How to Make Money at Home as a Virtual Assistant

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Start a flexible and financially rewarding job as a virtual assistant providing office assistance or personal assistance from the comfort of your home. Virtual assistants are independent entrepreneurs. They work remotely and use the Internet, fax, phone and other technology to deliver services to clients. There are steps to go through to ensure that you are ready to work effectively as a virtual assistant, and there are resources you can use to start this small business from your home.

Skill Efficiency

  • Determine the services you want to offer. Many virtual assistants offer a variety of secretarial skills, and the market is growing for assistance with other skills including marketing, web design, graphic design, ghost writing and translation services.

  • Assess your current skills for providing services. If you lack some skills, take online classes to acquire or update them. Additional training will open more possibilities for virtual assistant jobs. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers many free online classes including “Technology 101” and “How to Start and Grow an Online Business.” Both classes offer knowledge for working over the Internet (see Resources).

  • Consider taking a virtual assistant certification program. Assistu and Virtual Assistant Worldwide Certification offer training and virtual assistant certification.

Business Planning

  • Consider your skills and specialize in up to three. This will help to determine your business niche.

  • Draft a business plan. This will be your guide to start and grow your business. The SBA offers free online classes on how to prepare a business plan (see Resources).

  • Know who your potential clients will be in your business niche. According to Entrepreneur, “Industries most often hiring virtual assistants include the real estate, coaching, financial services, accounting and legal.”

Legal Issues

  • Select a name for your virtual assistance business. According to Business.gov, the official business link to the U.S. government, “There is more to naming your business than just coming up with something that sounds good and you happen to like.” The website provides information on how to name a business and the business name registration process.

  • Purchase home-based business insurance. This will cover property destroyed if your home were damaged by a disaster or intrusion. Take inventory of all your personal business property, determine its value, and decide what amount of insurance you need.

  • Draft a client contract which includes services provided, hourly rate, per project fees, monthly retainers, deposit requirements and invoicing policy.

Marketing

  • Prepare a professional portfolio that outlines and provides samples of the services you offer. Include an introduction letter, articles or press releases about you or the virtual assistant industry, a list of references, your price sheet, and your brochure and business card. The portfolio should be digital, to send out over the Internet, and also in paper format.

  • Make an appointment with local businesses including real estate and insurance agents, legal firms, and other small businesses. Research to find out what services they may need and slant your portfolio toward fulfilling those needs.

  • Use your writing skills to write articles that explain about the virtual assistant business, how virtual assistants save businesses money yet provide the services needed, and other informative aspects of the virtual assistant business. Use the “About the Author” section of the article to add a link back to your website or blog. Post variations of those articles in articles directories including ezinearticles, goarticles, and articledashboard.

  • Be aware of the business community and know when businesses downsize or outsource. When they are willing to outsource manufacturing, as an example, they may also be open to outsourcing for virtual assistant work. Contact the business and propose providing your services.

  • Use the social media sites on the Internet to market your home-based business. Sign up for accounts on Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, and Twitter and become involved in interactions to talk about the services you offer. Craigslist is also a good website on which to post your business.

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  • Photo Credit work and money image by Valentin Mosichev from Fotolia.com
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