How to become a VA

Any field has their busy months and their slow months and virtual assisting is no different. You may not be in office, but you will have to ride the high’s and low’s as any other employee would.

Slow times can be scary, especially as a virtual when you may or may not be a salaried worker and pay is not guaranteed. While you should always be keeping a sharp eye on those aspects of employment, below are some ways to leverage slow months in a positive way so that when busy season starts up again, you are ready to take on virtual administration at an even more experienced level:

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One of the first questions you may have as a virtual assistant when navigating your first clients to work with is how much you should charge. A simple step could be jumping onto the Bureau of Labor Statistics to get a rough estimate based on your niche. Beyond that, you may want to take a look at typical payments that virtual assistants receive based on their specialty or ask fellow virtual assistants for their own information regarding payments in groups and forums.

A note that one size does not fit all. You may be applying for a job with a certain title, but are coming in with a desirable specialty that could benefit a client. Do not shortchange yourself when first applying for a job.

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After a lot of thinking and weighing options, you decided to embrace the future and start your own small business. The idea of setting your own schedule and taking control of your life was a dream that you had to reach, and you decided to set up a virtual assistant business. Now that you have made the decision, where do you start.  Virtual assistant businesses have become an ideal business opportunity for experienced administrators to use their skills in a virtual environment. With all of the available technology, it’s easy and affordable to start your own business. You will have to make a lot of decisions on where to start and there is a world of advice available. Meadows VA school has resources that can guide you through the steps of successfully setting up your business.

Legalities – Getting Licenses and Permits in Place

As a virtual assistant, you’ll discover that there aren’t too many regulations to getting your business up and running. Licensing in each state vary, so make sure to check and see what your state requires. No matter what is required, make sure that you follow your state and Home Owner’s association rules regarding the use of your home for a business. The Small Business Association has, Permit Me, an online tool that will allow you to research the requirements in your state.

Business Structure

One of the earliest decisions that you’ll face is the actual structure of your business. Many business owners opt for sole proprietorship at the early stages. This is an acceptable option, but could ultimately leave you open to financial risks as your clientele grows. Business models such as LLC/PLLC, corporations, partnerships and co-ops will help you separate your personal liabilities from business ones and protect you better. Setting up an LLC is a relatively inexpensive method of establishing your business as a separate entity and allowing you to get an EIN and bank account set up easily. To get an idea which structure will best suit your business, check the resources on sba.gov.

Getting to work

As a freelance business owner, the paperwork that you’ll be facing will be different than any you ever saw as an employee. After you get your business open and start seeing clients, you’ll want to ensure that you have a W-9 filled out for each new client as well as a completed contract. This contract will include a statement of work which will help establish the scope of responsibilities and tasks you are contracted to perform for each client as well as things such as deadlines and client details. Make sure to set up a file for each client to keep all paperwork and calendar details organized.

On the Job

Once you start working and building your clientele, you will have other tasks to deal with. On top of the work you’ll be doing for your clients, you’ll need to be tracking your invoices and expenses. A good accounting program will be essential, and Quickbooks Online is the most highly recommended for independent business owners. It will help you track all the expenses that your business will incur.

Secrets to Building a Successful Business

As you are building a business, you will find yourself wanting to grow it quickly. This is a trap that most entrepreneurs fall into. Make sure that you learn how to manage your time and learn how to say no. It’s okay and often essential to be able to draw boundaries with your clients. This is your business and you have the choice to run it as you see fit.

Any new business venture can be tricky, but with proper tools and resources, you can learn to manage your time and your clients. You can learn to have the work/home life balance that all entrepreneurs are working toward and truly enjoy your life and your career. Meadows Resources and Meadows VA school has the resources you need to get started on the right track. Also, check out our in depth Ebook Meadows VA School Quick Start in our Swipe File Section to learn more.

 

Being behind a computer screen can connect you to the world, but it also can be isolating if you do not continue to create new connections. One thing that can get a bit harder in virtual administration is networking for virtual assistants. You are not meeting people daily and not able to really speak with others about your capabilities and how you can help their company attain its goal as a virtual assistant. 

While it may be harder, networking is not impossible virtually and here are some options on how to network digitally:

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When becoming a virtual assistant, you always wonder what clients are going to be out there for you to work for. While you might be looking to create an income working from home, most virtual assistants go into the field because they want to make a difference in a client or company’s business experience. Working with the ideal virtual assistant client can make life and work a lot easier.

