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Start your VA business with my top tips!

So you want to get out of the hustle and bustle of corporate life? You want to be available to your family more and do work you love on your terms? Sounds pretty great right? Well it is and it is easier than you think (but you still have to be dedicated and put the effort in)

If you have thought about starting your new business as a Virtual Assistant but are unsure where to start here are my top 7 tips to get you started.

1. Do your research Before you get started setting up your own virtual assistant business, make sure you understand what’s involved so you can land on your feet.

The first step is deciding if you’re going to work full-time or part-time (this may vary depending on the jobs you accept). You’ll also want to find out what kinds of businesses are hiring VAs. Would you prefer to work for a local business, or will any small business do? Would you like to conduct all your work through an online platform? Research the pros and cons of each.

Look up job ads for virtual assistants to get an idea of what work is available. Then you can think about what kind of work you’d like to focus on.

2. Assess your skill set and match it to the type of work you want Usually, virtual assistants are hired to support businesses through administrative tasks. For this reason, completing a qualification in Business Administration is a great idea! A Certificate or Diploma in Business Administration will equip you with all the necessary skills required to assist a business. You’ll learn skills such as:

  • How to write complex work documents

  • Spreadsheet creation and completion

  • How to coordinate business resources

  • How to organise business activities (calendar management)

  • How to process Payroll and other financial activity

  • Excellent communication skills

  • Social media management

You may, however, find that you’re more suited to a niche that fits your expertise, or specific tasks you excel at. For instance, if you’re an experienced social media manager, you may offer services such as managing social media accounts. If you have a writing background, you may opt to specialise in copywriting, and creating blog posts on WordPress.

If you want to specialise in a service, (e.g. search engine optimisation (SEO) or social media presence), completing a nationally recognised qualification for these skills will help build your business legitimacy.

A good idea is to pick 2-3 main services to offer. You can always change these later on, depending on what your clients want.

3. Set up your home office Virtual Assistants usually work from the comfort of their own home; however, there are factors to consider when setting up a home office.

When you work in an office, your home life and work-life tend to stay separate, keeping your home (hopefully) work-stress free.

When you work from home, the two worlds collide. Whether being a VA is a side hustle or your primary source of income, you must set up a functional space for your online business.

My tips include:

  • If possible, set up your office in a separate room to anyone or anything else – make it your workspace

  • Choose a comfortable, supportive desk chair

  • If you’re going to be working from a laptop, consider a laptop stand to help minimise neck strain

  • Ensure you have a good internet connection

4. Set up your business finances & ABN As a VA, you’ll most likely be a sole trading freelancer who offers their services for an hourly fee to viable businesses. Before you start working as a new virtual assistant, you need to organise the details of your own VA business. Details such as:

  • Registering for an Australian Business Number (ABN) from the Australian government

  • Setting up an Invoice system (either through a program such as Xero or MYOB , or independently). I use an online program called Rounded, it is just fantastic and perfect for a VA (very affordable too)

  • Setting up a business bank account in to which clients can deposit your pay

An ABN is an Australian Business Number that you need to register for when you decide to work as a sole trader. This number is unique to your business, and it’s free to register via the Australian government website!

5. Create a price structure & contracts While charging a set hourly fee is common, many VAs also work on a flat-fee per-project basis, or on a retainer. There are pros and cons to each approach. Hourly fees can be good if the work is sporadic. Flat fees save you stressing over time taken to complete a project, or constantly having to track your time.

As a sole trader, you have control over how much you earn per hour. You can pick any price you want — but clients have to be willing to pay you that much, or else you won’t get paid at all.

You’ll have a sweet spot, and it may take some experimenting to find it. The average VA in Australia is paid $35/hr, but your rate may end up being higher than this if you