How to become a Virtual Assistant

People are always contacting me to ask how I became a Virtual Assistant and to ask if I can give them tips and advice. Apparently I have a very good business model and they like my website and blog.

Aside from being enormously flattered, I first decided to save time by writing down how you become a VA – which is the blog post below, then I decided to set up a whole website dedicated to showing people exactly how to set up and run a successful VA business

Because I like to help and I don’t do things by halves!

How To Become A Virtual Assistant

Research 

When I first started out, I called up a VA I liked the sound of. She lived in Yorkshire so I wasn’t a competitor and she let me pick her brains to find out what mistakes she had made and what she might do differently should she have to do it all over again.

I reeled through a long list of questions I’d prepared and her answers were actually quite surprising and gave me a lot to think about.  I also looked at a lot of VA websites and amended their T&C’s to fit in with my own requirements. No point inventing the wheel if someone has a brilliant wheel!

Specialise

Whatever industry you’re in, it’s always best to have a niche. Work out what you’re good at, what you like doing, and what people need – because what you think they’ll need never turns out to be what you end up doing!

Look at your career history or interests and target people in that area. It might be a specific industry that’s your niche, the type of work or the types of people themselves. Basically, if you have a niche then you become the go-to person in that area and you’ll get more suitable enquiries.

Get a good website and business card

Do not scrimp on the website. It has to outline what you do, be SEO friendly (read up!) simple to read, and easy to navigate. Although easier said than done, your website is your shop window and you will be judged by it. My website gets a lot of positive comments because it’s clean, simple and to the point.

Personally I would never use a free business card either but whoever you use make sure it says what you do and how to get in contact. This may seem obvious but you would be surprised!

Network like crazy

When I called the VA way back when I started, I asked her if she would do anything differently if she had to start again. She told me that with hindsight she wouldn’t have printed any flyers but would have done more networking instead.

Work out how to explain to people what you do when networking – the penny usually drops once you explain the exact kinds of tasks you do for people. Networking gets easier with time and always keep in mind that people do business with people they like.

Always target your networking though. If you were a fisherman trying to catch salmon then you’d fish where the salmon hung out not where the bass socialised!

Saying that, I now don’t do any networking any more because I use a method that works so well that I don’t need to.

Social Media

I often get work through Social Media and it also helps with my SEO and visibility.  I mainly use Twitter and collate useful Twitter fodder in my Feedly RSS Reader which I schedule through Buffer to go out on my feed over the next couple of days. I’m then freed up to just go online when I have the time to chat and build relationships. I’ve been told I share useful information which demonstrates that I know what I’m doing.

Once you start chatting to people online then try and meet them in person. People do business with people and they will not recommend someone they’ve never met. If Social Media is not your thing then don’t do it as it’s better to not do it at all than to do it badly!

Blog

You don’t have to blog but it does drive traffic to your website. I like to write case studies so potential new clients can see what I do and how-to articles which demonstrate my knowledge. If you use Social Media then remember to post links to your own blog or website but don’t make it all about you.

Adwords

I have tried Adwords with much success. It works better at certain times of the year but it was a marketing method that I tried and which paid off. The Google Adwords folk are very helpful and it’s worth getting them to assist you with the set up. You can even call them which is quite rare for Google! Be very specific about what you’re offering to whom though.

Share and collaborate

I’ve found that knowing all the other VA’s in the area has been really beneficial to my business. We exchange resources, pass on work and support each other. I also listen in on the Virtual Assistant LinkedIn groups to see what apps they use and how they overcome problems.

When I was deliberating over which Time Tracker to choose, I listed all the ones they mentioned on the LinkedIn group discussion and tried them all out until I found one I liked. They are also a great community who are always happy to help other VA’s.

Keep learning

I spend half a day (sometimes more) keeping on top of new developments. I created a Slideshare presentation and learned how to make screencasts which I posted to YouTube.  If you keep your skills up to date and keep learning new things then you will have a more varied and valuable skill set. You’ll  also be demonstrating that you know how to do something.

