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Five Steps to Becoming a Virtual Assistant

So you've decided you want to start working at home and starting your own business. Now, you've heard about being a virtual assistant and thought "I could do that!" Now what?

Here are five steps that I went through in becoming a virtual assistant. These aren't official by any means, rather a little road map to help you get started.

1. Begin bidding on freelance projects. There are many sites online that allow employers to post freelance projects they need completed. You are then able to bid on those projects. Some sites offer this service free to those bidding and others charge a nominal fee. A few of my favorite sites are Elance and Guru.com.

Your best bet is to bid on as many projects as you feel you are qualified to complete. This is an important step because it will allow you to see what it's like to work on a project to project basis. It can also give you a clearer idea of what people are really looking for freelancers to work on and what services you might want to offer.

2. Once you start looking around the freelance sites and are getting an idea of what services you want to perform, you need to take an inventory of your work space. Your home office must have everything a typical administrative assistant's desk would. You also need to make sure that you have a work area that is separate from all distractions. Just because you're working at home doesn't mean that you aren't working just as hard, in fact you'll be working twice as hard for awhile.

3. At this point, the best thing you can do for yourself is spend as much time as possible exploring other virtual assistants' sites. This will allow you to see what you like and don't like on their sites. You'll also get a much better idea of what services you'd like to offer and what prices you can reasonably charge for your time. Note, I'm not advocating copying, stealing or plagiarizing in any manner, just look around a lot to see what you're getting yourself into.

4. You'll notice when you're looking around all of these virtual assistant sites that many of these professionals have different certifications and belong to all sorts of different organizations. I would recommend looking into all of them that you run across. It's really your decision on which ones you'd like to join or whether you want to spend the money on those at all. However, many of these organizations will help you with site development, marketing and promotion. Plus, some potential clients will be more comfortable working with you simply because you have their seal on your site.

5. Now, you're ready to start getting to work on your website. You've got to be realistic with this. It is essential that your website look very professional and express your mission and services in a very straightforward manner. If you have web design experience and feel confident in your abilities, then by all means get to work on your site.

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