Before you decide to start a virtual assistant business, you must first have a thorough understanding of what a virtual assistant does. You can then assess your own skills and experience, and get more training, if necessary. Start-up costs of the business, including equipment and advertising, should also be assessed.
A virtual assistant is someone who performs administrative tasks for individual professionals and businesses. Unlike a traditional job, these tasks are performed via the internet. Basically, a virtual assistance performs many of the same duties as a secretary.
Some of the tasks that a virtual assistant may provide include word processing and transcription. Virtual assistants may also research certain topics for their clients and create written reports. As a virtual assistant, you may also deal with a client's email and regular mail.
Before you get started, consider your skills and experience. Knowledge of computers and the Internet is usually necessary when looking to start a virtual assistant business. At the most basic level, you must know how to use word processors, spreadsheets, and email. Additional skills, like knowledge of bookkeeping, are also useful. Previous experience as a secretary or executive assistant is also very helpful, but it is not often a requirement.
Formal training is also not usually required when starting a virtual assistant business, but it can come in handy. There are several virtual assistant courses that you can take online. You may also want to look into business and computer courses at a local college.
As with any business, you will most likely have some out-of-pocket expenses for a new virtual assistant business. While you most likely already have a computer and printer, you may need to purchase additional or updated software. A fax machine, copier, and scanner are also pieces of equipment that you may want to consider purchasing.
Besides equipment and software costs, you should also consider the cost of office supplies. The cost of paper, envelopes, pens, and printer ink, among other things, can add up quickly. Professional-looking business cards and a website are also usually a necessity.
A work place is also a major consideration when it comes to a virtual assistant business. A home office would be ideal, but it is not absolutely necessary. You do need a quiet place to work, however, that is free from distractions. Other members of the household should understand that you are not to be disturbed during working hours. You may need to hire a sitter, especially if you have small children.
Finally, after everything is in place, you will need to advertise your business. You have a few options when advertising. First, you can use any number of the free advertising websites online, but you should remember that you get what you pay for. Paid advertising, like pay-per-click advertising, is usually a little more reliable.