USEFUL RESOURCES

Google – How anyone can be a VA without using Google products is beyond me. Gmail, Calendar, Chrome, Docs, Rapportive, Boomerang – try them all out and know how they work. Your life will be so much easier!

Time Tracker software – Before I went back to events where I get paid by the projects, I used Toggl tracking software. It’s free and an easy way to record what work you do for which client. There are other systems which incorporate invoicing as well, but I find this one does the job simply and without any fuss.

Mozy backup – Make sure you don’t lose anything by backing up regularly. Whatever you use make sure it’s reliable.  Mozy is free and in the cloud. I’ve had external hard drives break so online suits me better. Remember that you can also upload documents to Google docs, Dropbox or even email them to yourself and use your email storage. Just don’t lose client info!

LastPass – Another free one. This is a secure online system that lets you keep passwords safe. When you have a lot of clients, you’ll never remember all their passwords and this way you don’t have to.

Invoiceable – Whatever system you use, make sure it’s professional. I pay £3.80 per month to have the adverts removed but otherwise it’s free. I like this one in particular because it’s simple and really aesthetically pleasing!

Skype – It’s very hard to be a VA if you don’t have Skype as you can chat to clients and send over documents for free. I actually pay a small amount per quarter which gives me unlimited calls to UK landlines which is very handy when making calls for clients.

Dropbox – Another great way to collaborate remotely. A lot of clients will use this so you should know how it works. Use this link and we both get 500 MB of extra space!

Snagit – This is an application that lets you take screen shots then write and draw on them, as well as record your screen to demonstrate how to do something. They have free and paid versions. I pay $20 per year and used it recently for this video which I recorded in one take! I often use this feature to show a client how to use aspects of their Gmail account for example.

I know it must sound like you have to be Wonder Woman to be a VA and that’s because you do. You’re Administrator, Researcher, Book-keeper, Marketing Expert, Web Designer, Copywriter, and a billion other things – and this is before you even do a single stroke of work for your clients!

So if you still want to be a Virtual Assistant then hopefully you now have a better understanding of what you need to do to succeed. It’s a very rewarding job – but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t also very, very hard work!

Click here to find out what tools you need (and don’t need) to set up a VA business.


*Because I think there’s too much old fashioned, dry, and boring information presented on ugly and badly-written websites, I set up my own site for new and wannabe VAs.

Over at The VA Handbook I explain every process of getting started including choosing a niche, what to charge, how to invoice, how to get clients and everything else in between. 

About Joanne Munro

Virtual Assistant | Anti-Chaos Technician | Star Trek Nerd
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69 Responses to How to become a Virtual Assistant

  1. Merna says:

    Thank you Joanne, for all this useful information. Now I know where to start…and what to use. Appreciate your thoughtfulness with providing this content.

  2. Eddi says:

    Thank you so much!!! I want to become a VA myself and thanks to you I have a clear plan how to achieve it 🙂

  3. Andi says:

    Many thanks for all the information. You have given me the tools I need to begin.

  4. Andi says:

    Many thanks for all the information.

  5. Anita says:

    Great information!
    I’m thinking of becoming a VA as my husband’s job has us moving regularly and I am tired of applying for jobs every time we move.
    Do you not recommend joining a VA agency?

    • Joanne Munro says:

      Hi Anita, I’ve never met a VA who has ever gotten any work from an agency – in fact I don’t really know of any agencies! I guess you’d just be a secretary at a temp agency instead of a freelancer able to pick your clients, tasks, hours, and rates. I know which one I’d prefer! I sometimes pass on work to other VA’s and vice versa, but it does take a while to build up a rapport and a business in general.

      I don’t have any local clients and just approach my ideal client to say how I think I can help them. I can (and have) worked from Vegas, France, and Italy so my advice is to go for it. Don’t follow the herd, believe in your abilities, learn as much about everything as you can, and give it a whirl!

