A while back I was talking to a woman who was thinking about becoming a Virtual Assistant and wanted some advice. She said: “I’m 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 direction for me.”
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 are 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 shiny new business. Of course, this is easier said than done! So exactly how do you decide on your company name?
Once you’ve decided what to call your Virtual Assistant business, you may want a logo. On one hand, your logo is just a formality so you can launch your business, 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 headache to redesign later!
One of the hardest things to decide when you become a Virtual Assistant is how to set your rates. If you charge by the hour then you’ll never earn more than there are hours in the day which is why it’s better to get a client on a retainer or charge a project rate. “But how does that work and how do I do that?!” I hear you cry. Well let’s look at those options in more detail:
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.
As a freelancer, you’ll definitely be networking at some point. However, I know from experience that you’ll also be met with a few blank stares when you tell people what you do! Although Virtual Assistance is becoming better known, to some people you may just as well have said you were a quantum cat herder. Here’s how to explain what you do when networking.
When I started out as a Virtual Assistant I thoroughly researched other VA websites and noticed that many of them mentioned contracts or terms and conditions – yet when I asked another Virtual Assistant in my area about them she said she never used a contract and simply trusted her clients. So what did I do?
When I’m trying to talk a client through a task it always helps if I can either see what they’re looking at on their screen or they can see what’s on mine so I can show them what to do. A really easy way to do this is to use the free screen-sharing facility on Skype.
At some point during your VA career, you’re going to get some late-paying clients – it’s just the way things are. Some clients are fantastic and pay your invoices immediately, some like to cut it fine, and some will really test your patience. Here’s how to deal with the late payers without going all Daenerys Targaryen on them.