If you’re the type of worker who excels under pressure, is reliable and trustworthy, and has excellent communication skills, a career as a virtual assistant may be a great fit for you. Small businesses sometimes hire virtual assistants to perform administrative duties remotely. This means you can work for companies anywhere around the country or the world. If opening a virtual assistant business sounds like something interesting, here are three tips on getting started.
- Choose the Services To Offer
You can be a virtual assistant to just about any business. However, choosing a niche market can give you an edge. You have the chance to learn in-depth skills and information relating to your market and become an expert in the field.
You may offer specific services, such as website maintenance, customer support or email marketing campaigns. You can also choose to work for industries you’re familiar with. If you have previously worked in the banking industry, for example, your background may benefit financial advisors.
- Invest in Tools
As a remote worker, you can operate from anywhere, whether at your kitchen counter or on a cruise to St Thomas. However, that means you need to have the tools to work remotely.
One of your most basic and essential tools is a laptop. It may not be fancy, but it needs to have the capacity to run your software. Depending on your services, you may require other hardware such as a printer, fax machine or scanner.
Software tools to consider is a time tracking app, which is especially beneficial if you work for multiple clients, or a secured online fax software for safer document sharing, which would also be more practical than the physical machine. You may also need project management software to stay on top of numerous projects and customers. Finally, don’t forget to consider a good accounting and invoicing app to make billing easier.
Your new business can get its name out there with some marketing tools. Business cards are essential for networking. You never know when you’ll meet a potential client in line at the store or at a conference.
A business website is a landing point for your company, providing clients with your contact information, specialties and rates. A social media presence is another powerful marketing tool. You can reach current and potential clients with up-to-date news, expert tips and insider information about your company.
- Develop a Pricing Structure
Before you jump into serving clients, decide how you plan to charge for your services. You have several options for putting a price on your time and talent, so it’s wise to research the best method ahead of time. When you and your client are ready to draw up a contract, there are no surprises.
If you’re hired for a specific task, you can consider charging a flat fee. This billing method works well if you have a good idea of how long the job will take you. The goal of WorkZone Project Management Guide is to get your projects done with less stress and struggle – to have every step laid out clearly and neatly, and to know that things are moving forward as needed. It helps you estimate the number of hours you’ll put into the project and ensure you’re paid a satisfactory rate.
Other projects may be better suited to an hourly rate. You charge your client per hour, and the client pays you according to the amount of time you work on the project. Open-ended projects may work better with this type of billing, especially if you’re unsure how long it will take.
If you plan to work for a client indefinitely, you can charge a retaining fee. You are paid a flat amount each month regardless of the number of hours you work. Retaining fees give you a steady income, and your client has a set amount that’s helpful for budgeting.
You don’t need prior experience to work as a virtual assistant, but it’s a good idea to be familiar with the nuts and bolts of your services. Don’t be afraid to invest in some education or network with other virtual assistants about best practices. As a virtual assistant, you can find a satisfying career that gives you the freedom to work remotely.