacious office; you can just set up shop in the corner of the living room like I do. And you don’t even have to do your work from home.
You can work from anywhere — a coffee shop, the park, the beach, wherever you please. As long as you’re still providing excellent service, your clients won’t care.
You don’t need a fancy degree to get started. Focus on what skills you have and what services you can offer to your clients. Don’t forget that there are many, many services you can offer as a VA.
One of the big benefits of starting your own VA business is the flexibility it offers. You choose your clients and set your own schedule. Work on tasks when it’s convenient to you. Of course, this isn’t to say it’s not hard work. You’ll still have to provide excellent value and meet deadlines.
You can set your own pricing structure as a virtual assistant. You can choose to bill hourly, per project, or you can package your services and charge that way. With a virtual assistant business, you are not under the mercy of your employers for a raise.
I’m one of those people who loves learning and loves new challenges. As a VA, you won’t ever get bored. There is always something new to learn and a new way to level-up your skills.
Work with who you want. You decide who your clients are. You can choose not to continue with clients who don’t appreciate you. After all, it’s your business, and you can run it as you see fit.
The cons of starting a virtual assistant business
One of the downsides will definitely be the distractions you’ll face working from home. Your children, husband, and pets will demand your attention. You’ll even find the TV enticing if there’s a new Netflix show you want to watch.
But you’ll have to summon your self-control and make sure you don’t neglect your VA tasks.
You’re the boss. And here’s why this can be a downside. You are solely responsible for the success of your business. No one else will make sure you complete projects, pay your quarterly taxes, email potential clients, attend virtual meetings, and more.
Another con and one most people worry about is marketing — essentially finding clients. You may be worried about your cash flow and how to make sure you can still pay the bills. Keep in mind that trying something new isn’t always easy, but once you’ve nailed that first sale, you’ll wonder why you were so afraid to begin with.
Being a virtual assistant can be lonely. You may start to feel isolated and lonely, especially if you are an extrovert. There will be times when your workload can keep you stuck in your seat the whole day. You’ll have to learn to schedule in fun time with friends and family so you can achieve a healthy work-life balance.
The Steps Required to Create Your Virtual Assistant Business
Choose Your Business Name
Your business name can be as simple as your name or it can also be a name that reflects the services that you offer. You can call yourself a virtual assistant or a virtual consultant.
Rule of thumb is to keep your business name general so that it is still relevant if you add new services. Don’t reference only transcription services if you also offer other content creation. If you want to use a catchy name, just make sure that it’s easy for clients to remember.
Decide on Your Services and Rates
What are your skills? What services will you be offering to your clients? If you are a good writer, then you can offer content writing. If you are a whiz with scheduling and coordination, you can offer calendar management. If you love social media and have grown a strong following, offer those types of services. I always see posts in Facebook groups searching for social media VAs.
Define your skills so you will know the best service you can offer to your clients.
Once you’ve settled on your services, calculate your hourly rate so you can start laying the foundation for your pricing structure. Don’t forget to factor in taxes also.
Determine your Business Structure
Determine if you should create your business as a sole proprietorship or a limited liability company.
A sole proprietorship is the simplest and most popular form of business startup. You just pretty much start working. It’s simple and inexpensive. You are your business. If you want to do business other than your legal name, you can file a DBA (Doing Business As).
With an LLC, you’ll have liability protection. If someone sues you and wins, they would usually be limited to the assets of the LLC and not your personal assets.
For details, consult with a lawyer or a CPA.
Make it Legal
Making your business legal is the safest way to conduct business. You may need to acquire a business license to run your virtual assistant business depending on your state, county, and city.
Your location and the structure of your business determines how you’ll need to register your business. In some cases, you don’t need to register at all.
Some states allow you to register online and some states make you file paper documentation in person or through the mail.
Check out the US Small Business Administration for deals.
Create a Business Plan
A business plan is really the roadmap of success you have envisioned for your VA business. It doesn’t need to be lengthy but should cover these areas: services that you will provide your clients, how your services differ from other virtual assistants, how you are going to fund and manage your business financially, and how you are going to market your business.
Include things like the prices for your services, your desired income, overhead costs, etc.
Set Up Your Processes and Systems
Having the right processes and systems set up from the get-go will help to ensure your success. You don’t want to sign on a new client and then be a disorganized mess about how to manage your workflow.
Set up systems like how you will conduct discovery sessions, onboard new clients, bill clients, perform the actual work, and more.
While there are many task management programs like Trello, Asana, Basecamp, etc., the best one is the one that you will use consistently, allowing you to scale up.
Having the best tools can help streamline your processes so that your business can grow quickly.
Create a List of Potential Clients
Don’t be everything to everyone. You’ll end up with clients who don’t value you and the service you provide. This will cause you to hate your business and your clients.
It’s best when your services and clients line up perfectly. Make a list of people or businesses you’d like to work with and who can benefit from your services.
Develop Your Marketing Strategy
Find ways to market yourself. The first thing you should do is reach out to friends and family about your new business. They may know someone who is your perfect client.
Make sure your website is ready to go and you have systems in place for potential clients to contact you. Social media is popular so set yourself up with a Facebook page.
Don’t forget that you can always advertise offline too and your clients don’t always have to be online. You may find your perfect client in your area.
Reach Out to Your Network
Networking is one of the important aspects of the virtual assistant industry. To be successful, it’s important to build connections. You can build your connections in the field that you are skilled in or one you desire to be in. Once you have identified your field, you need to find out where prospective clients are so that you can set up meetings with them.
Get Clients and Provide Excellent Service
Once you get that first client, treat him or her like royalty. Provide over-the-top service so they’ll be a repeat client and give you a glowing testimonial. If you promised to get them something in five days, deliver it in four if you can. It’s best to under promise and over deliver.
Keep providing excellent service and you’ll soon find that you won’t have to market so hard because you have a list of clients waiting to work with you.
Providing excellent service to clients is the secret to making your virtual assistant business grow.
Where to go from here
I’ve given you a lot of information that you might be feeling overwhelmed. To start, begin brainstorming the skills you have and the services you’d like to provide. If you need help, I have a list of 170+ VA services you can offer.
And don’t forget to make a list of the types of clients you’d like to work with.
Starting a virtual assistant business could be the perfect way for you to jumpstart your work-at-home goals. It’s inexpensive and fairly simple to get started.
I’d love to know what services are a great match for you. Let me know in the comments.
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