Become an Online Assistant From Home
If you are looking for a way to work from home or supplement your current income, you
may want to consider becoming a Virtual Assistant. A Virtual Assistant (VA) is a person
who handles office tasks for clients from their home instead of working in a traditional 9
to 5 office building. The income potential varies depending on the services offered a
client, but a VA can charge anywhere between $10 to $50 per hour, depending on their specialty.
Skills Required: Basic computer skills and office skills are good to have before
considering becoming a Virtual Assistant. If you have knowledge in a specialized field,
you may be able to fill a certain client's needs and charge more money. But, just about
every type of service is in demand online, including customer support, proof-reading and
book-keeping. As with any small business, you will have some start up costs to consider,
but they are minimal. The purchase of a good computer, printer, and desk are the only
items that you'll need.
Your Services: What are you good at? Deciding which talents you have will determine the
services that you will offer your clients. Are you a typing whiz? Do you like solving
customer problems over the phone? Can you make complicated travel arrangements seem easy?
Do you like to coordinate special events? Are you a good networker? Do you have a good eye
for design? Can you find your way through developing a web site? After you figure out
which services suit you, you will be able to develop a plan of action.
Put Together a Business Plan: Before taking the next step of starting a Virtual
Assistance business, we recommend that you write a business plan that includes an overview
of your business, mission statement, marketing and financial plan. There are many online
resources to help you put together your plan, decide which services to offer, etc.
Setting Up Your Home Office: Make sure you have a separate work area, free from
background noise, with adequate space to keep your client information secure and
organized. You'll eventually want to invest in a good desk, a separate telephone line with
answering machine, and a reliable computer and printer. As your business grows, you may
want to expand your office to include a scanner, copier and fax, depending on the type of
work you're doing for clients.
Software You'll Need: You'll also want to have all the software required to provide the
services you've decided to offer. If you're starting on a budget, at a minimum you need
the software required to do the job well. You can always upgrade or get new software as
warranted. Networking with other VAs is invaluable in finding out all the best resources
for software and support. Many expensive programs can be purchased at low cost or free --
or replaced with a free alternative, you'll find.
Marketing Yourself Professionally: Having professionally-made address labels, business
cards, and stationery is important to presenting yourself as a professional. You'll also
want a website or blog as a means to introducing yourself to the public and as a way to
maintain contact with your clients. Be sure your website includes a list of the services
you offer, your contact information, and, once you get established with a few clients,