30 Tips for Aspiring Virtual Assistants
Here, in this article, we will try to keep things as simple as possible and try to lay the foundation of how the aspiring Virtual Assistants should groom themselves for the job. If they are looking for some kind of secret that will make them successful overnight in this job, then there isn’t any. Disheartened? Don’t be because in this writing, we will break the whole approach to be successful in this profession into some simple steps, which we hope will help the aspirants greatly. Shall we begin? Here are the basic steps you all need to know:
Frame the structure of your business.
List on the services you’ll offer to your clients.
Decide on the pricing of your service.
Create your own website and make your online presence felt.
Pitch in and start networking.
Have a clear idea about your skills and what your preferences, and define why your service is unique and special
Research on your clients – decide on who you want to work with?
Be part of your own community, and use it to get support and training
Use Your Present Network Effectively
These are some basics that you need to decide on before you start. Now, we will take up each of these steps one by one and discuss them in greater detail. Keep one thing always in mind as you read through this article and that is that your target is to begin your promotion and render your services effectively in the shortest possible time. Getting more and more clients by giving top quality services should always be your top priority. Everything else will follow suit.
1. Frame the structure of your business.
There is no such copybook advice on your business structure selection. The plan and the structure vary based on some common facts and that includes:
Your business location
Client types you wish to work with?
The type of virtual assistance you will provide
Your personal life (i.e. spouse, family, children, responsibilities and liabilities).
Your personal tolerance for risks?
Availability of the business structures in your area
2. Take Professional Help
As far as framing your business structure is concerned, you should definitely speak to an accountant or an attorney. They are the ones who can provide you with highly important feedback that are specific to your business choice. It may mean sole-proprietorship, LLC, a corporation, etc. Secondly, decide upon the location for your business keeping in mind some specific requirements that you must meet. Factors like the overall financial and life plan should be given due importance so that you make the right choice in the very first round!
3. List on the services you’ll offer to your clients
Deciding on services sometimes become quite tricky for many new Virtual Assistants, but here the good news is, it needn’t necessarily be that way. There is no hard and fast rule to follow and nothing that forces you to stick with a particular type of service once you begin. The most common impression that most people have about the typical Virtual Assistant services are that they check emails, receive and return phone calls and manage their client’s calendar. This may be true to a certain extent, but there are many other services (and some are exceptional) that you may offer as well.
4. Get a Better Understanding
The more you will learn about your client’s business, the better equipped you will become to help him or her out. Your client may be an extremely busy person, but you should make him accountable to some of the things that might need his or her special attention like going through his mail box. You should be able to grow and adapt with the business you are working for and make changes as you see fit. This means making changes, making additions or removing some services based on your client’s demand, time availability, your personal interests and its profitability.
5. Choose Judiciously
One very important discovery that you will make while you impart your Virtual Assistant service is that the freedom of making choices on your own can sometimes be a double-edged sword. Choose your services right and judiciously as this is the most important step for you. Take the first baby step like a pro and then begin to gather your momentum with each successive step. You can always change your list of services later on. For example, you might go for hourly billing to a retainer or maybe even render your services product wise. Are you comfortable till now? Do you want to get some about the pricing structure now?
6. Decide About The Pricing of Your Service
As a newcomer, you definitely would want to know as to how much a virtual assistant makes per hour, right? And queries like what’s the right amount to charge as a newcomer and how much should be enough for a beginner? The answers may be individualistic as the role itself can vary to a great extent. And so does your skill sets and level of experience. But still we would like to try to cover the basics here.
7. Decide Before You Set Your Rates
While setting your rates, first figure out what would be the right amount for the time you have invested. If you plan to charge hourly at the beginning, you’re trading your invaluable time for money so it’s highly important to take into account some very important factors:
8. Firstly, you’re not an employee.
You’re just a subcontractor and in the US, for example, you are entitled to pay both the employee and the employer set of taxes (i.e. self-employment tax).
9. You aren’t entitled for any benefits
No sick leaves, paid vacations, health insurance or retirement benefits will ever come your way (we will not consider the exceptions here).
