As you know, the UK is currently going through a period of economic and political uncertainty. This post is not about blame or discussing whether we had this forced upon us or not (I voted remain and I’m sure your Facebook streams are full of anger and confusion already) it’s about moving forward and ensuring you’re in a strong position with a positive future whatever happens.
Posts Categorized I want to be a VA – set up
I’m always banging on about how life is way too short to not follow your dreams. It’s a big thing of mine and I’m sure you’ve heard me say a billion times how important it is not to sleepwalk through life and not do anything with it. But just in case you want to know what happens to people who do take action and who do take practical steps towards getting what they want, this post is for you.
Although the types of tasks you’ll be given will obviously vary depending on what your services are and what your clients do for a living, I thought it might be a good idea to provide three different examples so you can get a basic idea of what to expect. These are not unusual tasks and cover the main areas of research, data entry, collation and attention to detail.
People often ask me how long it takes to become a Virtual Assistant and my answer is usually “it depends”. But now I have a definitive answer: if you set aside time every day to get on and focus on the things you need to do in the right order then it should take you no more than 3 months tops. And this is exactly how you do it:
As a freelancer you are legally required to keep accurate financial records and expenses going back over the last six years. My trainees often ask me how they should record both their own financial records as well as their client invoices, so I thought I’d show you the system I use myself.
People often ask me whether they should take out business insurance and, although I usually direct them to various online articles (because well, that’s why Google exists!) I thought I should cover it on the site. Most other Sole Traders I know don’t have any insurance, but here’s a summary of the different types so you can make the decision for yourself.
Annoyingly, you will regularly be contacted by people who have absolutely no idea what they want you to do. They know they need help, but they’re often so busy they can’t think straight and really aren’t sure of the best way to use you. You obviously need to fix this or you won’t end up doing any work for them at all!
Your website is pretty important. It acts as a ‘shop window’ for your business and if it’s really shonky then potential clients will think you’re really shonky too. I’ve seen some truly shocking VA websites, so read my post, find out if yours might be one of them, then calmly but quickly log in to your site and tart it up immediately!
Another popular question from new VAs is what services they should offer their clients. Obviously this will depend on lots of things such as demand, your niche, your skill set, your interests, your work history and your location, but here’s 30 services you can consider providing to start you off.
Many of you are still in the research stage and finding out whether this whole VA thing is something you want to do, but if you definitely know you want to be a Virtual Assistant and are still in the process of setting up and getting ready to launch whilst in full-time work, there are many things you can do to get ready. Here are just some of them:
Most freelancers will tell you that working for yourself is brilliant and will bring you freedom like you won’t believe. But what they often won’t tell you is that it’s also often confusing, scary, frustrating and stressful. Existing freelancers will hopefully read this article, laugh and nod their heads with recognition – and new freelancers will get an insight into what’s coming!
I don’t make websites for a living so I’m not going to go into detail about every single tiny thing you need to have a decent site, I’m just going to provide an overview of the different things you need to think about when you’re setting up a Virtual Assistant website. And although many VAs get work via their LinkedIn profile alone, having a website to act as your shop window will only help your business in the long run.
I know that setting up your own Virtual Assistant business seems like hard work so I’m very sorry to tell you that it’s actually the easy part. Being a successful VA isn’t simply helping someone with their admin or supporting their business, it’s knowing how to manage people. And, from listening to feedback from my clients and new enquiries, a lot of VAs are woefully lacking in the right skills.
An ongoing debate amongst freelancers is whether or not you should display your rates on your website. Although not everyone agrees and I have my own fixed opinion on the matter, I want to outline the pros and cons of both arguments as well as address common concerns so you can make an informed decision for yourself.
So now I’ve covered how to set your rates, how to track time spent on client tasks, how to avoid time-wasting clients and how and when to fire a client, it’s time to tell you how to invoice a client so they can pay you! This is how to set up easy standard ways of invoicing so you can just do the work and bill your client without any stress, worry or confusion.
One of my readers recently sent me an email suggesting I write a post on how to qualify a new client. Only two weeks into her new career, she’s already encountered a complete time-waster and wanted to share her experience in order to prevent others having the same experience. This is what she told me:
Testimonials are important for Virtual Assistants because people are way more likely to hire you if they can see you come recommended – so a testimonial page or a WordPress quote rotator widget as I have on my own PA site is vital if you want to show how good you are. But how do you get testimonials when you’re just starting out and haven’t done any work yet?
One of the questions I get asked the most is “when should I leave my job to solely focus on being a Virtual Assistant?”. Although there’s as many answers to that question as people asking it, in all honesty it boils down to one simple thing:
When you have enough clients.
You think you might want to be a Virtual Assistant but you’re not too sure what’s involved so you’re having a scout about online to find out more? Well working for yourself is extremely hard work so it really is very important to know what you’re letting yourself in for. So let me tell you what it’s like to be a freelancer and you can decide for yourself if it’s something you’re cut out for.
A while back I was talking to a woman who was thinking about becoming a Virtual Assistant. She’d contacted me for advice because she was unsure of her options and wanted to know what being a VA was like. She said: “I’m quite confused as to what to do at the moment. Full time work is a safe option but the hours are too long for me now and I’m trying to run a part-time business too. I need help to figure out the best route and direction for me.”