This is a Virtual Assistant case study on MOI! You can read a bit about me here but this is the story about how I became a VA, what I did before I went freelance, how I manage clients and what I’d do differently if I had to start again. I set up Munro PA Services at the end of 2008 and I live in sunny Brighton in an apartment full of shoes, wine and cake.
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.”
Although I believe every Virtual Assistant should have a niche, I know it’s not always quite that easy. Having a specialised area of expertise certainly makes you known as the ‘go-to’ person and leads to more work, but when you first start out how on earth do you decide what your VA niche should even be?
When you first start out as a Virtual Assistant, you’ll need to have a good think about what services you want to provide. If you’ve already decided on your niche then you’ll know exactly what your chosen target market needs doing but, if you’re like I was when I first started and you haven’t, here’s a few things to think about that might help you work it out.
So you’ve decided to go ahead and become a Virtual Assistant. You know who your target market is, what services you’re going to offer and you’re all ready to get going… all you need now is to decide what to call your business. Of course, this is easier said than done! So how exactly do you decide on your company name?
Once you’ve decided what to call your Virtual Assistant business, you might want a visual representation of your brand – your logo. On one hand your logo is just a formality so you can launch your business and get on with the business of making money, and on the other it represents who you are, what you stand for and will also be on all your marketing materials. Plus, if you get it wrong it could be a complete ball-ache to redesign later!
Along with your niche, one of the hardest things to decide when you become a Virtual Assistant is how to set your rates. If you bill by the hour then you’ll never earn more than there are hours in the working day, if you charge a retainer then what do you include? And if you charge by the project how do you know how long a task will take in order to quote a fair price?
When you decide that you’re going to become a Virtual Assistant and take over the Universe, one of the many, many things you’ll need to do is tell the Government you’re no longer working for The Man but for many men and women instead. The information below is based on current UK tax laws so make sure you’re up to date with what you need to do if you live outside of the UK.