Lately I have noticed, most likely due to the current economic climate, there has been a noticeable increase in people wanting to know how to become a Virtual Assistant (VA).

On a daily basis I’m reading comments online such as “I need more money/can’t find a job/want to work from home, so I’m thinking of becoming a VA“ etc. Whilst it is great many are considering entering this exciting home based industry, unfortunately there are many misleading “Anybody can do it!“ articles that do not properly address the realities of what it takes run a successful Virtual Assistance business.

Being your own boss certainly has benefits, but it’s definitely not for everyone. It’s not a matter of being able to type fast or even having years of great administrative or secretarial experience – it’s about being able to manage your own business well.

There are so many factors to consider when thinking about starting your own Virtual Assistance business, all of which should be covered in a detailed business plan BEFORE starting up. Things to include would be:

  • What do you have to do to set up properly?
  • What hardware and software do you need? Budget?
  • How will you price your services and what sort of terms will you have?
  • What are your short, medium and long term goals for your business?
  • Will you be working totally virtually or also doing onsite work?
  • How will you market your business on and offline?
  • How many unbillable hours will you have per week to attend to necessary bookkeeping, marketing activities, ongoing training and development etc?
  • Do you have the time and energy to really focus on your business alongside your other life commitments?

And so on…

A major issue many VAs still have is the “I’m an employee“ mentality which is a big no-no and has to be changed before you seek any client. What’s the difference? Simply, a Virtual Assistant is also a business owner who is in control of their own rates, hours, terms etc and already has the experience and skills necessary to do the job. It is also normal to have many clients at a time, so a VA is more like a consultant rather than an employee. (for more read “What Does Virtual Assistant Really Mean?”)

Basically, if you’re looking for an easy full proof way of making a living, a Virtual Assistant is not it! There are no guarantees, and you have to put a constant effort into all aspects of your business if you are to succeed in the longterm.

I’ve been asked many times how the global recession is affecting my business, and truthfully it has actually worked in my favour, but that’s only because I am very diligent in seeking opportunites and doing the work – putting in the hours 7 days a week. I work “overtime“ and on weekends if the need arises, but that is my choice as I love the work and the flexibility it offers me. I am a mother and really appreciate that I can be there for my family and still have a rewarding career, on my own terms.

So, if you’re thinking of becoming a Virtual Assistant do the research beforehand, join networks and forums because the more you learn, THE MORE YOU EARN!

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