We’ve put together 10 helpful tips to help you on your way to becoming a Virtual Assistant – a must-read for any aspiring assistant!
- Your first 5 clients are the hardest to get when you are becoming a virtual assistant. 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!
- Advertising doesn’t usually work for virtual assistants, instead try to 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? Brush up on your digital marketing skills with Google Digital Garage.
- If you can, try to save at least six 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.
- Marketing is now governed by GDPR and PECR – learn what you are and aren’t allowed to do.
- 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. Ask for help via our private Facebook group. (You must be a member to participate – join here on our “Become a member” page).
- 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 doesn’t look good if you don’t deliver the goods. Or if you think you are going to be late in delivering, keep the avenues of communication open so there are no misunderstandings – people are usually far more understanding than you expect.
- Make sure you understand the legalities of what services you offer… IR35, GDPR and MLR regulations are just three pieces of legislation which may affect what you can offer as a VA.
- 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.
- Get a proper business set-up sorted: Our Virtual Assistant Best Practice Guidelines are a good place to start. You might also find Essential Office Equipment and Essential Virtual Assistant Software useful. And yes – you do need to have a physical office address on your website.
Research carefully – there is a wealth of information out there, but some of it is incorrect or misleading. The information from the SVA is free. However, we can recommend any of the trainers on our Approved Trainers page as we know they meet the best practice criteria and are great at what they do. 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? Further reading: The Best Virtual Assistant Course
There is market research out there for your business plan. The annual UK VA Survey is a great place to start. 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. It also gives you details on how much you can expect to earn, and what is “normal” to charge.