The virtual assistant career is becoming one of the best remote business opportunities for anyone and especially women entrepreneurs. As a virtual assistant you get the chance to work from home or from anywhere in the world.
Even though many are intrigued by the concept of starting their own virtual assistant business, many don’t have a clue about how to get started. I think one of the best ways to learn how to start, is to follow the example of those who already succeeded, to learn directing from them.
Getting Started as a Virtual Assistant
I have been teaching to Italian Virtual Assistants for over 3 years, and I am glad to share some tips for anybody who is ready to change their life, by choosing a remote career.
Choose the right name
Always remember that the right name should not be too generic and ambiguous. It should mainly focus on the niche that you are planning to focus on. Make the name precise, easy to read and at the same time describing the service you are planning to provide or better the type of clients you would like to work with. This will attract more clients and enable you to get started quickly.
It is important to make the business official and set up a company. You can choose from few business structure options available like sole proprietorship wherein only one individual operates the business, and there is no distinction between the firm and the individual. In case you have plans of making your business grow beyond yourself, it is better to go for a corporation or an LLC. You also need to decide whether your services will be full time or part time. A study conducted by the Virtual Assistant Networking Association shows that about 58.9% of the virtual assistant business are full time, and around 41.0% are part-time. Also, it shows that almost 91.9% companies do not have any other employees except one individual. This means that you can run a business without employees on your own as well.
Identify your specialization
Make sure you have a clear idea about the specialized services you want to provide to your clients. It is really the most important thing to have a very good idea about your niche because only then can you can take your business forward. This will also determine your target clients you would work for. Understand that if you start a virtual assistance business with no real focus on anything, it will become difficult to distinguish yourself from other virtual assistants. Once you decide upon your specialization, you can choose your charging rate as well. Around 87.7% people have responded that they prefer charging hourly for the services rendered by them in a survey conducted by the Virtual Assistant Networking Association.
Come up with your brand and design
This is one of the fun and exciting part. You get to be creative here and come up with unique logo design which will help you put a positive light on your business. Make sure you have a good designer who understands branding and will help you choose the apt color, design, and font that will attract client audience.
There are few places like Upwork, 99Designs, Fiverr, which will assist you in finding good cost-effective designers.
Choose your domain name and web host
The easy way is to keep your domain name the same as your business name. Sometimes this may not be possible then here are few points you can consider doing:
- Come up with unique and suitable keywords that match your target audience
- Select a domain that can be read and understood quickly
- It is easy to buy domain names these days. Refer to websites like Hostgator and GoDaddy for some cost efficient and quality web hosts which you can select.
Create a workspace
We all know that to help us do any work better; it is important to have a place reserved just for that activity. Therefore it is important to have a separate space which is kept aside only for your work. Since it is a virtual business you don’t need a large space. Just make sure you have a quiet workplace, a laptop or desktop computer with all the facilities, a smartphone which will let you check emails and other quick stuff easily, good high-speed internet, a printer, scanner, a good headset that can enable you to make client calls and also a comfortable chair!
Virtual assistant tools
Here I have to say that I am a huge fan of Google, of course there are a lot of online work tools available, but for me Google is the perfect business partnere. You can pick your favorite ones as per your convenience and make your work easier. For various categories of management you have several tools which you can choose from like
Scheduling appointments: Google Calendar and Scheduleonce if you want to automate it.
Email: what could be better than Gmail! You can even integrate your business mail with your Gmail account.
Instant Messaging: Skype
Collaboration Tools: Lastpass to share and manage all the passwords in one place. Google Drive to create and share documents, presentations, spreadsheets and to archive (almost) everything. Trello or Asana for Project Managament.
Time Tracking: Here is something Google is missing! My favorite time tracking tool is Toggl.
Social networks and forum
If you want your business to grow and get the required recognition, it is important that you start connecting with like minded people. You will find several virtual assistant organizations and forum which you can join that will give you a lot of information and support to grow. Besides, it is probably the best way to market your business.
Importance of a business plan
Before starting your business, a clear picture of your business plan should be ready. This could be your roadmap to success.
Since it is a home based business, make sure the business plan is robust and also capable some changes now and then. This virtual assistant Business Plan gives a path to your business and helps in carrying out day to day activities. Careful researching and thinking about the various aspects of your business give you an opportunity to evaluate your ideas critically. The business plan will be your compass guiding you into the direction you would want your business to grow and gives you the chance of success.
Details of the business: you will get a clear picture of the various elements of business and will help you run the business smoothly. It will guide like a map that will keep you on track as your business grows.
Business management: a well-defined business plan can help you stay focused to gain your long term goals. It acts as a tool and guides you to dealing with possible problems before they even occur. Also, it will give you assistance in keeping your daily tasks well managed.
Funding: analyzing the various aspects of your business and requirements at different stages of business operation will give you a fair idea of how much should you invest now or in the future so that your business works smoothly. This can help you raise funds or arrange it before hand as well.
When is the right time to make a business plan?
Making a business plan never stops. It is a continuous process and needs to change as per the time and conditions. It is a plan of activities document that will evolve as your business grows and should be put to use regularly to achieve the maximum benefit.
Start-up phase: while making initial decisions, to attract clients by giving them a fair idea about your services.
Day-to-day: to measure your progress, forecast your financial requirements, make sure your work tools are up to date, and make sure there is good operational management too.
So with these in mind fulfil your dream of setting up a virtual assistant business and enjoy independence at work. If you would like us to assist you out with your new business, just shoot us a message or give us a call. We would be glad to help you translate your knowledge into a meaningful business.
If you have any doubt or question, please do not hesitate to contact me for a free consultation, I’ll be glad to help!