  6. Sharron says:

    Thank you so much Joanne, your site is fantastic and full of brilliant information. I woke up today and decided that this is the day that I am going to start becoming a virtual PA – and your site has been a godsend!

  7. Deb Cheetham says:

    Hi Joanne

    Thank you so much for this valuable information. I am in the process of setting up my own VA business having been made redundant. Would you recommend using an organisation such as http://www.vasuccessgroup.co.uk or just go it alone?

    Also, do you use Google Docs/Mail to manage your clients emails, diaries etc?

    Kind regards

    Deb Cheetham
    http://www.onlineexecutivepa.co.uk

    • Joanne Munro says:

      Hi Deb, I’ve seen their website before and, whilst they seem to be offering some free advice, I don’t think you need to go on a course to learn how to be a VA. You’re just a freelance PA and you should already know how to do the job you’re offering or you wouldn’t be considering doing it. Apart from the services you’re offering (which you already know how to do) you’re just becoming a Freelancer and there are a load of websites that offer great free advice such as Freelance Folder, Freelance Switch, and Freelance Advisor.

      All VAs are different so I recommend you keep up to date with your industry and the sector of people you will have as clients. Brighton in particular has a huge freelance population who have lots of events and groups so they can help each other and try to make friends with other VAs (in person) as we often pass work to one another. I HAVE to know a VA personally to give her work though; I get emails all the time from VAs asking if I have any ‘spare work’ but I’d never recommend or outsource to anyone I didn’t know personally – that would be mad!

      And yes, I couldn’t do my job without Google Drive (was called docs) and Gmail and Google calendars. Outlook is a dinosaur and I’ve never worked with it. I kind of specialise in Google stuff actually but I don’t do any email management tasks for clients any more as it’s bitty work and I don’t enjoy it. I specialise in doing more techie or social media projects for modern business women who know their way around the Internet. I have worked with less tech-savvy clients but I’m better suited to help ones who already know a lot of tech-info and need a VA who does too.

      Good luck! x

  8. Alison Serrell-Cooke says:

    Deb,

    I currently work as a PA but receive work through a PA service. I plan to try to get clients myself but dont know how much to charge. Can you help?

    • Joanne Munro says:

      Hi Alison, it depends on what services you’re offering for what types of people. You could charge by the hour or by the project depending on what you’re doing. Remember to include your time for travel & reading emails etc – and remember that there’s so many hours in the day so if you charge by the hour then you’ll never earn more than that!

      You can read my rates on my website but I know another VA who specialises in really techie stuff (web tech wonder woman) who charges way more than I do as she offers a specialised service. Also, if you’re cheap then people will think you’re not worth it! x

  9. Claire Bourke says:

    WOW thank you so much for sharing your knowledge, I have just stumbled across you whilst googling VAs. Im sadly just about to be made redundant from my job, and now looking at alternatives to work around my other job of being a mum to two small children.

    I have just recently moved to a house that has a beautiful summer house in the garden so we are in the process of converting it to an office.

    I have spent the last few days researching VAs and what i need to do and where to start. so thank you for sharing. I have been in Travel for 15yrs so feel this will be may niche as you say.

    I shall be revisiting you often over the coming months incase you remember anything else thats useful.

    Many thanks
    Claire

  10. Brin says:

    Hi Joanne, thanks for the information you posted. I’ve been told by colleagues that this is something I would be great at as I am an excel whizz and always putting together documents that automate the manual tasks. I really enjoy this and pick things up quite quickly so would love to be able to help businesses or individuals that aren’t able to set these up. I do have a full time job though- in your experience is it possible to do this as a second profession? And if so do you have any pointers to help this work?

    Many thanks,

    • Joanne Munro says:

      Hi Brinda, starting up in your spare time is a great idea – it just depends how much spare time you actually have!. As long as you get work then it doesn’t matter if you set it up as an ‘official’ business with a website and cards for example. I have a friend who types up Doctor’s notes; she started doing it for her sister, word got around, and now she has a nice little sideline but didn’t need to set up a whole business. She fits it around her 2 small children and doesn’t really even consider herself a Virtual Assistant even though that’s what she’s doing.

