Nowadays business organizations are looking for supportive solutions to make profits. They don’t want their in-house employees to waste time on mundane or regular jobs.
Instead, they want them to engage in tasks that generate profit. To fill this gap, most of the businesses are hiring persons who do daily duties such as day planning, etc., for them from remote locations.
These persons who work away from the office but still do the main day-to-day duties are called Virtual Assistants. The requirement of VAs is going high with every passing day, so it is a good idea to make a living using this opportunity.
In this article, we are going to give you a precise guide on how you can earn through this business. First, let’s understand who a virtual assistant is.
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What is a Virtual Assistant Business?
A Virtual Assistant is usually a self-employed person who provides services such as professional administration, customer support, marketing, etc., for different businesses from home remotely.
All the virtual assistant jobs can be done from the comfort of your home. If you have the necessary skills required to be a virtual assistant, you can start a business on your own.
But what is it that is required for you to start a Virtual Assistant business? Let us see now…
Requirements to be a Virtual Assistant
Usually, virtual assistants provide a host of services. Though the job of every virtual assistant is a bit different, there are some common components and requirements.
If you are interested and want to be a successful VA, then deciding the service you want to provide is very important.
To decide the services you want to provide, first identify all the potential skills you have.
You may be good at writing and have excellent language and grammar skills, then you can provide services such as Transcribing, Proofreading, etc.
Likewise, you can provide different services depending on the skillset you possess. Usually, most of the services provided by virtual assistants include bookkeeping, emailing, website maintenance, etc.
If you have more than one skill, then you can provide multiple services. But you should start performing any one service and expand your services as you gain experience.
Apart from skills, there are certain common basic requirements for any kind of Virtual Assistant. They are:
- A PC or computer with reliable internet connectivity.
- A headphone set.
- Communication skills.
- Organizational skills.
- Knowledge of computer utilization.
It can be said as a whole that, more than the experience you need to have a good potential to be a virtual assistant. Let us discuss the factors you should consider to start a virtual assistant business.
How to Start a Virtual Assistant Business?
The growth of technology and the inception of a lot of businesses created a need for virtual support. In 2019, the demand has increased by leaps and bounds.
Keeping all these points in mind, your decision to start a virtual assistant business is excellent. But as a beginner, you may have a lot of doubts about how to start.
Here are certain points to focus on to start the business.
1. Prepare the list of your Services
As a virtual assistant, there are a bunch of services that you can provide. So based on your skillset and the kind of things that you enjoy doing, prepare a menu of services that you can provide. If you want you can provide multiple services or only one service.
2. List Down all the Potential Clients
Now that you have decided on what kind of services to provide, prepare a list of the clients who would require them. You can either make the list of companies or the different fields that require your services.
3. Design a Business Plan
In this business plan, you need to cover all the details of your business. Mention the details such as the services you are going to provide, whom you are going to provide, how to market etc. You also need to determine the price of your services considering the demand, cost overheads, and your desired income.
4. Decide a Name for Your Business
Create a name for your business that is unique. It should also reflect the services you provide. Though a title can explain very little about your business let it be catchy. You can expand your services in detail in the description.
5. Determine Your Business Structure
It is easy to start a business as a sole proprietor but at the same time, it has its risks involved. Your assets may be at risk in the situation of loss. So, it is better to start as a single-person limited liability company to protect your assets in case your sued.
6. Legalize Your Business
Get all the required permits and licenses that your country gives to legalize businesses. Get a zoning waiver to work from home. Also, don’t forget to open a business bank account.
7. Create Your Marketing Plan
Find who requires your services and where they are located. Then plan accordingly to make them know that you are available with the services they need.
8. Provide Great Sevices
As it is said the first impression is the best once you got your first clients, work hard to meet their expectations. Don’t hesitate to ask for reviews from them after the work is submitted. These reviews can act as great testimonials to earn you more clients.
Now you would have got an idea of how to kick start a virtual assistant business. There are certain things that you need to avoid in this business. Keep reading to understand them.
Mistakes to Avoid In Virtual Assistant Business
Remember that if you are starting a Virtual Assistant business means you are going to sell your time, expertise, and services.
