how to get started as a virtual assistant

How to Get Started As A Virtual Assistant: The Very Beginning

Ever see Facebook ads or marketing pieces for Virtual Assistants (VAs) and wonder how they got started, found their niche, built their network and became successful? That’s what we’re here to help you with!

If you’re reading this, you’ve finally decided to take control of your life and work for yourself. Instead of working for someone else and helping them build their dreams, you’re ready to work on bringing yours to fruition. And we’re with you every step of the way. We’re here to help you chart your own path to success on your terms.

With us as your guides, you’ll learn everything there is to know about starting and running a successful VA practice, including how to:

  •      Research the field
  •      Create your mission and vision statements
  •      Market your skills and find your niche
  •      Define your ideal client
  •      Structure your on-boarding process
  •      Build your network
  •      Gain experience
  •      Continue to work on sales and customer service

Let’s start exploring these important first steps in more detail.

 

Research the field

Because we’re a competitive bunch, you need to prepare by arming yourself with information that will contribute to your success. Start learning everything you can about the VA field by following forums, message boards, Facebook groups, and other content-rich, popular sites that discuss the field of VAs.

Review previous discussions to build your knowledge level, then gradually begin to contribute to new ones and asking specific questions on topics that interest you.

Quick tip: Use the ‘Search’ function on a page before asking a question to confirm the same one hasn’t been answered before.

Looking for a great VA community to connect with professional, helpful, knowledgeable and friendly members?

Check out our VA Facebook group

 

Create your mission and vision statements

As you learn more about our industry, think about what your own business’s purpose is. That will be the foundation for your mission.

Mission statements are short, specific and clear enough that anyone reading it will immediately know what your company is about, and how you define success. This statement is your guiding star; when you’re choosing your next move, referring to your mission statement will keep you focused on what you do best.

Use our worksheet to Develop Your Mission Statement

While a mission statement explains what you do, a vision statement discusses why you do it. It explains your long-term plans for your company, and describes the workplace environment you’re looking to create. It should inspire you and everyone involved in your business to make your dream come true.

 

Market your skills and find your niche

Now that you’ve defined your mission and vision, it’s time to decide which services you can offer that are: a) in demand and b) most compatible with your skill set. Always remember your niche and services will evolve as you gain experience in your field.

If you’re looking for opportunities in popular niche markets, read 3 Booming Niche Fields for Virtual Assistants Right Now

 

Define your ideal client

As you zero in on your niche, you’ll want to define your ideal client:

the type of person who is most likely to buy your product or service and, after buying it, will want to buy it again.

This person will become a loyal customer and advocate because they know you, they trust you, and they need your services. To find them, you’ll create a detailed customer avatar – a specific persona of your ideal client that allows you to see your business through their eyes. By the time you’ve built your avatar, you’ll be able to answer questions like, “How does my client typically relax?” or “Where does my ideal client normally go to network?”

Having these details in hand is extremely useful as you promote yourself and network.

Create your customer avatar with this worksheet

 

Structure your on-boarding process

Having standard policies, processes and procedures you follow for each new client takes away the guesswork of on-boarding so you can focus on doing your best work. Before you start signing clients, you’ll want to make sure you have air-tight contracts, welcome packages and emails to answer frequently asked questions, procedures to follow to ensure you get paid on time for your hard work, and strategies to use for those times you encounter challenging clients.

Bonus: VA Studio subscribers have access to even more powerful, exclusive content to help you build your practice, like the Ultimate On-boarding Bundle

 

Build your network

Many of the previous points have been about how to structure your practice and do the internal work necessary to build your brand. Now, it’s time to start connecting with others and put all that work to good use!

The VA field is smaller than you would think, and you’ll discover many mutual connections as you build your network. VAs are typically very friendly people and willing to help newer members become successful because we want the field to grow organically and become more marketable to potential clients. So be social, helpful, polite, and make as many connections as you can. You never know when they’ll come in handy!

 

Gain experience

Like finding a job in most other industries, trying to land your first client can be difficult because you haven’t gained experience yet. This is why it’s important to dedicate yourself to honing your skills and growing your experience any way you can. Create your own projects and demos for your portfolio, look for opportunities within your online and local communities to help your ideal clients, and start submitting proposals for potential work opportunities.

 

Continue to work on sales and customer service

Even experienced VAs sometimes find that discovering qualified leads and hitting their monthly sales goals is a challenge. But you’ve already done some of the hardest work. Now, it’s all about keeping a positive mindset, gaining confidence, growing as a professional and continuing to work on your sales tactics with consistent effort.

We can help you with that, too. Stick with us and you’ll find out how to turn clients into advocates, offer stellar customer service without the stress, and focus your effort to reel in high-quality leads.

As you begin to get steady work, issues will inevitably pop up.  Whether you learn best by reading or listening, we’re here for you. Check out The Ultimate VA Library, a rich, growing source of free information full of worksheets and actionable tips to help you structure and run your practice, then pop over to The VA Hustle, our podcast by and for VAs. You’ll learn about everything from finding your ideal client to how to avoid leaving money on the table. We also interview special guests.

 

Now it’s your turn – we want to know the most useful tips you’ve learned (and most pressing issues you’ve faced) in your first few months in business!

Join the conversation in the comments.

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