      I set up my business in my spare time but then I did have to take the jump at some point as I wanted to make it my full time line of work. If you get a lot of work you could perhaps do both part time.

      I’m in the process of setting up a new website aimed at providing free useful info to new and wannabe VA’s so they can see what to do. I get a lot of people asking for advice as I think I have a different approach to being a VA so hopefully they’ll find the website valuable. There are still so many poorly-written, ugly, dry websites out there that I know I can do better! I’ll be sure to let you know when it’s up and running as I’ve had to shelve it due to other work commitments at the moment.

  11. Rachel says:

    Hi Joanne,

    Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and expertise. It is very helpful and particularly generous. More business should be operate in this manner.

    I have been a professional temp for a number of years and am looking for more control over my time. You have inspired me that moving to Freelance is a viable option for my lifestyle and skills.

    I hope you don’t mind but I might return and pick your brains in the future.

    Once again many thanks, you have made a significant impact on me.

    Kind regards

    Rachel.

    • Joanne Munro says:

      Hi Rachel, that is great to hear! being a freelancer is really hard work but extremely rewarding. You’re in charge of your own future and, as long as you get the clients and the work done, then you can pretty much set your own hours. Feel free to return to pick my brains and I’ll let you know when my new ‘how to become a VA website goes live’. x

  12. Jacqui says:

    Hi Joanne.

    Thank you for sharing this information and in so much detail. I am hoping to be made redundant in the next few months, but if not, would like to get some part-time (evening work) before sacking my boss!

    Please could I ask what hardware/software you use, ie Apple or Windows-based and do you have a laptop or desktop? Also, I would be interested to receive any recommendations on printers etc.

    Thank you

    Jacqui

    • Joanne Munro says:

      Hi Jacqui, my pleasure – I’m glad you found the info so useful. I use a Windows-based PC laptop (Acer Aspire), I’ve found that you don’t need any fancy equipment to get going. Both this laptop and my old one were both under £400 and just do the job. I just connect to the printer I have (Advent that was given to me) but any printer is fine – look at the price of the ink when you buy a printer though as the ink for some of the cheap ones is extortionate. These are the products and apps that I use:

      Chrome browser
      Gmail (I love Google products)
      Wisestamp email signatures for different email accounts (paid version)
      Dropbox & Google Drive (free)
      Acer Aspire laptop
      Samsung Galaxy S3 (Android)
      Invoiceable free online invoice system (for regular clients – it’s brilliant)
      A Word doc invoice for one-off clients (free template on my website)
      Office 2013 (I was using 2010 but any will do)
      Mozy online backup (paid version)
      LastPass password storer (free)
      Toggl time tracker (free)
      Buffer for scheduling tweets & Feedly for procuring content to read & tweet (both free)
      Skype (free)
      CamScanner free phone scanner app (for scanning client’s post etc)

      Good luck on being made redundant! x

  13. Jacqui says:

    Thank you very much for the tips.

    I would also be very interested to know when your website with tips and ideas for newbies is up and running.

    Good luck!

    Jacqui

  14. Jo says:

    Hi, loving the hints and tips! Silly question but do you need to set up at Companies House to be a VA and what do you do about national insurance and tax?
    Thanks

  15. Sol says:

    Thank you so much for this great website and wonderful advice! I am in the process to become a virtual PA and I have to admit it can be difficult to know where to begin. Your page just gave me the kick I needed. 🙂 It is now in my favorites!

    I will for the moment keep working full time and do the Virtual PA business outside work but I hope I will be able to soon leave my job and live from my business.

  16. Jacqui says:

    Like most of us commented above, your information is invaluable. I made a mistake 3 years ago and went straight in – got completely carried away, created a company, ordered business cards without doing any research or networking. It was a massive disaster. But now thanks to you, I have more tools and knowledge to start again. I will save your website to refer too going forward. Many many thanks.

