How to Start a Virtual Assistant Business
A virtual assistant (VA) provides administrative, technical or marketing assistance to clients remotely, usually a home office. Communication with clients is primarily by phone, fax or internet. In fact, sometimes a VA may never even meet the client.
Before you become a virtual assistant, you want to have several years of administrative experience under your belt. In addition, if you decide to start a VA business, you want to have your own website where potential clients can get information about your company.
When meeting potential clients for the first time, you always want to act professional. Demonstrate that you are trustworthy, can complete tasks in a timely manner and follow through on agreements as expected. Put together a clear outline of the VA services that you provide, explaining how you work with your clients.
What Equipment Do I Need?
The basics include a computer, fax machine (or online fax capability), printer/scanner/copier, a back up hard drive, phone and high speed internet connection. Ring Central has a low-cost online service where you can get phone and fax services through your computer without having purchase equipment. If you do need to purchase equipment, take a look at refurbished products. You can often get great deals on quality products.
You'll want software to create word documents, an email program too and software for other services that you decide to provide for your clients.
Do I Need Virtual Assistant Training?
Certification is not required to run a virtual assistant business. However, a VA certificate demonstrates your knowledge, skills and professionalism and can help you gain more clients. You can even get certified as a Social Media Marketing Specialist or Virtual Event Specialist. VA Classroom and Assist U both offer good virtual assistant training programs online
How do Virtual Assistants Find Clients and Jobs?
Virtual assistants have several work options. First decide whether you want to work part-time or full time. Do you want to work for large firms, smaller companies or provide virtual assistance to individuals?
When it comes to setting your service rates, take into account (1) your experience (2) what you need to earn per hour to remainprofitable and (3) the competing VA rates in your area. According to the Virtual Assistance Chamber of Commerce, virtual assistants charge between $35 and $70 per hour for their services. If you are unsure of what to charge, check what competitors in your area are charging.
Some online sources for virtual assistant jobs and finding clients:
1. Virtual Assistants has an online database of jobs for virtual assistants and other home-based administrative positions.
2. The Virtual Assistance Chamber of Commerce offers an online directory. Through membership, virtual assistants can post their business contact information and connect with potential clients.
3. Flex Jobs lists information on telecommuting jobs, including freelance and full time work options.
A virtual assistant business can be a convenient home-based business that fits into your lifestyle. Want more information?