Free Virtual Assistant Business Start-Up Plan (10 steps to start your VA biz!)
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Wondering how you can make money working from home as a virtual assistant? The best way to begin is by starting your own VA business.
I remember when I first started mine in 2015. I didn’t even know what a VA was.
My friend had just told me about it and after doing some research, I realized it was the PERFECT job for me. Pretty soon after that, I started calling myself a VA. Just ONE month after calling myself a virtual assistant, I was already booked out of my services.
Today I’m sharing with you the same steps I took to set up my VA business so that you can get started quickly.
(Make sure you read till the end because I’m also giving you a FREE download of my VA Starter Kit which breaks this entire blog post down in a step-by-step checklist.)
Setting Up Your Business
When you’re first setting up your virtual assistant business, it can be a little overwhelming. There are SO many things to do at once and you might wonder…where do I even start? What order do I take?
I’m going to walk you through some of the very first steps you need to take before launching your business.
1. Choose the services that you will offer in your business.
One of the first things I recommend doing as you start your business is to choose your services! Is there a particular niche or set of skills that you want to focus on in your business?
Do you want to offer administrative services, technical services, or creative services?
It can be easy to get stuck on this part and spend hours agonizing over where to begin, but the BEST way to start is by offering services that match your current skills.
You ALREADY have natural abilities and skills that you’ve been using in other roles. Why not monetize those skills by using them to help other business owners?
Maybe you’re great at networking and connecting with people. Have you thought about becoming an outreach specialist or social media manager?
Maybe you’re super computer savvy and LOVE all things tech. You can zero in on those skills and specialize in a particular program like WordPress, Elementor, or Kajabi.
Do you love art? Maybe you’re super creative and want to create documents or graphics in Canva. There are plenty of business owners willing to pay for that!
Action step: Write a list of skills and interests you already have, and see which ones are the strongest. Do any of them overlap? Consider finding services related to the skills or interests that rank highest on your list!
2. Decide on the hourly rate that you will charge for your services.
Once you’ve decided on your services, it’s time to decide your rate!
When you’re first starting out, a good starting point is anywhere between $20-$25 per hour. If you have previous experience or qualifications you’re going to want to charge more.
Remember that you won’t be working as a W2 employee but as an independent contractor. That means you will be responsible for withholding your own taxes and paying for your own supplies.
Keep all of this in mind when setting your rate, because you want to make sure you earn enough to cover expenses and make a profit for yourself that you can realistically live off of.
Read more: How To Set Your Rates As A Virtual Assistant
You also might want to consider offering your services as a package instead of an hourly rate.
One method of setting your rates is to work backward. Start by estimating how much you need to make each month from your VA business. Then decide on how much time you can work.
Lets say you need to make a minimum of $2,000 per month and you have 20 hours per week to dedicate to your business. You may spend anywhere from 2-5+ hours on non-billable tasks such as marketing, invoicing, and networking. (Non-billable means you complete the task for your business and aren’t directly paid for by clients).
That means you will have at least 15-18 hours per week left to do client work. In order to make $2,000 per month, you’d need to charge around $26-$30 per hour to make.
(You can adjust those numbers accordingly by taking the number of billable hours for clients and multiplying that by 4. Then divide the amount you want to make each month by the result.)
Once you’ve decided on what you will charge, create a pricing sheet to send to clients when they inquire about your offers.
Action step: it’s time to decide your rate!
3. Create a mission statement for your business.
Before you start branding and marketing your business, you should create a mission statement that will set the direction for all your marketing materials.
It can be as simple as saying. “My name is _____, and I assist (ideal client) with (your service) so that they can (achieve this goal).”
In case you were wondering how this looks once completed, I’ll share my mission statement!
“I’m Abbey Ashley, and I help virtual assistants start, grow, and scale their own business from scratch.”
Action step: write a simple mission statement for your VA business.
Once you have the basics set up in your business, you’re ready to start branding yourself! Before you start though, I highly recommend doing one important thing, which is deciding WHO you’re targeting (you may have already done this while writing your mission statement).
4. Learn your ideal client
Your target audience or ideal client is the type of person that you would like to work with in your business. By studying your ideal client you’ll be able to brand yourself in a way that speaks and relates to them.
There are a few things you can ask yourself that really help:
- What industry do they work in? (i.e. real estate, coaching)
- What problem do they face that your services can solve?
- What age or gender are they?
- Can you identify them as a certain group? (i.e. work from home moms, disabled business owners)
Once you’ve nailed who your perfect client would be, you can do further research by going to where they hang out. For example, can you find a Facebook group that caterers to life coaches or real estate agents? You can pay attention to the needs they have in their business and other pain points.