  17. Harriet Nelson says:

    Please let me know when your ‘how to’ website goes live!
    Great tips x

  18. Susie Roberts says:

    Please let me know when your website goes live, would love to take a look.

  19. Caz says:

    Joanne
    Thank you for imparting your well earned knowledge. I’ve been very keen on the VA business for about a year now but have to take the plunge. Once again I find myself googling about becoming a VA or setting up a home business. However, it seems I tend to over analyse things, take on too much information, then crash and burn before I even attempt to begin. Are you able to advise somehow where you think I’m going wrong?

    • Joanne Munro says:

      You’re welcome. I’ve just written and sent you a personal email. x

      • Caz says:

        Thank you so much. I have received the email. Very much appreciated.
        Looking forward to when your website goes live.

        Again, thank you so much. I wish you all the very best in all you do – although you’re a hard worker so your rewards will be all the more satisfying.

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  21. Dawn McIntosh says:

    Thanks so much for all the information, for years I’ve been a problem solver for everyone, sorting spread sheets, customer service, booking travel ,dealing with all sorts of customers on phone and on line , e invoicing, credit control etc. all for other family members and their businesses – now with your info I think I could put all my experience to good use and do it for other people but maybe get paid for it!! That would be a nice change! Again thanks so much for positive outlook and can do attitude. x

  22. Amanda Villis says:

    Thanks so much for all the helpful information. I like many have been helping others for many years do their books, book travel, arrange hotels, credit control, invoicing the lot. I’m also a dab hand at online shopping – finding unusual gifts etc I also worked in travel for many years. I was trying to think of something I could do working from home as I have a 9 month old and 4 older children, when i came across your page. Would you advise offering lots of different services or narrow it down to a few specific areas?
    I look forward to your new site going live.

    Best regards

    Amanda x

    • Joanne Munro says:

      Hi Amanda, I have a whole article on services when the site goes live but I recommend having a niche. I would suggest offering services that you like to do and that you’re good at – you want to be the ‘go-to’ person rather than a generic VA in a sea of other VA’s. I started off offering what I though people would want then tailoring it as I went along based on what work paid well, what people asked for, and (most importantly) what I liked doing. There’s no point working for yourself if you don’t like what you’re doing each day!

      Over time, I discovered that I loved Social Media so taught myself everything I could – I then started being asked for, and offering it as, a service. I also discovered that I much preferred projects rather than ongoing client work which also made a difference to my services list. Last month I decided that I was going to mainly focus on my CV-Writing business and specialise in event support for my VA business. I already had 2 big ongoing event clients and knew I wouldn’t ever be able to get the new website off the ground if I didn’t free up some time and simplify things a little. Plus my brain had so many things to do that I was starting to feel a bit stressed! Ironically, I was actually working in events when I went freelance!

      So I suggest a ‘suck it and see’ approach. Start by offering the things you know how to do and LIKE to do, then tailor and adapt as you go along. Sometimes you get asked to do something (format a Kindle book for example) you find out how to do it, and then suddenly you have a new service in your repertoire. Stay flexible and keep moving like a shark! x

  23. Claire says:

    Hi Joanne,

    I have been thinking about starting up my own virtual assistant business for awhile but feel like I’ve been holding back slightly due to being nervous about whether I really do have the skills necessary. Your website as well as advice in the above article have been very encouraging and has made the whole thing seem far less daunting. I also really love the way your website is quite different from many other VA services, much more personalised than a lot of them that are around now.

