Published on July 21st, 2015 | by Ivan Widjaya0
Checklist for Launching Your Own Virtual Assistant Service Online
Launching your own virtual assisting service is a great way to put you in the driver’s seat of your career.
The sky’s the limit when it comes to acquiring clients and growing your business, since hiring VAs is much less expensive than taking on another office employee who comes complete with training expenses, salary, health/dental insurance, employment taxes, and termination costs when the employee doesn’t work out.
Chances are that you have a skill that someone really needs, or know how to find the people they need to get the job done. Either or both of these are all that you need to qualify for starting your own virtual assistant business; by offering your own services or by bringing assistants to those who need them.
Find a specialized niche to step into
If you’re planning to work as an assistant, you probably have an idea of the type of work you like to do and what you desire to specialize in. Starting a business where you’ll be continually expanding your staff makes niche selection much more difficult, because most of us want to be able to service any and all needs of our clients in order to maximize profits.
Instead, try to start small if you can. The expansion opportunities will happen naturally as you get and gain trust from your clients. Trust me, they’ll ask you to do little extras here and there, and soon enough writing clients will ask you to help them design logos and create web designs for their business. Same with phone support, making their travel arrangements, arrange and answering their emails, etc.
Pick a name
Yes, do this right away! Get inspired by what it will mean to put your brand out there for all the world to see. Choose a name that really represents your offer, rather than “Burt Sunday’s Virtual Assistants” or something similarly generic. You want your services to be identifiable to the industry or industries you plan to service.
Our brand name, 24/7 Virtual Assistant, clearly describes what people could expect us to offer, which is, as the name implies, virtual assistant services, available to you 24/7. Pretty neat, eh?
If you want to offer services to the medical field, call yourself “Medical Assistants for Hire” or get cute and catchy with the “Healthy Helpers”. Be creative. You only want to do this once. Re-branding a business after a name change can be just as hard as starting from the ground up.
Get the domain
Pretty simple, provided the domain for your company name hasn’t been taken yet. Head over to Namecheap or another registrar, register your domain, then get it set up with a hosting provider and get your site online. Use WordPress and get something up right away. Don’t worry if the site isn’t perfect, you just want to get it up to start to build authority with Google and other search engines
Join and participate in online forums and social networks related to your VA business.
There are so many forums out there. Look for those that appeal to the assistants you’ll hire and clients you’ll want to take on. Online marketing forums all have “for hire” sections on their sites for you to plug your services. These are great branding environments too, since customers can give your service their nod (or shoulder) after using your service, reducing the amount of external marketing required from you.
More specific forums will depend on what niche you work in but definitely sign up to forums that bring assistants together with employers, found easily with a Google Search. Sign up, learn the culture of the forum, then offer your services to prospective employers. These sites are great for creating brand awareness when you first launch, and for generating higher traffic numbers for your website.
Choose the right business structure
If you’re serious about the long term potential of your efforts, setting up a legal business structure from day one is important, for tax reasons and for your protection should something like an expensive lawsuit from a client or employee surface and threaten to destroy your business.
- If you’re planning to be the single employee of your company, a sole proprietorship is okay, but still leaves you vulnerable to higher personal state and federal taxes, and open to lawsuits should they happen.
- A C corp is a great place for all service business owners to start. It separates you from your business, it’s liabilities and tax requirements. If your business goes bankrupt, you don’t, and vice-versa.
- Later, if your business becomes highly profitable, you can consider registering your business as an LLC for even greater tax benefits and growth potential.
Get to Work!
Whether you’re going to be the sole team member or plan to run your own virtual assisting agency, it’s going to take some hard work and patience. The need for qualified remote assistants has never been greater than it is now. The longer you wait, the more competition will be there when you do finally get around to launching your business.