10. You’ll have an overhead cost to bear
Issues like website hosting, overhead costs, software subscriptions etc., will come your way. Because of these expenses, you may not really compare with other professions what you will make initially. Here comes a small suggestion from experts that you should take whatever wage you think is sensible from a take-home point of view and increase it by at least 25%. You can very well do this because from the point of view of the business owners, they are not incurring the cost or time involved in hiring a new employee.
11. Take a closer look at the different business models
Take a look at the models that are available like the hourly, retainer, contract, etc and choose the one suit the best for you. If you believe that you are educated enough and skilled enough, then be comfortable and charge adequately for your time. We all know by now that a Virtual Assistant gets what he or she renders. So, always keep that in mind when you’re bidding for the jobs or hiring your own staff. You should always go for a figure that is a little higher than what first came to your head. Undercharging may secure the job for you, but in the long run, it will leave both the parties unhappy.
12. Create your own website and make your online presence felt.
We strongly recommend that if you want to work virtually and provide virtual assistant services from your location, then you definitely have to have an established online presence. And that presence should be there for both – website and social media. Regardless of the way you decipher it, the combination of both of these items makes it much easier for you to market yourself to your potential clients. Long gone are those days of direct mails, flyers, cold calls and print advertising where people used to make their presence so that their potential hirers can see them.
13. From Our Experience
We have seen from our experience innumerable times as to how even a simple looking website of a virtual assistant that just highlights the basics about him or her and their services plays a pivotal role in their hiring. Generally, as a rule, we recommend that you take the help of WordPress and also create a customized theme while setting up your website. And you need not worry, if the idea seems to be overwhelming, then we are here to help you to walk you through the whole process step by step. We will further explain the most important factors while creating your virtual assistant website. Here are the most basic steps that include:
14. Why will you choose WordPress and an appropriate theme
General branding elements consists of colors and fonts. And to create a simple yet eye catching logo for your business, you should take the help of these. First of all you will have to determine and communicate your value. Secondly, you will have to commit yourself towards gradually improving yourself and this should be an ongoing process. As far as social media is concerned, we recommend that you keep it as low key as possible.
15. Do not juggle from one social media platform to another
and just follow one simple rule: stay near your clients. In all most all cases this means remaining active in Facebook or in Linkedin. But if you want to go deeper than that, you should also be a part of the same groups and communities in which your prospective clients are. Take the help of the social channels to build, develop, and cement your relationships with them patiently over time.
16. Don’t Hurry
Never ever make the mistake of jumping into a new group and start promoting yourself. In place of that, wait for the right opportunities to pop up and become genuinely helpful to others in the group and let the relationships grow up slowly and naturally.
17. Pitch in and start networking.
The ultimate and probably the most important step that you should take towards launching yourself as a new Virtual Assistant is, of course, procuring your first few clients. What is seen typically in case of many virtual assistants who are new comers does not have an exponential client growth. We all know that raising your client base from 0 to 3 demands a lot of hard work than raising it from 3 to 6. The difference lies in time, exposure, experience and confidence.
18. Once Everything Fits
These four things fall into place, the growth curve rises and becomes easier. We encourage both new and experienced Virtual Assistants to imbibe these simple rules while building their profile. We ask you to be both proactive and consistent in your efforts and here are some steps through which you can definitely meet your clients soon. They are:
19. Be absolutely sure as to who your ideal clients are. Let’s put it in another way, target your market. What it actually means is that you should figure out the business types and the markets that interest you and search where you can find them.
20. Find out about the prospects in your target market. Think about the attributes that you are looking for in an ideal client. This can begin from those who have a profitable business to those who need help and even those who have a history of hiring VAs.
21 Start cementing your relationship with your potential clients. As is often seen in case of all kinds of courtships, time and patience plays a very big role and this applicable for business relationships as well. We really support cold pitching because it’s probably one of the best ways to gather the clients quickly, but still strong relationships are still very important for developing the relationship with the big honchos.
22. Generate new prospects daily. Until and unless your business grows to a considerable extent when you consistently get referrals, you should depend on pitching. Let’s put it this way, if you wish to work, you’ll have to take the right initiative towards client generation at the very beginning.
This is because nobody actually knows what you actually do and whether you are an expert in it or not. For the new Virtual Assistants, we would say that you do regular pitching. Actually, we strongly recommend that is what you should do first thing each day. You should always be marketing yourself.
