A Virtual Assistant business is one of the easiest, quickest, and low-cost businesses to start.
If you are interested in starting your own business from home, but aren’t sure where to start or what to do, becoming a Virtual Assistant (VA) is a fantastic introduction into the online business world.
A VA business is easy to set up because it draws from administrative and creative skills you likely already have from other job experiences, your career, or university.
A VA business is also quick to start, because you basically offer a list of services in exchange for a set rate. In terms of cost, you often don’t need to purchase a single thing to get your VA business up and running. You can probably capitalize on the technology and equipment you have in your house already!
Even if you’ve never heard of virtual assistance before, I will take you step-by-step through setting up your very own Virtual Assistant business, and show you how FreshBooks can accelerate your growth so that you see success sooner.
What Is a Virtual Assistant?
We aren’t talking Alexa or Siri here. The term Virtual Assistant can cover a wide range of services, niches, and specialties – from administrative, to creative, to management and more! If there is a need, there is a way for you to make money as a VA.
Simply put, a Virtual Assistant offers services that businesses need. You can offer any service you like for any business you choose. Anything that you could do virtually for a small business, could technically fall under the “virtual assistant” umbrella.
Generally, we know more and more business tasks — appointment management, billing, email communication, document preparation, project management – are happening on the cloud. There is simply no longer a need to be strapped to an office or desk.
Most assistants typically work with executives who are constantly on-the-go. Virtual communication has always been a reality for assistant-type positions. Why not make the entire role virtual? It’s pretty much a no-brainer!
Many virtual assistants start out as generalists, offering administrative skills like answering customer service emails or assisting with data entry projects.
If you already have a specialized skill, you could also start an online service-based business with that skill. Beyond the usual administrative services, you could:
Handle invoicing and follow up on payments
Run social media campaigns like Facebook Ads
Manage social channels like Pinterest or Instagram
Create images and infographics for use in content, presentations, or social media
Help small business owners with their Search Engine Optimization
Write, edit, and package posts for business blogs …
Basically, think of what unique skill you have, what value you can add, and then market yourself!
A VA doesn’t necessarily have to have prior experience as an assistant or in an administrative role. For example, a real estate agent may start a Virtual Assistant business helping other real estate agents with their listings.
How Do I Get Started as a VA?
If you know you’re ready to jump in and start your own virtual assistant business, here are the main steps you’ll need to take to do so:
Choose a name for your business
Decide what services you are going to offer
Package and price your services
Get a contract in place to cover you
Set up your invoicing system
Brand your business
Market yourself as a VA
Start working for clients and accepting payments
What Services Should I Offer as a VA?
I recommend starting as a general administrative VA, especially if you don’t consider yourself knowledgeable and well-versed in the online space quite yet. A general administrative VA can handle email, calendar, customer service, data entry, filing, organization, basic social media, etc.
From there, you can start to specialize as you find out what tasks you do and don’t like doing. You may find out you really enjoy certain tasks and are great at them. You can niche down and become an expert along the way as your VA journey evolves into a growing and thriving business.
There are generally three levels of services you can offer as a VA:
Advanced administration and services, and
Don’t be nervous if you don’t know any advanced or specialized skills – you can learn those as you work general admin for other clients and as you grow your business. You also don’t need to know everything – pick one thing you enjoy doing and learn the heck out of it. Become the expert at it!
A Virtual Assistant may also take tech training programs to further expand his or her knowledge.
Here is a list of the 30 most common services offered by virtual assistants:
Customer Service (email or phone)
Content Creation (blog posts)
Custom Sales Page Creation
Social Media Management
Webinar Setup and Assistance
Billing and/or Processes
Responding to Blog Comments
Maintaining an Editorial Calendar
Social Media Graphics
Ebook Content and Design
Accounting and/or Bookkeeping
PR / Press Releases