How to become a Virtual Assistant
This insider’s guide has been created by a virtual assistant industry expert. Philippa Oakley has extensive experience as a VA in the United Kingdom and within this guide she will share her insider tips and secrets … expert tuition does not get better than this!
WHAT IS A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT?
Virtual Assistance is a growing industry. It is, in fact, one of the fastest growing industries today and unlike many other home-working jobs, it’s relatively easy to get into and fit around your life. But what is a Virtual Assistant and how do you make good money working from home?
Well, a Virtual Assistant, or as they are also known, a VA, is a self-employed individual who provides a variety of administrative, creative and specialist/technical support services to businesses, usually from their own home. This can be word processing, data entry, bookkeeping, research, blog post writing, managing social media, diary management or answering calls among a whole variety of other services. Or, if you prefer, according to VANetworking.com, “A Virtual Assistant is a highly-trained independent entrepreneur who provides a myriad of business support services virtually via phone, fax and internet based technology to support and meet the growing needs of businesses worldwide.”
Not surprisingly, 97% of Virtual Assistants are women (according to surveys by both VAnetworking.com and the Society of Virtual Assistants.co.uk). But it makes good career sense for both men and women who relish the opportunity to work from home, working the hours and days they choose and for clients that they like!
WHY DO CLIENTS WORK WITH VIRTUAL ASSISTANTS?
The VA has typically worked with busy professionals, entrepreneurs and small businesses that may not have the time or budget to employ in-house staff. However, as more and more businesses cut back on secretarial and support staff to save money, the VA is a much-needed complement to modern business life. Managers still need things typing, still need things organising and still need their diaries managed, but now they prefer to employ a VA to do these administrative tasks for them as and when they need them doing.
Clients can hire the services of a VA usually for as little or as much time as required, whether it is a small project, regular or ad-hoc support. Clients only pay for the time spent on their work, with no need to worry about paying Employer’s National Insurance or Tax, nor holiday pay, sick pay, maternity pay or pay into a pension’s fund.
This is cheaper but is also more efficient for your clients too. They only pay for jobs doing when they need them doing, rather than employing a member of staff full or part-time and paying for idle time. Plus when they hire a VA, businesses know they are getting an independent professional; someone they can trust to do their work and help successfully grow their business.
THE HOW TO BECOME A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT GUIDE CONTAINS:
- WHY DO CLIENTS WORK WITH VIRTUAL ASSISTANTS?
- WHY BECOME A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT?
- WHAT DO VIRTUAL ASSISTANTS DO?
- TYPES OF VIRTUAL ASSISTANT
- ESSENTIAL COMPETENCIES FOR A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT
- KEY SKILLS NEEDED BY A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT
- YOU DON’T NEED ANY QUALIFICATIONS TO BECOME A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT
- HOW TO GET THE SKILLS YOU NEED
- IS THE VIRTUAL ASSISTANT ROUTE RIGHT FOR YOU?
- WORK OUT YOUR MARKETABLE SKILLS
- WAIT, THINK AND DELETE SOME SKILLS
- DRAW UP YOUR LIST OF SERVICES
- OFFERING CALL ANSWERING SERVICES
- GENERALIST OR NICHE SERVICES
- HOW TO SET UP IN BUSINESS IN THE UK
- SOLE TRADER
- LIMITED COMPANY
- TO SET UP AS A SOLE TRADER
- WHAT’S IN A NAME?
- GETTING ADVICE ON SETTING UP YOUR BUSINESS
- HOW MUCH MONEY WILL YOU NEED TO INVEST?
- HOW MANY HOURS WILL YOU NEED TO PUT INTO YOUR BUSINESS?
- SETTING UP YOUR HOME OFFICE – WHERE?
- BASIC FURNITURE AND EQUIPMENT NEEDED
- COMPUTER HARDWARE AND PERIPHERALS
- SOFTWARE AND APPLICATIONS
- ESTABLISHING YOUR BUSINESS IDENTITY
- BRANDING YOUR BUSINESS
- ONLINE AND OFFLINE MARKETING STRATEGIES
- ONLINE MARKETING STRATEGIES
- OFFLINE MARKETING STRATEGIES
- HOW TO SET UP YOUR OWN WEBSITE
- GETTING TRAFFIC TO YOUR WEBSITE
- SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION
- SOCIAL MEDIA
- WHAT ARE THE QUALITIES OF AN IDEAL CLIENT?
- WHAT ARE THE QUALITIES YOU SEEK IN A CLIENT?
- SHOULD YOU JOIN A FREELANCING SITE TO FIND CLIENTS?
- RESPONDING TO A REQUEST FOR A PROPOSAL (RFP)
- DEALING WITH AN INITIAL CLIENT’S ENQUIRY
- GETTING NOTICED ABOVE OTHER VIRTUAL ASSISTANTS
- WHAT WILL MY EARNING POTENTIAL BE?
- SETTING COMPETITIVE RATES
- RETAINER PACKAGES AND HOW TO MAXIMISE YOUR INCOME
- HOW TO MAKE SURE YOU GET PAID IN FULL AND ON TIME
- WAYS OF GETTING PAID
- ACCOUNTS SOFTWARE
- TIME-TRACKER SOFTWARE PROS AND CONS
- INVOICING – THE BASICS
- WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT ACCOUNTS, TAX AND NATIONAL INSURANCE
- THE IMPORTANCE OF NETWORKING
- HOW NETWORKING ACTUALLY WORKS
- BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS FOR REFERRALS
- NETWORKING LIKE A PRO – PROFESSIONAL ORGANISATIONS
- YOU SHOULD THINK ABOUT JOINING
- TERMS AND CONDITIONS AND CONTRACTS
- YOU ARE NOT AN EMPLOYEE
- BUILDING A GREAT CLIENT RELATIONSHIP
- SO HOW DO YOU GET FEEDBACK
- TESTIMONIALS, RELEVANCE AND THEIR IMPORTANCE
- TIME MANAGEMENT
- ONGOING MARKETING
- ONGOING TRAINING
- ACCOUNTS AND BILLING AND ADMIN
- INSURANCE, TAX AND IR35
- TAKING TIME FOR YOU
- WHAT ABOUT HOLIDAYS?
- COULD YOU USE ADDITIONAL SUPPORT?
- MARKETABLE SKILLS MATRIX
- SKILLS/SERVICES MATRIX
- FINDING YOUR CLIENT SHEET
- SAMPLE BOOKING FORM
- SAMPLE TERMS AND CONDITIONS SHEET
- SAMPLE CONTRACT
- SAMPLE FEEDBACK FORM
- USEFUL CONTACTS AND LINKS