A few years ago, the term virtual assistant was only known to few. Those who paid thousands of dollars for certification and training were the ones who knew what virtual assistants do. Today, so long as you have the right skills for the right service, you can run your own home-based business for virtual assistant services.
“Virtual assistants are independent entrepreneurs who work remotely and use technology to deliver services to clients globally. Most work from their home offices and receive their project instructions by phone, fax, e-mail or even instant message. Although many virtual assistants offer secretarial services, as more people with diverse backgrounds and skills enter the ranks, virtual assistants who specialize in such areas as marketing, graphic and Web design, IT support or even translations are becoming more common” discloses Carolyn Moncel, a consultant and president of Mondave Communications a global PR firm.
So how do you start your work-at-home virtual assistance business? Here are some pointers for you.
Two basic tips to start a VA business:
1. Assess you skills. To determine if you have the skills to jumpstart your virtual assistance services at home, ask these questions:
- Are you good at helping people remember important dates?
- Do you do web designing?
- Can you create databases?
- Can you take and return messages?
- Can you create e-mail promotions?
- Can you write press releases and/or articles?
- Do you know how to do transcription?
- Do you have the skill to plan events?
- Can you answer letters and e-mails?
If you can answer “Yes” to any of the above questions, then, there is something in store for you in the virtual assistance arena. But remember that to succeed as a virtual assistant, you need to sharpen your skills.
“Whether you are currently employed as an in office administrative assistant, or whether you are beginning an entirely new career as a virtual administrative assistant, it is important to polish your skills.” – from a WHAM article “How to Become a Virtual Assistant.” (Read full article.)
2. Find clients. You need to market your own virtual assistance business, and this is an important part of getting started. From creating an account or posting your resume on sites like oDesk.com to writing contents for sites like eHow, you can find clients by starting your website.
“Your own presence on the web is crucial. It gives you a more professional appearance, the chance to highlight some of your skills and an opportunity to explain your process”, says Amylynn Andrews. (Read her article here.)
You can also take advantage of social networking. Social sites like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube offer a wide array of forums where you can attract business professionals with similar interests. You can create social groups that will connect you with other virtual assistants and business professionals who may tap you for your skills.
“Tsh at Simple Mom calls this ‘organic’ and I couldn’t agree more. Relationships are key. Being involved in social media is one of the best way to find clients and vice versa (at least until you are established and can rely on word of mouth),” shares Andrews.
You do not need to get a post-graduate degree to start your own business venture as a home-based virtual assistant. Just remember that so long as you have the passion and the skills for the job, you are ready to start-up your own business right in the convenience of your own home. And by the way, don’t forget your basic equipment like computer and a good Internet connection.