Starting Your Virtual Assistant Business
Every career path has the good, bad and sometimes ugly side to it. Starting your own Virtual Assistant business can be all of the above, from very exciting because you will help small business owners like yourself, run their business to sometimes feeling very alone. Outsourcing to a Virtual Assistant continues to expand its reach and more business owners seek the support of Virtual Assistants as an affordable way to leverage business without the need of extra staff. If you are bored with your current career path, then now may be just perfect to launch your own home-based business in order to respond to the growing demand for this kind of service.
You may find collaborating with small-scale entrepreneurs living in different time zones appealing to you. Do you think you are capable of working for others in different industries, maybe another culture and work ethics? If you are nodding your head, then the Virtual Assistant business may be just perfect.
The benefits of being a Virtual Assistant:
Finding the Work/Life Balance. Many VAs leave the corporate world to claim ownership of their time and lives. Working at your own pace and location of your choice can only be achieved by being your own boss. Do you really need to be desk-bound for 8 hours a day?
Freedom. You get to do what you love and set your own rules. The success of your venture rests on your hands and your business model (think of your USP here) so you do not have to answer to anyone but yourself. Find where your strengths lie and focus on that and be the solution your clients would be looking for.
Feasibility of the business. Most Virtual Assistants are home based so you save on office rent. Modern technology will enable you to work efficiently without being in front of them. If your workload gets too great, then consider another Virtual Assistant to support you too.
Your starting capital is only a fraction of what other entrepreneurs need to raise to start a business but make sure you can live for a few months until your business gains momentum and the cash flow starts. As your business grows and you get more clients, your income increases but your overhead expenses should remain minimal.
The ugly side? There are a couple of issues you may want to consider, but fortunately, the good outweighs the ugly:
Getting clients is not as easy and quick as you hoped for. It can be an uphill battle once your business takes off. Landing your first deal may take a while and can result to frustration. This where I recommend you start with joining a business networking group – there are so many available, start with Chamber of Commerce and work from there.
Sell the whole package of required tasks and not just your time. You will make a greater income if your business is priced per project/task. Market your skills as a “problem solver” and reinforce the benefits and value. If you believe in yourself, then the client will too.
Consider the investment of some online courses to learn new skills to ensure you stay on top of your industry. This will certainly boost your confidence and be a step closer to creating your USP (unique selling proposition) or your niche.
Remember that you will be up against other Virtual Assistants and the competition of cheaper overseas options, so come up with innovative strategies to win clients.
You will get your share of bad clients. Even the most experienced Virtual Assistants get at some time be hit by a client you really didn’t need. I’d suggest you tighten up your contract of engagement to avoid loopholes that may lead to disaster.
As your business grows, your share of ups and downs may increase as well. If you just stay focused on your vision, don’t spread yourself too thin by accepting every job and keep working hard. You may be challenged but you will certainly come out wiser and your business will be better for it.
If you find the whole concept of working for yourself as a Virtual Assistant, there are numerous VA groups available for support and guidance. You may even wish to seek a business coach if you are stumbling. Once you land your first client, you will be pinching yourself and asking “why didn’t I start this earlier?”