Some people see becoming a virtual assistant as a get-rich-quick business. If you talk to any successful VA, you will find out this is just not true. They are successful because they have put the time and energy into their business.
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Building a Successful Virtual Assistant Business

In "Field of Dreams" the Kevin Costner character is told to "build it and they will come". He worked and worked to build his field of dreams. If you have seen the movie, you know that he was ridiculed and there was a lot of work to do to turn that field of corn into a baseball diamond. But it was all worth it in the end.

What are you willing to go through to see your business become successful? How much work are you willing to do? Some people see becoming a virtual assistant as a get-rich-quick business. If you talk to any successful VA, you will find out this is just not true. They are successful because they have put the time and energy into their business.

I am not trying to discourage anyone from becoming a virtual assistant. I just want people to go into this field with their eyes wide open. Here are a few things to consider before you decide to take the plunge into the virtual assistant industry:

1. Definition: What is a virtual assistant? I like the Wikipedia definition: A Virtual Assistant (or simply VA), is an independent contractor providing administrative, technical, or sometimes creative assistance to clients - usually to other independent entrepreneurs and solo and small business practices, such as that of a lawyer or realtor. Virtual assistants work from their own office (hence "virtual"). Common modes of communication and data delivery include the Internet, File Transfer Protocol (FTP), and fax machine.

2. Experience: How much experience do you have in the non-virtual world in the area of expertise you are going to market? Some organizations believe you should have at least 5 years experience before you start your virtual assistant business. If you have the experience and skills then go for it. If not, why not wait another year or two before stepping out on your own.

3. Training: Virtual assistant training does not train you how to use a computer, build a website, or send an email. It does train you to run your own business, create a business plan, and how to market yourself and your VA business. There are a lot of training options available. Make sure you are comfortable with the format of the training as well as the content. Don't purchase anything you won't be able to learn from.

4. Web Presence: This used to mean that you would have a website, but now it means so much more. Having a web presence now means to have a website, a blog, at least three networking page memberships (like MySpace), and membership in various forums and groups. You have to get yourself out there in cyberspace as much as possible.

5. Marketing: Marketing your business can take many forms. You can do it through your local Chamber of Commerce, newspaper ads, and other traditional methods. Your web presence is basically marketing. You can spend hours keeping up with marketing. Writing articles, press releases, and commenting on forums are great ways to get your business into the minds of prospective customers. Networking is another effective method of marketing. This can be done online or in person, but you have to keep up with it. Experts say your prospective clients need to see your information seven times before it registers.

I hope you haven't been put off becoming a virtual assistant. I just wanted you to be aware that it is a lot of work. Not only do you have to complete your client work, but you will have a tonne of stuff to do to keep your business running. If you let either fall behind, you will have no business at all.

Build your "field of dreams" but remember how much work it will take to build.


Darrell A. Willliams is the owner of Right-Hand-Man Virtual Assistant Services - a Multi-VA team practice. Darrell has over 8 years experience in the administrative support field. He has worked in Canada, the US, and the UK. For more information visit Right-Hand-Man Virtual Assistant Services or contact us at contact@righthandmanva.com.

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