23. Provide a trial period. You should establish some trust at the beginning as your new clients really don’t know what to expect. And neither do you. Both the parties should first test the waters and make sure whether the partnership will last or not. For this a free and short trial period is a great judge. It will also take away some of the risk factors and unnecessary fear that accompanies that often makes one apprehensive for long-term commitments.
24. Early and Consistent Check. You should always start searching for new leads quite early and keep searching consistently. This is applicable for both new and experienced Virtual Assistants. The leads that you can get initially are usually from those business owners who are looking for help to upgrade their businesses. One of the most common issues that a new virtual assistant has to deal with is communication issues. You should show expert communication skills form the very beginning of your carrier. But don’t worry; it’s quite easy to overcome! All you need is to regularly schedule checks on your client to find out whether they are being served in the right way or not.
25 Try to be indispensible. If you wish to establish a long term relationship with your existing clients, the best possible step that you can take is to make each one of them feel valuable. Try to become an indispensible part of their businesses. You should frame individualistic plans for each of your clients if you want to be successful that way. we will take the example of solopreneurs here to help you understand the plan
26. Solopreneurs For The Beginners
The solopreneurs continuously juggle with multiple tasks all at once. They often work for very long hours and totally sacrifice their personal time meant for their families and even their own health. If you are hired by them, then you should chalk a special plan to find a way to specifically take care of the tasks in their plate. You should plan tactfully to relieve them from the productivity bottlenecks and try to gift them back their precious weekends once and for all. If you succeed in doing so, you’ll become invaluable for them in no time and that will also help you to make a permanent relationship with them. You’ll become an invaluable member of their team which will result into a win-win scenario.
27. Have a clear idea about your skills and what your preferences, and define why your service is unique and special
Virtual Assistant is actually quite a broad term – they can specialize in diverse fields! You may be armed with the traditional Personal Assistant skills – or you may have a social media or marketing background, or you may be just a web designer, but still you can succeed as Virtual Assistants. One special capacity of yours can help you to succeed and that is to have people skills and organizational skills.
Apart from that you should analyze yourself deeply and find out about the other skills you have and then plan accordingly. This way you can come up with special services or packages that fix the common ‘bone of contentions’ for your potential clients. Don’t just get inflated with the Virtual Assistant title – constantly try to improvise on your services. This is just a starting point to begin with. Think constantly about how you can offer the unique and the exceptional and analyze what you love doing!
28. Research on your clients – decide on who you want to work with?
Be absolutely clear about your work process, and with whom you want to work with from the very beginning. Carry out an in-depth research about who can be your ideal clients. Gain a thorough knowledge on the various industries that they are in or the business types they have. Study their personality traits and the style of working. Try to match your working pattern and your process of working with them.
Nobody else knows better other than you as to what suits you and your family best. Once you are absolutely sure about this, you can start defining your offer. Knowing your ideal clients closely and deeply will also help you immensely once you get going with your profession. Don’t ever be afraid or apprehensive and turn away work that doesn’t suit you. It can really be tough to refuse the clients at the very beginning, but be patient and wise, and take the right step.
29. Be part of your own community, and use it to get support and training
Do your research extensively and search for an online community of Virtual Assistants. Work from home may sound very pleasant but it can be truly lonely sometimes. But don’t be pensive, there are many Virtual Assistant groups in Facebook that offers a good platform to connect with others in your community. For example, the VIP Virtual Assistant Hub is a fantastic place for the new and experienced Virtual Assistants. What’s more, they offer quality training or coach on one to one basis if you are new in the business. If you are really eager to get more of an in-knowledge about the nitty gritties of setting yourself up successfully as a Virtual Assistant.
30. Use Your Present Network Effectively
Once you’re on the go, start self promoting yourself about your new Virtual Assistant look. For example, communicate with your family, friends and your current business network like your colleagues, and let them know about your current profession thoroughly. You will certainly be amazed as to how many of them will be eager to know more about it. At the very beginning, you can keep it as a low-key affair. For example, you needn’t have to hurry and get your website developed at the very beginning. You can start taking on clients simply by verbally communicating with them.