Top 10 Tips for Becoming a VA

SVA put together 10 baby-steps to becoming a VA – a must-read for any aspiring assistants!

  1. Your first 5 clients are the hardest to get.  Make it easy and start by telling everyone who knows you and your work about what you are planning on doing.  Many VAs found their first client in their former employers!
  2. Advertising doesn’t work for virtual assistants, focus on networking and word of mouth referrals instead.  You telling people that you’re great is taken with a large pinch of salt, but someone who your new client really respects and trusts recommending you is worth its weight in gold.  Think about how you got your hairdresser – you asked your friends, didn’t you?
  3. Have at least 6 months living costs in the bank and pay off all your credit cards before starting up.  It takes time to build a business and you don’t want to get trapped into working lots of hours at a low rate because you need to make the mortgage payment.
  4. Be realistic about your skills.  Don’t take on work which you aren’t suitably qualified or experienced in.
  5. Time is money to virtual assistants – do not steal time from your fellow VAs by pretending to be a client.  Most VAs are very open to helping newbies as long as you are honest with them.
  6. Do what you say you will, when you said you’d do it.  In other words, make sure you hit that deadline with time to spare.  It gives all VAs a bad name if you don’t deliver the goods.
  7. There is market research out there for your business plan.  The Annual UK VA Survey is a great place to start: http://www.societyofvirtualassistants.co.uk/va-products/ Remember that you will not only be competing with other VAs for your clients’ admin work but call centres, clients’ families, offshore assistants and part-time employees and temps.
  8. Get used to motivating yourself.  Look for tasks you can take on without being prompted as practice.  Most VAs work alone and this can be difficult for someone who is used to an office environment.
  9. Get a proper business set up sorted: http://www.societyofvirtualassistants.co.uk/category/virtual_assistant_equipment/ We recently wrote an essential guide to equipment which no new VA can be without.  This includes proper email and back up systems before you start.
  10. Research carefully – there is a wealth of information out there available for free through www.societyofvirtualassistants.co.uk.  Courses and books are becoming more and more commonplace for UK VAs – but ask yourself what qualifies the person to be an expert.  How long have they been a VA?  Are they trained properly themselves?

About Caroline

Co-founder of Society Of Virtual Assistants and owner of Virtually Sorted. Caroline lives in Glasgow and enjoys the virtual lifestyle allowing her the flexibility to wear jeans to the office every day!
This entry was posted in Start Up VAs and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Top 10 Tips for Becoming a VA

  1. rosario says:

    very nice tips for a newbie like me! kudos! thank you for writing this one! :)

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  3. Karen Rayner says:

    Brilliant post, I wish I had read this in the first year of setting up it would have saved me a lot of time and money.
    Thanks

  4. ruzanne says:

    Hello, Caroline! How’re you doing? Was just going about a host of blogs and websites on VA and came across this. I just want to share my thoughts on #4.

    Yes, we do need to be realistic about our skills and NOT claim to know it all. I’ve come across VAs who bite in jobs without thoroughly understanding what they’re in for. Most people who need VAs nowadays don’t just want back-office administration tasks done; they want VAs who have great communication skills, particularly for writing purposes and then social media. So it’s best that would-be VAs who lack experience or knowledge on certain areas be honest about their limitations. As for me, I’d be asking a potential client if I’d be given time to learn a particular task first, sort of a trial period.

    Thanks for this space, Caro… and do KEEP POSTING helpful information for VAs. I’m sure you’ve got plenty motivated to learn how to fare in this industry! More power!

  5. virtual assistant says:

    Well as far as i know this is really great work done by all of you and if anyone follow these tips he or she definitely become good virtual assistant.

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    I’m trying to get my blog to rank for some targeted keywords but I’m not seeing very good success.
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  7. Glyn Ellens says:

    I would like to work from home. I am a retired Medical Secretary and have done dict8.com. I would also like to do proof reading or general typing.
    Many thanks,
    Glyn Ellens

  8. Leo says:

    Thanks for the tips to become a virtual assistant. I wanted to become a virtual assistant someday. Thanks for that. Your blog really a big help for me.

  9. Kirsty Amos says:

    Hi Caroline

    I like the idea of becoming a virtual pa but I am not sure about the setting up my own business bit. Could you advise on if there is businesses out there looking for Virtual PAs please.

    Many thanks.

    Kirsty

    • Caroline says:

      Hi Kirsty

      Mostly, even if you wanted to be a subcontract VA and work for other virtual assistants, you would still need to set up your own business. I don’t know of any VAs who employ people on an employee basis, simply because our workloads vary so much due to the nature of the business.

      Don’t be scared of the business bit – HMRC run regular workshops to keep you right with the record keeping, and it’s really not as complicated as it may first seem… If I can do it, believe me, anyone can!

      Caroline

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