Are you tired of working under the supervision of others and want to be your own boss now? Well, if you have already given up working for others and have plans to start your own business then it is best to read this article with some of the best tips on how to become a VA.
What is a Virtual Assistant?
A Virtual Assistant provides a range of administrative support services remotely over the Internet, to a range of clients, from a fully equipped home-office. Many work entirely from home, which others travel frequently and even occasionally work in their clients’ offices.
Typical services include anything that you would expect an office Secretary or PA to carry out, such as:
▪ Event and diary management
▪ Desktop publishing
▪ Typing (digital transcription)
▪ Data Management
▪ Internet Research
▪ Travel arrangements
▪ Appointment setting
▪ Customer service
▪ Database management
▪ Desktop publishing
▪ Financial services such as billing or bookkeeping
▪ Graphic design
▪ Human resources services
▪ Legal assistant services
▪ Medical transcription
▪ Project management
▪ Public relations
And anything else clients need help with!
What are the benefits of becoming a VA?
- No more commuting as you can work from home.
- You can choose when you work (you can start your business on a part time basis).
- You can fit your business around your family life.
- You can choose who you work with.
Here are 11 tips to become a great VA
The amount of experience you need to become a virtual assistant depends on whether you choose to start your own business or work for a virtual assistance company. You can start your business with little experience, as long as you have skills to offer, but many employers prefer to hire virtual assistants with experience in an office environment.
Assess your equipment
Beyond the skills you possess, you will need to be sure that you have the necessary equipment to complete the work functions of a virtual assistant.
Establish your services
Yes, you have to establish your services! Virtual assistants offer a variety of services and you have to decide what your skill set is. Decide what services you can, and more importantly, which ones you can’t provide.
Defining Your Target Market
Now you have your list of skills, you want to fit them around a target market. What type of small business or individual business owner uses your skills? Where are your skills best suited? You should have a pretty good idea of your niche market anyway depending on who you worked for in the past.
Setting Your Pricing
Virtual assistants tend to charge by the hourly rate. Here is the UK, the norm seems to be from £15.00-£25.00 per hour depending on your level of expertise.
Get a website and business card
You have to do this. People need to be able to find you. Your own presence on the web is crucial. It gives you a more professional appearance, the chance to highlight some of your skills and an opportunity to explain your process.
Get involved in social media
This would include Google+, Facebook and Twitter, commenting on blogs, etc. Relationships are key. Being involved in social media is one of the best way to find clients and vice versa (at least until you are established and can rely on word of mouth). Once you’ve started chatting to people try to meet them in person. People do business with people, remember and they will not recommend someone they’ve never met. If Social Media is not your thing then don’t do it as it’s better to not do it at all than to do it badly!
Contact people directly
Start out by emailing target companies directly. With any other business it would be spam, but because Virtual Assistance is unique, people kept my emails for months. They all said they knew the day would come when they needed help. As long as the email is friendly, polite, to the point, and explains why they might need you, people are happy to keep and pass on your details.
Work out how to explain to people what you do when networking – the penny usually drops once you explain the exact kinds of tasks you do for people. Networking gets easier with time, and always keep in mind that people do business with people they like.
Share & collaborate
It is beneficial to know all the other Vas in the area. Exchange resources, pass on work, and support each other. VAs are also a great community who are always happy to help other VAs.
Take a small business course, continually upgrade your skills.
Do you currently work as a Virtual Assistant? What other tips would you add?