For a lot of us, there comes a point in our lives where we think back on all the plans and dreams we had when we were younger, and then we look at where we are right now and wonder “How the hell did I get here?”. I felt that way just before I began my virtual assistant journey. See I always knew that a regular 9 to 5 was not for me; I never truly enjoyed it. Some mornings I woke up and dreaded the routine that my life had become. I found myself wondering how I was going to transition to a career that I actually looked forward to.
In some of my most recent conversations with friends and clients it’s clear that the pandemic has forced a lot of people into this mood of reflection. People are worried and fearful about where the money they need will come from. Some persons have been laid off from their jobs, or had to close their businesses down. Others, even though they are still employed, have found themselves with a sense of insecurity about how much longer that will last, or feel that they just aren’t where they want to be. So many of you are trying to decide what’s next for you.
Whichever of these categories you find yourself fitting into, starting a VA business just may be the answer to all your worries.
When people hear virtual assistant they usually assume someone who works in administration; a secretary or personal assistant who manages a client’s emails and calendar, and while those are services that a VA can offer, they are a gross oversimplification of what a virtual assistant can do. In reality a virtual assistant is simply anybody who offers their services from a remote location. As long as you can offer a full service to a client with just a laptop and a fast internet connection, you can be a virtual assistant. Before you make that final decision to venture into this industry though, here’s a few things you should know:
If you’ve weighed the pros and cons above and have decided this is something you really want to do, here are the steps you need to take:
In order to have a business you have to have a service or product. So what is yours going to be? Remember, there is no service that you ABSOLUTELY have to offer as a VA. You can do anything that you’re good at, anything you enjoy, anything you think will be in high demand. Do you want to do just basic calendar and email management? That’s absolutely fine. Are you good with social media? Maybe social media management could work for you then. The possibilities are truly endless.
The recommendation is always that you find a niche or specialty service but I’m a big believer in figuring things out as you go along. So if you can’t think of something specific you can offer that will be in high demand, there’s nothing wrong with choosing several services that you know you can do well, and then weaning it down to a niche as your skills develop and you get more clients. For a full list of the types of services you can offer just click here.
In this age of technology you can not have a business without a social media presence; it’s simply impossible. There needs to be a space where clients can find you and see what you’re offering. Having a social media presence doesn’t mean that you have to be on every single platform, so don’t go off just creating accounts willy-nilly that you’re never going to actually post on. You’re better off getting started on just one or two platforms of your choice (choose the ones you genuinely enjoy and will be consistent with) and fully focusing your efforts on that. Don’t get stuck on the logistics of a name for your business and having a logo, etc. All of that you can develop as you go through the building of your brand. It’s absolutely fine to start this business with just your name.
It’s one of the biggest perks of being a virtual assistant. You alone know how much money you need to make, how much you think your skills are worth etc. so you alone can decide what you’re going to charge.
Contracts are very important and should never be overlooked, even if you know the person that’s going to be hiring you. If someone who’s doing business with you doesn’t want to sign a contract, don’t trust them. Run away. Not only do contracts provide legal coverage for both yourself as a consultant and your client, but they serve as a clearly defined set of parameters on how the working relationship between yourself and the client is meant to function. A contract allows all parties involved to be clear on where they stand with regards to payments, duties and responsibilities, working hours, etc. If you don’t know where to start with creating your contract click here for a free template.
You know what you’re offering, you have prices set, a contract ready and you’ve created a space to market your business. Now, it’s time to find that first client. There are lots of ways that you can do this and we’ll get into it in more detail in a future blog post but to get the ball rolling let’s just focus on these two:
You can plan, hope and dream as much as you like, but you’ll achieve nothing if you don’t act. Learn from my mistakes. Don’t try to have everything be perfect before you get started; it will never be perfect. You’re going to make mistakes, you’re going to have to change direction a couple times, and you’re going to have to learn somethings along the way. That’s the life of entrepreneur. This is by no means going to be an easy venture, it will definitely require some time and effort on your part, but believe me when I say that it’s going to be worth it.