How To Start A Virtual Assistant Business – Even If You Have No Experience

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So, you’re thinking about starting a Virtual Assistant business… even though you have no experience? Cool beans! Offering Virtual Assistant services is one of the smartest moves for any woman who wants to quickly launch a flexible home business.

Consider this blog post your step-by-step guide. It will help you take the right steps, in the right order. It’s designed to help you learn the strategies, systems, skills, and mindset shifts needed to become a money-making CEO today.

What is a Virtual Assistant?

Before we get into all the how-to, it will do you well to understand exactly what a Virtual Assistant is… and for that, I’ll leave it to one of my favorite Virtual Assistant mentors:

A Virtual Assistant (VA) can be any type of remote assistant who provides administrative, creative, or technical support services for online or brick-and-mortar business owners.

Abbey Ashley, The Virtual Savvy & Savvy System Course

As a Virtual Assistant business owner, your main income stream (a/k/a how you will actually make money) will come from providing services to other small business owners. That means your business will be considered Business-to-Business (B2B).

Income Potential For Your Virtual Assistant Business

One of the best parts of having a Virtual Assistant business is it can be as big or as small as you want it to be!

Let’s say you are a brand new Virtual Assistant and your focus is on finding your first client. We will assume that you don’t have any real focus. No testimonials. No certifications. No idea what to really offer.

So, you start with your first client, just to get your feet wet. And you charge $15 per hour. Remember, you’re getting paid to learn here!

Then as you start to feel more confident, you can then up your rate to $18 per hour for your second client.

And then $20 per hour for your third client.

And finally, you move to an hourly rate of $35 per hour or offer fixed monthly prices based on the value provided.

By using this snowball pricing method (as taught by Abbey Ashly of the Virtual Savvy), you can quickly scale to $3k months, $5k even $7k months.

The majority of moms working from home as a VA are earning $3k – $4k per month working 20 to 30 hours per week. If you’re more the ambitious type, it’s also possible to scale up to $5k, $7k… and even $10k months by creating a Virtual Assistant Agency. Basically, the sky’s the limit!

Is a Virtual Assistant Business Profitable?

Yes! Yes! Yes! It may be a slow start. You may have to ride the struggle bus for a few months to earn the monthly income that provides financial stability for your family. Just know, it’s not a comparison game. The income potential for your VA business will depend on:

  • the services you offer
  • the industry you serve
  • how many hours you can work each week
  • how much work you subcontract to other VA’s
  • offering VIP days or weeks
  • income from other sources (affiliate marketing, products, etc)

Every path is different, but no matter what, you can find work you LOVE to do every single day!

The advantage of starting a Virtual Assistant Business is that the start-up costs and monthly overhead are minimal. You could start your Virtual Assistant Business with an investment of only $200 to $500.

(Read lots of inspiring success stories from women who have “made it” over at the Horkey Handbook success story page.)

Starting A Virtual Assistant Business Checklist

Want a checklist to help you start a Virtual Assistant Business? Grab your free copy of Employee to Entrepreneur for your step-by-step action guide. Becoming a small business owner doesn’t have to be hard!

Employee to Entrepreneur is the step-by-step guide that will eliminate your confusion and help you do the right things, in the right order. This detailed checklist will help you pick a niche, set a workflow, find clients, and finally have more time for your family. This is your game-changer!

How to start a Virtual Assistant Business in 7 Steps

If you don’t know how to start this VA journey and the thought of YouTube videos and endless Google searches only raise your blood pressure, no worries. You can still start a Virtual Assistant Business (and a successful one at that). It’s actually way simpler than what you might think!

Maybe you’ve put this off for weeks, months, or years because you get overwhelmed with imposter syndrome. Or the thought of not making enough from it seems to constantly slap you in the face. I get you, but listen–there is no such thing as “the right time” to start a business. The only “right time” is now!

Whether you want to become a Virtual Assistant, Social Media Manager, Marketing Strategist, SEO Consultant, Web Designer, Bookkeeper, or another service-based pro, this 7 step action plan will get you started.

Step 1 – Set Goals For Your Virtual Assistant Business

The first step is to map out your entrepreneurial goals to make sure that starting a business is the right move for you.

You need to get clear on what you want to do. If you want to work from home and know you have some mad skills (or at least you’re willing to learn some), then decide right now you’re ready to do what it takes.

