With remote working becoming more and more common, many executives and managers are seeking virtual assistants to help keep them organized. Virtual assistants help with scheduling, making appointments, tracking emails, and even customer service. The great thing about a virtual assistant business is that you can work for anyone in the world, and for multiple clients at once, all from the comfort of your home.
To be successful, however, there are some things you should know. In this article, we’ll offer 11 tips to ensure that your business is a lucrative one.
Create a Business Plan
Writing a business plan will really help you think through how you’ll run your business. It will also give you a good idea of what your costs will be so you can project how much you’re going to make. Additionally, if you need financing to help with marketing costs, a lender will want to see your business plan. If you’re not a good writer, it might be beneficial to hire a professional to help. If you do it yourself, there are many templates that you can find online to get you started.
It’s All in a Name
Your business name is your business identity, so choose one that encapsulates your objectives, services, and mission in just a few words. You probably want a name that’s short and easy to remember, since much of your business, and your initial business in particular, will come from word-of-mouth referrals. You also want your name to reflect how you want to present yourself. If you’re seeking high-level professionals, choose a name that makes you sound professional.
Try Freelance Sites
Freelance sites can be a good place to start. You may only get small jobs at first, but something bigger may eventually come along. You’ll pay fees to the site, however, so don’t just take any jobs. Make sure you’re still clearing a good rate even after you pay fees.
Build Your Own Website
You can get work on sites like Fiverr or Upwork, but if you invest in your own website, you’ll have more of an opportunity to grow your business. You’ll appear more professional, and it gives you the capacity to add other virtual assistants to your business so that your company can handle more clients and make more revenue. To have a good website developed you might spend $1,000 to $3,000. You’ll just need to make sure that the site you build can be upgraded over time.
Skills Mean More Money
If you have special skills that you can offer, you can make a better hourly rate. Writing, graphic design, sales, social media marketing, SEO skills, and more can put more money in your pocket. For basic tasks only, you’ll probably earn about $20 per hour, but if you have extra skills, you might make as much as $35 per hour. You can take inexpensive courses to up your skills on sites like Udemy or Coursera.
You’ll probably see virtual assistants on Fiverr or other sites that offer services for far less than $20 per hour, but keep in mind that clients will get what they pay for. Be confident in your skills, express that confidence in your marketing, and charge appropriately. Don’t present yourself as a discount service – you won’t make much money and you won’t be able to take your business to the next level.
LinkedIn, LinkedIn, LinkedIn
You should spend a lot of time on LinkedIn, particularly when you first get started. Connect with as many professionals as you can, post often, and create ads. You’ll spend a little money, but you’ll start acquiring clients faster than if you don’t advertise. Also, send direct messages to your LinkedIn contacts. Don’t make them too “salesy”; just briefly explain what you do, your skills, and your phone number. You’ll be surprised by how effective this can be.
Utilize Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
If you have an understanding of SEO, great! Use it to make your site come up on Google. If not, it can be worth paying an SEO company to do it for you. Don’t overspend, particularly if you’re utilizing LinkedIn well, but it can be worth the money.
As a virtual assistant with clients all over the world, you need to be prepared to work at odd hours if necessary. The more you’re willing to be flexible with your time, the more clients you’ll be able to acquire. You should be willing to answer your phone or email whenever possible, even if it’s not convenient. If you grow your business, someday you may be in charge of other people who do the virtual assisting, and then you won’t have to be on call!
Form an LLC
When choosing your business structure, consider a limited liability company (LLC). An LLC is an increasingly popular business structure for startups in the US, offering liability protection for ownership and greater flexibility than a corporation, particularly in terms of taxes. The LLC itself does not pay taxes. As a “pass-through” entity, income passes through the business to the owner or owners, who report it on their personal tax returns. Starting an LLC is a simple process.
Get Business Insurance
Business insurance is an area that often gets overlooked yet it’s very important. For a virtual assistant business, the most important type of insurance is professional liability insurance. It protects against claims from a client who says they suffered a loss due to an error or omission in your work. You may not think it can happen in your line of work, but when dealing with executives you might be assisting with tasks that involve a lot of money. If the worst happens, you need to be protected.
Starting a virtual assistant business is not difficult or expensive, and it can be very lucrative if you do it right. The tips provided should help you get off to a great start, particularly with marketing. You may spend some money at first to get your name out there, but over time, you should start getting referrals so you won’t have to spend as much, and you can keep more money in your pocket. So now that you know what to do, get your business plan together and get ready to launch!
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