How to Start Your Own Virtual Assistant Business

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How to Become a Virtual Assistant

First off, CONGRATS!  

I know you’re thinking “I haven’t done anything yet,” but trust me you have.  

You have taken the first step to potentially changing your career and your life and becoming a Virtual Assistant!  

I wish you could have seen me just over 2.5 years ago when I started researching how to become a Virtual Assistant.  

I couldn’t put the iPad and of course, Pinterest, down.  

I have no idea how many things my husband might have been talking to me about while we were sitting on the couch after dinner, but I was focused on one thing.  

“How do I make becoming a Virtual Assistant happen and put the miserable working 9-5 state of mind behind me?”  

Don’t get me wrong, I still work 9-5 – Now as a Graphic & Web Designer.

Actually, I’m up at 5:30 am and I don’t stop until 3:00 pm every day, but for me, that’s perfection!

I get to have breakfast with my kiddos, bring them to school and daycare and then be home with them from 3pm on.

I still throw in the occasional hour or two after dinner but mostly not!

Does this sound like the perfect solution for you?

Keep reading below though to find out the steps you can take to start your own Virtual Assistant business.

What is a Virtual Assistant?

A Virtual Assistant can mean many things, but essentially you can provide a range of services remotely to business owners, entrepreneurs, or even bloggers.

There is pretty much an infinite list of the types of services you can offer, which as far as I’m concerned, is a good thing for you starting out.  

As a Virtual Assistant, you can literally offer services in almost any niche.

The most important thing here for you is determining your skill set.

It might be a good idea to write down your past experience or even take some time to go over your resume.

Now I will say this, don’t let your past experiences define you.  

You may only have admin experience but that doesn’t mean you can’t become a Social Media Virtual Assistant.  

I had zero and I mean “big fat ZERO” experience in Social Media or even blogging really, and 5 months later I was a Blogging and Pinterest Manager for a Blogger.

Now I didn’t land my first client in something I knew nothing about. But… I knew that it was my goal and I did everything since I started as a Virtual Assistant to get to that point.  

Start with what you know, but if you know that’s not what is going to sustain your enthusiasm and hunger long term, make sure you’re clear on what you’re striving for.  

My first client (whom I worked with for almost a year), is a Mortgage Broker that I did mostly administrative and funding tasks for.

I knew long term I also wanted something more creative, but it was a great foot in the door and a great start as a Virtual Assistant, and gave me the opportunity to earn some income while continuing to build my business, set my goals and learn, learn, learn.

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What Makes a Great Virtual Assistant?

As far as I’m concerned, the most important trait as a Virtual Assistant is being a self-starter.  

There is no one around to make sure you look for clients, update your site, publish blog posts or research.  

That’s up to you, lady!  

If you know you would rather watch Sex and the City re-runs all day, sleep in and have little motivation to make it happen, this likely isn’t for you….

Sorry….  

You need to want to kick some ass and you need to be motivated.

Maybe, like me, you were bitter having to drop your son off at daycare at 8 months old so you could go and be a robot answering phones from a script. Trust me, it was motivating.  

What’s your motivation?  

Weekends off, more time with family, finally paying off that debt that you just can’t seem to catch up with?

Whatever it is, use it!  

I also put a list together of some additional qualities that will really help if/when you embark on this journey:

  1. Willingness to learn
  2. Adaptability
  3. Ability to work with an opposite personality
  4. Organized
  5. Helpful

You will notice that none of these qualities are based on a specific type of work experience.  

They are personality traits.  

Software programs and social media platforms can be learned. What we need to determine here is if you are the right type of person to start your own Virtual Assistant Business.  

If you are a self-starter, then you already have what it takes to learn whatever else you need to know – and lucky for you, I’m going to help you with the rest!

Who Actually Hires Virtual Assistants?

Once again, the list is literally endless in terms of who might actually hire you!  

This is definitely a huge plus.  

Not only are you not limited to working for someone in your immediate area, but you can also work for someone in another country!  

This means the opportunity pool for you just got a whole lot bigger than a traditional job, big win here!  

When I started, I had one client that was actually relatively close to me, and my second client works in another country.

You can pretty much work for anyone, but will most likely be working for an entrepreneur, small business owner or perhaps even a blogger.  

I created a little list below to give you some ideas of who might hire you as a Virtual Assistant, but as I said, it’s endless!

