You are likely reading this article because you have a vast array of skills as an administrative professional. In a previous time, you may have been an executive assistant for a large company. Or, you developed your skills supporting a wide range of professionals who needed help with their administrative tasks.
Now, you are looking for another option. The possibility of using your admin support skills to start your own business has become very appealing to you. There are probably 100 reasons why you are interested in started your own Virtual Assistance business.
To name a few, you may desire to:
1. Dictate your own schedule and income
2. Work for the best boss in the world â€“ YOU!
3. Spend more time with family and friends
4. Take better care of an aging relative
5. Retire with grace
The list can go on for miles. The important thing to keep in mind is the motivating force for you. Why are you driven to learn more about building your own business? Your reason is important to me as well. It is so important that I want to share with you 5 keys to keep in mind when starting your VA business from scratch!
The fun part about the steps that I am going to share with you is that you can do them in any order. You have to take the lead and decide which is the next best step for your current circumstances. Heck! You can even do two steps at the same time!
Step 1: Set Up Your Infrastructure Continue Reading »
Transition Wil Hart on 01 Mar 2013
If you are currently employed with a company working as an Administrative Professional and are wondering how you are going to transition into your own home-based Virtual Assistant practice, the thought may have crossed your mind to start your business part-time. This likely led to a number of other questions, such as “How do I get started,” “How will I balance my job, family and business?” and “Can I really do this and be successful?”
The good news is that you can create a profitable business that you work in part-time. You and I both know of many individuals who have been able to maintain two or even three sources of employment simultaneously. It would be no different if you were to choose to start your Virtual Assistance practice while you maintain your current job.
There are a few things that you will need to consider if you are going to start a part-time Virtual Assistance business, such as:
- What is my current situation? As with any endeavor in life, especially when there is a demand on your time and financial resources, it is imperative to consider your circumstances as they are and not how you want them to be. Ask yourself:
- How much time do I have to devote to my business endeavor?
- How much financial support can I dedicate?
- How will my part-time Virtual Assistance business affect the time that I spend with my family?
- Will my quality of life improve or suffer by taking on this challenge?
There are no right or wrong answers to these questions. The point is to honestly assess where you’re at and what needs to happen in order to make your endeavor successful.
- Who will I serve in a part-time capacity? I’m asked all the time, “Will clients be interested in working with me if I’m only available part-time?” And the answer is Yes! Why is that? It is because when and how you work isn’t really their concern. Remember, they are looking for a solution to a problem, not a Virtual Assistant. Here is what you will need to do. 1) Focus the client relationship on solving their problems. 2) Be clear about your availability and meet the agreed upon deadlines. WHEN you actually do the work is a non-issue.We currently work with several Virtual Assistants. They each have different circumstances and different schedules. When they do their work for us is not something we worry or care about. Once a task is assigned, we just want it delivered on time and as we agreed. What this means for you is that you’ll want to focus on providing services that aren’t necessarily time sensitive (that have to be done during normal working hours). You do this by matching your skill set with what the client is looking for and then honoring your commitments.
- How will I manage my time and clients? Time is our number one resource. We all enjoy the same portion of it each day. You, as a part-time VA, will have to determine how you will use your allotment of 24 hours. First, be mindful that you do not need to tell your clients that you only work part-time. Every day, you treat your employer as your biggest client, right?
When you enroll a client on a part-time basis, they only need to know that the agreement that the two of you made will be honored. Therefore, even in a part-time situation, make only commitments that you can keep. This means not over-committing yourself or making promises you can’t keep. Be honest about what you can do and you’ll quickly build a trust with your clients that will likely lead to more work and referrals to others in their network.
Is pursuing a part-time VA business the right goal for you? It can be if you honestly assess your current circumstances. Decide whether or not you have the time to commit to building your business. You also need to determine if you have the financial means to support your business. It is also important for you to be realistic in your commitments to clients. Â Many are getting this accomplished. By reviewing the points mentioned in this article, you may be able to start a part-time Virtual Assistance business too!
In 2009, there were 27.5 million businesses in the United States, according to Office of Advocacy estimates (per a report published in January 2011). What does that mean for you?
A) That number has only increased since 2009.
B) EVERY single one of those businesses needs some type of administrative support to function and be profitable.
C) There is more opportunity for you to be successful than ever before.
Since you have expressed an interest in becoming a Successful Virtual Assistant, I want to share with you all the tips, short cuts and resources that were not available to me when I first got started. I had to figure out on my own most of the things that I learned. I hope that you will utilize the tools that I give you so as to make your journey a LOT less stressful than mine turned out.
