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6 Steps To Get Started As A Virtual Assistant

6 steps to get started as a virtual assistant

 

One question aspiring virtual assistants ask me all the time is “how do I get started as a virtual assistant?  I’ve got a whole lot to say about this, afterall, it’s what I do..teach women how to become virtual assistants.  So check out the short video below as well as what’s underneath.

 

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80 Responses to 6 Steps To Get Started As A Virtual Assistant

  1. Laurie says:

    I just happened upon your website via Pinterest today. I am nearing my mid-50’s and have a dream to have a VA business as a source of income in my “retirement”. This idea and the subsequent research and planning has been a hobby of mine for a few years now. I am really looking forward to taking your courses to set things in motion as that retirement time draws nearer. I am using this time, while still working a full time job, to sharpen the skills that I already use every day and learn more about the tools and programs and all the things that I will need to have to get the ducks in a row when the time comes. Thank you for offering a good, organized way to get my thoughts and processes in order.

  2. Great pointers here. Building relation online is quite difficult at first. You just have to know how to read people and relate.

  3. I’m at the point of contemplating the name of my VA business. I see that your URL of course is your name. I like that.
    Did you have that same URL when you were doing primarily VA work?

  4. Michelle says:

    Hi Reese,

    I am an aspiring VA and I’m so glad I came across your website. I used to be in the corporate world but now I’m a stay at home mom to my one year old daughter. I just don’t know where to start and I know that your website could help me a lot. To tell you honestly, I get overwhelmed with all the information from the net about this industry that’s why I was so blessed to come across your website. Looking forward to learning a lot from you and I plan to set up my business soon. Keep it up Reese!

  5. Elizabeth says:

    Hi Reese! Just found your site and signed up for your newsletter. I’ve been a business owner and marketing assistant for years, but am jumping into the virtual assistant field, so I’m looking forward to your insights.

    Just wanted to let you know that the Savvy and Salt link you provide above goes nowhere, and I can’t find them when I Google.

    Have a gorgeous day!
    Elizabeth

  6. Akilah says:

    Hi Reese!

    Let me first say that I am loving your site and your no-nonsense approach in helping us aspiring VAs. Thank you =) I’m in the process of completingmy business plan and I have a question about websites. I have come across many VAs who say “Don’t use wordpress.com, blogger, etc or any other free sites” and I understand the reasons why. However, I also have heard success stories where people started where they were until they could do better.

    As someone who plans to operate her business debt free from conception, what would be the drawback of starting off with one of the free sites until income comes in to maintain a regular website? I’ve looked through many of the wordpress.com themes and even some of the free ones have a crisp and professional appearance so I struggle with understanding this. Please advise. Be Blessed, Akilah

    • Reese says:

      Akilah, THANK YOU! I am so glad you’re here. I would tend to agree with the advice you’ve received thus far in regards to using WordPress.com, Blogger and other free website software. The reason for this is that you don’t have full control of your site and from a marketing and branding perspective it looks much more professional when your website is self-hosted. Running a business requires some investment of capital. Purchase a domain name and then get yourself an inexpensive hosting plan. Then download WordPress (from WordPres.org) and install one of their free themes. Alternatively you could build a site using Weebly or Wix. This is VERY inexpensive and shows off your business in a way that those free websites can’t. One of my Virtual Assistant Tribe members, Sarah Noked from SarahNoked.com built her site with Wix and she loves its ease of use. Check her site out.

      Finally, I started my VA biz without a website and only used my LinkedIn profile to promote my business and within a year I had 10 clients. Food for thought. I have a course on my shop page that teaches the exact steps I took back them to build my business using only LinkedIn. Pretty powerful stuff.

      • Akilah says:

        REESE!! You are such a rockstar! You just shedded some light on something that I was unaware of and that was the fact that there are free themes available even if I go with WordPress.org. See, I kept seeing advice like buy your domain, buy your host, download wordpress.org, then purchase the Genesis framework and add this & that, etc. And the cash register in my head was like “Hey, this doesn’t sound so cheap after all because all these fees are starting to add up.” You have helped me out tremendously. I will definitely look into all that you have to offer to see what I can do now and as my business continues to grow.

