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:
Things to do while you’re still in the preparation stage
Decide what to call your business
This can be a hard one, so mull it over before you jump into freelancing rather than hurriedly come up with something because you just want to get started. I have a post called ‘how to decide on a company name‘ that covers all your options.
Get my guide on what tools you need (and don’t need) to set up
Many VAs have now told me they found this guide invaluable because they’d either heard or had imagined they needed a ton of stuff before they could set up their business. Most of these things (like a designated work space or a business bank account) turned out to be untrue.
Design your website
Think about what pages you’ll need and write out the copy on a Word document for when your site is ready. Also think about what colours you want and read up on SEO etc.
Click here to read everything I’ve ever written on websites.
Design your logo and business cards
As with a website, you have a lot to think about here and the sooner you’re clear on what you want, the better it will be. This article on ‘things to consider when designing your logo‘ is a great start. I get all my business cards from Moo.com and I get the sturdy rounded-edged ones cos they’re gorgeous.
Someone told me they’d accidentally left my business card in their jeans and it happily withstood a turn in the washing machine – so those rounded-edged ones were a good buy! Initially only order 50 in case you want to change your logo or details later on.
Decide what services to offer
What do you like doing? What do you think people will want? How will those services fit together? How can you charge for them? Think about what stuff you like to do, what you’ve been doing throughout your career, whether you still even want to keep doing those things… there’s lots to think about!
Read my post on ‘How to decide what services to offer‘ to help clarify those thoughts.
Decide on and research your niche
Having a niche – whether it’s the services you offer, the types of people you work for, or the industry you serve means you’re more likely to get regular, enjoyable work and be referred by your clients to other people they know.
This is important.
Read my post called ‘how to choose your niche‘ and start to put feelers out as to whether the services you’re considering offering are needed.
Read all the VA interviews on this site
Many people have walked the path before you so you’d be a fool not to learn as much as you can from them.
Reading their stories, discovering their niches and finding out what advice they offer newbies is not only a valuable source of information, but will also give you inspiration and motivation to become a Virtual Assistant yourself.
Sort your LinkedIn profile out
I cannot stress how important LinkedIn is for your business. It’s part of the technique I use to get my own clients that I outline in my Guide (the technique that works every time I use it by the way), it’s a huge part of both my personal and my DIY training courses and, if it’s not getting you clients, then you are definitely doing it wrong!
If you want your LinkedIn profile audited by an expert, you can read more about that here.
Get your contract and T&Cs lined up
You’ll probably want to finalise these once you settle on your niche and services, but you can at least get your paperwork semi-done so it’s ready to paste onto your headed paper (once you’ve sorted the logo and company name!).
I have a UK Legal Pack with a legally compliant contract and T&Cs on my Downloads page.
Research and prepare
Being a freelancer is different than working for a company in many ways. Like anything, you’re less likely to be surprised by these differences if you’ve researched what it might be like and prepared yourself mentally.
This site is full of info and there are some great freelancing websites out there (Freelance Folder and Guerilla Freelancing are good) so read as much as you can before you jump in to lessen the impact.
Psych yourself up and get excited
Leaving the world of full-time work can be a big step for some people so psyching yourself up to go freelance really helps. Click over to my post called ‘Read this then just set up your business already‘ and… well, go and set up your business of course!
I set up my business with just a phone, a laptop and a whole lot of determination and resourcefulness. I read everything I could on freelancing (and marketing, and SEO, and social media and a billion other things), I thought hard about where I could find clients and I made sure I did something each day that took me nearer to my goal.
And if I can do this then there’s no reason why you can’t either.
If you just know you can be a Virtual Assistant then the rest is just detail really.