In this process, don’t get overwhelmed or frustrated out of which you may make certain mistakes. Such mistakes may create a wrong impression about your business among your clients.
So let’s see what are the common mistakes done by most of the virtual assistants and how to avoid them.
1. Behaving Like an Employee
When you are looking out for clients and find some notifications, don’t behave desperately by asking them how to send the resume or apply for the job. Remember that you are running a business and stop behaving like an employee.
Instead, you can send them your website information so that they can understand your potential and talk to you. This is what makes you outstanding when they sort applications or resumes.
2. Not Following Directions
Most of them don’t follow the directions that are given during the hiring process. They don’t read the notification and just keep on asking for details of the approach when they are already mentioned clearly in the notification.
With you performing such actions the client can easily weed you off considering you not perfect. Because it is patience and detailing that you need in this work and you are showing them that you don’t possess them by doing so.
Instead, take the time to read the entire article. This is how the client filters qualified or deserving candidates.
3. Working for Free
When clients want to select you as their VA, they usually ask you to do a test project or sample project to select you. There are many such instances when most of the clients in the name of test projects make their work done and simply say you are not selected. This is a dangerous trick. They get their work done freely if you can see.
So, when someone asks you to do a test project, take it in writing to get paid for it because you are investing your time and mind. So don’t rob yourself by accepting to work for free.
4. Setting Boundaries With Your Clients so You Don’t Get Taken Advantage of
Some clients ask you to complete work urgently at late nights or weekends. If you do it to satisfy your clients or with the fear of losing your clients, then remember that you are portraying yourself as available and free all the time. They don’t respect your time if you work on such requests.
Instead, make it clear in the beginning itself about your timings and working days. Only respond to any work-related things in those time hours. Let your client know about your turnaround time.
5. Not Following Work-Life Balance
In the fear of losing clients, most people sacrifice more hours in a day to work. If you doing so, your clients will always take it as an advantage. They don’t care about your personal life.
So you only need to manage your time well to create a perfect Work-Life balance. In cases of emergency, you should demand double pay rates to work non-working hours.
The growth of the virtual assistant business depends on the quality of the services provided. To scale your business you need to exhibit great time management and organizational skills.
The pay rates of a virtual assistant vary in a wide range. Usually the pay rates of a virtual assistant range from $10.16 to $29.49, with a median hourly rate of $16. On average, the range is $15,387 to $65,379,with the median annual rate at $36,272.
The above figures mentioned show that with a high-level skill set, years of experience, industry, and clientele your business can go a long way.
There are a lot of companies where you can join and work as a beginner virtual assistant for a median hourly rate of $15 – $20 an hour. If you wish to get started, you are just a signup process and a small test away from being a virtual assistant.
Take a look at these below companies and apply any one of them to quickly start your career. You can also use this experience when you plan your own business in the same field.
Companies That Offer Virtual Assistant Jobs
There are several companies in which there are opportunities for Virtual Assistants.
This company usually hires US-based virtual assistants. Zirtual.com requires you to manage and organize their projects and other tasks such as email inbox management, making calls, making purchases, etc. They offer to pay between $16 to $18 per hour.
2. Contemporary VA
You are required to perform tasks such as customer support, updating clients’ websites, organizing calendars, and to-do lists. According to Glassdoor reviews, Contemporary VA pays $10 per hour.
Clara wants VAs to provide its clients with services such as emailing, meeting scheduling, etc.
4. Fancy Hands
It is a US-based company that offers its clients services like making phone calls, data entry, internet research, etc. To be selected by Fancy Hands you need to possess communication skills, a computer with a reliable internet connection. Their pay rates begin at $3- $7 per task. You also have an opportunity to get promoted to a managerial position here.
This company looking for US-based virtual assistants to work with senior-level management clients. You must aa a minimum of 5 years of experience to work for them.
At Belay, you are expected to provide a variety of services such as managing calendars, social media management, project assistance, etc. It pays $5 to $19 per hour, according to Glassdoor reviews.
6. Virtual Office VA
It is a US-based company and also hires candidates from the US only. With Virtual Office VA you can choose to work anywhere from 20 to 45 hours a week. They pay you $9 per hour.