While your expertise or niche may be finance, administrative, or another facet of virtual assisting, is there a type of client that may work best for virtual assistants to start out with?

Below are some clients in which virtual assistants seem to work best with and why:

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What was once looked at as a side project for adult women or where young teens posted their personal thoughts is now a viable career for virtual administrators wanting to create content online by blogging as a virtual career.

Blogging is very versatile, especially now that many companies have realized that content is key and not even just the content itself, but the continued creation of new content to keep the website up-to-date and fresh with new material.

This changing of the tides for blogging has really opened the doors to many virtuals with a skillset in writing crisp and clear copy and has a lucrative pool of potential clients looking to begin and maintain a blog.

Below are reasons why positioning yourself as a virtual blogger can be a very great career choice and also some considerations:

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Some people go into virtual assisting for a full-time career, leaving behind an office job or just going straight into virtual work out of college. Others want to get into virtual administration but may not know how to navigate part-time virtual assisting.

Virtual assisting offers the great ability to work as much or as little as you need–as different clients have a different amount of work they need completing on a weekly and monthly basis.

Taking the time to research, network, and put yourself out there with your skillset as a virtual assistant is the main way to find work, but once you are out looking, you also have the availability to find work that fits your schedule and lifestyle needs.

Below are some virtual assisting positions that are great part-time opportunities for virtual administrators.

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We live in a technological world which means we have a lot of tools, both online and offline, available for us to make life easier.

As a virtual assistant, you will be wearing many hats depending on what the company you work for needs you to do. You may do administrative work, bookkeeping, scheduling or social media. This seems like a lot and keeping organized may be difficult, but that is why knowing the right virtual tools for success can make a huge difference in what your life and your desk look like.

Meadows VA School came up with a list of the top virtual tools for virtual assisting success. Below we discuss the major ones that may be helpful to your virtual administration career.

Shared Drives

Google Drive is the major platform when it comes to sharing files these days and for good reason. You can create documents, excel sheets and power point all within the drive and share and collaborate with ease.

Most times, you will be working alongside your company to create, edit and finalize ideas and other forms of work. Being able to jump into a document, create it, send it and see others comments in one spot is so much easier than printing, emailing and waiting for a response. It also allows you to be a part of the project from start to finish.

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Different fields may give different benefits based on your work and what company you work for. Some people find 401K’s and health insurance to be perks, others find two weeks paid vacation to be a perk.

For many virtual assistants, the perks do not come in the tangible form of vacation or a savings plan, but in the idea of being free from an office and free to come and go–as long as the work is being done. The freedom is whatever you make of it, whether it be working out of a coffee shop every day or being able to wear comfy pants while you work. Below are some of the main reasons many enter the field of virtual assisting and some virtual assistant perks.

Working From Home

Working from home is a major benefit to those who work as virtual administrators. You can roll out of bed, jump on the computer and sit with a cup of coffee and no one would know the difference.

This lifestyle works very well for women who want to be a stay-at-home mom, those who may have a disability that prevents them from commuting or even college students who want to start a meaningful career but do not have the time to go into an office.

Anyone needing a little bit of freedom from the 9-5 rat race can truly benefit from the idea of working from home. You save money on your commute, you do not need an entire wardrobe of office clothes and you can be around those you love a bit more if they are also home with you.

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Being behind a computer screen can connect you to the world, but it also can be isolating if you do not continue to create new connections. One thing that can get a bit harder as a virtual assistant is networking opportunities. You are not meeting people daily and not able to really speak with others about your capabilities and how you can help their company attain its goal as a virtual assistant.

While it may be harder, virtual assistant networking is not impossible and here are some options on how to network digitally:

Forums

Online forums allow for you to involve yourself in conversations with other virtual assistants around the globe. You can share stories, offer and ask for advice, or simply create lasting virtual friendships with those who work in the same field as yourself.

Forums are a great place to get answers to most of your virtual assisting questions as well because more likely than not, someone has already asked the question you have asked–which can be reassuring that someone else struggled with a similar situation so you feel less alone.

A good start is virtualassistantforums.com which is a very robust and engaging community of virtual assistants to answer questions and potentially find work.

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