Virtual assisting is one of the exciting careers you can start in the comforts of your own home. It’s a minimum investment opportunity; you can work your own hours, and be there for your family. I love being a Virtual Assistant (VA), but in the beginning, it was hard to focus on what I needed to do to get started. So, I’d like to give you seven brief tips on how to get your own virtual assisting business up and running fast.
1. Ensure You Have The Basic Equipment
Before you can get clients and start to work, you need basic equipment for your business. It doesn’t have to be fancy; it just needs to get the job done. Remember, as a VA, clients are not going to come to your home. However, you do need a quiet environment to work in. You will have meetings with clients via the phone, web and Skype conferences.
This brings up the need for a decent computer. Thanks to the many free applications and virtual software, you don’t need a computer with much memory. You can store your documents on sites such as Dropbox or Google Drive. It is wise to have high-speed internet access.
A printer is not something you will need 100% of the time, so if you can’t afford one, just print at the library until you get one. I already had an all-in-one office printer that is a scanner and fax as well. I don’t have a landline, so I use an online fax system called HelloFax.
2. Determine Your Niche
Next, you need to determine your niche, which is your specialty. You can offer many services as a VA. You can work with realtors, attorneys, work on web design, provide social media services, or provide general administration services. Take a moment to decide what it is you do best and focus on that. Being a VA can involve long hours, especially in the beginning, so you want to enjoy what it is that you do.
3. Get Your Licensing and Insurance
Register with your state for a DBA license if you are not going to use your legal name for your business. A DBA license may require a small fee. Use this to open a business bank account to keep your income separate from your personal bank account.
Some VA’s have it and others don’t. But operating a professional and successful home based business requires adequate insurance. For one, your computer is your lifeline. It’s how you do business. Since this is your business property, your homeowners or renters policy can deny coverage for your computer if it were stolen or destroyed in a fire. What should you do if you are sued for professional negligence? So just to be sure, get insurance. I signed up for an affordable plan online with Insureon insurance.
4. Establish a Web Presence
This is important because you are a Virtual Assistant and your clients are expecting you to have a web presence. You don’t have to be tech savvy. There are thousands of website platforms already designed and ready to go. Some platforms are drag and drop enabled. You can literally have a site up in under an hour and be ready to promote yourself.
Choose from either a free or a paid web-hosting plan. WordPress.org is popular and offers free hosting. There is a bit of a learning curve, but it gives you a professional presence. You can also pay for your own web-hosting plan. I have my own along with my own domain name. This gives me greater flexibility with what I can have on my site.
You can interact with customers and gain new ones with a social media presence. These sites are free to sign up for and highly recommended for VA’s. LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and even Pinterest are the best for VA’s. Don’t forget to sign up for directory listings such as Manta, of which you can interact with potential clients as well.
5. Get Business Cards
Now, I know I mentioned you are virtual, but never rule out the power of face-to-face marketing. Get yourself a set of business cards. I signed up and got a great deal on business cards with Vista Print. 500 cards should do nicely. You can ask friends to pass them out to business owners and use them at networking events. Keep one on you at all times for that casual grocery store conversation.
6. Work On Your Client List
After you have narrowed down your niche, you can focus on who your clients will be. Marketing yourself is difficult in any business. You can reach out to prior employers, talk to local business owners, join professional networks online or in your community, or contact businesses with classified listings looking for web designers, admin assistants, or receptionists. You are looking to fill the void in their company.
7. Get a Few Credentials
Finally, you can get a few credentials. It’s not necessary and many clients may not expect you to have any. It is a way to shine above the others though. You can display a badge on your website for organizations you have joined such as the IVAA or get your VA Certification.
As you can see, there are many steps involved in starting your own Virtual Assisting business. However, the process is quite fast. Being a Virtual Assistant is a rewarding experience that enables you to stay home, continue to interact with the business crowd, and the income potential is amazing! If you have tips for those interested in starting their own Virtual Assisting business, please share with us your best practices in the comments below.