A few things to keep in mind:

  • Are you ready to do the work? The first 3 to 6 months will be the hardest, especially if you are still working a full-time job and have babies in diapers. You are going to have to become a dedicated multi-tasking Queen.
  • Recognize that there is risk involved. As an entrepreneur, it’s completely your responsibility to market your services and find clients.
  • Successful people are organized. They follow-up. They complete tasks. Do you have the self-discipline necessary to keep track of #allthethings?

You should also clarify your “big picture” goal for why you’re starting your home business. This might seem a bit “woo-woo” however it’s an important first step.

Once you know the answer, write out your big picture goal in a sentence. This sentence statement will guide all the decisions you’ll make going forward.

Here’s an example: “I want a home business with a flexible schedule so I can pick my kids up after school and be a part of their lives as they’re growing up.”

Now, put that sentence everywhere. On the bathroom mirror. As a screen saver. On the refrigerator. On the washing machine. Don’t forget the real reason you are busting your behind to launch a business.

Oh, and If you’re currently at a 9 to 5 job, make sure you check out this helpful post – 3 questions to ask yourself before you quit your job.

Step 2 – Decide What Virtual Assistant Services You Will Offer

Decide how you will start earning money, so you know what you can do right now and what you can work towards in the future. Think about jobs you’ve had in the past and how your skills can be transferred into a virtual world.

“VA stands for virtual assistant and basically means that you’re helping someone out from afar. I.e. You have a service to offer, they are in need of your service and you make a deal to trade time (or task) for pay. There are TONS of services that can fall under the VA or virtual assistant umbrella – services like social media, email or blog management, graphic creation, accounting… the list goes on!”

Gina Horkey, Horkey Handbook & Fully Booked VA Certification Program

Here is a list of services that will help you get the creative juices flowing:

  • Customer service
  • Project management
  • Executive assistant
  • Graphic design
  • Website design
  • Bookkeeping/accounting
  • Blog writing or copywriting
  • Social media management
  • SEO consulting
  • Video editing
  • Podcast management

You can take almost any skill and turn it into an in-demand service for small business owners. For example, if you like writing and own a computer you could easily start a freelance writing business this week. Or, if you love to hang out on Facebook and interact with people, consider becoming a Facebook Group Manager.

Make your list of skills and cross off any that you really don’t like to do. After all, you want to be happy in your new career!

Determine The Ideal Client For Your Virtual Assistant Business

Define your target client clearly from the jump by answering these questions:

  • What types of people do you enjoy working with?
  • What types of people can you relate to best?
  • Who will benefit most from the skills, services, content, or products you plan to offer?
  • Where will you be able to find clients quickly?

You may not know who your ideal client is until you have some experience, and that’s ok. It will help your marketing efforts though if you can specialize in a particular industry or type of business (i.e. e-commerce). Then see where the work takes you!

Step 2 – Today’s Action Steps

Choose Your Services

What do you love doing? What light’s you up inside? Download an awesome Virtual Assistant Services Checklist here.

Pick Your Ideal Client

You don’t need an ultra-specific-niched-down audience. However, sometimes it helps to picture a specific client type.

Identify Which Skills You Still Need To Learn

To make a decent living and provide the best service to your clients, it’s a good idea to brush up on your skills. What does that look like for you? For example, do you want to offer Facebook Ads Services but need to learn how to use Facebook Ads Manager? Do you want to be a Podcast Producer but don’t even know how to edit audio clips? Make a list a move to step #3.

Step 3 -Establish An Online Presence & Set Up Your Financials

Choose your payment processor, set your prices, and establish an online presence so you have a
system in place for your clients to pay you. Even if you don’t have a website, you can still start interacting with prospects in your target market by establishing your online presence with a Facebook and LinkedIn Business Page.

There are many ways to price VA services, but a lot will depend on your skill level and your industry. You may have to do a little research and trial and error before landing on your ideal pricing.

Once you have identified the skills you’d like to use, then it’s time to start designing your service offers and put a price on them.

As far as collecting payments from clients, you definitely want to check out And.Co – it’s all you need to run your business from proposal to payment. It’s super easy to use and will save you so much time.

If you want to check it out, you can sign up for your free account with And.Co here.

