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!
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 working day so it’s definitely much better to get a client on to a monthly retainer or to 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.
You might have seen some outsourcing websites where freelancers can register, bid, and apply for jobs posted up by companies and individuals around the world. People Per Hour, 3desk, Fiverr, Guru, oDesk and Elance are just a few of those sites but there are a ton out there if you look. But do these types of websites actually lead to paid work?
If you’ve decided to focus on working in your local area then it’s likely you’ll be networking at some point. However I can tell you from experience that you will be definitely be met with some blank stares when you tell people what you do! Although Virtual Assistance is becoming better known, to some people it’s like you just told them you were a quantum cat herder. But follow these tips and you’ll be networking like a pro in no time.
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 VA about them she said she never used a contract and simply trusted her clients.
So what did I do?
Once I needed to remotely show a client how to do a couple of things. My client had lost an email and I thought they might have accidentally clicked the ! icon which means ‘report spam’. So I took a screenshot of my Gmail inbox with this button highlighted in order to ascertain if they had indeed done this.
And I actually drew arrows on the screenshot.
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 payers. I wish I didn’t have to just tell you that, but it’s just the way things are. Some clients are really good payers and some clients are a pain in the rear – it’s the way of the world. There are a few things you can do to mitigate the damage however.
This is a Virtual Assistant case study and interview with Kathryn Hall. Kathryn runs My Virtual Sidekick, is based in Shoreham in Sussex and has been providing admin support and transcription services to creative women since 2011. This is the story of how she became a VA.