Virtual Assistants - Getting Started

What is a virtual assistant? How do you go about getting started? How do you get clients? If you are one of the many people who are interested in becoming a Virtual Assistant, you likely have many questions you need answered. Why not start out simple and go from there?

I had the pleasure of interviewing Kathie Thomas, the founder of the Virtual Assistant industry in Australia, in a live tele-seminar for Wonderful Web Women. I asked Kathie to share with us where she suggested you should start if you intend to become a Virtual Assistant. Here are Kathie's tips.

First of all, exactly what IS a Virtual Assistant?

A Virtual Assistant is very much like a personal assistant, except in the virtual world. And as Kathie Thomas pointed out, it doesn't mean you have "virtual" people working for you, another term for "pretend". Virtual in this sense means they work over the internet and from their own offices and homes rather than from yours. And, in many cases, busy clients need someone to handle the day to day operations, tasks, and services that they simply do not have time to handle themselves, but are not able to bring in full time staff. So, a virtual assistant is an administrative support person. They take care of the clients needs, leaving the client to focus on running their business, and all from their own home, their own software, and their own equipment.

The first things you need to become a virtual assistant

If you are someone who wants to become a virtual assistant, the first thing you need is the desire. You need the desire to succeed, the desire to work hard, and the desire to operate your own home business. You will then need the knowledge to become a Virtual Assistant, too often there are people who think, "I'll become a virtual assistant so I can work from home" and then they don't have the knowledge to make it happen. There are many courses and coaching programs, including some that Kathie teaches herself, so you can take them to help you learn the necessary skills to get started.

Obviously, you are going to have to make sure that you have all the necessary equipment, which can include a computer, telephone, internet, and specific software programs.

I'm ready to start but how do I find clients?

Kathie says one of the most commonly asked questions from people she helps become virtual assistants is how to find clients. So, once you've gotten the training and equipment you need to get started, now comes the hard part, getting clients! This is probably the hardest part, because many clients are looking for experienced VA's. How in the world can you have experience as a VA if you are just getting started? Quite a tricky question isn't it?

But everyone wants experience

I found it really helpful when Kathie explained how even though you may not have specific industry experience as a virtual assistant, you probably have skills that translate into industry experience. So, think about the experience you do have, this could help you get started. While you are new to the virtual assistant world, you may have high levels of experience in certain tasks, which could help you get started. Are you a master typist? Do you have data entry experience? Are you an accounting major? Are you extremely well versed in a variety of software programs that may be needed?

Network to succeed

Also, clients can't find you, so you have to be prepared to find them. Business cards work perfectly for contacting clients. Get some business cards and pass them out to everyone you know, meet, and come across in your daily activities. Networking should take up the bulk of your time actually.

Networking is crucial to building your business and your list of clients. Talk with other virtual assistants, meet with businesses, and get your name out there. Do not expect to just sit at home, staring at the computer, and think that business will come your way. You have to go find it, there are a variety of methods that you can begin networking.

The internet is a great source for networking groups and websites, take a look around and see what can best benefit your home business. Your virtual assistant business is what you make of it. It is up to you to make a success by using all the tools and techniques available to you.

Author:.

Janet Beckers is the host and founder of Wonderful Web Women. An award winning on-line community recognised for generous and honest marketing advice for women (and enlightened men) on the internet. To learn from the most successful women on the internet through live webinars, masterminds and forums absolutely free, visit http://www.WonderfulWebWomen.com and join today.

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