    Thank you
    Claire

  24. Laura Tierney says:

    Hi Joanne, thanks so much for sharing your knowledge. I recently had my 2nd child and whilst on maternity leave, have been made redundant from my admin role which I held for 12 years and most of my adult life. I have been furiously applying for jobs, particularly as I am about to become homeless after selling my dilapidated & much too small, house which had been on the market for 2 years causing my mortgage prospects to vanish due to lack of employment! Not only have I had no luck from any of the hundreds of job applications, I’ve also realised that my chances of finding something suitable with 2 young children requiring childcare and the associated costs and working hours restraints are slim to nil… Having spent a number of weeks in a dark hole contemplating my future, I’ve realised I need to follow the path of something I am good at, which everyone tells me, is ‘organisation’. Hence why I’ve stumbled across your website! Not only is it’s good starting point, you’ve made me realise this IS something I can achieve, and I CAN overcome my fears of the unknown and my lack of self confidence. My problems now lie in finding where to start, and juggling tons of information with looking after a very demanding, newly on-the-move 8-month hold, but I hope to find inspiration in people like you. Thanks again for your time and advice!

    Laura

  25. Jane Edwards says:

    Your website and comments are so inspirational Joanne, thank you. A friend and I are in the very early stages of setting up together as virtual assistants we feel we have complementary skills and can offer a broader range of services if we collaborate. I have always worked for charities and she is in housing so we hope to find our niche there. Any tips or pitfalls to watch out for from your experience? We’ve discussed how going in to buisness could affect our friendship and how we need to operate with each other to make this work! Thanks again.

    • Joanne Munro says:

      Hi Jane – apologies about the delay in getting back to you, I’m working on an event in Austin so my time zone is completely off! I’m afraid I’ve never worked in collaboration with another person so I’m no expert. I would make sure that you have a boring but necessary business contract put together so that, should things take an unexpected turn, you are covered. It’s important to know who’s doing what, who’s taking responsibility for what, whether you have the same vision about your branding and client base, how much you’re going to charge and how that will be divided, and what happens should you either fall out or if one of you wants to leave the partnership for one reason or another.

      Lots of things to think about! I sometimes outsource tasks to another VA and she bills me for them; that way we have no worries whatsoever about any of the things I’ve just mentioned (off the top of my head too!) and I can take on a task that she is an expert in and I’m not. Just because you’re friends doesn’t mean you’ll make good business partners – I have loads of friends that I love dearly but I’d never work or live with any of them!

      Let me know what happens though; you could always write a guest post for the new VA site in a year sharing your experience of how it went. x

  26. Sally Entwistle says:

    Joanne
    I was reading these posts and recognised myself when I read the one below. I agree your support is fantastic.

    However for me, my enthusiasm seems to dwindle as I get more and more ‘information overload’. where to start is the biggest hurdle? Then what to start in – which field? I seem to be a man of many talents but not a master of anything specific….I was originally in the Armed Forces for 4 years then I was married and a housewife and mother for 17 years, whilst I raised 2 children, I have ran two part time businesses (one in ladies clothes from Canada and one in children’s designer knitwear)(but they were mainly for ‘pocket money’ only) They were not continued due to family commitments at the time. Next was a harsh divorce which led me to go backpacking around the world – on my own – 12 countries in 6 months. Following on from that I am now an hours drive from home and in a clerical/administration post. (but not settled) The salary is under 25k so I need to start part time and build it up to achieve enough to continue to pay the mortgage. I would love to be back in charge of my own destiny once more. I would welcome any direction you can give me.

    Thank you for imparting your well earned knowledge. I’ve been very keen on the VA business for about a year now but have to take the plunge. Once again I find myself googling about becoming a VA or setting up a home business. However, it seems I tend to over analyse things, take on too much information, then crash and burn before I even attempt to begin. Are you able to advise somehow where you think I’m going wrong?

    • Joanne Munro says:

      Hi Sally, the answer is basically clients. You need to start with clients. Know what you do, who your client is, what your value to them will be and then get them to hire you. My ‘how to become a VA’ website will be up and running soon and it takes you right through from starting out and choosing your services right through to how to bill someone. I’ll let you know when it’s live as you’re definitely over-thinking it! x

  27. nicola wright says:

    Hi, I have been a PA for about 15-20 years, mainly in accounting. I live in France and am thinking about becoming a VA. I would like to brush up on Excel and also Powerpoint for doing presentations, but can’t take a course as I live out here. Do you know of anywhere online where I may be able to do this? I look forward to your new website, your information has been very helpful, thank you.