Fortunately, I kept track of every step I took, every mistake I made and everything that worked along the way. I didn’t have a real reason for doing so at the time, but I’m SO glad I did because now I can share them with you. When I look back I see that there are 5 critical keys you need to start and build a successful Virtual Assistance company:
1. Mindset: You may not realize it now, but to be successful as an entrepreneur, you have to THINK like an entrepreneur. As employees, we are conditioned to do what others tell us. Someone else typically decides our schedule, how much we get paid, who we work with and what projects we work on. When you become self-employed, YOU call all the shots. This is probably one of the things that is most attractive to you about the opportunity to be a Virtual Assistant. However, you must understand that you will have to go through some growing pains to make-over your mindset. You cannot operate your business they way you function as an employee. It simply won’t work. If you avoid working through this transition it could be the ONE thing that can make or break your business.
2. Infrastructure: What makes up the infrastructure of your company? Â Here are a few things to consider: 1) Insurances â€“ health, life, disability, dental etc. 2) Technology â€“ computers, phones, an online presence etc.Â 3) Operations â€“ you must have operational systems in place such as accounting, tax filing, setting up new customers, processes for working with customers, etc. 4) Structure â€“ will you set up an LLC or a Sole Proprietorship?Â 5) Finances â€“ it takes money to make money. Considering these important matters and making well-informed decisions about which situations will work best for you, will enable you to start and manage a successful company.
3. Marketing: Marketing your services and getting clients boils down to one thing, â€˜Offering solutions to people who are already looking for them.â€™ You don’t have to “hawk your wares”, you don’t have to convince people to hire you and you don’t have to take any opportunity that comes along. Marketing at it’s best is simple, focused and consistent. Those who do not market their company tend to find themselves out of business very soon. The best thing that you can do for your business is to know how to generate leads and enroll new clients. You do not want to wait to figure this out. You can develop a marketing plan even before you have made your first dollar, taking advantage of the resources, relationships and opportunities already within your reach.
4. Transition: Having a PLAN around your transition from Executive Assistant to Virtual Assistant will help you to make the leap from employee to entrepreneur smoothly. Please do not quit your job and then â€˜hope for the bestâ€™. That is NOT a plan that leads to success. You want to make sure that you have not only your infrastructure in tact, but also a step by step plan that has dates attached to keep you focused. This plan gives you time and space to make the transition. In your mind you may think you can “wave a wand” and make the changes you need to make overnight. But that is an unrealistic view. Mapping out a realistic plan will help you to make steady progress, avoid unnecessary stress and minimize wasted time and wasted money.
5. Building Your Business: When you work for someone else, that company does all of the heavy lifting for you as an employee. The company is responsible for building the business so that you will have a place to work each day. Now, YOU are responsible for whether you win or lose. Success or failure is 100% in YOUR hands! You, therefore, have to perform all of the needed tasks to REMAIN in business. This includes constantly upgrading your skill set, setting up systems, marketing consistently and more.
If you would like help with each of these 5 Keys, I invite you to join me for a FREE training call on Thursday, May 31st, entitled â€œHow to Use the Skills You Already Have to Add An Additional $500 – $5,000 to Your Monthly Income…Working From Homeâ€. Click HERE to get the dial-in details!
I’ve been hinting about this for a few weeks and have an announcement for you! Check out the video message I’ve prepared for you:
The number one question I get asked about Virtual Assistance EACH week is:Â “How do I get clients?”
The answer is very simple.Â You have to “fish, where the fish are!”Â And you have to “fish” consistently.
Many VAs find it difficult to market their services and thus struggle to consistently attract clients.Â This has mostly to do with one’s mindset, because we can often hold ourselves back from success because of limiting beliefs, fears or doubts.Â Have you ever thought to yourself:
- “I can’t charge that much!”
- “No one is really going to pay that for what I do.”
- “Marketing is too hard and I’ll never be good at it.”
If you tell yourself things like this you’re right.Â But if you tell yourself:
- “My time is worth X and I deserve to be paid that much!”
- “There are plenty of people who need my services and I’m going to find them!”
- “I can learn how to market my services in an authentic and comfortable way!” Continue Reading »
Aspiring entrepreneurs dream of the time when they can tell the boss â€œSee Ya!â€ and start working in their PJs. Working from home is definitely a relief from the commute, stress and politics of the office. You have your freedom to call the shots and do things your own way.Â Â Â Â Continue Reading »
Are you ready to create different results in your business in the new year? Most of us are. Whatever level of success you may have achieved in 2009, itâ€™s almost certain that you can expand that in 2010.
