Want to work from home, but don’t know what to do? Do you find that you spend hours researching work at home opportunities, only to come up with scams? Yup, that was me for many years. Each time I was in between jobs or spending the day at home with a sick child, the desire to work from home would only grow stronger.
So fast forward to today; I currently work as a virtual assistant for several clients and I truly love what I do. So what is a virtual assistant (VA)? A virtual assistant is a professional that provides administrative support virtually. I create content for some websites and manage schedules for others. Each day my work varies, but in the end I’m able to contribute to our household expenses and still be at home with my kids. So today I’ll be sharing some tips to help you get started.
4 Steps To Take To Become A Virtual Assistant
1. Figure out what you’re good at and what you enjoy.
What are you good at? Notice I said good, not the best. I say this because if you know how to do a task, you don’t need to be an expert to do it. I’m not a chef, but I can still whip up a delicious meal for my family. The important thing is that you have skills that your clients need and are willing to pay for, don’t doubt yourself. What do you enjoy? For many years I worked part-time as a translator/interpreter from home along with a full-time job. Funny, that at the time I didn’t realize that what I was doing was in fact VA work. However, I never truly enjoyed it although I was great at it. So make sure that you not only figure out what you’re good at, but also what you enjoy. If accounting is not your thing, don’t promote it as a service because the moment you land an accounting gig you’ll be sorry you did.
2. Create a business plan.
If you want to take this seriously you need to treat it like the business that it is. If you don’t know where to start the SBA website offers some great resources. In your business plan you want to answer questions like: What is my target market? What services will I offer? What are my business policies? Will I subcontract work if I get too busy? You need to know these things BEFORE you launch your business. It may not sound like an exciting thing to do, but trust me you don’t want to skip this step. You’ll find that as your business grows, having a plan will give you a clear vision on what to do and when to do it.
3. Set up shop.
Now the first thing that new virtual assistants want to do is create a website, but not all can afford to pay for one or have the knowledge to create one on their own. Please don’t get stuck at this stage. Simply create a free LinkedIn account and work it like it’s no one’s business. I have several colleagues that have found legitimate jobs simply through connecting on LinkedIn. Make sure you have a computer/laptop, internet and a quiet place to work. Depending on your target market, that’s all you should need to get started. I rarely print, fax, or even use my phone (thanks to Google Voice). As you slowly build up your clientele, you can invest on software and anything else you feel your business needs. You also want to check out your state and local laws to ensure you’re following their rules.
4. Market yourself!
I always hear new VAs complain about not finding work, but my question is, what are they doing to bring in more work? If your goal is to work 25 hours per week as a VA and you’re not doing it, you need to be spending those hours on marketing. Market to local businesses in your area, network online through social media sites and forums. I have personally used my social media sites to connect with current clients. Facebook has great VA groups where other virtual assistants will post job opportunities they know about. Figure out where your clients are spending their time and join them. Answer questions on forums, make connections and don’t be shy to pitch to them when the opportunity arises. There is plenty of work out there, you just have to go out and find it.
One resource that I personally recommended and it’s my go to even now, is The Bootstrap VA book. It’s worth every penny and has been endorsed by many in the VA industry. Click here to check out The Bootstrap VA!
Obviously there are many things that I didn’t cover, but I hope this gave you a general idea of what you can do to get started in the VA field.
*Disclaimer: Post contains affiliate link.
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