        God Bless you for your insight
        I’m a big fan of you,
        Akilah

        • Reese says:

          Woot!! Akilah, stick with me girl. I’ll get you up and running in no time with little start-up investment. You can do this for $100 or less. 🙂

  7. Ruby says:

    Sorry Reese, meant to add, I know this testimonial is not from a health professional hence why i have not niched my advert to people from that industry only. 🙂

    • Reese says:

      Ruby, great job! The advert is a wonderful idea! Are you seeing an leads from the advert? If not perhaps you should consider re-writing it to test out what works and what doesn’t. Words sell so it’s important to follow tried and tested copy writing principals in order to get people to take action.

  8. Ruby says:

    Hi Reese

    I found you through Virtual Assistant Tribe, a great group thank you so much for the add. I wanted to see if I can get some advice as I start out. For the past two years I have been assisting with a Holistic Membership site, mainly on the sales side of things, in doing this I found that there were a number of therapists who simply do not have time or know how on how to run other aspects of their business, especially now so much is required with online marketing/ social media. I have already picked up several clients and am looking to learn more and grow ( I shall certainly be doing some courses with you and am relieved to have found you) I have experience in working with health professionals but also those who need assistance with events, my site is currently being put together, I should imagine next week completed. In the mean time I have a an advert I am placing locally to where i live and value your opinion on this. Many Thanks in advance. Ruby

    Savvy & Creative Virtual Assistant For Your Small To Medium Size Business

    My name is Ruby and I am a virtual assistant to small business’s on an ad-hoc or on going basis.

    If you are reading this there is no doubt you want to create MORE VALUE for your clients, and of course you want to maintain all that you have already created and keep those plates spinning perfectly.

    Growing your business organically and not dropping any many plates can be challenging and that is where I step in as a VA and can assist you in keeping the balance so things run smoothly.

    You may have:

    Workshops/ Retreats or Events to make happen?

    A database in need of an overhaul with a stack of potential customers to qualify?

    A lack of clients at your door and business in need of a push? I can assist in business development as well.

    Social Media Services – I specialise in Pinterest and Facebook

    Great copy that needs writing? OR

    You might just need a good sounding board for ideas and some creative input – 2 heads and all that.

    I love to assist people in following their passions and their dreams and being a virtual assistant is a great way for me to do this.

    Below are a few slices of “Praise” from clients I already work with. If you have read this much and feel I could be exactly what you need either for an ongoing project or on an ad-hoc basis I can be contacted on –

    “I am now enjoying ongoing yearly business with links created and cultivated via Ruby Brown.
    With a work ethic second to none, Ruby will deliver everything she promises with a smile and a great deal of hard background work.
    Her diligence and caring in organising events, helping people network (thus creating business opportunities) and ensuring that all flows smoothly will ensure a relaxed and stress free environment in which to work within.
    It’s with the greatest of pleasure that I recommend Ruby to any and all prospective clients for 2014. ”

    Jim Richardson – Director for Wedding Trikes & Cocktail Campers

  9. Delia says:

    I wish I had found this site earlier. I am in the deciding phase of whether or not to give starting up a VA Service, I have been toying with the idea for 2 years already. Mom of 3 and really not managing as well as i would like to with a full time job. I am currently living in central europe and would like to focus on services for individuals and companies who would like to do business here. Would like to offer various services such as to include translations and interpreting, answering service and making calls in local language, email correspondence (local language), customer services etc. I have 2 other women that would assist with the services. Over here, maternity leave can last as long as 4 years so a vast number of professional, educated women are at home and like me, would jump at the chance of doing something like this. I guess my question to those with experience is whether this sort of thing could work, as I would be targeting a small international group and most of the marketing would need to be done online. I just need that push in the right direction.

    • Reese says:

      Delia, this not only works but if you’re passionate about it you can build a business that makes high 5 figures and possibly 6-figures. From there there are opportunities to earn money when you’re not working (i.e. start passive revenue streams, outsourcing, etc). You’ve come to the right place. All of my marketing is online, I never was able to do face-to-face because when I got started I had 3 kids ages 4 and under so it wasn’t possible so hope that answers your questions!