With all And.Co plans you can:

  • Win more business with beautiful, customized proposals. Make sure you get paid with bulletproof contracts.
  • Create custom invoices, accept payments online, and receive alerts when they’re viewed and paid.
  • Manage your tasks, organize your projects, and stay on track.
  • Track expenses, get reports and bill them to your clients. Snap receipts, forward them via email or connect your bank.
  • Track and invoice your time easily. Our apps make it easy to track and get paid.
  • Be prepared for tax time and know your business in and out. Get reports on expenses, income, time, and more.

We dive deeper into getting started with a solid financial foundation in our blog post Home Business Bookkeeping & Budgeting: A Guide For Virtual Assistants.

And make sure you avoid these money mistakes that small business owners make.

Step 4 – Setup your Virtual Assistant Business Tools

Before starting out, make sure your computer is in good working condition. And of course, you need access to the internet. A few must-haves also include:

  • A Facebook Business Page and LinkedIn Business Page to market your business
  • A free Canva account for easy-made graphics
  • A free Trello Account for project management
  • An And.Co account for proposals, invoices, and general bookkeeping

Step 5 – Get Organized For Maximum Productivity

You need a workspace. It doesn’t have to be Pinterest-worthy, but a dedicated, low-traffic area with a “desk” (a coffee table is cool too) and chair is a must. You’ll also need a computer with reliable internet and the most basic office supplies.

The best way to make your workspace work for you is to remember that when you’re there, you are “on the clock”.  For a home office, that means your business space should be free from the clutter of daily life (you know–kids’ toys, laundry and etc). This will help you maintain a work-life balance. 

If you’re on a tight budget, our 7 Home Office Organization Ideas will help you out!

Set Up Your Home Business Schedule

Setting a consistent weekly schedule might not be possible for you. Your schedule will vary based on many factors like the services you offer, how many children you have, and if you have a full time job. If you are struggling in this area, you can find inspiration by reading 3 Simple Steps To Creating Your Work From Home Schedule.

Remember this though, you must set boundaries in your business.

  1. Create set working hours for yourself and your clients.
  2. Don’t be “on-call” for your clients unless it’s a special event or launch and you agree to work a bit more for a limited amount of time.
  3. Set clear expectations for turnaround times on projects.
  4. Get good at saying no. If you receive an unreasonable request, you can and should say no.
  5. Never work for free!

Most clients are going to be amazing, wonderful people. But you have to be clear about how and when you work.

Step 6 – Craft Your Virtual Assistant Marketing Plan

Now for the fun stuff–it’s time to start telling the world what you do! Here are 3 marketing tactics to get you started right away:

  1. Send an email to your friends, family, former colleagues, and anyone that could potentially refer clients to you.
  2. Write short articles for your LinkedIn page and join LinkedIn groups.
  3. Record short videos for your Facebook Business Page.

And while it’s not necessary to have all the details of your “personal brand” ready from minute one, you’ll want to bookmark Your Virtual Assistant Brand: A Step-By-Step Guide to read at a later date.

Step 7 – Choose Your Best Virtual Assistant Training Program

The good news is that by now you have already:

  • Decided on your business model and target audience
  • Established an online presence and identified the tech you need to get started
  • Selected initial marketing strategies you’ll start implementing to get paying clients

It’s not over though–now you need to keep taking action, and that should include investing in your business. We recommend that you join the thousands of other successful Virtual Assistants that have completed the training courses offered by one of these powerhouse course creators:

Are you ready to start a Virtual Assistant Business?

We hope this blog post has helped you learn exactly what to do to jump-start a successful Virtual Assistant Business. This is one of the best ways to create a career with actual work-life balance so you can make a good income, work from home with a flexible schedule, and be there for your family and friends like you’ve always dreamed.

And although you may be tempted to delay your start… perhaps you’re busy freaking out about not having all your ducks in a row, just remember this:

Someone’s already just calling themselves a Virtual Assistant, emailing friends and family about their new business and showing up … and likely =bringing-home-the-bacon, too. Don’t hesitate. Progress over perfection. As Gina Horkey says, “Why not you? Why not now?”

Hello there! I’m Jill, thanks for visiting my blog. I help women create work-life flexibility and financial stability by building a profitable online business they love.  Feel free to send me a message and let me know how I can help YOU!