Having your own virtual assistant business is a great way to earn a living while traveling full time. One of the things I love most about being a virtual assistant is the flexibility that comes with it.
What is a Virtual Assistant and What Do They Do?
A virtual assistant is someone who works remotely to help complete projects. Most of the time they do administrative type jobs, but that is not all they do.
The Pros of Starting a Virtual Assistant Business
In my opinion, there are so many pros to becoming a virtual assistant. Here are a few of those pros.
You Can Start for Free
To become a virtual assistant, you don’t need any special equipment other than a decent computer.
You Don’t Need a New Degree
All you need to become a virtual assistant is experience. You can get started without experience if you can find someone that is willing to give you a chance. If you need to learn new skillsets for your virtual assistant business, there are plenty of free options available to help you.
25+ Sites Offering Free Training for Virtual Assistants
One of the great things about being a virtual assistant is the flexibility that it provides. Typically you are given a time frame to complete your projects and as long as it’s completed on time, you can work on it whenever it is most convenient for you.
It’s Location Independent
When you are traveling full time in an RV, you may not always be in the same location. This is where being a virtual assistant business comes in handy. As long as you have your computer and access to the internet, you can work.
You Set Your Own Rate
You can set your own rates. The more experience that you have, the more you can charge. If you have a client that you continuously do the same tasks for, I highly suggest that you also look into package deals for them. Package deals are a win-win deal. You typically wind up making more money since as time goes by, you get faster at your tasks, and the client knows exactly what he will be paying every month.
Get Paid to Learn
If your client wants something done that you don’t know how to do, you still get paid while you are learning the new task.
The Cons of Starting a Virtual Assistant Business
Of course, there are always cons to things. That includes working from home as a virtual assistant.
It May Be Hard to Find Your First Client
Finding your first client can be tough. Nobody wants to hire a virtual assistant that doesn’t already have experience. It may be beneficial to start off working for VA companies like Time Etc, Zirtual, Virtual Office VA, 99 Dollar Social, Fancy Hands, Lifebushido, and others. I don’t recommend one company over another. Basically it depends on what company will hire you. You are looking to just get experience to start your own company. I’m not saying you can’t supplement with these companies, but to make the most money, just use them as a stepping stone.
You Don’t Get Employee Benefits
Because you own your own business, you won’t be eligible for employee benefits. This is one of the reasons that people hire virtual assistants as it saves them money in this aspect.
You Have to Pay Your Own Taxes
You will want to make sure you set aside about a 1/3 of your income for taxes. I’m not saying that you will need all of that for taxes, but it is better to have the money there if you need it than have to scramble at the last minute to come up with it.
You May Get Lonely
Okay, for me this is not a problem. I’m a huge introvert and don’t like interacting with other people. I’m completely happy with only my husband’s company. He is also an introvert so it works well for us. However, not everyone is an introvert. Some people love interacting with others so this could be a problem for them.
How Much Money Can You Make as a Virtual Assistant?
Working as a virtual assistant, your income potential is basically unlimited. When you are first starting out, you won’t make as much. You will need to work on your portfolio and getting more clients.
Realistically, you can expect to make $20-$40 an hour if you are an established virtual assistant within a particular niche. However, some US based virtual assistants charge upwards of $50 to $100 per hour.
If you decide to start out using one of the companies I mentioned previously, you will only make about $9 an hour. This is why I suggested to only use them as a stepping stone to gain experience and expand your portfolio.
Steps for Starting a Virtual Assistant Business
Okay, so now we are ready to discuss the steps you need to start your virtual assistant business.
Decide On Your Business Name
This doesn’t have to be anything fancy. You can even use your own name to start with. For instance, our virtual assistant business is called Forest & Shanna Virtual Solutions. You want to make sure that the name you choose is catchy and easy to pronounce. So if you have a hard to pronounce name like Michalina Niedzwiecki, you may not want to use that for your business name. While there is nothing wrong with the name, it is very hard for most people to spell and pronounce. So keep that in mind when you are picking your business name.
Decide On Your Services & Rates
Figure out what you are good at and what services you would like to provide. Before you tell me that you don’t have any skills, everyone has something that they are good at. You may not realize what they are, but they are there.
Some of the things you can offer are social media services, blog management services, email management, administrative services, and even technical services. Keep in mind that you can always change what you offer. This is just to help get you started.
Most VA’s start at around $15-$20 an hour. Then they slowly raise their prices by $2-$3 an hour for each new client. Remember that as the business owner, you will be responsible for your own overhead, technology, taxes, and more. Figure out how much you need and then tack on an extra $5-$10 an hour to help cover everything else.
Make It All Legal – Get needed permits and licenses
Depending on your local city, county, and you may need a business license to run your virtual assistant business. You will want to be sure to check with all three of them to see what you need or don’t need. You will also want to keep in mind that if you do decide to name your business differently from your own name, you’ll most likely need to fill out a DBA (doing business as) form as well. Don’t forget to open a business bank account.
Create a business plan
This doesn’t have to be complicated. Basically, take the list of services that you created earlier, what contracts you are going to use, how you are going to get your clients, and stuff like that.
Determine your business structure
You will want to determine if you are going to run your business as a sole proprietor or a single person limited liability company (LLC). Each has its pros and cons. Be sure to do your research to see which one is the best option for your business.
Make a list of potential clients
Make a list of all the types of clients you want to work for. These can include lawyers, realtors, other virtual assistants, solo entrepreneurs, and others.
Reach Out To Your Network
The best place to start looking for clients is in your own network. It’s a good way to get started and get your name out there. Just because someone you know isn’t in your niche or needs your services, they may know someone that does.
Develop A Marketing Strategy
Figure out where your potential clients hang out. This may be on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, etc. If it’s in your budget, you can also run some ads to help find potential clients.
This doesn’t necessarily have to be paid advertising. You can post on social media, make youtube videos, or anything else you can think of to get your name out there.
Get clients and provide great service
Once you have done everything else, it’s time to get your first client. Once you get your first client, be sure to complete the projects on time and to the best of your ability.
Ask For Referrals & Testimonials
Don’t be afraid to ask your clients for referrals and testimonials. Once you get established, you will find that a lot of your clients will start coming in via referrals and you won’t need to go out looking for more. They will find you.
Having your own virtual assistant business can be very rewarding. However, there is also a lot of stress that can come with it. Make sure you don’t rely on just one client for all your business. Yes, that one client may provide enough work for you so you don’t need to work with anyone else, but what happens if that one client decides they don’t need you anymore?
With a lot of work, you can create a very successful VA business that will allow you to work from the road or work from home.