Becoming a Virtual Assistant is a great way to generate income as you work-from-home. If you decide to pursue being an entrepreneur instead of an employee, this article is for you.
We will cover…
- Identifying The Problem(s)
- Identifying Your Audience
- Designing Solutions
- Establishing Pricing
- Creating Strategies and Systems
- Testing the Solution(s)
- Launching Your Business
Being a business owner may seem empowering or overwhelming. Either way, if you are determined to be successful, may I suggest that you STOP! Do not make any sudden changes to your current sources of income. Take some time to nurture your business idea before launching your vision. Get to know the vision like you would a significant other. You want to make sure the vision is clear so you can run with it. Below are steps based on personal experience and totally the opinions of the author who is not a lawyer, marketing expert nor tax professional.
The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.Proverbs 21:5
1. IDENTIFYING THE PROBLEM(S)
Every business must have a problem that it solves. For Virtual Assistants, some have a set of skills, knowledge, and experience beneficial for specific industries or fields (i.e., Medical Assistants, Real Estate Assistants, etc.) or very broad and general skills, knowledge, and experience. To avoid burnout and lack of interest, identify what social issue or industry issue you would like to help someone solve. Besides, your business being profitable, you want to be impactful (which should result in prosperity).
2. IDENTIFYING YOUR AUDIENCE
Once you have identified the problem you want to solve. Find your target audience of individuals who are leading the change you want to see. You can look in your community or other media streams to locate these individuals. Then, build a customer persona. A customer persona is a very descriptive depiction of your ideal target audience (e.g., gender, location, ethnicity, culture, occupation, common interests, education level, marital status, and household size). Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn are for finding thought leaders who lead social issues you are passionate about or lead businesses in your industry of choice. For business information, your local library may provide free online business resources such as Mergent Intellect and Reference Solutions. These reference tools help you locate specific information about their companies (e.g. founded date, revenue, company size, executive team members, industry classifications / codes, average expenditure costs, profiles of competitors, etc.).
3. DESIGNING THE SOLUTIONS
Designing your solution should result in how you can assist the target audience in expediting his/her efforts to acheive a common goal/interest. Below are some steps to find your solutions.
- Creating a Survey. Send a one-question survey: What business related tasks are slowing down your efforts? to at least 100 local thought / industry leaders who fit your persona with a deadline.
- Create a List of Services. Use the results from the survey to create your solutions (services) to the target audience’s problem(s).
- Create a Survey: Again, reach out to your target audience and ask one-question, Which services would you purchase for your business? Hopefully, their responses will validate the need for your services and identify the most needed service(s).
Awesome! Once you receive the voice of your potential customer. PLEASE THANK YOUR INTERVIEWEES by offering some recognition or coupon.
4. ESTABLISHING PRICING
Now, you can focus on pricing your services to successfully operate your Virtual Assistant business.
- Identify costs to perform services (business expenditures such as software, office space, website, business registration/renewal fee, hardware, domain registration, email branding, invoicing system, business insurance, etc.).
- Price your services based on business expenditures, cost of living, taxes, and markup for business savings. As a new Virtual Assistant, you may have to start with calculating an hourly rate until you track and log time spent completing specific tasks. Then, you can update packages.
5. CREATING STRATEGIES AND SYSTEMS
Finally, you can add prices to your services and create an aesthetically pleasing services sheet for advertisement. Also, you may want to create a coupon to entice people to purchase your services. Then, you can setup free software applications to test your online business.
- Temporary Email Account
- Temporary Invoicing Template (template coming soon)
- Temporary Payment System (cash app, PayPal, Vimeo, etc.)
- Time Tracking System
- Drafted Onboarding Checklist (template coming soon)
Return to your interviewees (prospects) and provide them with your advertisement and coupon for their help. Hopefully, they will purchase your services. If a week goes by and no one purchases your services, then ask, May I know if you receive my advertisement? To improve my marketing strategy, may I know why you did not purchase the services? The results may be lack of money or fear of delegating to someone else. Refine your efforts by having a few informative rebuttals to educate the prospect on the benefits of hiring you and your services or refine your target audience, then, try again.
6. TESTING THE SOLUTIONS
After you receive clients, please make sure to track your time for each task because you will eventually offer packages per month not per hour. Also, clients like itemized time sheets to see how their money is being spent. Once you generate enough revenue to be classified as an independent contractor by the IRS, you are ready to launch.
7. LAUNCHING YOUR BUSINESS
Congratulations! You are meeting a need to achieve the change you want to see. Your clientele and revenue are increasing. Hopefully, you haven’t quit your job because this is the time to register your business and purchase website domain, business insurance, high-quality website, comprehensive invoicing system (intuit, etc.), sales copies, and Onboarding and Welcome Packet (includes a service agreement, policies, procedures, and welcome letter). To complete these tasks, you should seek professional assistance from a Business Accounts Banking Representative, Business Accountant, Business Attorney, Marketing Strategist, and Business Insurance Agent.
Hopefully, these steps have helped you clearly identify how to start a Virtual Assistant business.
If you have any questions, feel free to comment below.