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Tools you will Need to Start a Successful Virtual Assistant Business

Updated on July 19, 2014

Becoming a virtual assistant (VA) is one of the fastest growing, in demand work at home jobs. This position works to the advantage of an employee by drawing from the strengths of skill sets that may have been learned in a corporate or classroom setting. Virtual assistants can offer a wide variety of services based on their niches. There is, for example, jobs such as freelance writers, graphic designing, and travel advisers. Potential clients can choose assistants that have specific skills needed to complete their projects. To find work, a VA can either seek open positions on job boards or start their own business from home.

Virtual Assistant Business vs Virtual Assistant Job

Having a virtual assistant business is quite different than being employed by a major corporation to work remotely. As with any business, you will be responsible for your income. Your income will be determined by the number of clients and cost per job. Time management will be important as you will have to complete jobs and market your services to ensure a steady stream of clientele. Business minded individuals will enjoy the opportunity to have more control of their income and the type of work they perform. Should this be an interesting opportunity for doing work from home, the following resources will help you know how to get started and how to secure clients.

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Checklist for what you will need to get started

  • Office phone
  • Computer with updated software
  • Printer
  • Website
  • Business Cards
  • Brochures
  • Networking Skills
  • Join Virtual Assistant Association

Start up Cost

The good news about starting a VA from home is the start-up cost. All you need is an office phone, updated computer and software, and a printer. However, you will accrue some costs for a website and marketing materials. Hiring a professional web designer could cost you several hundred dollars to just over a thousand dollars. If you have the skills to create a professional looking website on your own you can decrease your costs significantly.

Question: Do I need a business name to start my own virtual assistant business?

This is a yes and no answer. If you are doing freelance work under your name you do not need a business name. However, if you think you will be hiring employees to work with you, then you must have a business name and a EIN (Employer Identification Number).

Marketing

Marketing will be a key component to maintaining your business. Reaching out to potential clients will take up most of your time at the start of your business. Brochures and business cards will be a staple to introducing yourself and your talents. As a suggestion, Vistaprint might be the most affordable way to get the marketing materials needed to promote your business. If needed, you can upgrade your professional brand by hiring a graphic designer to create your marketing materials.

Networking and Associations

Participating in business networking events can help you garner leads for your business. Check with local newspapers for events. Subscribing to local business organizations on Facebook is another way to find out about networking events in your area. You will often be notified of business events that might not be advertised through regular media outlets. Connecting with the participants during these events will help you establish a relationship and promote your services. Be sure to stay in contact with them once the event is over. E-mail them to keep them updated about your business and services. Your established relationship and connection will remind them of the resources you have available to meet their business administrative needs.

The following are a some resources for VA associations where training, support, and job listings are available.

Networking event
Networking event | Source

Alliance for Virtual Business

This is an online community that offers support for those struggling in their business through training webinars. Virtual Assistants have the choice of a free or paid membership to the site. With the free membership you will have access to their forums for questions. Their seminars and webinars gives members the chance to keep up with the latest findings in the VA business. You will get advice to help you with content marketing of your services. There is even a chance to earn commissions through their affiliate plans. Also, you will be allowed to place their logo on your website to show your membership with a trusted VA network. The paid or elite membership is $9.97 per month or $107.97 per year.The elite membership gives you the same access with the added advantage to have your business placed on their directory, one on one coaching, and access to their mastermind program. All of this information can be found on their website.

VA Networking.com

This site was founded in 2003. Their main goal is to get you trained and working. Their members have access to top training, and clients can search for a VA to suit their needs. Anyone can join for free to network with other experienced assistants. Many are able to find resources to help further their business through the forums. Paid membership offers quite a bit more for an annual fee of $333. With your paid membership you will have access to their job board, group coaching, and webinar training.

Virtual Assistant Jobs

This is not an association, but if you are looking to find work quickly you will want to look at their job board. They are posting real virtual assistant jobs that are ready for immediate hire. You will be required to create your own virtual assistant website that highlights your expertise and skills. It is a way for a potential client to know if you will be a good fit for their company. More information about the companies that are ready to hire can be found on their website Virtual Assistant Jobs

Setting Rates

Once you have decided to begin a virtual assistant business you may be wondering how much to charge for your services. The average corporate administrative assistant can make $20 per hour, with a range of $13 to $35 per hour. When you are setting your prices you will want to consider a minimum amount of time for your services and create your rate.

Here's an example:

Lets say you require at least a five hour window to work a project per day and you charge $25 per hour. You would have made $125 for that day. If you propose five days to complete the job then your price for that week is $625.

If are just beginning you should set your price low enough to attract clients and gradually increase as you become more experienced and have gained a significant amount of clients.

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Tips for New Virtual Assistants

If you are starting your journey into the world of virtual assisting you will be in a race against time. Bills and expenses can pile up while you attempt to create a full-time income with little experience. If at all possible, new VA business owners should ease into going full-time. A part-time job might be a way to fill in the gaps as new clients come in. Once you are able to replace your income, then you will be able to move into full-time work. It would also be appropriate to take on virtual assistant work from a freelance job board such as elance or freelancer to build your portfolio and income while building your clientele.

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    • GypsyOwl profile image

      Deb Bryan 2 years ago from Chico California

      In my case I did not have the ability to work outside the home even part-time when I started. I made it, but, it was a challenge. You are correct... if at all possible keep a part time job until you build your business.

      Technology has given me the opportunity to continue working in spite of situations which keep me homebound. I am a Virtual Assistant. Your article is well written! Obviously from wisdom and experience.

    • momsdoworkathome profile image
      Author

      Katina Davenport 2 years ago from Michigan

      Yes Gypsy Owl. I have a little experience in this area, but had to stop my business when I got ill. I am not sure that I will go back to it. Writing is my niche. Thanks for stopping by.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 2 years ago from Northern California, USA

      The virtual assistant business can be difficult to break into, but you have provided some truly helpful information.

    • momsdoworkathome profile image
      Author

      Katina Davenport 2 years ago from Michigan

      It is very difficult. I tried. Hopefully, someone can be helped by reading this article. Thanks for stopping by MarleneB.

    • ijvirtualadmin profile image

      Ivy 12 months ago from Philippines

      Do you have advice on how to balance being a virtual assistant? I have been a virtual assistant for a year now. The only thing that is bothering me is how virtual assistant can make or break the balance of having a home business and caring for your family?

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