The effect of rising minimum wages is hurting so many but none more than small businesses.  And when these small businesses close because they can’t afford to pay employees, or severely cut hours, there are going to be more and more desperate for work. That’s why so many will be looking to start their own business. They need to make money and also gain control of their lives again. And one business that continues to thrive is the Virtual Assistant Industry. Even for those not impacted from the new minimum wage laws, now is still a good time to consider starting a Virtual Assistant business. The need for Virtual Assistants is just so great now.

So what is a Virtual Assistant?  So many different variations of what a VA is but basically it’s someone who can do a variety of work from a remote location. They are skilled professionals who provide a number of quality services to businesses, entrepreneurs, authors, executives, and others who need support. They become the best asset to get more accomplished, often allowing those they work with to take on tasks they need help with and don’t have the time or skills to do. They can provide a number of services including the following:

Tasks a Virtual Assistant Can Do Include:

  1. PR and marketing
  2. Writing and content creating
  3. Social media management including creating content
  4. Research and sourcing
  5. Book marketing
  6. Editing and Proofing
  7. Writing articles and blog postings
  8. Bookkeeping
  9. Meeting and event planning
  10. Realtor support
  11. And so much more

So now that you know what a VA is and what services they provide how can you get started?  No problem, try these tips:

Tips to Starting Your Virtual Assistant Business:

1)     Decide based on your skills and experiences what services you would like to offerThen consider who would need those services. There probably isn’t a market out there today that isn’t using a Virtual Assistant so it’s a matter of matching your skills with who would use those the most.  For example, authors will use editing, marketing, social media, getting reviews, etc., while a small business might need help with book keeping, email marketing and sending out newsletters, administrative tasks, etc.  It’s also important to remember those that are passionate about the work tend to do better. You want to love what you do on a regular basis, so find that right client/services connection.

2)     Get clear on your rates and operating procedures. Now that’s a loaded statement and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. This will be the nuts and bolts of your business and a big factor in your success.  And the thing is, unfortunately, there is no one clear cut answer on what to charge or how to get started. It does differ considerably depending on your skills and experiences, services you are offering, where you are located, etc.  So many underprice their services thinking that’s the way to get lots of clients. It actually has the opposite effect.  You’ll be working with clients who are more demanding and won’t value your services because they don’t get that true professional vibe from you because of your low rates.  So do yourself a huge favor right from the start and charge what you’re worth.

As far as procedures, decide early on how you plan to run your business and make clear boundaries. Setting clear hours is one perfect example. You don’t want to be working 24/7 so right from the get go, outline your working hours and relay this to all potential clients and current clients. Often you might have to give a gentle nudge to a client if they start asking for rush services, working evenings and weekends, and more.  Remember it’s your business so you need to be in control of all things. 

Another important procedure is creating a proposal so you can send to interested potential clients so they can see your services, rates, information about you and your business, testimonials, etc.  This will be your proposal template, and it’s encouraged to personalize each for the different clients you are talking with. This shows you really would provide the personalized attention they need.  Want to see an example? Just let me know.

3)     Hire a coach to help jumpstart your business.  One way to get up quickly and successfully is to hire a Virtual Assistant Coach.  Make sure they walk the walk and talk the talk. You want someone in your corner who can answer all those nagging questions and tell you how to market and get the right clients.  Plus, they can help you determine the best rate for your services and how you plan to bill. Some examples here include charging a retainer where you work monthly with a set amount of hours, hourly rates where you bill by the hour, service packages where you have a set amount of services you will provide for a certain price.

There’s no better time to start your own business and take control over your life and really enjoy every day. Becoming a virtual assistant will bring that passion back.  And it’s easier than you think.  Hopefully these tips should help. Don’t let the minimum wage crisis effect you negatively, use it as a way to finally do what you’ve always wanted to do, be your own boss. And as always, seek the help of those in the know to quick start your success.

Diana Ennen, President of Virtual Word Publishing, offers PR and Marketing services, book marketing services, virtual assisting services, and PR and Virtual Assistant Coaching. She has been featured in USA Weekly, Forbes, Inc. Radio, Fox News, Women’s World, USA Today, CNN, Wall Street Journal, and many more.