  • Blogger
  • Business/Life Coach
  • Fitness Trainer
  • Graphic Designer
  • Web Designer
  • Freelancer
  • Real Estate Agent
  • Mortgage Broker
  • Photographer
  • and pretty much any other small business owner you can think of!

What Services Can You Offer as a Virtual Assistant?

The good thing is that you can literally become a Virtual Assistant for almost anything.  

This makes starting out a lot easier, and there aren’t many obstacles.  

You do need a few things before you can start marketing yourself as a Virtual Assistant, but first let’s talk about what services you can offer.  

The top Virtual Assistant Services that people are hiring for this year are:

  • Social Media Manager
  • Social Media Graphic Designer
  • Content Writer
  • Proofreader
  • Logo Designer
  • Graphic Designer
  • Web Designer
  • Branding Expert
  • CRM Manager
  • Calendar and Email Manager
  • Email Marketing Manager

Seriously the list is endless!  The best part is, you’re not stuck only offering one type of service.  

You can offer Social Media Services and also offer Content Production and Management.  

I’ve also compiled an excellent list of the Top Online Courses for Entrepreneurs that you should totally check out!  It’s the perfect way to get started in a niche you want to get better at!

Now it is a good idea to not offer everything under the sun.  

You will be better off in the long run if you choose a specialty or niche and become an expert in that niche.  

If you want the whole truth and nothing but the truth, I started off offering a whole range of services…  From content management to web design, to General VA work to real estate specific work, I really had NO focus on what I wanted to do.  

Don’t make the same mistake I did.  

I learned very quickly what I actually wanted to spend my days doing, and what I would rather shoot myself in the foot than have to do.  

Here’s a quick exercise to help narrow down what might work for you:

1. Download and print my awesome Virtual Assistant Services Worksheet (available in the FREEBIE LIBRARY!).

Simple enough.  

You will notice at the bottom, there are several empty slots. If you by chance have some very specific talent or work experience, place it there!

2. You will notice beside each service there is a column that says Yay or Nay.

First, go through the list and put an X beside each service that you literally have no interest in.  

If you have any interest in a service, but know nothing about it, DON’T put an X, don’t limit yourself.

3. Now go through all of the ones that don’t have an X and rank them based on your Abilities, 1 being you don’t know much and 5 being you’re pretty damn good at it.

4. Now skip over to the next column and using the same 1-5 scale, mark all of the services that don’t have an X, with how interested you are in offering them as a service. 1 being not very interested, and 5 being – please God let me find a freaking client who will pay me to do this!

5. Now is where the magic happens!  

Got any 5’s that match up?  

If so, then bingo you just narrowed down your services. If you don’t… please don’t be discouraged.  

Although, I didn’t have this great resource to use when I was starting, I had very little professional experience in the one thing I wanted to do the most…. become the Ultimate Pinterest Manager.  

What this exercise would have given me is direction, which I could have seriously used.  

I know it will make a big difference for you!

6. Now if you don’t have any matching 5’s, work your way down the list.  

It’s very possible that your first gig might be a 3 in the interested category but a 5 in the experience category.  

That is exactly how it went for me.  

I answered the phones for a Mortgage Broker, which I’m really good at but not what I wanted to do long term. Good news is, it got me in the door, allowed me to have some income while I read, took courses and devoured everything I could about Pinterest for business.  

Get the point? 

Good.

I Want to Be a Virtual Assistant, So What's Next?

Alright, so we have narrowed down what services you want to offer as a Virtual Assistant or more specifically, what niche you want to focus on, so what’s next?  

Now it’s time to make a plan, and get down and dirty to get everything set up to let the world know you are open for business!  

This is important – what I’m talking to you about here is how to start your own Virtual Assistant Business and how to make some damn good money doing it.  

There are a lot of sites out there where you can bid for work but you literally get paid peanuts.  

I’m talking a real, viable, long-standing business.

If you are interested in just making a little bit of extra side cash with little to no upfront cost, this is not the post for you.

If you ARE looking for a legit, long term business, stick with me Lady Boss!

What's it Going to Cost to Start My Virtual Assistant Business?

Starting your own Virtual Assistant business doesn’t cost pennies but it really doesn’t have to kill you either. 

Once you have narrowed down your services, these are the next considerations in terms of what will/can cost your money!

1. Web hosting – As you know, I recommend AND USE Siteground.

They are super affordable, reliable and have 24-hour online support which you may just need when starting out. 

