Starting your own business requires the right planning and execution, it can also be a very rewarding experience. If you’re thinking of starting a virtual assistant business, we can walk you through the steps to start it.
Here are the 10 steps you can take to get started on building your very own virtual assistant business.
10 Steps to Launching a New Virtual Assistant Business
1. Choose Your Type of Virtual Assistant Business
The first step in launching a virtual assistant business is to identify the type of virtual assistant business you want to launch. You might choose from the following types among others:
- Personal Virtual Assistant: You’ll provide support to an executive, entrepreneur, or busy professional by managing their schedule, handling correspondence, and taking care of other administrative tasks.
- Business Virtual Assistant: You’ll work with businesses of all sizes to handle a variety of tasks including customer service, bookkeeping, social media management, and more.
- Project-Based Virtual Assistant: You’ll take on specific projects for clients rather than provide ongoing support. This could include tasks like website design, copywriting, or event planning.
2. Name Your Virtual Assistant Business
Give your virtual assistant business an identity so people will think of it as a well-known and respected brand. You can take the name of your virtual assistant business from your industry, focus on a geographical location, or use your own name among other options.
The main goal for naming your virtual assistant business is to make it sound appealing and trustworthy so that potential clients will want to work with you.
3. Determine Your Virtual Assistant Business Model
There are several possible types of business models for a virtual assistant business including:
- Hourly billing: You charge clients an hourly rate for the time you spend working on their projects.
- Project-based billing: You charge a flat rate for specific projects that you complete for clients.
- Retainer-based billing: You work with clients on an ongoing basis, usually at an agreed-upon number of hours per week or month, and bill them accordingly.
No matter which model you choose, make sure that it aligns with your business goals and the services you offer.
4. Choose a Legal Form for Your Business
By incorporating your virtual assistant business, you will limit your liability. You can incorporate as a Limited Liability Company (LLC), a C Corporation (C-Corp), or an S Corporation (S-Corp). Or you can operate as a sole proprietorship.
The business structure you choose for your virtual assistant business will determine the amount of taxes you pay and which state or federal tax forms you need to file.
Read our article comparing the most common virtual assistant business structures.
5. Write a Virtual Assistant Business Plan
All virtual assistant business owners should develop a business plan.
A business plan is a document that outlines the goals, strategies, and operations of a business. It can be used to secure funding from investors or lenders, as well as to guide the day-to-day operations of the business. The business plan should include information on the company’s products or services, market analysis, financial projections, and management team among other things.
When developing your virtual assistant business plan and strategy, you should think about the following questions your customers might have:
- What services do virtual assistant businesses offer?
- How do I determine if a virtual assistant business is right for me?
- What are the benefits of working with a virtual assistant business?
- How can I learn about the work experience of my virtual assistant?
- Does a virtual assistant need to be certified or take any training?
- Will I need to sign a contract in order to work with a virtual assistant?
- Are there limits to the number of times I can request the same virtual assistant?
- Are there limits on the time allowance for a project?
- What if my project takes longer than anticipated? Do I have to pay an additional fee?
- How can I reward my virtual assistant when the job is complete?
Read our article about how to write a virtual assistant business plan.
6. Apply for the Necessary Permits and Licenses
There may be required licenses and permits you need to obtain before launching your virtual assistant business.
For example, if you plan on working from home, you may need to obtain a Home Occupation Permit from your city or county.
You must also register your virtual assistant business as a legal entity with the state where you plan to do business. You can simply file an online form through your Secretary of State website.
Registering with the federal government is also essential so you can properly pay taxes for your business. You will also need an Employer Identification Number (EIN), which you can apply for at the IRS website, if you plan to hire employees.
Read our article about obtaining the proper virtual assistant business licenses.
7. Determine Your Budget & Apply for Funding as Needed
In developing your virtual assistant business plan, you will figure out how much funding you need to start and grow your business.
If you have your own funds to invest in your virtual assistant business, you may consider taking advantage of that. In addition to your personal funds, other forms of potential funding for your virtual assistant business include traditional bank loans, SBA loans, credit cards, angel investors and family and friends.
8. Get the Technology & Software Needed to Run Your Business Efficiently
When you start your virtual assistant business, it’s essential to have the right technology in place to maximize efficiency. You definitely need a computer with Internet access, and accounting software for tracking expenses and revenues.
You may also want to invest in a customer relationship management (CRM) system, which will help you manage your client relationships, as well as a project management system to keep track of deadlines and progress on projects.
In addition, there are many virtual assistant-specific software programs available that offer a wide range of features to help you with tasks such as time tracking, invoicing, document sharing, document management, and more.
Read our article about the technology and software you need to run a virtual assistant business.
9. Market Your Virtual Assistant Business to Potential Clients
Before you start selling your services, you have to let the world know you exist. The first step is to create a website so people can learn more about your services and how they benefit them.
After you launch your website, start promoting it through social media channels like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Also consider networking with other people in the virtual assistant industry through social media and blogs so they can help share your business.
