If you dream of working from home full-time and creating your own schedule, then the rapidly-growing virtual assistant industry might be your undiscovered calling. Running your own virtual assistant business offers a wide range of technical and administrative services to business owners, remotely. If you’re a mom, travel enthusiast or want to work wherever and whenever you want, a virtual assistant job is worth exploring. I’m sharing my seven no-nonsense steps on how to become a virtual assistant and start creating a profitable and flexible business.
Psst – you’ll also love this post where I share the ultimate virtual assistant services list. And spoiler alert, you don’t have to be great at 25 different things to work as a VA. Everyone has a skill(s) they can offer a business, and this list will help you identify your specific zone of genius!
How to Become a Virtual Assistant
Before I launched my VA business, I was in the retail industry. I desired more time with my family, a more flexible schedule and the freedom to work anywhere. That’s when I discovered the virtual assistant industry, and the endless opportunities it offers. A fire was lit inside me, and I was determined to make this career path work. In just four short weeks, I had a booked-out client list. I remember telling my husband, “I think I just built a business.” And you want to know something else? I didn’t have a fancy website or social media accounts dedicated to my business yet either. So if I can do it, yes friend, you can do it too!
If you have that burning desire like I did to have more independence with your career, this post is for you. I’m showing you how you can work remotely as a virtual assistant, part-time or full-time. Plus give you the ins and outs of the trade, how to find virtual assistant jobs aka clients, and most importantly, how to generate an income. Here are seven actionable steps to launch your business and start as a virtual assistant.
Step One: Name Your Business
You first need to figure out what you want to call your business. Don’t make it too complicated or overly flashy. I’d also recommend it be two to four words max, so it’s easy for someone to remember. The last thing you want is for someone to have to reference your name or Google your name because they couldn’t remember it. If they’re talking to someone about your business, you want them to be able to remember it right then and there.
It needs to be pretty straightforward and not easily confused wording. You want it to be clear exactly what it is that you do and offer. It’s fun to play off words related to your niche and/or industry. For example, if you focus primarily on customer service and administrative tasks, look up words related to those niches and see if you can create a unique, yet easily remembered name. Looking at the big picture of building your business, this a very tiny part in the grand scheme of things. So don’t put too much pressure on yourself.
Step Two: Get It Legal
I get it, this is not a fun part to building a business, but it’s an important one. You want your business and your assets protected before you start any type of business. And honestly, it’s not as complicated or overwhelming as it might seem when you read the word, “legal.” Incfile offers to file on your behalf and all you have to pay is the state filing fee. This is exactly what I did when I started The Virtual Assistant Studio! It’s super easy to apply for a tax EIN number too. Just go to your government website, fill out the form, and they’ll let you know within seconds what your tax number is. You’ll need that later when you go to register for a business bank account.
To review, there are three important steps to check off your to-do list when you’re starting your business:
- Apply for an EIN number
- Register as either an LLC or Sole Proprietor
- Set a calendar reminder to pay taxes quarterly
You’ll want to pay taxes quarterly, so you don’t take a big hit when it comes to filing your taxes each year. Because you don’t get taxes taken out of your paychecks automatically like a corporate job would, it’s important to pay them a little at a time throughout the year. This helps with budgeting.
Step 3: Decide on Your Services
Referring back to the beginning of this post, when I said you don’t have to be good at many different things and proficient in many different programs. You just have to be really good at a few things to create an offer a business owner can’t refuse! Maybe you’re a great writer who can knock out blog posts or an email marketing sequence in no-time. Or you have excellent organizational skills who can assist a business with email management and data entry. These are tasks businesses hire virtual assistants for.
Remember that you’re building a business that you love! So think about things you enjoy doing. Better yet, what are things that people around you always request your help for? I recommend doing a brain dump of all your transferable skills. Use my virtual assistant services guide to help! Then narrow it down to 5 to 7 tasks.
Step 4: Price Your Services
The easiest way to price out your services is to work backwards. How much do you need to make to live comfortably? Do you need to match the salary that you might be making at your current 9-5 job? Or would it be better to make more than what you’re making now?
Some virtual assistants charge an hourly rate while others have a set retainer for the packages they offer. Your goal is to have retainer clients who choose specific tasks to be completed each month in exchange for an agreed upon rate. However, sometimes there are clients who need assistance with a specific project that isn’t recurring. You might need to charge hourly for that type of service. Or you could estimate how much time that specific project will take you and propose a total price for the service.
I recommend creating three different packages to allow your clients to choose which is best for them. That way, your packages can work with most budgets for your potential clients.
Step 5: Determine Who You Will Serve
Once you figure out what specific tasks and services you’ll offer as a VA, you’ll then want to decide who you’ll serve. Like the services you offer, it’s a good idea to niche down a bit when it comes to the businesses you support. That way, you learn the ins and outs of that specific industry. It’s better to be really good at one or two things than to be OK at several things. That’s sort of how it is with who you serve. You want to be 10 steps ahead of the clients you serve, and that includes knowing what will help scale their business in the industry they’re in.
Remember, there’s a need for a VA in almost every industry. I’m talking real estate, medical, tech, construction, brick-and-mortar retail, you name it! For me, I knew I wanted to stay on the creative end of my VA services. So serving content creators and small business owners related to lifestyle was a natural fit for me.
Step 6: Reach Out to Potential Clients
I know it seems so intimidating to find your prospective clients, but we can’t have a business without them. Trust me when I tell you that there are business owners looking for help. Sometimes they just don’t know where or how to look for the help they need. So it’s our job to reach out to businesses to make that pitch and irresistible offer they’ve been looking for. The worst they can say is no!
I recommend making a list of the businesses you’d ideally like to assist along with the contact’s name and email address. If you can’t find an email address, then you can always pitch to them via their social media accounts. Keep notes on when you sent each business an email. If they respond, great! If they don’t respond the first time, then plan to follow-up with another email if they don’t respond within a week. Sometimes emails can get lost in the shuffle of things.
Another great place to find potential clients is to join Facebook groups with people who may be your ideal customer and provide valued content. You can also join virtual assistant Facebook groups where they often times will have jobs listed. All it takes it finding that first client. Then it all of sudden gets easier from there. I built most of my business off referrals of existing clients. So it’s sort of like a snowball effect. Whether you’re looking to be an executive assistant, social media manager or something in between, with these 7 steps- you’re sure to be booked out in no time!
Step 7: Book Your First Discovery Call
In your pitch emails to potential clients, you’ll want to include a call to action. I recommend that call to action be scheduling a call either via phone call or using a video platform. This will give both you and the client a chance to get to know each other better. Take this opportunity to determine what types of services they’re needing, if those are feasible for you to manage and to better explain the services you offer to them.
The client/virtual assistant relationship should be mutually beneficial, and it’s important to ensure that you guys will vibe well! Though you hope every client will work out, some may not be the best fit. And that’s OK! For a better understanding of how to recognize if a client isn’t right for you, read this post here.
Hey, I get it, starting your own business can seem like an intimidating process. But trust me when I tell you that you CAN do it! Growth doesn’t come from comfort zones. It’s when we decide to take control of our own future, and step out of those lines of comfort that the magic is found. I’ll be here to help you every step of the way!