    • Joanne Munro says:

      Hi Nicola, I don’t know specifically of any courses I’m afraid. I think your best bet is to ask on one of the Virtual Assistant LinkedIn groups. The women there are usually very helpful and forthcoming with information. I’m still writing the new site but will be sure to let you know when it’s up and running! x

      • Tracey says:

        Hello Jo

        I’m going through the process of building a VA business and your advice has been invaluable, thank you.

        Nicola asked about courses available, I am on my second online course via Skillsology. I have bought them via Amazon (at huge discount), you buy a voucher that can be redeemed with the company. There are currently Excel and Excel Advanced courses available through Amazon and different courses come up all the time. Someone also mentioned Microsoft Online – they have some very useful instruction videos which guide you through tasks step by step. Microsoft basic courses are something that will be included in my package as my skills with Word, Excel and Powerpoint are really good as are my coaching abilities. Experience also tells me that not many people know how to get the best out of these standard packages or even where to start with them.

        Your advice is something I refer to often and includes a lot of information I hadn’t thought about plus things I hadn’t heard about. I am currently working on the ‘tech’ stuff (I am building my own website – a fantastic learning experience!) in conjunction with the marketing plan. I still work full time so don’t plan to launch the business until late June but I am doing all I can with the preparation. Thanks for the inspiration.

        Tracey

        • Joanne Munro says:

          Hi Tracey, thank you so much for your advice on MS online training and Skillsology courses. I sometimes see Groupon offers for Excel courses too and offering MS Office training as part of your services package is a brilliant idea. I also write CVs and I know that some people don’t even know how to open a Word doc or to download it to their computer after I email the final draft to them.

          My new site is nearly there actually and, if you found this little blog post useful, then the new site will be a great resource for you. I’ll be certain to let you know when it’s live as it should only be a week or two now. I’m still faffing around with the logo and getting my web developer to make some design changes. I do a lot of my own WordPress work but I don’t know (and don’t care a fig) how to code! I still need to write the blog post on how to build a website but it’s such a large and complicated subject, I’ve been putting it off!

          Thank you again for your comments Tracey, I get such satisfaction and pleasure when people say how much they appreciate my site and how useful/inspirational they find it. It makes me feel even more excited about my new site. x

  28. Glenis Bateson says:

    Hi Joanne, thanks, like all the other comments above, you have shared some great advice and tips – really appreciate this. I tried to become a VA 8 years ago, locally, I did cold calling/letters, went into shops and businesses with leaflets and introduced myself but many of them wanted me to go in and work as a temp – which I did do for two of them. How do we persuade clients that we can do what they need from home and also to trust us with confidentiality and best practice with their work?
    Thanks
    Glenis

    • Joanne Munro says:

      Hi Glenis, well those are 2 very good questions. The LinkedIn one is easy – YES! I have a link to a paid download on the ‘How to Become a VA’ blog post that outlines step by step exactly how I get clients using LinkedIn. It’s actually the ONLY method I use as it has a 50% success rate. When I first started out I asked another VA for advice and, when I asked her what she’d do differently, she said she wouldn’t have bothered with print advertising or leaflets. So the method I outline in the download works so well that I don’t need any other way to get new clients.

      In answer to the second question – you need to know who your ideal clients are. Clue: they’re not ones that need work doing in their office! You have a confidentiality clause built into your contracts and terms and you offer to sign any confidentiality agree they might have too to get that part sorted. You shouldn’t need to ‘convince’ companies that you can work from home, you just tell them that is how it works! You’re thinking too old school and you’ll get old school companies in return. Modern companies and consultants etc who understand the value of a VA will know that you don’t come to their office (the clue is in the word Virtual). I actually have clients I’ve never met… because I’m virtual!

