The essentials for your start up Virtual Assistant Business
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When you start your Virtual Assistant business, you’ll need to cover a few essentials. I cover them here. My tips and list below are all learned from own experience since starting my business in 2016. It was a little dashed and wish I had this to work from when I started up and I hope you find it super helpful.
It is also entirely possible for you to start your VA business for free – and legitimately.
Startup: The things you need from Day 1 - the absolute essentials
A success mindset
To start anything at all, you need to adopt a success mindset. Without a success mindset, you will stall, not be in love with what you do, hold back on giving 100% or simply just not start, needless to say, you won’t be successful if you do start and this is why you must adopt a success mindset. Install it, focus and don’t break away from it.
“You are infinitely capable of doing anything” is a personal reminder I tell myself, daily.
Over at the blog I wrote about discovering your Why, and why you should absolutely start with it – . Your purpose will see you through hard and tough times, ones which will sometimes feel impossible to break through, but it’s entirely possible to overcome them. Just discover and live by your Why.
You will need to learn or use knowledge you already have, in order to market your Virtual business. It’s not a case of setup and have clients fall at your door, knocking for your services. You will need to tell people you’re in business and show them how great you are. You will need clients.
Networking in person and on Social Media, running online ads, blog, be active in groups and speaking with your professional and social networks are just some ways that you can start to market your business. Speak about it. Shout about it. You’re providing a valuable service.
In order to run your online office, you will need a Laptop. I suggest this over a desktop computer because you can be truly mobile.
When I started RoBec Solutions, I used a Laptop I already had, admittedly it was slower than I am using now, however, it had all the right software on it already and it worked absolutely fine for what I needed. I did not need to spend a penny.
When I was comfortably bringing in a monthly income, I upgraded. In that instance I bought a nifty little HP Stream Laptop which did me wonders. It was compact, light to carry, quick and looked good. At this point, even though I was bringing in an income, I didn’t want to spend too much. So it was affordable for me at that point.
When I decided to upgrade further, I was looking for something bigger in screen and with more space and go in it. I purchased the HP 250 G6 Laptop. It is a dream to work on, quick startup, quick to run (I am a multi app user!) all the right apps and software. It’s the computer I use today.
A Mobile Phone
You are highly likely to already have a Mobile Phone. You don’t need a fancy business one, as long as it works, it’s fuzzy on calls.
I used an old Samsung I had when I started RoBec. (You can see the mobile in the above Laptop images) Again it was slow and to be honest, I wasn’t enjoying Android but, it worked. I was able to use it to communicate. I added my emails to it and socials.
Naturally, I went back to Apple, it’s a preference, and the iPhone works fantastic for my VA business. I have all of the apps I need, emails, socials, communication apps.
Good Internet Connection
You will need a fast and reliable internet connection. It needs to be able to download and upload in a fast manner and be able to carry you when you’re using online comms tools like Skype, Zoom etc. You don’t want to be cutting out or receiving that little message to say “Weak Internet Connection” mid way through a sales call.
A key way of communicating in your Online Business. I started with a simple @google email address but this isn’t very professional. I tested the water before I purchased my Domain. If you have an email with Google (I use GSuite so i can use my robecsolutions.co.uk email with Gmail etc) Google offers the Drive (Cloud Storage), Docs (Word Processing), Sheets (Spreadsheets), Calendar and more. It’s the perfect first tool to implement and use in your business.
Branding and your Business name
This doesn’t need to be as time consuming as it sounds, but you’ll need to choose if you’re creating a website and applying for business banks plus you’ll need it when sorting your legal docs. It’s also professional.
Choose a name that is easy to remember and works with a brand. Don’t make it too long or criptic. Ensure it isn’t being used by another Company or Entrepreneur.
Ideally your business name should describe what you do, or it could be your name. If you’re looking to expand in the future, into different areas of business, a general yet personal and unique business name is a good idea, RoBec Solutions was born with growth in mind.
Once you’ve set your business name and sorted your domain (read on) you can work on your branding.
Being a Virtual Assistant, your branding doesn’t have to be complicated, criptic or fancy. Your branding as a unique Virtual Assistant, who brings exceptional skills and services to your clients, is personal, you are the face of your business. You are your brand and since people buy people, it shows you are not a corporate business but a personal business. This shouldn’t spark concern, in fact , it is probably the easiest and most simple type of branding and like you, as an individual, is absolutely unique. Simply ensure you have a good photograph of yourself (a clear head-shot), carry out meetings as over Video Conferencing and ensure you add a great Bio to your website and socials.
I am based in the UK, it is very important you understand the laws of starting a business in your Country as you may need a business licence.
I am also not a legal adviser, this is just simple information I have gathered and learned whilst starting and growing my own business.
You may, or may not, need or like to instruct professional legal business advice, this is just an overview.