  10. Lisa M says:

    Great information! Do you know any good resources for VA graphic designers?
    Thank you. 😉

    • Reese says:

      Lisa, I haven’t really seen much marketing around VA Graphic Designers. A pure graphic designer is a VA and a pure VA isn’t a graphic designer. Like many VAs I have knowledge in PhotoShop and Illustrator and I can make changes to graphics and photos that my clients would find extremely helpful. That doesn’t make me a graphic designer. It just means that I have some basic understanding of some of the tools that graphic designers use. Are you a true graphic designer? If so why not market yourself as a graphic designer and just that? I would advise you not to convolute you services by mixing graphic design and administrative skills if you’re a pure graphic designer.

  11. Orvi says:

    Hi Reese,

    You have been so helpful!!! I have been trying to follow your advice though I still need to do A LOT to be successful as you are now. After we were hit by a terrible typhoon and most of the things I worked hard for were gone and became broker, I started being a VA in Odesk and could see how it helped us survive and the potential it has in the industry. I thought that more clients means more money coming in but it’s difficult if I will just rely in Odesk or Elance so I decided to promote myself by having a website and market myself more. I just started to have my Va site and I still need to gather a lot of testimonials as most of them are just from my Odesk clients. I read your advice about how to do it and the useful tools to have and I am definitely using all of them now, thanks to you. 🙂 What do you think is the best starting rate? More advice from you especially in marketing/networking is greatly appreciated!!! Thanks Reese and God bless. <3

  12. Mary Jane says:

    Hi Reese,
    I just happened upon your website for the first time tonight and I love it!!!

    I started my VA business just over a year ago, but I use the VA term loosely at the moment. Most of my clients are local and I seem to have moved from being a VA to being onsite. While it brings money in the door, it goes against my business model, but I don’t know how to get back to the VA business model. Suggestions?

    • Reese says:

      Mary Jane! THANK YOU!!!!! You just have to stick to your guns. The reason one becomes a VA is because of the flexibility it offers as well as the money. If you’re still going to a job and sitting in their office than you need to have a conversation with them about your core values and hopefully they can agree to allow you to work from home.

  13. Lisa Santos says:

    Hi Reese! Thank you so much for listing my virtual assistant site on your post. It was today that I finally figured out where the traffic was coming from…lol I had checked my google analytics and noticed a spike of visitors from your site but I just didn’t know exactly where. Google Analytics reporting finally showed me the source link.

    I just want to say that your website is chock full of information for any one starting a virtual assistant business. You’ve done an amazing job with your site. Its always been a goal of mine to show others that they too can work from anywhere providing services. I started writing an ebook a few months ago about how to start a virtual assistant business and hope to finish it in the next few months. I know there are other VAs that have written ebooks on this subject and maybe somewhat saturated but wanted to share my own perspective.

    Anyway, again so glad I found your post. Thank you for sharing your love for the virtual assistant industry and educating so many.

    Lisa Santos
    LS Virtual Assistant Services, LLC

  14. Denita says:

    I would like to start offering virtual assistance part time during the evening and weekend hours because I do have a 9-5. How do I convey my availability without turning off a potential client who may have needs during regular business hours?

    • Reese says:

      Denita, there are plenty of small businesses who need help with project work so your hours of availability won’t be much of an issue. As long as you convey your hours up front you have nothing to worry about. You’ll turn away some business but you’ll gain others.

  15. Peggi O'Callahan says:

    Hi Reese,

    I am curious. What are your thoughts about working for an established VA company for a little while before striking out on your own?

    Thanks,

    Peg

  16. Simone Reis says:

    Hello Reese,
    I am reading all of your posts, following you and your group on LinkedIn, just love it! Congratulations on your job, you have great ability to explain and explore the subjects, making them simple and clear!

    I have two questions, I do not think they are directly related to this post, but these questions came to my mind:

    1) How do a VA professional handle her/his own vacation planning, since there are too many different clients? How is a VA supposed to meet its clients expectations regarding this subject?

    2) Do you know any VA that performs particular/personal duties for his/her client? When working in a physic office, EAs are often required to do this kind of work, but I wonder if it’s possible to do so when you work remotely and also if the clients usually make this kind of requests.