This company hires VAs solely for social media management. So you need to be proficient with all major social media platforms. The average pay rate at 99DollarSocial is $12 per hour.
You need to be US-based and knowledgeable about all emailing platforms to work for them. They also require you to have a bachelor’s degree. You can work part-time with Equivity. The starting pay for an executive virtual assistant here is $15.
They hire part-time virtual assistants to work from home. With FireGang you need to be able to work 15 to 25 hours a week from home. You get paid $15 to $17 per hour.
10. Time Etc.
In this company, you need to do tasks such as schedule management, travel arrangements, formatting and typing documents, etc. You need to have 2 to 3 years of relevant experience. According to Glassdoor reviews, Time Etc. pays $10 to $11 per hour.
This company hires personal virtual assistants for its clients. It requires you to handle a variety of tasks such as social media management and travel arrangements. If you are interested to work with them, then look for more details on Vasumo careers page.
12. Virtual Assistant USA
A Virtual Assistant USA company, you are expected to fulfill services such as data entry, email management, setting up teleseminars, and proofreading.
13. Life Bushido
They assign you to work depending on your skills. When you start working with Life Bushido you are asked to work 5 hours a week. After proving your skills you are expected to work 20 hours per week. The pay rates are $10 per hour according to figures from Glassdoor.
14. Worldwide 101
This company is looking for VAs who provide services like project management, marketing, customer services, and administration services. Worldwide 101 pays between $10 to $20, depending on experience.
15. NS Virtual Services
It is a Canadian company that provides virtual assistant services ranging from general admin to transcription. If you want to know more check NS Virtual Services webpage.
16. Team Delegate
To work with this company you need to have excellent administrative skills and must be ready to work with a team. Check the Team Delegate website to tell them about yourself and the kind of services you have to offer them.
17. Assistant Match
To work with Assistant Match you are expected to have proven the experience of working from your home office. You need to provide the service of responding to emails and voice mails daily.
18. Red Butler
They are looking for VAs who provide services such as calendar management, answering phone calls, creating spreadsheets, making personalized restaurant recommendations. To work with Red Butler fill the form available on their careers page.
19. Paragon Planners
This company wants VAs who provide services such as appointment setting, scheduling, and sales support. They hire individuals on an employee basis rather than freelancers/independent contractors. To work with Paragon Planners send a cover letter and a copy of your resume to [email protected].
They expect services such as making restaurant reservations, research, travel planning, etc. To know about current openings visit the OkayRelax website.
Pros & Cons of Starting a Virtual Assistant Business
Like every other business, this one also has certain pros and cons. Let us have a look at them.
There are many benefits to starting a virtual assistant business. Some of them are:
- It is fast and affordable.
- You need not have any specific educational qualifications.
- Your skills are the biggest asset for this business.
- You can work from your home office.
- It is completely your choice to decide on which service you need to provide.
- You can work at your timings.
- You can set your pay rate depending on the service you provide.
- The work can be done from any location i.e., a coffee shop, resort, beach, etc.
- Some clients to make their business even successful may pay and help you to learn new trends.
The cons of starting a virtual assistant business are comparatively low than the pros.
- If you don’t know someone who would hire virtual assistants then it would be difficult for you to find your first client.
- As this is a work-from-home business you will not get any employee benefits such as allowances etc.
- Since you are self-employed you need to pay your tax. This can be a con if you have never budgeted on your own to pay tax before.
- Sometimes you need to justify your rates to the clients.
- You need to stay updated with all the latest trends and technologies related to the Virtual assistant business.
However, the pros of this business are more than the cons. So you can earn a decent amount while building your own business.
Now that you have read about the virtual assistant business, we hope you got a clear idea of everything related to this business.
It will take some work and time to set up this business. However with passion and proper utilization of skills you can have a successful at-home virtual assistant business.
If you have any queries, suggestions, or experiences to share, then comment below to help more people with your thoughts.
Siva Mahesh is a full-time blogger and personal finance expert featured on US News, Yahoo Finance, Legal Zoom, The Simple Dollar, Databox, Business.com, Business News Daily, and more. He is the owner/founder of Dreamshala, a go-to place for 100,000+ monthly readers to find legit work from home jobs and make money online ideas.