Redefining "Gal Friday"
Are you ready to enter the quickly-growing work-at-home workforce as a virtual assistant? Before you do, make sure you've got a firm foundation and business plan to start with by following these quick and easy steps.
Virtual assistants are in hot demand these days. And for good reason. They provide valuable services to a variety of professionals in an affordable and convenient way. But that doesn't mean you can just set up shop and the clients will pour in. First, you have to lay the groundwork.
Establish your services
Yes, you have to establish your services! Virtual assistants offer a variety of services and you have to decide what your skill set is. Decide what services you can, and more importantly, which ones you can't provide. If you can barely use Facebook, you probably aren't going to be great at running someone's social media campaign.
If there are services you feel you could offer if you had a little more education, put those on a separate list.
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Even if you're an Excel whiz, there's always something you can learn. Take classes to brush up on your skills. Don't leave out business classes or specific courses on running a virtual assistant business.
Tawnya Sutherland, founder of VAnetworking.com, suggests that you also become a certified virtual assistant, so your clients know you have the skills you say you do. You can also set up a free account on their website to get tons of free advice from fellow VAs and even look for clients.
And remember those services you'd like to offer? Now's the time to start learning. Just don't offer them until you're really up to the task.
Get out and meet people
You can't be a virtual assistant if you don't have clients. And to have clients, you have to meet people. Think about previous business contacts and get in touch with them. You don't have to directly solicit them. You can just inform them of your new venture and tell them to let you know if they're aware of someone who needs assistance.
Of course, you are a virtual assistant, so getting out and meeting people doesn't necessarily mean in person (though local chamber of commerce meetings and other conventions aren't a terrible idea).
You can also build a website and start a LinkedIn page and Twitter account to connect with people online. Many online conferences give you the opportunity to chat with fellow attendees, so that's also a good place to meet people.
Learn to sell yourself
If you're going to be an entrepreneur, you need to be comfortable selling yourself. You don't have to shove yourself in everyone's face all the time, but if something comes up, learn to direct the conversation your way. If you aren't comfortable with it, perhaps you could refer to our second tip and take a class!
Are you interested in becoming a virtual assistant? Tell us what questions you have in the comments below.
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