April 21, 2021
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Helping small business owners, virtual assistants, and creative entrepreneurs grow their business.
Deciding to become a virtual assistant and pivoting from my 6-figure jewelry business was the best decision I could have ever made. Almost anyone can become a virtual assistant that has the freedom to work from anywhere. That’s truly the beauty of our field and the online business space.
If you want to become a virtual assistant, you might be overwhelmed with all of the information out there about starting your business, what you need, and what you don’t need to launch it. I put together this post to help those thinking about starting a virtual assistant business who haven’t quite taken the step to launch yet.
Let’s start off by explaining what a virtual assistant is. A virtual assistant is an entrepreneur. A virtual assistant is a business owner. A virtual assistant is an independent contractor. However, a virtual assistant is NOT an employee. You don’t work for clients; you work with them virtually.
A virtual assistant is a wide umbrella, and anyone who provides online services can be considered a virtual assistant. You could become a general virtual assistant or a specialized virtual assistant who works within one area, such as marketing, admin, or creative services. It’s entirely up to you, and you can change what you want to do as you grow and learn new skills.
The sky is the limit. Most new virtual assistants start around the $15-$20 USD per hour range, and I would recommend not starting below that. As an independent contractor, you will be responsible for taxes on any income you receive as a business owner. It’s essential to keep that in mind when figuring out your starting rate (and then increase it for each client from there!)
Some virtual assistants make $2,000, and some make $10,000 per month. Once you get into the 5 figure range, you would either be offering premium services in packages (like social media management, lead generation, or copywriting) or start to move into an agency model. This is where you hire subcontractors and team members to handle some of your client workloads.
There are only so many hours in the day, and while charging hourly makes sense for some services, and maybe at the beginning of your virtual assistant journey. But you will eventually be fully booked due to time constraints. At that point, you can also move to packages – since you’ll have more experience and can work faster, and packages won’t penalize you cash-wise for working quicker.
Most skills and specialty services can be learned through courses or DIY training.
The only skills you really need to have to start a virtual assistant business are:
That’s it. Everything else can be learned later on as you gain experience and continue to learn new systems, apps, and strategies.
Think about what type of clients and businesses you want to work with, and then ask a few questions to figure out what skills and services you want to offer:
What do your ideal clients need help with?
What do you enjoy doing?
Those two questions are really all you need to figure out what you want to do as a virtual assistant. Here is a list of some commonly offered and requested services:
Once you decide on the services you want to offer, the next step is to set your packages and starting rate. When you decide on a starting rate, make sure you take into account how much you will have to hold back for taxes and other expenses (subscriptions, courses, programs, etc.)
You’ll want to raise your rates a bit for each new client you take on, or at least once per year.
If you decide you want to start with hourly, create hourly retainer packages (20, 30, or 40 hours per month) that require a minimum commitment of 3 months and 30 days notice to cancel. This way, you won’t have clients jumping ship and not wanting to commit. You only want to work with clients who value you and your work, which can be challenging if you are new. But I promise you, don’t say yes to someone who has shown you red flags everywhere – it will become a nightmare down the road.
Important Tip: Have an agreement or contract in place for clients. The contract covers you and is for your benefit. I use Dubsado for all of my invoicing and contracts and can definitely recommend it. Using HelloSign or HoneyBook is another option, too.
The next step to getting your business started is to put it out there and create your business presence! You don’t need a website right away, although it’s definitely a bonus. All you need before you start getting clients is a business presence that includes:
Everything else is just ‘extra’ and can wait until you have a client or two. At that point, you might want to look into really diving into your brand personality and building a website, but for now, you don’t need all of those bells and whistles!
Keep it simple!
The next step is to market your business and actively search for clients. Here is a list of my favorite Facebook Groups for virtual assistants loaded with potential clients and job opportunities.
Another way to get the word out, besides that Facebook page or Instagram profile I talked about earlier, is to send an email to anyone in your world and tell them that you’ve launched your business and are officially taking clients. You never know who needs a virtual assistant and needs what you have to offer!
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