Starting a Virtual Assistant Business

If you are a experienced virtual assistant, you might want to consider starting your own virtual assistant business. Managing your own business could be very changeling, especially if it’s your first time running a business. Before you start, there are a lot to consider, and here is a list of things you need to think and plan ahead:

1. What services you plan to offer to your client. This of course largely will depend on your skills and experience. You might want to just focus on a few things that you do best and enjoy doing, and gradually expand your service later.

2. What are your goals for the first 3, 6 month and 12 month? This is just a simple business plan outline your short term expectation of your business. How much you expect to make and on what budget. Be realistic and adjust it to accommodate for change and growth in your practice.

3. Choose a business name, get a business licence and incorporate if you choose to set up LLC or S/C corporation.

4. Get all your necessary equipment ready – a good computer, internet access, fax machines, copier and printer and comfortable office chairs.

5. Design and print marketing supplies – business card, fax, letter head, flyers, broucher etc.

6. Design and build your company website, ideally your website domain should be yourcompanyname.com (or close), choose emails address that is based on your company website domain name. Website should be a professional business website.

7. Set up bank account for your business, and/or apply credit cards or loans to cover start up cost if you don’t have savings.

8. Get all the draft business document ready such as business proposal, invoice and billing templates, contacts or letter of agreement etc.

9. Decide how much you are going to charge for your service(s). Research Virtual Assistant industry rate and local business market.

10. Decide how to market your business and networking – Join local professional organizations, Yellow book advertising, direct marketing, Internet Marketing (local craiglist could be a start.)

11. Which industry(s) you want to focus on first – this largely depends on your experience. You might already know some or many potential clients in certain industry, you might find it more effective starting with the familiar territory.

12. Planning on learning new skills. Expanding your skill sets brings you more potential clients, increase business revenue and makes you more competitive.

This list might not be complete, but I hope it give you some ideas and a starting guide to get more prepared to start a successful virtual assistant business. If you enjoy administrative work, running your own virtual assistant business is a great option working from home!

 

Work at home as a Virtual Assistant

Virtual assistants perform administrative work remotely (work at home), and they have the same level and kind of responsibilities as they work in the business office setting. Even though job duties for virtual assistants mainly refer to office secretary work, virtual assistants can actually work on a wide range of job functions, depending on individual skills. Such duties of virtual assistant include and not limited to: customer service, answering phone calls, book keeping, data entry, appointment setting, document creation, database creation and maintenance, ghost writing, emails management, Internet research, newsletters publishing, web logo and graphic design, voice over and many more.

A virtual assistant should have basic skills, such as, good typing skills for quick data entry and creating documents, know how to use popular office software especially Microsoft Office, customer service skills in order to be able to assist and help customers, computer skills to be able to handle tasks such as emails management and Interent research, basic book keeping skills for record keeping, and well organized to handle multiple tasks effectively. Advanced skills could including graphic and website designs, database creation and management etc.

The virtual assistant skills can be obtained on job or special training. Many community colleges offer administrative assistant training classes and certifications, and many related classes and programs such as database and web design etc. The more skills a virtual assistant has, the better job outlook for him/her.

To find a virtual assistant job, visit job bank sites such as careerbuilder and yahoo hotjobs, or major work at home sites and forums, occasionally employers posts jobs over there as well. Another place looking for virtual assistant jobs is freelance job sites (such as guru.com, eLance.com and GetAFreeLancer.com) – those sites might have more short term temporary projects you can bid on. The problem with freelance job sites is since you have to compete with lot of other bidders (especially those overseas), you might end up getting paid lower rate than you expected. However, it is a way to get your foot in the door and you might even be able to find a long term job or clients of your virtual assistant business. You can also search craigslist, start with local search. Some people find craiglist very effective especially when search locally. No matter where you look, make sure use common sense while searching and applying for jobs, and be cautious about work at home jobs scams.

Many experienced virtual assistants run their own virtual assistant business, offering the services I mentioned above. Running a business gives them great flexibility working from home and the sense of control and achievement. However, working skills and experience is not enough to run a successful virtual assistant business, it requires a lot more. I will be exploring this topic in my next post.

 

Work at home – Data Entry Jobs

Data entry jobs are very popular work at home opportunities, because they are more flexible compare to customer service phone works. However, a legitimate, reliable and long term (either full time or part time) data entry job is very hard to come by.

Data entry jobs usually require you have good typing skills. Most jobs require you to be able to type between 15K – 20K with 97% accuracy.

Due to it’s high popularity, there are many data entry scams on the web – websites claim they have data entry jobs but you have to pay a membership fee to access the information, or a data entry “job” offer but you need to pay a fee for training material. Those are scams, do NOT fall for it and waste your time and money!

So, how do you find legitimate data entry jobs? – Apply and send your resume to the legitimate data entry companies, most likely they are not hiring and your will be put on their waiting lists. It could be a very long waiting period, some people waited for 2 years to get a data entry job from those companies.

You can also search craigslist or freelancing sites like Elance.com and Guru.com, you might able to find short term temporary data entry assignments, but remember do so with caution and common sense (especially while searching craigslist.)

If you type really fast, and have good listening and English language skills, you might consider other options such as general transcription jobs.

Below are the legitimate companies offer data entry jobs, none of them charge you a fee, which is the way suppose to be.

  1. DionData
  2. Axion Data Services
  3. Key for Cash
  4. Working Solutions (WSOL)
  5. Data Preparation International

[tags]data entry job, work at home, work from home scams, data entry scams[/tags]