Starting a virtual assistant business from home is just one of many ways to be a earn an income. If you have experience in office administration or similar experience such as bookkeeping, then you are a good candidate for having a successful virtual assistant business. Even if you lack those skills, but have a strong desire to learn, it is possible to build a virtual assistant business from home.
Preparing to Start Your Virtual Assistant Business from Home
Getting started as a virtual assistant requires some vital steps for a good start. Each step gives your business a stronger foundation. Skipping these steps can very well cost you your business.
Brush up on Your Skills
First, there is no formal credential process to become a virtual assistant. But, there are companies who offer training with their own credentialing. While this is not necessary to be a successful virtual assistant, it helps in obtaining clients as a new virtual assistant business from home.
If you are new to business administration or desire to have your virtual assistant business from home have a specific niche, then enroll in a training program to learn the skills needed. For example, Techie Mentor has several training programs for those new to virtual assisting and others wanting to learn new skills. I learned a lot from their VA School and WordPress Training.
Before you sign up for any program or course, investigate the company. Other virtual assistants in network groups on Facebook and forums are usually very willing to share advice and tips.
Business or Job?
I want to note here, there are companies that hire workers as virtual assistants. They pay workers as employees or, more often, as independent contractors. While this sounds a lot easier to do than a business, it has limits. The biggest limits is the pay rate and availability. Because these companies are a go between the client and you, they take a cut of the fee paid by the client. Instead of being paid $25 an hour for a project, you might get $10-15 of it. There’s also competition for these jobs making it a challenge to get hired. However, if you don’t mind making less to have the perks of a companies finding work for you. And you don’t want the responsibilities of running a business then a job may be more your goal.
Treat it Like a Real Business
If you are serious about running a virtual assistant business from home, then treat it like like a real business. Create a business plan. It doesn’t have to be complicated. A business plan helps you see what your focus is: your main goal and purpose, your niche (what services you offer), your target clients, goals with deadlines (income, number of clients, how much you charge, and how you will market the business. Getting this on to paper gives a clearer picture of what the business needs done to succeed.
The next steps is to decide on a business name. Check to see if you can get the domain and it’s available on social media. I use NameChecker. Also, make sure it’s not trademarked. By obtaining a business license you’ll be able to open up a business bank account and keep your business and personal finances separately. Many choose to start as a LLC because of it helps keep your liabilities separated from your personal finances. Being legal also means you can declare many of your business expenses as tax write offs.
Set up Your Office
Set aside space in your home dedicated to your business. Ideally a room with a door is best, but if that isn’t possibility a quiest place to work will work. You’ll need a desk, comfortable chair, computer, printer, and phone access. I prefer to have some space with lots of natural light. I made sure mine was pet friendly, too, since my cats are my constant companions.
Once you’ve set up your home office, you’ll need to establish your virtual office. On the Internet, you’ll use a website to advertise your virtual assistant business. A website is important to establishing your presence. If web design is not in your skill set, find another virtual assistant who can create your website.
The website should list your services and who you are. Decide if you want to offer services charged as a package or by the hour. Feature services you enjoy doing. Don’t feel you have to offer every service you know how to do. Having a niche is a good thing. It helps you standout as an expert in that niche and your virtual assistant business from home will be more likely to succeed. It let’s you point your marketing to that specific niche of service and target client.
The best way to get virtual assistant clients is networking. Your best leads will come through people that you already know, whether they are online or in your hometown. Let people know what you are offer and promote your website address so people learn more about your business services. Don’t be afraid to reach out to meet new people. You don’t have to be salesy or beg for work. Do it naturally, friendly, and professionally.
Market your services through social media and have a blog as part of your website. Regularly post helpful things your potential clients like to read. Offer a free report or tip sheet to attract people to sign up to a mailing list. Then write to these followers with helpful information they will appreciate getting in their inbox. You aren’t marketing to just sell yourself, you’re building relationships.
Before you get your first client, have a contract in place before you start working on a project. Many sample contracts are available online that you can adapt for your needs. Make sure you and the client clearly understand the type of work that you will be doing. That way there are no surprises when you deliver the project and your bill.
After you complete some projects, you’ll begin to build a reputation. Therefore, your virtual assistant business from home will grow naturally to include repeat clients and new projects. When you consistently do good work, your reputation will precede you and you may have turn down clients or get help. Don’t overbook yourself. Collect a network virtual assistants who accept overflows for you if the need arises.