Virtual Assistants are in high demand right now, with no sight of the search for a great V.A. letting up anytime soon. Everyone gets the best of both worlds…
Business owners (the clients looking for a V.A.) get (typically) part-time help to grow their businesses…but since they hire you as a contractor, they don’t have to pay all of the taxes and deal with other legalities that come along with having an employee.
Virtual Assistants have it pretty sweet too – they get to be a business owner themselves, which means the freedom to make their own schedule, the ability to make (or not make) as much money as they want, and the power to pick and choose who they’re working with.
So it’s no wonder that the V.A. market is hot right now. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.
But how does one take the steps to become a V.A.? It’s not like clients magically fall out of the sky, right?
But in my experience…sort of yes.
Before we get into the nitty-gritty details of what you should consider before making the leap from Corporate Cog to Virtual Assistant, let’s get the bad news out of the way about the downsides of living the virtual worker lifestyle…
For one thing, you are owning a business. Which is rad to say, but WAY easier said than done. Here are just SOME of the questions to consider as you’re planning your next moves:
- Are you comfortable having the “this is how much I charge” conversation on an almost daily basis?
- Are you comfortable not knowing exactly where your next paycheck will come from?
- Are you comfortable with paying taxes after the fact, as opposed to having them automatically taken out from your paycheck? (Typically, your client will pay you your full rate, and you are responsible for paying the taxes after the fact – keep that in mind as you’re working out what your rate will be!)
- Are you comfortable firing a client if they are no longer a good fit for your business?
- Are you willing to work extra long days in order to get everything accomplished?
For me, the pros outweigh the cons tenfold. I can make my own schedule (though beware – even though I control my schedule more, it’s often harder to get into than when I worked for an employer), I get to wear whatever I want whenever I want to (I hated wearing slacks and skirts every day), and I get to call all the shots.
It’s definitely a struggle and far from easy, but it can be SO worth it…whatever you put into it is what you get out. YOU are the creator of your life instead of giving 40+ hours per week to a business that isn’t aligned with your lifestyle, goals, or interests.
If you think this is still what you want to do, here are a few recommendations for how to take the next steps:
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Determine what services you’ll offer.
This is probably right in front of your face, even if you haven’t noticed it yet.What are you doing in your job now that you love? (Offer that.)
What are you doing in your job now that you hate? (Don’t offer that.)
I promise you that there are people looking for EVERY task that you can offer – from graphic design to spreadsheets to bookkeeping to webinars to managing their calendar.
I’d recommend picking THREE things to start with, that you know you’re definitely going to offer to perspective clients, but BE OPEN to other projects. No matter what you say you offer, people will still contact you about different projects they need to have completed.
If I were you (and I did this myself), I’d accept all of them at the beginning. I learned there are some things that I don’t like doing (research and social media scheduling!), but I was surprised that there were other things that I did like doing (creating spreadsheets and organizing content!). When you’re first starting out, it’s good to have an idea of where you’re going, but be open to that or something better.
- Tell everyone what you’re doing.
Just start.Start doing the work, and pretending like you’re a business owner, even if you’re not totally sure of it yet.
Post on Facebook, “Hey friends! I’m starting a Virtual Assistant business doing ______, ______, and ______! If you or someone you know is interested in help in those areas, let me know!”
Surprisingly, this seems to be the hardest piece for many of the people I recommend it to.
So many excuses come up here.
“Well then my mom’s best friend’s cousin will see it and she might tell my boss!” Then block your mom’s best friend’s cousin and post it.
Do whatever you can to start telling people…that’s the way you’re going to start drumming up business initially…and if you’re not ready for that, you probably aren’t ready to own a business.
- Make it officially official: Create a business with your state.
If this is seriously something you’re serious about – take the proper steps to make it official.I created an LLC through the state of Arizona all by myself.
Take your time, read all the details, and figure it out.
Then, once you have the LLC paperwork in hand, take it to your bank and open business checking and savings accounts.
Any checks that come in through the business – run them through the business account.
Any supplies, courses, or costs that come as a result of your business – run them through the business account.
Make your business officially official.
(And as a side note – pick a business name that you can grow with, but I’d recommend NOT using your first and last name, in case one day you want to sell the business – then someone else will own your name. Yikes! I picked CRM Communications, LLC (my initials) because it was generic and I figured it was a good umbrella for whichever way my business went in the future.)
Being a Virtual Assistant can be a VERY rewarding profession. Over the past two years, I’ve found a lot of success, and most importantly, HAPPINESS at my virtual career.
If I can do it, you can too…but be warned that it does take LOTS of perseverance, confidence, and making time to actually do the work.