They also have a “1 click” install for WordPress to really make your life simple!

If you want a sneak at setting up Siteground from our new Website Builder Blueprint course coming out, watch it here: Module 1 – Setting up Siteground Website Hosting.

 

2. WordPress Theme – As always, I recommend building your website using Elementor Pro.

Why? You ask. 

Because if you want total control of your website without needing to be a coding pro, Elementor Pro is where it’s at.

Our site and all the client sites we build are using this method.  We even have a course on how to quickly and easily build your own website: 5-Day Website Academy.

 

3. Email Newsletter platform – I use Mailerlite for this site and it’s the perfect email newsletter platform from beginner to expert!

Mailerlite it free for up to 1000 subscribers, so it’s a no brainer!

 

4. Technology – I thoroughly recommend you use a newer laptop or desktop, one you know you can rely on. 

I was using my 7-year-old Dell, that only worked when it was plugged in for the first month and quickly realized how much time I was losing. 

oh.. and then it died on me!

 

In case you are interested, I went and purchased this HP Computer and have LOVED it ever since! It’s an incredible machine!

 

5. Data Storage – You have a few choices here, you can purchase an external drive to keep with you at all times or you can look at some e-storage options such as Dropbox.

I actually prefer to use cloud storage for all of my own stuff as well as client work.

 

6. Insurance – I personally think this is mandatory! 

I recently had another VA tell me that insurance isn’t mandatory in their state. 

Maybe it’s not, but… what happens if you accidentally make a mistake and shut down a clients website for the day and they lose a lot of money? 

I don’t think you want to pay that out of pocket!! 

My insurance as a Virtual Assistant was $300/year and totally worth it if you ask me for my piece of mind!

 

7. Programs/software – This really depends on what type of services you will be offering! 

For me, I subscribe to the Microsoft Suite on a monthly plan of $10 and I also subscribe to the Adobe CC Suite as I do a lot of graphic work and want to have the newest software!

 

7. Courses – Knowing what services you want to offer will help you determine what/if there are any courses that you should take. 

I also have put together a list of FREE Professional Resources on topics that can help you become a killer Virtual Assistant.

 

8. Accounting Software – You need to keep track of your expenses and invoices and cloud Accounting software if the way to go!  For me, I started out with Freshbooks as it was free to start and I haven’t looked back!  

You can also use the very popular Quickbooks!

I think we have covered the main items that you will need to think about when starting your Virtual Assistant Biz. 

As you can see, there are a few to pay for upfront and some smaller ongoing ones, but nothing that is going to break the bank!

I hope this has encouraged you to jump start your Virtual Assistant career! 

If you have any questions please reach out, I’d love to hear from you!

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Tasha DaCosta

Tasha DaCosta

Tasha is a Pinterest and Graphic Design expert that helps Female Entrepreneurs create, navigate and grow their online presence. Being creative is her passion and she enjoys sharing that passion with other like-minded blossoming entrepreneurs. She also loves her role as a Wife and a Mom and couldn't be happier being outnumbered in a house of boys!
Tasha DaCosta

Tasha DaCosta

Tasha is a Pinterest and Graphic Design expert that helps Female Entrepreneurs create, navigate and grow their online presence. Being creative is her passion and she enjoys sharing that passion with other like-minded blossoming entrepreneurs. She also loves her role as a Wife and a Mom and couldn't be happier being outnumbered in a house of boys!

18 Responses

    1. Hi Sirita! Thanks for taking the time to read the post! I actually found most of my clients through the Canadian Association of Virtual Assistants! They also have an international site as well. Once you become a member you get notified everything a new client is looking for a Virtual Assistant and then you can make a proposal to them. The other avenue is through facebook groups!

  1. Thank you for the sharing good knowledge and information its very helpful and understanding.. as I am looking for this information since long time. – Virtual Assistant Services Auckland, Virtual Assistant Companies Auckland

  2. Great post! I’ve always wondered what a virtual assistant actually was and you explained it very simply! I have a niece who just graduated as either a web or graphic designer. She just had a baby and is currently unemployed and I think this might really help her for when she’s ready to get going! ?

    1. Hi Sweet Cori, first off, huge fan of your work right here! You are incredibly talented! If you want to pass this along to your niece that would make me soo happy. Please let her know she can get in touch with me anytime if she has any questions. I have a little guy who’s just over two, so I know what it’s like trying to balance family obligations and still wanting something of your own you can be proud and contribute!

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