When I was considering becoming a Virtual Assistant, I scoured the internet for everything related to Virtual Assistance: training sites, blogs, associations, directories, press releases, magazine articles, websites for independent and multi-VA organizations, and anything else that came up in Google searches. If that’s you, and you’re wondering how to get started as a VA, here’s what I think you should know:
You need training.
Even if you’re an executive admin with 20 years of experience, or an internet guru who already has a website and blog, you’ll need new skills and resources to succeed as a VA. It might be tempting to try saving time and money by getting started right NOW, but in the long run, you’ll achieve your goals faster when you start with a solid education. The best training program out there is the Virtual Mentoring Program at AssistU.
You need support.
It’s hard to make a career and lifestyle change, and it’s even harder to do it alone. Find someone you can share your dream with, and who will be there when you need help or encouragement. You also need professional support; now is the time to find an attorney, accountant, insurance agent, business coach, web designer, image consultant, and anyone else you think you’ll need to help build a solid foundation for your business.
You need a plan.
Even though most VAs work as sole proprietors, don’t hire any employees, and work from their homes, every business needs a business plan. If you skip this step, you risk being blindsided when a problem or unforeseen challenge arises, or being held back because you don’t have the plans, processes, or policies in place that enable you to grow.
You need to make connections.
To find clients, and to be able to give your clients the level of service you’ll want to provide, you need to be connected to other professionals: VAs with expertise in areas you’re weak in, web designers, business and life coaches, graphic designers, printers, social media experts, and internet marketing experts, to name a few. Find organizations that feel like a good fit for you (I’m a member of the National Association for Christian Women Entrepreneurs, NACWE) and become an active member. Get on Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media and find the kind of people you want to work with.
You need to promote yourself.
Which sounds scary, but it doesn’t have to be. I’m not talking about being obnoxious or pushy, or about promising things you can’t deliver. Find ways of marketing yourself and your business that are attractive, rather than manipulative, and that reflect your personality and values. Become active on social media sites. Make intelligent comments on relevant blog posts. Teach a class about something that your ideal clients want to know. Find out where your ideal clients are – in your community or online – and reach out to them.
If you need someone to talk to about taking the next step, give me a call. I would love to hear your story and answer your questions.
Great Resources for New and Aspiring VAs
AssistU: The premier community and training center for Virtual Assistants
VAClassroom: Relevant, information-packed training courses that can help you develop a specialty, like social media or internet marketing, or increase your overall business acumen
Virtual Moxie: Blog that will help you develop the mindset of a successful VA
Assistant Edge: Compilation of blogs that VAs will find relevant and helpful
Virtual Assistant Network: Forum for VAs where you can get help, encouragement, resources, and training