You also need to start gathering the materials needed to execute on your promotions strategy, which is your strategy for attracting new customers. Virtual assistant businesses should consider the following promotional strategies for which you should start getting prepared:
- Create a website and social media profiles that promote your virtual assistant business and services.
- Start networking with other people in the virtual assistant industry, as well as potential clients.
- Produce marketing materials, such as a brochure, case studies and client testimonials.
- Conduct informational interviews with business owners and managers to learn about their needs.
- Develop a system for tracking your marketing efforts and results.
Read our article about how to market your virtual assistant business for more tips.
10. Get New Clients & Grow Your Business
When you promote your services, you’ll start to get interest from potential clients.
Make sure you’re ready to serve these clients. Also, be sure to establish systems to ensure consistency and reduce costs. And be sure to find and train the right people to help you grow your virtual assistant business.
Read our article about how to effectively grow your virtual assistant business to learn more.
Starting a Virtual Assistant Business FAQs
There are many reasons why you might want to start a virtual assistant business, including the following:
- You can be your own boss and control your own destiny.
- The barriers to entry are relatively low.
- You can choose your own clients and work hours.
- You can work from anywhere in the world.
To start a successful virtual assistant business, you need the following:
- The right mindset.
- A strong work ethic.
- Self-discipline and organization skills.
- The ability to market your services effectively.
- The ability to find and train the right people to help you grow your business.
Starting a virtual assistant business from home is relatively easy and can be done with little start-up capital. All you need is a computer, an internet connection, and some basic office equipment. You can also consider investing in accounting software and customer relationship management (CRM) software to help you manage your business.
Establish a workspace and home office in a quiet area where you can concentrate on work. Invest in a comfortable chair, a good desk, and any other office equipment you need to be productive. Make sure your internet connection is fast and reliable.
If you plan to grow your business, you may eventually need to hire employees or contractors to help with specific tasks. You can start by hiring a part-time assistant to help with administrative tasks such as scheduling appointments and managing your email. As your business grows, you can hire additional staff to help with marketing, accounting, customer service, and other tasks.
If you want to start a virtual assistant business online, the first step is to create a website and social media profiles. Be sure to include information about your services, rates, and contact information. You should also consider creating marketing materials such as a brochure or case studies.
Next, you need to start networking with other people in the virtual assistant industry, as well as potential clients. Attend webinars, join online forums, and join professional organizations. You can also conduct informational interviews with business owners and managers to learn about their needs.
Finally, you need to develop a system for tracking your marketing efforts and results. This will help you measure your success and make necessary adjustments to your marketing strategy.
Here are some tips for starting a virtual assistant business:
- Research the market. Be sure to understand the industry and what it takes to be successful.
- Create a business plan. This will help you map out your goals and strategies.
- Choose a niche. When you specialize in a certain area, you can become an expert and stand out from the competition.
- Invest in marketing. Be sure to develop a strong marketing strategy to reach your target market.
- Find the right people to help you grow your business. Hire employees or contractors who have the skills and experience you need.
- Stay organized and efficient. Use technology and systems to help you manage your business effectively.
- Focus on customer service. Provide your clients with the highest level of service possible.
- Keep learning and growing. Be sure to stay up-to-date on industry trends and developments.
- Have patience and persistence. Growing a successful business takes time, so don’t give up.
A simple checklist to use when starting a virtual assistant business is as follows:
- Choose Your Type of Virtual Assistant Firm: This should be based on what you are best at and how much experience you have. Remember to keep your interests, skills, and experience in mind at all times.
- Name Your Virtual Assistant Business: This should be done with care, as your brand is important for attracting the right customers. A simple, memorable name will go a long way.
- Choose a Legal Form for Your Business: Whether you choose to become a sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, corporation or another option will depend on your business. Ensure that you are aware of all the implications of each type.
- Determine Your Virtual Assistant Business Model: Determine how your business will make money. Will you sell products, services, or a combination of both?
- Write a Virtual Assistant Business Plan: Your business plan will also help you determine what your start-up costs will be and will provide a roadmap with which you can launch and grow.
- Apply for the Necessary Permits and Licenses: In most locations you will be required to apply for a business license and/or permits before you can begin operations.
- Determine Your Budget & Apply for Funding as Needed: You will need to know how much money you have to spend on all of your business-related expenses before opening any doors. If needed, apply for a small business loan or other funding options.
- Get the Technology & Software Needed to Run Your Business Efficiently: You need to have the right tools in place to succeed. Implement software that will help you manage your time, contacts, and business operations in general.
- Market Your Virtual Assistant Business to Potential Clients: A solid marketing plan will be crucial to your success. It should focus on attracting the right customers so that you can provide them with the services they truly need.
- Get Clients & Grow Your Business: Once you have a solid marketing plan, it's time to actively pursue and secure those who could benefit the most from your services.
Starting a virtual assistant business can be an exciting venture. Following these tips will help make the process easier. By planning out your goals and strategies, and investing in marketing, you can set yourself up for success. Hire the right people to help you grow your business and focus on providing top-notch customer service. Stay up-to-date on industry trends, and have patience as you work to build a successful virtual assistant business.