Start Your Virtual Assistant Business Today

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					?Starting a virtual assistant business is a great work-at-home business and the
potential just keeps getting better and better. In fact, some are citing that having a
virtual assistant is one of your most important keys to success.

Getting started is easy. Fortunately, it's not expensive either. First of all you need a
complete plan of action set out in advance. This ensures that you don't leave any vital
steps unaddressed and will have a solid plan of action to succeed. You don't need
anything technical, just how you plan to operate your business including advertising
methods, pricing, business hours, equipment and supplies needed, goals, etc.

You want to clearly define your business. There are so many different areas you can
go into as a virtual assistant so you need to decide with your skills and your
experience what is the best for you. Want some ideas of some services you can offer
as a virtual assistant? Here are a few.

It's important to find your own niche and really own it.

Now, that you have your business plan you need to decide on the name of your
business. One thing you need to make sure of is that you can legally have that name.
Often I've seen virtual assistants start their business and just grab a name and call it
their own. That doesn't work well when someone else has already chosen that name,
registered it, perhaps trademarked it, and has been using it for years. First check and
make sure that no one already has it, then test it out. Is it easy to pronounce when you
answer the phone? Does it sell you well? Does it limit you? Five years from now will
you still feel proud of that name? Try it out on friends and ask their honest feedback.
Also, go to the various boards and mention it too. For such an important decision it's
worth the effort.

To operate a business you are required by law to have the appropriate licenses. This is
your permit to do business locally. It's a simple procedure that doesn't require a
considerable amount of time. Contact your city and county officials under
occupational licenses for complete details or go online. Most VAs start out initially as
a sole proprietorship and then might change later into either an LLC or S Corporation.

Now it's time to set up your bookkeeping. You will want to keep track of all your
income and expenses. Save all receipts and pay all your expenses out of your business
checking account. A software program such as Quickbooks is ideal for our type of
business. Not only does it allow you to keep accurate records, but it also enables you
to track exactly where the most money is coming from. This enables you to target
your marketing efforts more in that area.

Now you must decide how much to charge. Don't undercharge your services. The
Virtual Assisting Industry is a very proud bunch and we want our clients and others to
know that when you partner with us, you are getting a professional and one capable of
making your business better. Clients will pay well for making their business succeed.
Determine what you are bringing to the table. What specialty services such as web
design or publicity you offer, and then decide on a rate that is right for you. Today, I
believe the going rate is between $25.00 to $90.00 and more. I'd love to see all virtual
assistants start no lower than $45.00 an hour, but I know that's not always possible.

It is also important to have an impressive marketing piece. Your brochures, letterhead,
flyers, business cards, etc., should look sensational. I personally love VistaPrints at
VistaPrints.com. I can afford to get matching business cards, mailing labels, magnets,
and even Christmas cards cheap. This makes me look more professional as I have
everything the same layout and because it's so reasonable, I even have different styles
for different clients. Also, recently they added T-shirts to their line of products. They
will often have free giveaways of these. I've gotten business T-Shirts and the results
were exciting.

Now you need to get those clients. The key to successful marketing is to tell clients
what benefits they will receive by answering their main question, "What's in it for
me?" Keep in mind, you're not selling your services, you're selling the benefits of
your services. What can you offer them that would make their business run more
successfully? An example of this would be accurate dependable service done on an
"as needed" basis. As many of you know too, I have a free booklet and advertising
letters I'd be happy to share on obtaining clients.

One of the most important things is to get a professional website. This will enable you
not only to get clients through your SEO efforts, but also to show your clients your
services and everything about your business. You can't have the same ole', same ole'
here. It needs to be unique and impressive. Don't just tell the client what a Virtual
Assistant is? Tell them why you should be their Virtual Assistant.

It's also important to get listed on directories and with the various VA forums.

Now that you've got the clients, you need to keep them. The best way to do this is to
always provide them with more than they ask for. Go the extra mile on all
assignments. Let them know that you value their business and are eager to help them
succeed.


Diana Ennen and Kelly Poelker are the co-authors of numerous books including
Virtual Assistant: the Series, Become a Highly Successful, Sought After VA and
accompanying Virtual Assistant the Series Workbook, and Virtual Assistant - The
Series: Working Virtually, A Guide to Working Remotely as an Employee. For
complete information on starting your own VA business, stop by . Article is free to be
reprinted as long as the author's bio remains intact.

				
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