If you’ve been thinking of working from home as a virtual assistant, or any other online business (like a social media manager, graphic designer, web developer) this is a simple guide that will help you get started quickly.

I started my VA business in 2006 as a solo VA, and over time as I built up my network and credibility, I have grown into a 6-figure business owner with a small team that helps serve our amazing clients. Many people, especially new VA’s & online service providers have asked me how I’ve done it. The short answer is, we needed money so I turned my passion for always wanting a home-based business into some serious hustle and created a business quickly.

I took on less-than-ideal clients who wanted me to do less-than-ideal work for less-than-ideal pay. I did it anyway, learned a lot, focused on getting better clients with better work and better pay. And then I repeated that many times over. 

There is a lot of advice on the internet, some free and some not, on how to get started as a Virtual Assistant. Some of the advice is great and some of it really should be removed because it can hurt your business. What I am sharing is what has worked for me and for the Virtual Assistants that I have coached over the years.

Get a Website

Do not delay this, and do not make any excuses on why you’re so special that you don’t need one. If you want to be found and be taken seriously as a business owner, get a website. Pay for a real domain and a premium theme and set up a WordPress site. Even easier, get a Squarespace website and simply update one of their templates. Don’t skip this step.

You’ll need a homepage (duh), a services page, an about page, a contact page, and if you really want to be found, a blog. Put something catchy on your homepage, tell your story on your about page, put your contact info (NOT your cell number) on your contact page, and talk about your services and how you help people on your blog. Don’t let the blogging part scare you, just put on your big girl panties and do it. It doesn’t have to be perfect; there is plenty of time for that later. Just pretend you’re into minimalism for now so we can focus on what is important.

Start Blogging

This is hard for most of you, and I totally understand that. But unless you have a large advertising budget to start with, producing content is the best way to be found online. Notice I didn’t say “producing great content”. That scares most people to the point that they become frozen and can’t move forward, so don’t worry about the content right now, just start sharing what you know, what you’re learning, what you’re offering, and how you offer it.

Please understand that this takes time and you’re not going to see any real money from it for a while. I produced content on my first website for a year before someone said they found me from my blog! Part of this was because I was afraid of sharing what I’d written out of fear of criticism, but once people started telling me they were learning from me, I got over that fear quickly.

Make Online Business Friends

Networking, (a word I’m not too fond of) is super important when your business is online. Not only does it keep you from feeling isolated day in and day out, you can learn so much from your peers. Make friends, be helpful, share their content and refer people to them when you can. Facebook groups are a great way to get started with this, and there are a ton of great Facebook groups out there for Virtual Assistants to join. I have a VA Coaching Facebook Group and an Online Business Referral Facebook Group, and I’d love to have you join them!

Also, join the groups your potential clients are in. For example, if you want to work with authors, join author groups. If you want to work with coaches, join coaching groups. If you want to work with real estate agents, join real estate groups.  Here, you’ll learn about what their problems are and figure out ways to solve them. Offer advice when you have it, be friendly and let them know that you’re there to learn, not pitch your services to them. Blog about their problems and how working with you can help solve them.

Keep Learning New Skills

There are SO MANY services a Virtual Assistant can learn and offer to their clients, and there are a ton of online courses you can take to learn them. Be strategic and selective about the skills you want to learn, make sure there is an audience that is willing to pay for it and don’t be afraid to invest money in yourself. Every time I’ve taken a course that taught me exactly what to do, how to do it, and how it helps my clients, I’ve made that money back ten-fold. Don’t forget to blog about the new skills you’re acquiring and how they can help your clients increase their bottom line or free up their time.

If you only want to offer one or two services, that’s okay too. Spend your time perfecting those skills, creating systems that will automate them, and producing great content about them.

Focus On Your Income

Once you’ve got your website in place, you’re blogging regularly about your offerings, you have a network of people to share with, and shiny new skills to offer, it’s time to start really focusing on your income. Hone in on your ideal clients, and charge a rate that matches your skillset and level of service.

New Virtual Assistants usually fall into two categories when setting rates: Too low for what they know, or too high without the skills to match. You’ve likely heard coaches say “charge what you’re worth” but who the hell really understands what that means? Look at the skills you’ve acquired, how well you know them, how may times you’ve actually put them into play (taking a course does NOT make you an expert) and how much hand-holding you provide. This is what your service is worth, charge accordingly. And don’t be afraid to increase your rates as your expertise grows, or your level of service increases.

Your number one job at this time is to share your expertise online as much as possible without coming off as salesy. On social media, adopt the 1 to 3 rule (just remember 1,2,3): For every 1 salesy update post 3 non-salesy updates. This can be in the form of a conversation starter, a quote or an image, or by sharing the content of someone in your network.

Next Steps

You don’t need a big marketing plan or an online course that claims you can make six figures right away. If you follow these steps and you put your passion into it, you’ll get results.

Do you need help getting your Virtual Assistant business off the ground quickly? Do you need accountability and someone to guide you to your goals? Schedule a free 30-minute no-strings-attached call with me to see if my help is what you need.

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