But what is going to be so different about the new year? I canâ€™t foretell the future and I donâ€™t know what exciting changes and opportunities are in store for you. But what I can tell you is that the one thing you can control isâ€¦..
Your mindset is simply the perspective from which you view the world. More specifically, in this case, the way you view your business. How are you feeling about your business these days? Are you struggling to fill your practice with clients? Wondering how youâ€™re going to pay your bills? Overwhelmed by the time and energy it takes to run your business?
If so, you are not alone! Many in the industry are feeling the same way. BUT, there are many who are making progress, working with a practice full of clients and generating a consistent income. â€œWhat is different about these VAsâ€, you ask?
So, letâ€™s talk about how you can get on-board the VA” success train”. Here are the three keys to changing your mindset and achieving success in your business:
Feelings of overwhelm and frustration often stem from a lack of clarity. When you are clear and focused in your business, itâ€™s easy to get off track and difficult to achieve your goals. So, one of the first things you need to do is to get clear on what it is you are trying to accomplish. Here are some questions to consider:
- What am I really trying to accomplish in my business? (Be specific, i.e. the number of clients you want to work with, the amount of revenue you want to generate, etc.)
- What are the results and benefits I provide to my target market? (Hint: I help ________________ do/eliminate/find_________________.)
- Who is my ideal client? (Be VERY specific here â€“ Make up a persona that needs and wants to buy your services from you.)
- Where can I start connecting with groups of my ideal clients (Think trade associations, networking groups, chamber of commerce events, friends, family and past/present colleagues.)
- What strategies can I use to connect with my client? (In person networking, online marketing, mailing a letter of introduction, etc.)
The goal here is to step back from what youâ€™re currently doing in your business and get crystal clear on the results you want to create. Donâ€™t worry about what hasnâ€™t worked in the past. Embrace a positive, abundant attitude. Instead of saying â€œI canâ€™t do that,â€ ask â€œHow can I do that?â€ Shift the way you look at yourself and your business away from self-doubt, insecurity and procrastination to a mindset of confidence and tenacity.
Now that you are clear on what you want to accomplish, itâ€™s time to take action. If you want different results in your business, youâ€™ve got to take action, starting NOW!
You arenâ€™t going to overhaul your business overnight and you shouldnâ€™t try. But what you SHOULD do is to break larger projects/tasks down into manageable pieces and schedule the time to make it happen. Thatâ€™s right! Schedule it! Donâ€™t leave it to chance.
Plan ahead now to:
- Create your business and marketing plan for 2010 (Need help with this? Be on the look out for a special announcement next Tuesday!)
- Research your target market and find out what their current needs and struggles are. (NOTE: Peopleâ€™s lives change everyday. You have to stay abreast of what problems your ideal clients are looking to solve.)
- Research networking opportunities either live or online where you can start connecting with your ideal clients
Practice talking about what you do so that itâ€™s comfortable, authentic and attractive.
Embrace The Results
Now that youâ€™ve gained clarity around what you want to accomplish, have started implementing and taking action, itâ€™s time to enjoy the results! Start a journal where you keep track of the â€œwinsâ€ in your business (no matter how â€œsmallâ€ they may seemâ€) and choose one person in your life to share them with.
Enjoy the process of upgrading your mindset. When you find a moment of overwhelm or discouragement coming up, open up your journal and review your progress and pat yourself on the back for what you HAVE done. Use this exercise to quiet the negative voices in your head that may be trying to hold you back.
Start stepping out of your comfort zone! Itâ€™s ok to take small steps, but you want to be progressive in your business. If an opportunity doesnâ€™t work out as you planned or a particular networking event doesnâ€™t offer any leads, donâ€™t view the situation as a failure. Rather, look at what you can learn from it and how you can do better next time. Thatâ€™s the beauty of being self-employed, you can make changes anytime you want to improve the quality of your business!
Here is the simple formula:
Gain Clarity + Take Action + Get Results = Entrepreneurial Success
Implementing these simple strategies will help you to overcome a limiting mindset and start attracting the business success you deserve!
Your Action Plan For This Week
- Answer the questions listed above to get clear on your business goals
- Map out your action plan and schedule time on your calendar to implement
- Post your thoughts/feedback/comments below and let us know how youâ€™re doing. We want to cheer you on!