One of the great things about the journey of
starting a home business is the feeling of pride and achievement
when you can look back and realise…
You’ve done it all on your own!
Do you dream of starting a virtual assistant business – a home business where you can assist so many people in realising their dreams by fulfilling yours – but you have a number of un-answered questions on how to start a business?
Do you need some assistance with your small business start-up?
We can help you find the answers you need and show you step-by-step what it takes to be successful when starting a virtual assistant business.
Since virtual assistance is one of the fastest growing industries worldwide, it attracts numerous entrepreneurs around the globe that want to be part of it. Many will be successfull, but unfortunately, many will also fail.
The reason: Starting a Virtual Assistant business is not difficult – basically anybody can do it.
However to be successful as a virtual assistant you will need desire, plenty of motivation, constant commitment, good planning and a truckload of perseverance.
If you are up for the challenge, please continue reading.
Below is an overview of the more important aspects to consider in starting your Virtual Assistant business.
Find Your Motivation
Before starting a home business, please take some time to evaluate your reasons for wanting to be a virtual assistant. Some of the most common reasons could be that you want to
- be independent and your own boss
- work from home and be available to your family
- fully use your skills and knowledge
- experience creative freedom
It doesn’t matter if your reasons are different from these above. We all are individuals with unique circumstances. What matters however, is that you KNOW why you are starting a virtual assistant business.
This knowledge will ultimately be the motivating factor that keeps you going when you reach some obstacles in your path.
Your reasons for starting your home business will help to put you into the right mindset of creating the focus on the things that need to be done.
Do an Assessment
After you’ve made the decision for starting a virtual assistant business, the next question will probably be: “How to start a business successfully?”
First you need to ask yourself a few questions and define yourself in terms of:
- what skills do you have to offer as a virtual assistant
- what additional virtual assistant training do you need
- what are your short, medium and long term goals
- what are your strengths and weaknesses
- what are the opportunities and threats your new business will have
- who will be your clients, how wil you identify your niche and what benefit will your services offer them
- what are your budgetary constraints
The intention of working through these steps is to evaluate your current situation. An honest evaluation will probably show you some encouraging points to focus on as well as some aspects that might require additional attention.
Brainstorm a Suitable Business Name
When starting a virtual assistant business, an appropriate name is one of the more important aspects to consider. Since you are a virtual service provider, your business name is usually the first thing that clients will see.
It is therefore important that your name has the quality to catch the attention of your potential clients. It should be a name that people can remember, that is descriptive of the services that you provide and also give you the freedom to expand your services into other areas later on. Take your time on this and do a proper job – it is time well spend.
Plan your Success – Create a Business Plan
I strongly believe that well thought through preparation and planning is an absolute must to facilitate your success when starting a virtual business.
It is not necessary to have a plan that goes to deep into the technical detail of a business. You just need a road map to take you from A to B – where you currently Are, to where you want to Be.
This road map, also called a business plan is your vehicle to success. It needs to include information on how to operate your business in term of services, equipment requirements, business hours, pricing, advertising etc. For more detailed information on writing a proper VA business plan, please click here.
The benefits of a complete business plan are the confidence that you will most likely minimise unexpected surprises by addressing all the fundamental steps at the onset of your journey.
Setting your Price
When starting a virtual assistant business, you need to decide how much you are going to charge for your services.
Pitfall: Many new VAs make the mistake to start their business with an hourly rate that are much too low.
It is important not to undercharge your clients, but to price your services at a reasonable market related rate that will give you the opportunity to still cover your costs and allow you to make a profit.
Currently there are no industry standard for VA rates, since the rates can vary greatly depending on the services been offered. As a common practice, pure administrative tasks are at the lower end of the scale while services like website design can be at the higher end.
By charging too low a rate, you might get more business in the short run, but it might cost you in the long run. Clients that make use of the cheapest possible VA that they can get, are sometimes – as I call it – pennywise and pound foolish. They might not easily accept it when you want to increase your rates.
A market related charge sends the message of confidence in your own abilities and might win you clients for life.
Do Financial Management
Whether you are comfortable with numbers or not, you should have a basic understanding of the financial aspects of running a business before starting a virtual assistant business.
A good bookkeeping and invoicing system will be invaluable to give you inside information into the flow of money in your business.
You can either decide to do it yourself, or outsource it to someone else, but having a strong grasp of the financial requirements of your business can take you a long way.
Design your Office Space
When starting your virtual assistant business, you have the privilege to set up and design your own office space. For me, it is a pretty important aspect of your business as well. It is the place where you are spending most of your time during the day. Ensure that it is comfortable, have good lighting and have all the equipment you need.
Tip: When you first start out, you might not need a lot of space, but remember, that as your business grows, so will your needs. Thus try to allow for a workspace that can be expanded later on.
Conform to Legal Aspects
When you are satisfied with your business name and have your plan set out, you need to decide on your business legal structure.
Your first stop should be the business information centre of your city or country. They can provide you with information packages about licensing, permits, zoning requirements, your particular business type, tax requirements and running a business in your country in general.
The packages are usually free, and the information are invaluable in terms of starting a virtual assistant business on the right foot.
For the license and registration procedure, you need to decide on the legal structure of your business. Most VAs usually start out as a sole proprietorship since it is the easiest and least costly way of starting a virtual assistant business. Later, depending on the growth of your business, you might decide to change it.
Find Clients and Keep Them Happy
At this stage, you are ready to get those clients. Make sure you understand who your typical customers are, and how best to reach them.
The secret to success is to know what your clients need and to inform them of the benefits your service will bring to their tables. People positively react on information that provides solutions for their needs and problems.
It is important that your marketing campaign is not only striking, but also addresses the needs of your target market. Keep your marketing elegant and professional and your service delivery friendly, accurate and exceptional. Before you know it, satisfied repeat customers will refer people to you.
This word of mouth advertisement will be the most powerful marketing campaign that you will have to keep your business booming.
Remember that starting a virtual assistant business is usually the shorter and easier part, but keeping the momentum and the clients flocking requires the hard work, dedication and a bit of imagination.
Tip: It is however not necessary that you should stress over finding clients and keeping them flocking to your door. If your business is build on a solid foundation, you will soon be in a position to say …“No, I’m Terribly Sorry… I’m Not Accepting New Clients Right Now.”
The important thing is – Enjoy the journey!
You have worked very hard in starting your virtual assistant business and bringing it this far. Although it is necessary to keep the momentum and driving your business forward, it is also important to ensure that you are available when your family needs you.
Wasn’t that perhaps one of the reasons why you chose to work from home?
Keep your new small business start-up an amazing experience for yourself and your family.
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