Like most people these days I had a few careers before starting as a Virtual Assistant (you can read my story here). Like many of you after I had children and had some experience under my belt I was looking for something different. Something I had far more control over – and, something I could do from home. That’s how I discovered the virtual assistant industry.
Luckily for me – one of the first points of contact I had was with 121Temps. They are an Australian based company mentoring and education for people looking to set up their own business as a Virtual Assistant in Australia.
Fast forward 5 years and I’m still one of their members! They really helped me in learning the ropes of building a successful virtual assistant business. If you’re starting from scratch, don’t worry! You too can build a virtual assistant business from the ground up.
Benefits of Starting a Virtual Assistant Business
Many VA’s, Virtual Professionals and small business owners I’ve talked to agree – there are many benefits and advantages to being your own boss and starting a virtual assistant business. Read on for the best ones 🙂
1. Minimal start-up fees
Starting a virtual assistant business is very affordable, not free but in many peoples’ reach especially considering the technology many homes already own and, the many free software programs and tools we can currently access.
All in all – you need a computer, reliable internet, a phone and some space of your own. Everything else can evolve.
2. You already have the skills!
Being your own VA business – it focuses on the skills, experience, and knowledge that you already possess. Each VA business is unique owing to the unique person running it so – no other VA will offer the exact same list of services.
A great thing to start with is simply listing your skills to define your service offering.
As a business owner – you can set your own schedule. Many people, including me, start a virtual assistant business as a side hustle around their full or parttime job. As your business progresses you can consider working weekends or reducing other work hours until you are able to go full time and quit your job.
At that point – it’s your decision when you work, whether it’s part-time or full-time.
4. Work anywhere
AS long as your work gets done as agreed – it doesn’t matter where you work. VA’s work from home, local libraries or a coffee shop, even while traveling. Just be aware that your internet connection must be strong, reliable and secure.
5. Determine your own pricing
You can set your own rates dependent on your skill and experience level. I recommend using value packages to set pricing rather than using hourly rates. In principal – you can charge as much as you want within your client’s budget. In addition, you can determine regular price increases periodically or related to learning or further education.
6. Further learning on the job
If a client requests that you learn a new skill, software program or process – you may get paid to do it. Regardless – it’s good practice to continue to take responsibility for your own learning and growth by taking courses, attending webinars or more formal learning. This may also lead to new opportunities or the ability to increase your rates. As a VA, there are many opportunities to learn.
Just one example is Google’s Digital Garage.
The downside of Starting a Virtual Assistant Business
In my opinion, the good outweighs the bad when thinking of starting your own virtual assistant business, however, as with anything, there are a few downsides. Here are the ones I’ve experienced.
1. Difficulty getting clients especially your first
Again, this is where 121Temps was invaluable to me. Not only can they help you connect with people looking for a virtual assistant through their job match site VA Placements but they also teach you to develop several streams of leads into your business.
If you’re looking for your first client – ask within your circle of family and friends. This is where many people get a hot lead who can become their first paying client!
Once you have your first, you’ll find it becomes easier as time goes on – and remember the 1 in 10 rule. For every 10 people, you talk to only one will convert – which means you’ll be talking quite a bit at first. This too becomes easier with practice.
If you’re looking to start with 121Temps – this is a great offer. Use code PREMIUMAFFILIATE19
2. No more Employee Benefits
As a virtual assistant, you will become a freelancer or independent contractor. This means you will be responsible for your own health insurance, sick leave and any other paid days off, or any other employee type benefits. make sure you factor this into your rates.
3. Pay Your Own Taxes
Again, you’ll no longer have an employer who will withhold your tax to make sure you put this aside so that tax time isn’t a nasty shock! Once you earn over the threshold you will also need to start charging and paying GST.
It’s always wise to get advice from an Accountant to make sure you are keeping your records correctly. They can also advise you on which expenses you’re able to claim at the end of the financial year.
4. Social Isolation
It can be a real change to work from home without the buzz of the office or having colleagues to chat to at break time. If you do miss the social contact – make sure your business model allows these interactions. It may be working regularly at a local business hub or co-working space or, networking meetings or meet-ups.
All in all – being your own boss in a flexible industry like the Virtual Professional one has been a great move for me and many people I’ve met along the way. Good luck on your journey!