Here’s a post for all the aspiring Virtual Assistants out there! I often get asked about being a VA: how I set myself up, how I manage my accounts and the type of work I do, so here are some top tips if you’re considering becoming a VA…
Decide what you like doing and what you’re good at
As a Virtual Assistant, you get to be your own boss and decide what tasks you want to do to earn your money. If you’ve worked as a Personal Assistant for years and have always hated doing certain tasks, then as your own boss, you can decide never to do them again! Equally, if there are tasks you love doing – or are particularly strong at – then you can decide to make these your bread and butter.
Often the tasks you like the most are the ones you’re best at, so it should be fairly easy to narrow down your offering.
Decide on your niche
Rather than trying to be everything to everyone, try and figure out your niche. This could be a particular industry (e.g. fashion, property, tech), or mean you support certain people (e.g. lawyers, accountants, IT consultants), or offer specific tasks (such as bookkeeping, event management or minute-taking)
Consider if you have specialist skills or knowledge in a particular industry and research the type of people who would use your services to help you narrow it down.
Choose your ideal working environment
Consider how you would like to set yourself up. This includes your working environment (in an office on site with your client versus remotely); your working hours (do you need to work part time or around other commitments, such as the school run, caring duties, or around another job); or do you want to be location independent and work remotely whilst you travel?
You can of course do a combination of the above depending on your circumstances!
Setting yourself up
There are a number of tasks you will need to do in order to set your business. From building a website and creating a standout LinkedIn profile, to setting up your home office, making sure you have all the equipment, tools & apps you need to run your business and finding your first clients. Once you start earning money you will need to register your business with HMRC and complete an annual tax return.
There are loads of resources out there but if you're interested in becoming a Virtual Assistant, I personally recommend this awesome course, which shows you everything you need to do to set yourself up and run your business, in a simple step by step guide: https://goo.gl/rLRFsu
Building up capacity can be slow going when you’re just starting out so never underestimate the value of investing time (and money) on marketing yourself. LinkedIn is a great resource for finding new clients, as is word of mouth – perhaps an old boss, friend or family member could use your services, or recommend you to someone they know.
Take time to attend networking events and market yourself – even when things are going well – to ensure you always have a future pipeline of clients.
Review what’s working and what’s not
Once you’re up and running, schedule time to regularly review what’s working and what’s not. Who are your best clients and where did you find them? Do you need to make any changes to your set-up? Are there any problems you need to address?
It’s a great idea to buddy up with someone for moral support, business advice and to bounce ideas off. Check out groups on LinkedIn, Facebook or local networking groups. If you were used to having lots of colleagues around you in an office and are working remotely now you’re self-employed, it can get lonely so ensure you have a support network in place.
For more advice and other great tips on becoming a Virtual Assistant, check out Joanne Munro’s brilliant DIY VA course here: https://goo.gl/rLRFsu.
As a graduate of this course, I can’t recommend it highly enough – it not only showed me what to do to set myself up, but gave me the confidence to change my thinking from employee to business owner – a must have for any prospective VA!