Since starting my own Virtual Assistant business nearly a decade ago and having been a VA Coach/Trainer for nearly five years now there are common questions that ladies have understandably asked me. I thought it would be helpful for me to compile them for you in case you were considering starting your own Virtual Assistant business. Also read to the end for another freebie 🙂
What is a Virtual Assistant
A Virtual Assistant (VA) is someone who has an administrative/secretarial background who works remotely from their own location using online (free) technology (i.e the internet) to run their business virtually. A VA can offer a range of services to clients virtually, depending on her skill set. A VA has the potential to earn her own money & as much as she decides she wants to make. The benefits to her clients are that they do not need to pay for fringe benefits that they normally would hiring a permanent Executive Assistant that is based in their offices, also they can hire a VA for the amount of hours they require & according to their budget.
What background do I need to have in order to become a VA?
Ideally, a Personal Assistant/Administrative background would be good, as potential clients look for a lot of these kinds of services/skills. The most sought after services they go for are email management, calendar management, travel arrangements, social media management etc, but you do not necessarily need to possess all of these skills. It depends on what niche you are looking to get into. Selecting your niche is something that should carefully be considered and delved into at the beginning of your journey.
What equipment do I need to start my VA Business
It’s fairly simple. You need a decent laptop & a very reliable WIFI set up. That is literally all you need to begin. The rest is all free online systems.
Can I start a VA business if I have a full-time job
The short answer (because this is a technique you need to consider approaching carefully – but completely doable since I am speaking from experience), but you can get your VA business up & running in your spare time (evenings & weekends) & even offer services to clients who are flexible in the hours of work they require of you (most clients are flexible as to when they want the work done by), until you are ready to take the leap. If you want to make the leap to a full-time VA & you have the financial backing to do so immediately, even better.
Do I only work with local clients or can I work with international clients as well?
Absolutely! In my first year of starting out as a VA I landed my first international client & have been working mainly with international clients since then, with a mix of local clients. You need to determine, however, which countries they are based in & compare this to your own timezone so that you can manage the hours & workload expected of you. If you are based in South Africa, there are various ways to be paid by an international client (for more on this, you are welcome to contact me).
How do I find clients as a VA?
This is by far the biggest question all ladies have asked me before they start their businesses up. It is really not a case of setting up your business & hoping that clients identify your business. You need to actively have a good plan in place to find clients. I have formulated a process that I have used to find all my clients (especially if you have a full-time job). If you want to know more, please see my “Work With Me” page on my site.
Do I need a qualification in order to become a VA?
Absolutely not! When I started my VA business I had no qualification at all, only certificates that I had done over the years. I then decided to do my Bachelor of Business Administration degree later to better myself & you can do the same. As long as you have the necessary training in order to be a successful Virtual Assistant and to assist your clients the best you can, that is what sets you apart from the rest.
What services can I offer out to clients as a VA?
The bulk of services that entrepreneurs/clients look for in a VA are very similar to those that a Personal Assistant does in an office. Examples of the popular ones are: calendar management, setting up of meetings, email management, travel arrangements, transcription, social media management. The list is endless & you can of course, depending on your skill set offer your own set of services out & choose one in particular that you turn into a niche service, for example: event planning.
How many hours do I work per day as a VA?
This depends on a few things. One is what hours you have determined you would like to work every day & two is how many clients you take on at a time. You can decide what hours you work & how much capacity you have. If you would like to continue working your full-time job & work nights, then you may need to look at taking on an international client that’s timezone is set to the day, whilst your timezone is at night.
How much money do I need to have in order to start a VA business?
Truthfully, this shocks people when I tell them. You DO NOT need to have a lot of capital to start your VA business! The only costs I will always advise are crucial (and I am not just saying it to say it is #1 the correct training on how to set your VA business up and #2 a Professional website), but it is really minimal start-up costs.
How do I set myself apart from other VA’s out there?
While the VA world has taken off with a bang & many ladies are out there getting their VA businesses up, many of them fail, due to poor client communication or work not being delivered. This is where many VA’s go wrong. To set yourself apart from your competitors, you need to have an absolute drive & passion for excellence & service delivery in ALL that you do! If you have this, you are already a step ahead of your competitors! Many of my clients came to me through recommendations, due to the fact that I offered a service that was top-notch & offered my clients the best possible work delivery. Also, you need a proper plan for your Virtual Assistant business, without a plan we plan to fail.
Where do I have to be based?
The beauty of being a Virtual Assistant, is that you can literally be based anywhere you choose! You are even able to work from the comfort of your own couch (which I did for the first few months starting out), the beach, travelling, the airport, a coffee shop…the list is literally endless. As long as you have a decent laptop & a reliable internet connection.
How long will it take to get my VA business going?
With the correct resources, support & information, you can get your business up in 3 weeks to a month. Remember being an entrepreneur requires effort & perseverance to get up & running. If you dedicate enough time to your business, you will be off before you know it!
Why can’t I go this alone?
When I started out I frantically tried to pull Google articles & blogs together on how to set up my VA business. When I tell you I was in a state & completely lost that is an understatement! If I had some sort of mentor or coach back then I am completely convinced that I would have gotten my business off the ground a whole lot quicker. I deal with a lot of ladies who tried to go out on their own & failed. If I tell you how many of these ladies have come to me for help with their VA businesses, the number is crazy big! You have got to have the groundwork that you need in place to run a successful VA business! Trust me on this one.
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