Are you looking to become a virtual assistant? Let’s have a look at what you need to be one!
Do you know what virtual assistant does?
A virtual assistant is usually self-employed and provides a range of services to businesses while working remotely.
The services provided by virtual assistants can include (but are not limited!) phone and email answering, content creation and social media management, bookkeeping, appointment scheduling and event management.
Why you should become a virtual assistant?
It gives you more freedom
You can work when and where you want! Working from a home-based office doesn’t mean you have to work from your home. As long as you have a reliable internet connection, you can work from anywhere in the world! Also, once you become self-employed, you’re the one dictating your working hours. If you have other responsibilities you need to take care of during the usual working hours, you can work around them!
Virtual assistants are in high demand
These days, many businesses decide to take on virtual assistants instead of hiring full-time staff. Entrepreneurs that use virtual assistants have more flexibility to focus on other things, save salary and training costs of taking on new staff members and save a lot of time. As virtual assistants only work on the tasks they’ve been assigned to do instead of trying to juggle multiple demands, they finish everything quicker.
Low startup costs
You don’t need much to start your own virtual assistant business! A laptop/computer and a fast broadband connection are two main things you need to start. Of course, depending on the businesses you work for, you’ll need some software with Microsoft 365 being essential and others including data backup or project management software. However, you don’t need any extra premises or supplies!
What you need to run a business from home
Even though running a business from home sounds easy, there are a few legal things you need to sort out before starting.
If you’re renting, running a business from the property might be prohibited under the terms of your tenancy agreement. Even if it’s not mentioned, you still need to get permission from your landlord. And if you have a mortgage, you might need to get permission from your mortgage provider.
Running a business from home might also affect your tax. If you decide to dedicate a part of your home exclusively for business purposes, you will need to pay business rates on that part of the property. Also, if you ever decide to sell it you’ll have to pay capital gains tax on that part.
Another thing you might want to think about is insurance. Even if you have home insurance, it’s very unlikely that it would cover business activities. So if you’re a virtual assistant running your business from home, you’ll need to insure your equipment against theft or damage.
How much should a virtual assistant charge?
Virtual assistants usually charge hourly rates with some charging a monthly retainer. The average hourly charge in the UK is around £27. However, don’t just go for average. Consider things such as VAT, National Insurance, holiday pay, administrative costs and other expenses. The amount you charge must cover all of those as well as give you profit.
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How to find clients and promote your virtual assistant services?
If you don’t know anyone who needs a virtual assistant before starting your business, finding your first clients can be difficult. Just like any other business, providing virtual assistant services has competition, so you need to find your unique selling point and create your marketing strategy around it.
Here are some tips on how to find clients:
Networking events might be a great start! This is where you can meet many business owners who might be interested in your services. Ask what tasks they are struggling with and explain how you could help them. They might say they’re not interested, however, when they face that challenge again, they’ll remember your words and will be likely to get back to you.
Reach out to potential clients
If you know some companies that you would like to work with, don’t be afraid to reach out! The worst they can say is no. However, even if they don’t need your services right away, they might need them in the future (they’ll already know someone who can help!) or they might refer you to someone else.
Even though having a professionally designed website is essential, it’s even more important to have good content. Make sure you convey the right message using the right keywords. Think about what people put into the search when looking for a virtual assistant or the reasons to hire one. Use those keywords around your website when writing content, so people can actually find you.
Create engaging marketing materials
Don’t underestimate the power of social media! Find out what social media platforms your potential clients use and create some engaging and educational content. Be consistent and post regularly but don’t try to sell your services every single time you post. Instead, show the value someone can get from having you as part of their business!
Disadvantages of being a virtual assistant
It’s difficult to find clients
As mentioned above finding clients requires a lot of work
You get distracted when working from home
There are many distractions at home! If you find it hard to concentrate, working from home can be really difficult.
You might get lonely
Working remotely means you can’t see your colleagues or have conversations during a break. Not having any human interaction can make you feel lonely and distant, so you need to make sure you get a chance to see your family or friends when you’re off!
You have to do all the business stuff yourself
When you’re an employee you don’t need to worry about tax-paying or doing monthly bookkeeping. As a virtual assistant, you might provide this service to your clients which means you’re capable of doing it. However, you need to spend extra time sorting these things out for yourself.
Now that you know what you need to become a virtual assistant and the pros and cons of being one, you can decide whether it’s something you want to do. If you need any help and support setting up, we’re here to help!