    Thanks again!
    Simone

    • Reese says:

      Hey Simone (love your name)!!! To answer your questions, 1. A VA like any salaried assistant should plan his/her vacations far enough in advance so that the client is prepared and has relevant back-up if necessary. It is an amazing gesture and builds loyalty if you can bring someone on board yourself to provide back-up for you when you are away. This person could also help you out when you’re sick, in emergencies, and so on.

      2. A VA can do just about anything for their clients. Just like a personal assistant would go and collect their dry cleaning, a virtual assistant can do this as well however you would need to work with a client locally for this to happen (obviously). For the most part clients are not looking for this type of assistance. They need help with the day to day operations of their business like scheduling, website updates, social media posting, document creation, etc. I hope this helps!! XOXO

  17. Ramona says:

    Hello Reese,

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge of what it takes to become a Virtual Assistant. I haven’t started my business yet, just getting ideas on how to market myself. When it comes to websites, can you recommend a place to start and not too expensive? I’ve never done one before, just a newbie.

    Again, thank you for being so gracious with your knowledge and not asking for anything in return. Not many people are willing to share.

    Wishing you much Success and All the Best!!

    Ramona

    • Reese says:

      Ramona, I use the WordPress platform and I recommend it to all of my readers. It’s super easy to set up and maintain and you don’t have to do any code which is why I love it. Check out http://www.wordpress.org and learn more about WordPress themes. You can pick any theme that fits your business. There are a ton of free tutorials on YouTube on how to set up your WordPress site and maintain it. Good luck!!!

  18. Bridgette says:

    Hello Reese,

    First, congrats on all that good work that you are doing! I’m currently in the stages of starting my own business as a VA and have a question pertaining to marketing. I have an EIN number, but for financial reasons I have yet to copywrite the name or get all the legalities situated. I obviously want to include my business name in my website, as well as make reference to it in the social networking profiles that I’ve created for myself such as Linked In and FB. I’m a bit leary about doing this as I want to protect my business name. Is it still good to advertise my business when the name isn’t fully and legally registered, even through word of mouth? Any other start-up information will be much appreciated.

    Sincerely,
    Bridgette Jackson
    Administrative Professional

    • Reese says:

      Bridgette while I am not a copyright lawyer I can tell you that as long as your business name isn’t registered as a trade name, anyone can use it. The same thing goes with your content. If your content is not copyrighted anyone can steal it and you wouldn’t be able to go after them for copyright infringement. Here is a great article about protecting your business’s name and the steps you need to take to get started. http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/171642

  19. Marcia says:

    as a virtual assistant part-time in toronto, are there any licensing requirements. i’m already a legal secretary with over 9 years experience. please lend your insight. thanks again Reese.

    • Reese says:

      Hi Marcia! This is a great question. To be a virtual assistant you do not need to be licensed. You would however need to register your business with the appropriate tax authorities. Hope this helps!

  20. Maggie says:

    Hello Reese,

    Thank You so much for the information you have provided.
    I have submitted my resume to the sites you have requested.

  21. […] For more information about how to get started a virtual assistant read my blog post on the subject here. […]

  22. Great tips Reese and nice site! To Tiffany, you might try faxing flyers to your local businesses. You can get their fax number from the employment section of your Sunday paper, so it is an inexpensive way to advertise locally.

    Best to you and yours,
    Belinda
    VirtualAssistants.com

  23. Adaliz Borges says:

    Hi Reese,

    I’ve been an EA for the past 11 years or so and I’m tired of sitting in an office when I know I could get the job done from anywhere. That’s why I decided to get more information regarding VA’s. I saw in one of your blogs companies that hire VA’s and thought that would be a good place to start getting experience as a VA till I get the hand of things and understand a little bit better how does this works.

    Questions:
    Do I need to have a business license to apply to jobs through these companies???
    Do I need a business license at all??
    Do I need to have a Business Plan established already??

    I will appreciate any help you can give me…

    Thank you,

    Adaliz Borges

    • Reese says:

      Hi Adaliz, Thank you for your comment!!