Your Business Entity
First up, choose your business entity and register it. If you’re setting up as a sole trader in the UK, for instance, here’s the place to go https://www.gov.uk/set-up-sole-trader. The Gov website has lots of great info for Startups in the UK.
Your service offerings and your rates
Think about the work you currently do and which industry you are in.
Do you have a niche skill?
A niche skill is a skill that you know a lot about and can do comfortably and expertly. A Web Designer, Pinterest Manager, Social Media Manager, Facebook Ads expert or Content Writer for examples, are niche skills.
Think about your range of skills, are you an expert in any of these? Do you know anything ‘inside out’? Does your background experience come from a specific industry for example Construction, Marketing, Accounting?
Virtual Assistants with niche skills can generally charge a little more in their hourly rate / service packages, so have a good think
What are you great at? What do you love to do? Do you have a hobby you’re passionate about?
The tasks you do need to work for you because there’s no use being unhappy in your work, that’s not the idea.
When setting your rates, set the rate which feels right for you and importantly, covers tax bills, expenses and business overheads, you’ll then want to factor in your personal living costs since this business is for you making money, whilst at home, for you and your Family.
It is a good idea to identify your ideal customer. When I first started my VA business, I didn’t do this and I couldn’t find a connection with a couple, thus, I was pleased when the work is finished and moved on. This isn’t great but, it was a learning curve – that is what this is all about. Learning.
Over at the blog, I write about Identifying your ideal client for your Virtual Assistant Business
Your Sales Funnel - How you will get clients
Once you have setup your online Office, you will need to ensure you have a plan in place to welcome and onboard new clients. You really do need to think hard and focus on this. You will need to ensure you have a plan in place to take your client from Prospective to paying client, you need to map the A – B Journey out clearly. This won’t be a one task and done, you’ll need to ensure you keep a check on it, update it and use it consistently. This also doesn’t need to be daunting, with a few templates, a clear checklist system and the use of your marketing skills, your funnels will get to work in no time.
Contracts and T&C
Write and set your contract terms and conditions. This is really important to let your clients know how you work and it protects you both whilst in business.
I created my Service Agreement which wraps my T&C and data protection in to it.
Starling (only available for those with a Personal Account if Sole Trader)
Your Domain and Website
I actually think this is very important for Virtual Assistants. When you’ve created your business name, you’ll need to buy a domain for your website. Check that your domain name hasn’t already been purchased, check that out at GoDaddy [https://uk.godaddy.com/domains/domain-name-search]
A domain name ensures you have a .co.uk / .com etc website, instead of the WordPress one for instance firstname.lastname@example.org (if I didn’t purchase RoBec’s plutons.co.uk). Not having a professional domain, to be, portrays non longevity in your business or you don’t take it seriously. Once your domain is setup, ensure you create your email addresses.
I purchased my domain through IONOS (formally 1&1) and I’m still with them because it works for me. It’s not broken and it doesn’t cost the Earth so I’m not spending time changing it right now.
As an online business, your website is going to be the place where you take your customers, showcase your expertise through a blog, reference back from networking online and hold all of the important info about you and your business.
- Invest in a good website building platform. I use WordPress and my host is currently IONOS.
- Invest in someone who can build websites if creating them yourself isn’t for you. I designed and built www.robecsolutions.co.uk myself but this was because I had a desire to succeed in building my own website and learning something new along the way. I’d always fancied learning about web development so I learnt and did my own. I get great feedback about my website still and I did actually learn a lot.
- Ensure your website can also be used easily as a Blog and be sure to link all of your social media sites to your website in the footer, header, blog posts etc.
On your website, you will need;
- A Homepage
- About you Page
- Services Page
- Working with Page (covering rates, packages etc)
- Contact Page
Ensure your branding is consistent throughout your website.
I highly recommend you log EVERYTHING from day one, all purchases and sales. It will be such a pickle if you don’t. Having accounting software is a fantastic idea and makes for an easier Tax return.
If your accounts are disorganised you will find yourself wasting your precious time reorganising it.
So, Start as you mean to go on and record EVERYTHING from DAY ONE.
My choice of software is Xero Accounting, but there are others which work well for startups.
You can read more about these over at the blog: Essential Tools: under Section 4: Invoicing and Expenses.
Time tracking software
When you first start, to create your service offerings, you will need to track your time. I recommend;
You can read more about these over at the blog: Essential Tools under Section1: Time Tracking
There’s lots of tools a Virtual Assistant will benefit from, however, this is just what I consider your essentials. You can view the entire list of tools over at the blog.
Valuable tip: The best investment you can make, is the investment in yourself. I encourage you to join me in being a lifelong student and enhance your knowledge, experience and skill, to achieve self excellence.
I really hope that this post was helpful, if you need any guidance you are welcome to reach out to me with any questions you may have, plus, I’d love to hear your feedback, decisions and progress.
To your Virtual startup success,