Action step: create a profile of your ideal client.
5. Choose a name
So, it’s time to choose a name, and being that this is the FIRST thing that clients typically see about you, it is something you want to put some thought into. You want to make sure it properly reflects your mission statement and embodies some of your personality.
Do me a favor here though … PLEASE do not let naming your business stop you from moving forward! I’ve seen so many VAs get caught up in this one step that they never even get around to actually getting clients.
(I REALLY don’t want that to be you.)
So choose a name that you like, but don’t let it take up TOO much of your time.
Once you have a name picked out, do a little research and make sure it’s available. You can search using the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office’s website. If it’s not taken you’ll want to purchase the domain name and claim the username on social media right away.
Action step: choose a name for your business, and reserve the domain name and social media accounts.
6. Decide your brand fonts and colors
If you’re a creative person like me, you’re probably really looking forward to working on the aesthetic part of your brand. You can use a tool like Canva to create a brand board with your logo, fonts, and colors that you’ll be using for your business.
Not sure where to start? Just type in “color palettes” or “font combinations” on Pinterest to instantly access thousands of FREE ideas.
Action step: choose the brand colors and fonts you’ll use in your brand materials.
7. Create Your Processes
One of the BIGGEST favors that you can do yourself, is to create processes early in your business.
It’s actually a lot easier to do than you might think–all you have to do is record the steps you’re going to take to accomplish different tasks.
How will you conduct your discovery calls? What’s your process for invoicing clients? How will you onboard or fire a client?
Take time to write out a list of the different tasks you’ll complete, and move down the list documenting a step-by-step process.
(By the way, this will make it REALLY easy for you to hire subcontractors later.)
You can use a simple Google Sheet or a program like Trello or ClickUp to do this.
Action step: record the process for accomplishing different actions in your business.
8. Get Legal
By now you have all the basics down in your business, and it’s time to get your business legal! While I’m not qualified to get you official legal advice, I do have some contracts written by a REAL lawyer that can help you protect yourself.
You’ll also want to decide which kind of business you’ll be (i.e. sole proprietorship, LLC).
A lot of virtual assistants ask me if they need to get an LLC, but here is what I want to make sure you understand. You don’t need an LLC to legally operate your business, however, it does add a layer of protection over your assets in the event that your business is sued. It separates you from your business so that it’s treated as its own entity.
You’ll also want to make sure that you check the local laws in your city or state for other licenses that may be required. SCORE is a great resource that can help with this. I highly recommend checking them out.
9. Get Clients!
One of the BIGGEST questions I get from virtual assistants is how to find clients.
If you’re just starting out, it can be a little intimidating and this is usually when a feeling of fear can take over. That’s totally normal, and I don’t want you to let it stop you!
If I did it, I know that you can too!
I created a free training just for you where I go in-depth and spill my secrets on how to book out your services pretty quickly.
I will share a little bit about it down below, but for a more detailed training be sure to check out the free video.
Friends & Family Referrals
One of my FAVORITE ways to find virtual assistant clients fast is through friends and family. It’s so easy to do, and since you already have a relationship with the person, the know/like/trust factor is already present.
Chances are you know someone who owns a business, or someone you know does. So as soon as you launch your business you’ll want to make sure to let everyone know you’re offering virtual assistant services! (You’d be surprised how many VAs actually skip this easy step and miss out on potential clients!)
In my free training, I actually share an outreach script that you can customize and use when reaching out.
Another excellent way to find literally thousands of potential clients is on Facebook. I highly recommend joining as many groups as you can related to business or the specific industry you want to serve. After joining, you should interact daily to build your network and showcase your expertise by giving valuable responses to people’s questions.
If you’re not already on LinkedIn, I highly recommend creating a new profile and connecting with other VAs and professionals that fit your ideal client profile.
This is actually one of the strategies that helped me book out my services early on!
Set up a client attraction system
Social media is a great way to find VA clients fast, but you don’t want to be “hustling” forever.
You need a long-term strategy so that clients are consistently flowing into your business without you always having to go out there and chase leads.
That is why I highly recommend creating a client attraction system so that clients are coming to YOU.
This can be as simple as creating a landing page with a free download that someone can get in exchange for their email. Or maybe you have a blog with keyword-rich content that can lead clients to your website. You just need a way that people can find you and experience a taste of what you offer.
10. Build a Team
If you’ve made it this far, congrats because I’ve just given you a step-by-step breakdown of what it takes to get your virtual assistant business started from scratch! Now you get to decide if you want to SCALE to the next level by building your team.
Read More: Hiring Subcontractors for Your VA Business.
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