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You have read my blogs, done some of your own research and decided that you too want to start your own virtual assistant side hustle. That’s great! Congrats and welcome!!
But now what? There are so many people out there who will tell you what you need to do to launch your most successful VA business. Some will charge you thousands. In my opinion and what I have seen, there is no reason to pay that much. For the sake of being transparent, I did purchase a course and am part of a membership site, which I will talk about later.
While I am not going to go step by step with you, I want to give you some tips and tricks to get you started.
Getting Started as a Virtual Assistant
- Get right with yourself first and foremost. Starting a business is not easy or for the faint of heart. It takes discipline and dedication to show up every day. You have to give 150% even when things aren’t going as planned. Figure out your why. WHY do you want to become a virtual assistant? Make sure that it is something that is big enough to drive you out of bed every morning. Write it down, put it on your computer and look at it every day.
- Choose which services you would like to offer as a Virtual Assistant. I used this article (150+ Services You Can Offer as a Virtual Assistant) to figure out what I already knew how to do, that I could start doing right now. I was also able to find services that I wanted to learn more about in the future.
- Research your target market. Find out who they are, where they hang out and what they like to do. This will help you later when setting your prices.
- Once I chose which services I wanted to offer, I began to research pricing. On average the typical North American freelancer makes $35-$50.00/hr. Again this is dependent upon niche, experience, and services provided.
- Create a pricing sheet for your services.
- Will you offer hourly? hour bundles? service bundles?
Now the Fun Stuff!
- It’s now time to name your business.
- Apply for your EIN with the IRS- you will need this for opening your business checking and savings account.
- Register your business with your state and local government. (your EIN comes in handy here as well). Once you have chosen your business name and registered your business it’s time to open your business checking and savings accounts. You’ll want to have these ready because when you sign up for PayPal or another accounting software, you will need to have the information available so they can transfer all of that dough you’re going to make!
- Claim all of your social media names and links. (I would also recommend signing up for a Gmail account for your business because the Google Suite is AWESOME!!!)
- Now the BEST part! (at least it was for me!) Choosing your logo, colors, and fonts for your brand. I chose to do all of this creation myself, I purchased a font and logo package through Creative Market and opened up a trial in Adobe Illustrator. To choose my colors I created a logo and color scheme board on Pinterest. I pinned every image and color palette that caught my eye. Later I narrowed them down until I had one chosen. I will admit that when I started building my site, I had a completely different color palette than what I ended up with.
- Order your business cards. You never know when you’ll be in a situation where you’ll need them!
Time to get those processes in place
- Especially in the beginning or if you are doing hourly virtual assistant work, you will want to track your time so that you can accurately charge your clients. I have heard Toggl is a great tool and I signed up for it, however, I also signed up for Freshbooks for my bookkeeping and it allows me to track my time on the site and place it directly into an invoice.
- Speaking of invoices, which software will you be using? I chose to grow with Freshbooks because everything is contained in one place. I am able to track my time, scan receipts, keep track of expenses, it’s great!
- Contracts- the best way to protect yourself and your growing company is to have each client sign a contract. You can either write this up yourself or visit a site online like rocketlawyer.com or legalzoom.com. Make sure you have this ready to go before you pitch your first client.
It’s Time to Create!
One of the cool things about owning your own business is that you get to choose which forms and reports to automate and which you would like to do fresh each and every time. Obviously, you shouldn’t automate every form, but you can get pretty darn close to it!
- Write your business plan. It doesn’t have to be crazy in-depth, and really unless you’re looking for investors, you won’t need an in-depth one. One or two pages is fine. I actually found a one-page business plan that I used to develop mine on Pinterest.
- Choose a project management tool such as Trello or Asana to keep yourself organized. There are a ton of them out there, however, these are the two I have most commonly heard. I personally use Trello.
- To save me A TON of time, I chose to automate my processes and forms early on in my onboarding process. This has not only given me the ability to have a quicker turn-around time for clients, but it has also saved time when it comes to editing the forms. You will want to create the following forms and have them ready day 1:
- Intake questionnaire
- Welcome Packet
- Welcome letter
- Policies and Procedures
- List of services and Prices
- Client exit form
A few things that I didn’t mention in the checklist above, but that I would like you to take note of are:
- When I first started and was trying to figure all of this out, I became really overwhelmed. I wanted to make sure that everything was right and perfect. You will hear to not wait for it to be perfect, just go for it. I didn’t just go for it. While I agree with this to an extent, you need to make sure that it’s something you would be proud to put your name on.
- I purchased a class which helped me get started with my business. It’s called 30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistant Success. The class is structured just like its name. You are definitely able to complete the class in 30 days or less. I just took my time with it. it gives you a lot of info and has action steps to complete at the end of each module. Gina does a great job of laying it all out for you.
- As I came to the close of my 30DOL journey- I was scared shitless. I knew I would be able to achieve my goal of starting and running a successful business, but I still wasn’t sure about the specifics of the work I was wanting to do. I came across a lady that kept showing up on my newsfeed named Alma. She’s been working in online content marketing for over 10 years and had just launched a membership site called the Get Paid Network. She was running a special at the end of last year and I decided to check it out. GUYS, I FELL IN LOVE!! I loved the hands-on approach that she provided in her courses. It made me feel much more confident to see what I would be doing as a social media manager. She explained programs we would be using and provided training. She’s almost always available for assistance and is there to coach us and cheer for us along our journey.
- After going through the majority of Alma’s training, I felt ready. I was ready to take action and do it scared. Fail forward.
- Your website. As a virtual assistant, you really don’t need a website but it’s helpful, especially if you are planning to blog. It’s a great way to build your brand and have your own space to market yourself. I don’t believe I mentioned this above, but I built my own website. I spent probably WAY more time on it than I should have, but it was a great learning process which I’m still learning on every.single.day. So if you are tech savvy I would say go for it. Build your own site. If you aren’t, it may be in your best interest to have someone else do it for you.
I’m sure I have more, but I feel like this post is already longer than it should be… So I’ll stop here for now and leave it until next time.