Starting a virtual assistant business is a great option for those wanting to start their own business. Having your own VA business enables you to set your own hours, work with different clients, and generate income. If you’re considering a virtual assistant business but aren’t sure what is a virtual assistant, and how much do virtual assistants make when starting their own business? We’ll answer all those questions and more in this article.
What is a Virtual Assistant Business?
The virtual assistant industry has seen a boom over the last few years as more people have taken up the profession. A virtual assistant business offers specialized skills and services to business owners, ranging from general administrative tasks like scheduling appointments to customer relationship management and other services to busy professionals.
Is a Virtual Assistant Business Profitable?
Virtual assistants can generate significant income for themselves, but it depends on several factors such as hourly rate, working hours, number of clients,, and more. In the US, the average salary for a virtual assistant is up to $20 an hour, but professionals can charge more or less depending on experience and availability.
Why You Should Start a Virtual Assistant Business in 2022
There are many reasons to start your own virtual assistant business. If you’re not sure how to start a virtual assistant business or why you should do it, here are just a few reasons why you should consider it:
- Set your own schedule: You can work part-time or full-time as needed based on what your clients
- Work on different projects: Increasing your client base allow you to offer specialized services and work with various clients, so there’s more variety in your work.
- Good source of income: A VA business can be a good source of revenue if you’re looking to make some money on the side or if you’d like to go full-time
- Easy to start: You can begin to (or stop) a virtual assistant business whenever you want, and you need very little to get started.
- Value: You can serve an important function for small business owners and busy professionals that need your services and offer value to potential clients in a variety of ways.
Starting a Virtual Assistant Business in 15 Simple Steps
Once you’re ready to be a virtual assistant, keep up the momentum and start setting up your business. We’ll walk you through how to create a successful virtual assistant business and how to become a virtual assistant for clients.
Choose a Niche
The first step to becoming a virtual assistant is to pick a niche for yourself. For example, some VA businesses only focus on administrative tasks, while others offer services like maintaining social media accounts, scheduling, and other ad-hoc tasks that a personal assistant might offer. Think about your skills and where you think you can offer the most value, and go from there.
Know Your Target Market
Once you’ve identified your niche, think about who your target market is. Are you going for a busy professional, such as a solopreneur or a real estate agent? Or would you instead offer VA services to a small business or company? Many virtual assistants work as a personal assistant or as a virtual receptionist for businesses, while others work with multiple clients.
Create Business Plan
Your business becomes more official once you make a business plan, which consists of several elements:
- A business name, business license, and legal entity, if needed
- Information about who you’re targeting as your market
- How you plan on gaining new clients
- Marketing materials for your business
- Operating expenses
- Income targets
Set Up a Business Bank Account and Credit Card
Once you’ve come up with a business plan and a brand for your VA business, your next step is organizing income. A business bank account and credit card help separate your work money from your personal money and make filing taxes easier.
Consider Taking Our Business Insurance
Business insurance is an essential step because it protects you from liabilities and gives your business more security. It’s a cost-effective way to keep your business operating. It makes you look credible to potential clients, and it can help with marketing efforts.
Invest in the Relevant Tech
VA businesses need the right tech to offer their services to busy clients, which can vary depending on the type of tasks being completed. Some important equipment to consider includes:
- A second monitor/screen
- Good quality headphones
- A desk
- Office chair
Sort Out Your Business Structure and Register
There are different business registration options and legal entities you can use to structure your business and pay for taxes.
- You can work as a sole/independent contractor and report your earnings to the IRS. For this option, you should work with a tax professional to understand how much state and federal taxes you’ll need to withhold
- You can register as an LLC and pay yourself a salary
- Another option is to register your business as a corporation, but that may have different tax implications depending on the state you are in
Plan a Marketing Strategy
Now that your business is up and running, it’s time to think about marketing yourself to small business owners and online businesses.
Make sure to highlight how virtual savvy you are, how you can offer value to business owners, and be clear about the services you offer. Look at elements of your business plan to define your marketing strategy and what channels will be best suited for your services.
Price Your Services
When hiring virtual assistants, most businesses tend to worry about costs – especially small businesses. Being upfront and competitive with your pricing will set you apart from other VA businesses.
Before pricing yourself, look at what others in your area are charging, especially those with a similar experience level. Some VA businesses start with a low hourly rate such as $15-20 an hour to entice small businesses and then raise prices once they gain an established client base. You can also charge flat fees and retainers for different services, and create pricing packages to appeal to different clients.
Create a Business Website
As a new business, establishing yourself is key – a website helps make that happen, and it can make the difference in landing your first client. You can create a sleek and simple website that showcases your services, and it can serve as your business card.
Market Your Business and Find Clients
Market your business through a variety of channels such as social media, paid ads, and local newspapers to reach as many people as possible. You can find virtual assistant jobs and apply to them on job sites as well to broaden your search for clients. Dedicate at least some time in the month to market to your current network and find new clients to build your business.
Search for Virtual Assistants
You can find virtual assistants to grow your network and extend your service offerings through third-party websites and LinkedIn. This way, you’ll have a strong connection with virtual assistants in different locations and areas to increase your coverage for clients and expand.
Invest in a Time Tracking Tool
Most virtual assistants start with hourly contracts, which Is why time tracking tools are so useful. You’ll be able to bill clients with transparency, and also keep an eye on working hours, output, and how you can grow your business.
Some great time tracking tools include:
Ask for Reviews
Reviews are everything! Once you build up a solid base of customers and have regular work coming in, make sure to ask them for reviews! Glowing reviews can really make a difference in building your client base, so make sure to periodically ask. You can post reviews as testimonials on your website, on professional profiles for networking, and other channels as a marketing strategy.
Scale Your Business
As you build your services and grow your business, think about how you want to expand. Do you want to offer more personal assistants to businesses to increase coverage? Or do you want to grow your current client base and try to offer more services to entice them? Scaling your business is about balancing capabilities with resources, and looking at what your clients are asking for and how you can provide them more value.
Virtual Assistant Services
There are many specialized services that virtual assistants offer, and different kinds of virtual assistant tasks depending on business needs. Here are some of the key virtual assistant services your business should be offering:
- Social media management and maintaining a social media presence
- Freelance writing
- Data entry
- Administrative support
- Answering and taking phone calls
- Email management
- Travel arrangements
- Customer support
- Community management
- Digital marketing
- Project management
How Much Does it Cost to Start a Virtual Assistant Business?
Starting a new business generally does incur some cost. When starting your own business, you’ll need to consider business expenses including equipment, marketing, and other expenses. Starting your own virtual assistant business can cost anywhere to a few hundred dollars to more depending on how much you are willing to invest. It’s also important to remember that as a business owner, you’ll also be responsible for managing invoices, taxes, and other financial aspects of your new virtual assistant business.
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This article, “How to Start a Virtual Assistant Business” was first published on Small Business Trends