      With 11 years experience as an executive assistant you’re more than qualified to become a virtual assistant. You are right that you can get your job done from anywhere as long as you have a laptop and high speed internet. You do not need a business license to apply for virtual assistant positions. You don’t need a business license at all! You do not need to have a business plan established in order to get started but I do recommend putting down to paper a business plan. Remember however that your business plan is constantly evolving as you evolve as a virtual assistant. The most important things to include in your biz plan are:

      What your services are, who you set out to service (what type of clients), your business hours, etc. Here is a link to a free resource that I found on the web

      http://www.bplans.com/administrative_service_business_plan/executive_summary_fc.php#.UCC5xsj9PL4

      • Adaliz Borges says:

        Thank you for this information…. Is a relief!!!

        A questions that has been bothering me is the fact about the email accounts. One of my expertise is email & calendar management. But I don’t know how to offer these services when I’m not linked to their email server. How can I approach this?

        Thank you,

        Adaliz Borges

        • Reese says:

          The best way to approach this Adaliz is to have your clients use Google apps and create a gmail account using Google Apps. I don’t recommend setting it up yourself. Your client needs to get that ready for you as it can be quite technical in nature.

  24. Holly Wyatt says:

    Hi Reese,

    I have been doing the EA gig for the past 9 1/2 years and am ready to move to the next level. I feel that being a VA would afford me this opportunity. I am looking forward to what guidance you can give my endeavors to move into this arena of the industry.

    • Reese says:

      Why thanks Holly. Feel free to leave me a question in your comments if you need more clarification regarding any of the points I am making.

      • Holly Wyatt says:

        Hi Reese,

        I am now a stay at home (as of July 2nd) and am looking to do some work from home projects to make money come September 2nd. I think that the VA avenue might be the best one for me to take. At this time I am not sure where to start.

        I have over 10 years experience in the administrative fields (primarily the receptionist and executive assistant areas). I have multiple degrees (BS in Business Education and AA in CAD) that I believe will be a positive. I taught business and computers for 4 years to middle school and high school students.

        I am very organized, very detailed, a big advocate for scheduling, and someone who follows the directions to a “T”. Some times these can be my downfalls when they get out of proportion to what someone is wanting me to do and be.

        I have a LinkedIn account (check out my professional profile and connect with me on LinkedIn. http://lnkd.in/UKWvjr) but need to add more to it. I have a Facebook account.

        I read your blog about getting started but I am unsure who to reach out to get some experience or get started. I know that I need to get a more professional email address and Facebook account.

        I guess at this point I need some direction of where to go to get some clients. Do you recommend just surfing the internet, updating LinkedIn, joining some groups, and hoping for the best????

        • Reese says:

          Holly, the best way to get started is to read all of my blogs, sign up to receive my emails and to join my group, The Virtual Assistant Tribe on Facebook. Ask MANY questions. Learn how the more seasoned VAs do it! The best advice I can offer is hustle and learn how to market yourself. Read up on marketing blogs, learn a bit about copy-writing so you can start selling your services in a way that actually gets you clients. You’d be surprised that most of the skills that you already posses are your most marketable and valuable assets. Lastly, also offer coaching so when you’re ready contact me for one one-on-one personal attention! 🙂

  25. Gayle Poe says:

    Hi Reese,

    Thanks for the marketing tips. I’ve been working at this VA idea for two plus years. I believe in the possibility that I can make a good living doing VA. I believe I have the abilities and skills to do provide an excellent service. Sometimes, I just don’t know where to start; that’s where your blog lends encouragement. Eli mentioned reading and talking and reading some more, but it is about putting what we read into practice. You’ve set out to help us learn, so that gives us (aspiring VA’s) as place to start. I have a good solid client, but I need more income and more customers so I can quit my minimum wage jobs.

    Thanks for helping. Gayle

  26. Evangeline says:

    Wow! Thank Reese! I am hanging on to your every word as I’ve been thinking and talking about doing a VA business for several months now! I am on several groups and do contribute to some conversations and have been checking out various network groups but my confidence is lacking! Have even owned my own event planning business which went south in 2008 so I know that’s part of the reason for lack of confidence! Thanks for your encouragement and keeping it as simple as you can! That really helps or us who think we have to be perfect and get overwhelmed easily! Waiting for your next blog post! Wishing you the best and thanks much!

