Grab the audio version of this post here:
Hi there, it’s Alicia at newVAadvice.com and welcome to the Getting Started Series! I decided to start this series due to an overwhelming amount of questions I’ve been getting on the site all related around this one very large question:
How do I get started as a virtual assistant?
If you were one of those people who submitted a question, thank you. I appreciate it because I know that your time is valuable. It was also extremely helpful in order for me to know what you need and provide it to you.
This series will take you step-by-step through the thought processes and actions that you can take in order to decide if this is the right move for you as well as steps on how to go about actually getting started.
First, I wanted to start with some basic information so that we’re all on the same page.
What is a VA?
VA stands for “virtual assistant”, also known as “virtual consultant.”
A virtual assistant works for themselves providing administrative, technical or creative assistance to clients remotely. Those topics of administrative, technical and creative assistance are very broad and consist of a wide variety of services that you could offer. We’ll get to those services in more detail later in this series.
Do people really hire VAs?
The answer to this is yes! There are a number of reasons why it would benefit someone to hire a virtual assistant versus an in-house employee. They don’t have to worry about paying for things like insurance benefits, holidays or deal with sick time and vacations. A VA only charges for the time that they work so that a business saves money versus paying the salary for an in-house employee.
Is starting a virtual assistant business right for me?
There are a number of factors that come into play with this answer. First is your personality and work style. Are you good at working on your own? Are you self-motivated? Are you willing to put the time and effort in that it takes to start your own business? I am telling you that you can make a living this way, but I’m not saying that starting your own business is easy. It’s not as simple as setting up your website, choosing a name and being open for business. But it can be so very rewarding.
Are you a fairly organized person? You also want to think about taxes, tracking expenses and income. All of that comes into play with owning a business.
Can you do it on a small budget? Yes, but it’s not easy. I started my business with zero budget but I struggled in the beginning. It can be done but you have to be resourceful. We’ll talk about expenses involved in startup in this series.
If you still have a full-time job, I would highly suggest that you keep that full-time job and work at building your virtual assistant business on the side. Build up a client base and slowly make the transition. I know that will be hard with working a full-time job but people have successfully done it. We’ll talk about time management as well in this series.
Know Your Why
You really have to know your why, which means, why do you want to start this business?
I know that many of you are in certain situations that led you to think about this, just like I did. Maybe you’re laid off and looking to work on your own terms so that you no longer have to rely on an employer for your income. Maybe you want to work from home so that you can be there for your kids. Maybe you’ve retired and you still need some income coming in. Maybe you can’t stand another day at your corporate job and you want to do something on your own terms.
There are a lot of reasons, but you need to narrow it down to what those reasons are for you. Then, ultimately, what do those things lead to? Financial freedom? Time freedom? What does that afford you? More time with your family? Time for travel? Money to save so that you can really retire?
What is it for you? Define it and write it down. Then put your “why” in a place that you will see it all the time. You want it out in plain view so that you remember your focus when you look at your to-do list, when you get discouraged or when you’re thinking of packing it all in.
Here are your exercises for today.
- Make a list of pros and cons as to if starting a virtual assistant business is right for you based on your personality and work style considering all of the things that I mentioned.
- Then write about your why and really define it.
Get those things on paper and sit with them. Be truly honest with yourself. Then continue on with the next part of this series. You can grab Part 2 here.
Do you have questions so far? Please leave them in the comments section below.