      So think beyond your town and into the wider world and become a Virtual Assistant or you’ll be going into offices – in which case you’re a temp. It depends which one you want to do. Decide which you’d like and then target those people. And my download tells you exactly how to do that.

      My new site is still in the process of being written but should be live in a couple of weeks – exciting!! I’ll be sure to let you know when it goes up. x

  29. Glenis Bateson says:

    Sorry one more thing. Do you think that Linkedin is a good business media to advertise as a VA. I have been growing my profile with various former colleagues and new contacts – mostly in the IT industry but I don’t know how to approach them regarding my new VA business.

    Also, Nicola, if you go on line to Microsoft Office, there are 2007 (I think) 2010 and 2013 small training presentations. These are short but I really feel like they have made a difference to my knowledge of using all of Microsoft. Check them out, they are free and you can also pay for a course.
    Glenis

  30. Chloë says:

    Hi Joanne

    Thank you so much for all this useful information. I would be really grateful if you could let me know when your website is up and running.

    I have been considering VA work for a while but been a bit “scared of the unknown”. As I have 2 girls, the youngest of whom is due to start school in September, and a house move on the cards I need to start making money too. I hope to start small soon and then with the extra free time I will be able to take on more.

    I have made the first step of connecting on LinkedIn with as many people as possible that I have worked for and with as possible with a view to getting some recommendations from them and hopefully they will know some people too who might be able to use my services.

    Kind regards
    Chloë

    • Joanne Munro says:

      Hi Chloe, I will indeed let you know when the site goes live. I approved the logo this afternoon so it won’t be long now!
      It sounds like you’re taking the right approach as you have a family to consider. It was easier for me as I only had myself to think about but you’re doing it right; start small and build it up. You’ve also done the right thing by using LinkedIn as its sole purpose is to build business connections.
      Good luck on your new venture – as long as you’re well informed, have researched as much as you can, and are as prepared as you can be, then you’re on the right track. x

  31. Suzy says:

    Please could you add me to your list for notification of your new website as this is an area I’ve started to think about more seriously and have really enjoyed reading through your site.

  32. Hannah Rowe says:

    Hi Joanne,

    I have found this all very inspiring and interesting to read. As a Mother who is helping to run her husband’s IT business from home, I have struggled to find my own path since leaving the Navy and then my PA job (twins will do that to you!)

    I have learnt many new skills helping Paul achieve his goal but wanted to achieve something for more for me. Googling small business ideas put VA into the mix and it has lit a spark in me that has been missing for a while! Thank you very much for sharing your knowledge. I hope your new website is a huge success!

    Hannah

  33. Kate Davies says:

    Hi – your site is wonderful – so much information to help me, like so many others tired of being behind a desk in an office and wanting to strike out on my own!

    I am about to move area, so think this will be a great way to work rather than just temping … please let me know when your website is up and running – I know it will be soon – and know that it will really help me to get my business started.

    Many thanks

    Kate

  34. Jane Tye says:

    Hi Joanne – I have just come across your website and can honestly say that it has been a ray of light and almost a eureka moment for me. Having worked consistently at Board level for 20+ years – the last six years of which have been in a senior role in a private members golf club using all my administrative, organisational and secretarial skills on a day to day basis I now find that in the virtual job seeking world that this counts for nothing. Perhaps this is the nudge that I needed to finally take stock and take control of my life ……..thank you for being so generous with your knowledge.

    Jane

  35. David says:

    Hi Joanne

    Your website has been truly insightful in my journey in becoming a va, not only have you provided me with some great resources but some important considerations that will no doubt assist me in becoming the success that I hope to be.

  36. Mariane says:

    “Very informative article, Joanne. This list of useful resources might help them become a successful virtual assistant. Additionally, they should focus on enhancing their basic skills that are usually used in this job. Here’s the list below:

    1. communication skills
    2. typing
    3. writing
    4. computer knowledge (word doc, excel spreadsheet, powerpoint presentation)

    with these basic skills they can become a virtual assistant. Most of the employer are looking for VA with these basic skills and will just train them afterwards.”

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