  27. Tracee O'Nan says:

    Thanks for the tips, they will help a great deal in getting the door to open.
    TKO

  28. Hi Reese,

    I am following you on LinkedIn…..Thanks so much for everything. I hope to e-chat with you soon. Take care!! 😉

  29. Eli David says:

    Reese, thanks for posting this. I’m definitely going to put your advice to work. I just opened my VA company up for business and have been reading and reading AND READING tons of articles and forums all focused on the virtual assistant industry. One client market I’m trying to figure out how to break into is the virtual company market–not VA’s, but companies that operate completely virtually. It’s the perfect fit, right? The hardest part is finding them, because they’re not all necessarily tech businesses. Do you have any insight on this?

    • Reese says:

      Hi Eli, Are you looking to start you’re own virtual business? What type of work are you specifically interested in doing? I’d love to help but I need more information.

      • Eli says:

        Yes, I’ve started my own VA business. We do administrative and specialize in project management, legal secretary and graphic design. The type of businesses I think would be a good niche market to break into are those companies that also operate completely virtually. These companies are not limited to tech companies; the problem I’m having is finding them. Any advice is appreciated! 🙂

  30. Vidya Sikdar says:

    Hi Reese,

    I read your blog and it is truely pointing to some vital points that one needs to have to succeed in the VA business. I have surely gained from reading your blog and look forward to more interesting and informative blogs from you in the future.

    Thanks.

    Vidya

  31. Great tips! I have implemented most of these in my new business. I do know I need to attend more networking events. The hardest thing for me is to sell myself and come up with an elevator speech that makes the listener want to hear more.

    • Reese says:

      Tamira – I have some great news. Next week’s blog post is going to really help you build up your confidence and learn how to really sell yourself as a virtual assistant. It’s important to remember to keep pushing along and step out of your comfort zone. I would suggest that you go to networking events by yourself. This will force you to introduce yourself to others. Coming from a wallflower myself I understand how hard this can be but you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain.

  32. Maria Double says:

    Hi Reese,

    Congrats on your new website! And a huge thank you for blogging on this subject.

    I just started my own VA business and sent out my first email newsletter this morning. I have been learning so much and am excited to learn so much more.

    You have a point about networking. Now that I have my website up and my first newsletter sent, I plan to be doing much more of it.

    I look forward to your future posts.

    Thanks!

    Maria

    • Reese says:

      Hi Maria!
      Congrats on sending out your first newsletter, that’s amazing! Keep me posted on how the networking events go and thanks for reading!

  33. WOW, Reese! Congratulations on getting your site up and live. It looks fantastic and your first blog post is great. Thank you for providing your expertise to the newbies! :o)

    ~ Deborah

    • Reese says:

      Awe, thanks Deborah!!! I am so happy to finally be able to do what I really love which is helping other virtual assistants become success stories. You rock!

  34. Tiffany says:

    Neighborly Favors Virtual Assistants! People always tell me my concept is great. But I feel like I dont get alot of word of mouth. I have a MBA in finance and a BA in HR. i know how to keep a company running. I just need clients.

    • Reese says:

      Tiffany – while having a degree is impressive it doesn’t mean that you understand the basics of marketing and marketing is what will bring in clients. If you truly understand your market and how to market to your ideal clients then you’ll find that word of mouth advertising will improve. Stay tuned because my next blog post is all about how to find your ideal client and how to market to them and in turn create compelling marketing copy for your website that will suck in clients!

  35. Tiffany says:

    I do all of these. I live in a large city of Jacksonville fl. I feel like i need to advertise to really tap into the clients I desire. Is there a way to get cheap advertising. Is there certain marketing you would do?

    • admin says:

      Tiffany social media is free advertising and when done right can bring in loads of potential client leads. Do you have a LinkedIn profile set up? Are you a member of any networking groups on Facebook? I would start there. Stay tuned because I am going to write a post on how to “get found” on LinkedIn.

  36. gary says:

    Congratulations!! I’ve been following you on LinkedIn. I wish you the best!

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