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How to Start as a Part Time Virtual Assistant & Turn it into Full Time Business

With the widespread of affordable internet technology and the increasing number of solopreneurs and small business startups, there is a huge demand for virtual assistants. Small business startups and solopreneurs prefer hiring a virtual assistant over a full time employee in order to get the administrative tasks done much efficiently and without any overhead costs. On the other hand, this situation creates an ideal business opportunity for individuals looking for the ease and flexibility of working from home.

Virtual assistant business is one of the fastest, easiest and most affordable home based businesses one can start. All you need is to have the relevant skills, equipment and software to do the work. Moreover, you do not need any need any specific licenses or educational qualifications to get started.

So, if you are someone who is looking to start a business, but cannot afford quitting job and starting a full time business at once, starting a part time virtual assistant business might be the right choice for you. To start it part time, you can create your schedule before or after office hours or during specific weekdays and get started. Mostly the local clients prefer working with a virtual assistant on regular business hours, so, initially, you will need to find clients on the other side of the world.

Please, note that just like any other business, the virtual assistant business also requires a stable source of clients. Getting your first client can be challenging, so you do need a network or should atleast know someone who is ready to hire you. Other than this there can be a few more challenges, i.e. setting rates, finding new clients, growing your business to the next level, time management and sustaining profitability etc. So, ideally, you should start very small, and grow it big gradually.

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This article will guide you through step by step actions required to start a part time virtual assistant business and grow it into a full time profitable business venture.

Let’s start:

1- Do the Initial Research:

Being overwhelmed when thinking to start your own business is quite understandable, and the only way to avoid confusions and to move in the right direction is through knowing the ground realities. To do so, you need a thorough research and come up with realistic data in hand.

  • Know what to offer; as a fact of the matter VAs do just about everything from writing, emailing, customer support, calendar management, bookkeeping, marketing, social media, SEO, website maintenance, project management, and a lot more, but you may not be able to do just everything, so focus on the skills you have and what you love doing. Create your own set of services and make sure that you are an expert in whatever is there in your menu.
  • Know the potential clients; you may already know certain small business owners looking for VA services, but in case if you don’t know anyone who might be interested in your services, start identifying the industries that need virtual support services. There are tens of industries whereby the solopreneurs and startups prefer outsourcing administrative and marketing activities, i.e. real estate, law firms, fitness trainers & gyms, restaurants, management consultants and a lot more. A quick analysis of few industries of your interest will give you an idea of tailoring your business to fit an industry, i.e. social media managements for real estate, law firm SEO, online marketing for health & fitness centers and so on.

2- Develop a Solid Business Plan:

A business plan is not just a plan to get started, but it is in fact a complete roadmap to start a business, run it efficiently and grow it big. To get started you do not necessarily require to cover all aspects, i.e. what makes you different from other VAs, how you’re going to fund your business and so on. Do check this detailed guide on how to write a business plan.

What your business plan does need includes:

  • A brief set of services; what you are going to offer, i.e. writing services, social media, marketing, payroll processing, etc.
  • List of potential clients; whom you are going to target, i.e. law firms, insurance brokers, trainers & coaches, restaurants, retail businesses, etc.
  • Work schedule; preferred timing when you will be working as a virtual assistant.
  • Marketing plan; how you are going to attract new clients. Do consider this marketing plan checklist. And yes, here is full list of platforms to get virtual assistant jobs.
  • Billing; how you are going to bill your customers, i.e. per hour, per task or per project. Here is a quick guide on how to price your services.
  • Growth plan; at what stage you want to turn this part time opportunity into a full time business, i.e. when it starts earning $XXX/month or when you have at least XX number of long term clients. This guide on how to start a business while being on a full time job is worth reading.

3- Start Operations:

With a quick business plan in hand you are all set to start accepting the offers and pitching new clients. If you are currently working on a 9 to 5 job and you are home by 6, it’s best to start with 2 to 3 hours a day and take in clients that require hourly assistance. In case, if your current job is little more demanding, it may not be a good idea to go for an hourly plan, rather go for project basis whereby you can do most of your work over the weekend.

It will surely take sometime to get adjusted to this new routine, but you start getting work and you involve yourself more into it, operations should go smoother.

Excitement of becoming an entrepreneur is a great thing, but you should not over-commit, either to your clients or yourself. Start with the smallest workload and work on increasing efficiency gradually. Increase your workload only when you are more than 100% sure about on time delivery.

4- Turning a Part Time Virtual Assistant Opportunity into a Full Time Business

By starting small and gradually expanding your course of action, you should be able to turn your part time virtual assistant business into a full time profitable venture within next 6 months to 1 year. Once, your part time virtual assistant business is stable enough to have at least a couple of happy and long term clients, you are all set to take it to the next level.

While working part time, you do not necessarily require a lot of legal formalities, but as you plan to make it a legitimate business, you do need to follow some standard procedures and fulfill the basic requirements.

  • Business naming; the first step in legalizing your business is to have its name. You can have any name of your choice, but it must be unique (not being used by anyone else) and describe what you do.
  • Legal structure & registration; starting as a sole proprietor is fast and easy as it doesn’t require any special paperwork or fees, but it comes with some drawbacks, i.e. putting your personal assets at risk. Alternatively, the best choice is an LLC. The process of registering an LLC requires specialized documentation and doing it yourself may take some time. Moreover, being unfamiliar with the legal terms, the chances of errors are more obvious too. So the best way is to get help of an attorney and get it done faster and error free.
  • Licensing & permits and licenses; for a VA business, you do not require any specialized permits and licenses, you can start it right as a home office as well. But as per your local county laws, you may require zoning waiver to work from home.
  • Bank account; it’s a must for a full fledged business to have a bank account, as it will be needed for all future operations. Opening a business bank account is almost similar to opening a personal bank account. All you need to do is to get in touch with a bank and they will help you with the rest.
  • Tweak the business plan; you do not need to recreate a whole new business plan, rather, just tweak the older business plan. You need to add more aggressive and achievable goals in the plan, improve the marketing plan by providing certain marketing budget for your startup and also keep the growth in mind.
  • Rethink the growth plan; remember, once you have turned a small scale virtual assistant opportunity into a full time business, you yourself might not be able to be a full time virtual assistant. You should rather focus yourself on strategizing the business and hire virtual assistants to work on client projects.

The Bottom Line:

Virtual assistant business is probably one of the most easiest and fastest ways for a layman to get started into the world of entrepreneurship. The success, however, depends largely on the combination of your hard & smart work and your positive attitude towards learning and excelling!

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