It is not difficult if you know how to become a Virtual Assistant.
Many administrative professionals, at some time or another during their careers, have the desire to leave the corporate rat race and change from that rigid 9-5 office job to a more flexible self-owned business.
Today, that dream is within your reach by becoming a virtual assistant.
Click on the link for the definition of a Virtual Assistant
Becoming a virtual assistant offers you the flexibility of making the rules and giving you the opportunity to balance your lifestyle to suite your own needs. A VA has the satisfaction of being a professional, by doing the job that you love, from the comfort of your own home.
Below are a few things to consider when becoming a Virtual Assistant.
Do You Have the Right Skills
Becoming a virtual assistant requires a lot of hands-on computer work.
Basic skills that are useful include good computer and internet knowledge, typing-, word processing-, emailing and phone etiquette skills, good customer services skills and solid administrative knowledge.
More advanced skills can include web- and graphic design, marketing and public relation skills – the list however, is not limited to these examples.
Every aspiring VA will have a unique set of skills – and there are no right or wrong. Naturally the broader your skills base are, the more options you will have in applying them in your business – and the more marketable you will be.
Tip: To decide if you have the necessary skills, start by making a list of all your previously acquired skills – even if you think that they are pretty ordinary.
Don’t forget to include the “softer” skills such as personality and typical entrepreneurial characteristics that can be helpful in becoming a virtual assistant. Traits such as inner motivation, being a self-starter, having a high energy level, persistence and a strong drive to succeed are all useful in starting your own VA business.
What Services Could You Offer
There are a vast number of services that VAs can offer, ranging from pure administrative tasks to more advanced graphic- and website design.
Although most VAs specialise in administrative or secretarial services (e.g. word-processing, phone answering, mailing and emailing, setting up spreadsheets, event planning etc.), many have created niche markets. They provide their own brand of services such as language translation, bookkeeping, web design, internet-, marketing research, real estate transactions, medical transcriptions and so much more.
Click here to review the list of services that a Virtual Assistant can provide.
The possibilities are endless and with the growth in technology, it is just getting better and better.
Make a list of the services that you can provide when you become a virtual assistant and be clear on the areas in which you want to specialize in.
Tip: It is better to start your business with a few services that you can perform really well, than to struggle with a number of different tasks that you are not
feeling comfortable with.
Remember that the more professional, accurate, efficient and fast your service delivery is, the more satisfied your clients will be. Once you’ve established a solid customer base, there will be more than enough time to experiment with new services to expand your business.
Get All the Information
It is always good practice to have excellent knowledge on the area of specialisation you want to go into. Thus, research and finding all the information you need before starting your own business is fundamental in becoming a successful virtual assistant.
Tip: Use your research as building blocks. It will give you relevant information on WHAT virtual assistants are actually doing and HOW they are doing it. It can also assist you in getting a clearer picture of what YOU want to do with your business.
Examples of areas for your research that will give handy information include:
Requirements for starting a virtual assistant business Knowing what you need to do, how to do it and what you are getting yourself into can save a lot of time and may help you to avoid unnecessary mistakes.
How did other virtual assistants start their businesses? It is always good to learn from the experts and tap into their experiences.
What are the typical services that other VAs offer? It can be valuable to understand how other VAs apply their skills. It might also help you to get some ideas on a new niche market that you can focus on.
What are the typical rates for your specific line of service? Comparison of rates can help you to avoid the common pitfall of rating your services too low or too high.
What virtual assistant associations do other VAs belong to? Valuable information and networking opportunities can be obtained through VA associations, chat groups and message boards.
What kind of training and certification is available? Evaluate if you need additional skills in becoming a virtual assistant in your field of expertise.
Pitfall: Research can become quite time-consuming. Take care that you do not get carried away and perhaps overwhelmed with the amount of information available on the net. Do not spend days and months on end to try and find all the relevant info.
Determine when you have enough to carry on.
Always keep your goals in sight.
Do You have Your Family’s Support
Becoming a virtual assistant can be one of the most fulfilling professions available today for administrative professionals.
However, starting your own business can have its toll on your family life in terms of…
You may think that by becoming a VA, you will have more time available for family and friends. Unfortunately that is not always true. You will probably have less time available since most of it will go into getting your business off the ground and keeping your clients happy.
Many VAs work extremely long hours in the first few years and some continue working odd or long hours well after their business became successful.
Tip: Discuss the time aspect of your business with your family. Decide on how you will structure your working hours and get their understanding and cooperation.
Not only your spouse needs to understand the change in your lifestyle, but it is also important that you get the buy-in of your kids. It will be easier if they are a little bit bigger and understand that there are certain hours that mom has to work.
Unfortunately with toddlers and/or babies, this is not always that easy. Luckily a day has 24 hours. With a bit of creativity you can squeeze quite a number of work time out of the day by either hiring someone to look after the kids at your own house and/or by working when kiddo is sleeping.
By being your own boss, you don’t have a fixed monthly salary to pay the bills and fill all those household gaps. Initially it will take some time and dedication to get on the same income level that you had before becoming a virtual assistant.
It might take a few months before your business is off the ground and you can contribute financially to the household again.
Tip: To make the road a little bit smoother, set aside some money before starting your VA business to help cater for your needs during that first few months.
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