What You Need To Get Started As A VA

What You Need To Get Started As A VA

One of the great things about a VA business is that it’s easy to start. You really don’t need much to launch a successful business. That being said, there are some steps you’ll want to take before you hang up your “open for business” sign.

Office Equipment

You’re a virtual assistant which means you’ll need equipment to help you work virtually. This means a:

• Computer

• Backup storage or system – you can backup files online so an external drive isn’t necessary.

• Copier/scanner/fax

• Internet connection

• Desk and chair

• File cabinet/file system

• Transcription software and equipment, if you’re offering transcription

• Telephone and related equipment like a headset so you can talk hands free

You likely already have much of that equipment. If not, you don’t have to spend a fortune. Take a look at flea markets and resale stores for some of the furniture. If you don’t have a computer, most experts recommend buying the best you can afford. Your business will be based on your computer so a good one helps.

Business Equipment

You’re going to want a few basics to help you market and manage your business. These include but are not limited to:

• Business Plan – this is most important! It should include your budget, goals, marketing strategy, operations, policies and procedures and so on. Create a plan so you succeed!

• Website and/or blog

• Social networking profile/pages

• Email account for business

• Telephone number for business

• Invoicing system

• Bookkeeping software

• Project or task management system

• Services agreement/Contractor agreement

• Personal insurance: health, dental, life etc. When you’re self-employed insurance is your responsibility.

• Bank account for business

• Organization tools: calendar, notebooks, whatever helps you get and stay organized

• Business services software. What software do you need to provide your services? For example, if you offer transcription you’ll need transcription software. If you provide graphics, you'll need a graphics program, etc.

Again, you may have much of this already. And most of these basics don’t cost much. You can spend a lot on software so be careful. Only buy what you really need.

Personal Equipment

Okay, so your home office is set and you have a solid business plan. What else do you need to get started?

• Enthusiasm

• Motivation

• Positive Mindset

• Perseverance

• Administrative skills

• Marketing knowledge (Read a few good books on marketing your business, you’ll be set.)

Not bad, right? If you already have a computer you can likely start your VA business for just a few hundred dollars. Many have started with nothing at all and made a huge success of their VA skills. Create a checklist. Create a plan. Create the success you desire.

Being Your Own Boss is So Great!

I recently hosted a free information session for Virtual Assistants.

One of the first things I ask anyone when they are thinking of starting out: why they want to start their own business.

I have heard a variety of answers to this question, but many times the answer is ‘to be my own boss’.

in-chargeWhen I start to work with someone as their coach, I ask them to look deeper into that statement. Why do you want to be your own boss?

There are always more underlying reasons that simply because you want to.

And we often talk about needed to understand WHY you want to be in business for yourself. Because some days are hard, and some decisions are hard.

Some days you will find yourself wondering if it’s worth it.

So why not start your whole business by considering that WHY, and building on it?

Why do you want to be your own boss? Think of the actual reasons.

Because it’s GREAT to be your own boss – for lots of reasons!

Here are some I have heard through discussions with other VAs:

1. I get to make my own decisions (good or bad!)
2. I can manage my own schedule.
3. I can manage my own workload.
4. I can choose the people who I want to work with.
5. I can decide which services I want to offer.
6. I can make time to fit in the other things I want to do in my life: kids’ field trips, travel, holidays, etc.

These are the normal responses that I hear.

Here are a few additional ones that you may not have thought of.

7. I get to decide what I charge, and how much money I make.
8. I get to claim some of my expenses on my taxes.
9. I don’t have to answer to anyone.
10. I can hire my own staff!
11. I can take a vacation any time I want!
12. I can make as much or as little money as I want to, anytime.

Being your own boss is a huge responsibility, but when you look at the advantages, it sure makes it easier to handle those tough days.

When you approach your business with a CEO mindset (you are not an employee, you are the owner and Chief Executive Officer of your own business), you will work better with your clients.

You will set boundaries and procedures to make things clear for everyone who works with you. Everything just becomes … easier.

Being the boss is great, as long as you act like one!

For more information about getting your VA business started, visit www.canadianava.org/va-training/