Have you ever thought about becoming a virtual assistant? Whether you're a stay at home mum who wants to find a job but needs flexible hours or someone looking into starting an online business – becoming a virtual assistant may be a career to consider.
This business model can provide you the flexibility that you need with the income you desire.
Many stay at home mums don’t have enough time to devote to a full-time job along with managing their household. But with the economic situation the way it is – most of us need additional income and don’t have a choice.
And the thought of leaving our kids in daycare isn’t always the most appealing option.
The good news is that with technology at our finger tips, there are lots of opportunities, where you can have the best of both worlds.
Becoming a virtual assistant is just one of those options. Let’s dive in and get started!
A virtual assistant is a home-based entrepreneur who provides assistance to clients ranging from administrative help to social assistance.
The great thing about it, is that they can work from their home office and still provide the customer with all the services he may need. For example, they can send e-mails for clients, write blogs, schedule appointments, or even update their websites – just to name a few.
If you don’t have some of those skills do not get discouraged. There are many different online resources that can help you sharpen the skills that you do have and develop the skills you don’t.
You need to start off by making a business plan. The plan does not have to be complicated, but it should be a clear and concise sketch of how you want to go about your business. You can think of what services you want to provide, how much you are going to charge, etc.
While making your business plan think of an appropriate name to call your business. Consider the following :-
Next, you may need a license and permit before you become a virtual assistant. This will vary state-by-state so do your research before you get started. You can talk to municipal or country officials, or even check online to find out what you need to start a business. You may want to start as a sole proprietorship, but you can change that eventually.
It is important that you seek tax advice from a professional as well so you know exactly what to do and when you need to do it. Again, these requirements can all vary state-by-state.
Now, focus on how to attract clients to the services you render. Let your clients know what benefits you can offer them when they sign up with you. Also, market yourself. Your business can be really strong depending on your marketing strategies.
Don’t be afraid to use the multiple social media outlets that are now available. A Facebook page and a LinkedIn profile can prove to be valuable free resources in spreading the word of your new business.
You can start a website for a very minimal cost. This can be a very helpful way to list general information about yourself, your services, and your fees. You can also list your contact information as well as any promotions you are offering.
There are also places like Elance.com or Odesk.com where you can find some clients initially. For a minimal fee you can bid on jobs that fit your skillset. This is a great way to get your foot in the door and build a reputation. Be sure to read all of the policies and procedures before starting with these sites to ensure that you stay in compliance.
Finally, go that extra mile for clients so they trust you and know they can rely on you. By doing this they will not only contact you for repeat business but refer you to others as well.
There are various. You can set your own schedule for the most part. Some clients may have certain requirements at particular times but usually you are free to do tasks that fit within your schedule. With today's technology and the smart phones available you can often work from a variety of different places - e.g. it's not a problem if you have to take your kids to their soccer training and need to send an email at one exact timing!
You don’t have a pesky boss breathing over your shoulder each and every day. You also get to work from the comfort of your home which means no commuting - thus saving you on time and money. All you need to establish in your home office is a computer, an internet connection, phone and it could be helpful to have a fax machine and a scanner.
There are many tools on the internet to help you become a virtual assistant. They will also assist your new business
along the way. Here are a few :-
www.ivaa.org (International Virtual Assistants Association)
This is a non-profit organization geared for the education and development of virtual assistants. It also offers resources for customers looking to grow their business with the help of VAs.
A social networking site specifically for virtual assistants and their clients.
www.virtualhelponline.com (No affiliation).
This website provides guides and helpful hints from book-keeping to formatting help and everything in between.
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