Top Tips on how to build and grow a VA Business
When trying to build and grow a VA business, don’t over complicate the process, follow these simple top tips and your business will grow.
Don’t make the decision to quit your day job
I know you’re eager to get started, but that doesn’t mean throwing in the towel on your current employment status. At the moment, you have your most important base covered – your financial one. Your employment is giving you the financial means to start your own business, so get a plan into place to help ease the transition.
Could you start, by getting a plan into place to go part-time after a certain amount of time? How about your current attitude to being employed – could you change that, to make your situation more bearable, until you do leave?
Find a reputable training company
You already have most of skills needed to become a VA, but do you have the business skills to run your own business? Running your own business can be stressful and time-consuming – and that’s why it pays to not do it alone. If you want to save yourself a lot of stress and wasted money and time, find a reputable training company to help make the transition faster and easier for you.
Look for a training company that has a great track record, provides ongoing training and CPD Accreditation. You’ll also want business support too, so ensure the company you opt for, gives you the marketing, financial planning and client management strategies and tools you need, to make your business a success. Our blog post how to choose a VA training company might help you find the right company to support you.
Have a plan for your VA business
We’ve ensured your financial bases are covered, now you need to get a plan into place for getting your business up and running. This includes marketing and social media, client attraction, where to find your ideal clients and the goals you’re aiming for (and how to achieve them).
Having a plan in place also ensures you’re focused on your strengths, whilst working only with the clients you want to work with, in a way that suits you.
Think about the longer term vision for you, your family and your business!
Get the legalities of business sorted
You will now need to decide whether you wish to be a Sole Trader or a Limited Company. As a sole trader, it means that you are self-employed person generally working alone. It is the simplest method and quickest method for setting up your Virtual Assistant business. There are a variety of reasons why you might choose this option:
- you have sole control of the business
- all profits made belongs to you
- it’s quick and easy and relatively cheap to set up this way
- the financial recording of your transactions can be kept fairly simple
- you can become a limited company at a later date
- easy to close the business if you no longer wish to trade.
While with a Limited Company, the business is separate from its owners – if you create a Limited Company it is a legal entity in its own rights and liable for any debts (rather than individuals having the liability as a Sole Trader.) A Limited Company can consist of one individual who is the Director of it can have several co-Directors. Many Virtual Assistant businesses run as Limited companies because even if they have a small profit, the owner of the business can make savings on tax and National Insurance.
Ensure that you have your legal bases covered. Setting up as a sole trader is the easiest option, but it also carries greater personal financial risk. A Limited Company, on the other hand, means your business and personal finances aren’t linked together. Not sure which is right for you – seek an Accountants or legal advice.
Also, ensure you have both Data Protection and Professional Indemnity Insurance. Not only will they help protect you and your business, they’re essential, if you want to look professional and install confidence in your clients.
Build your reputation – and a portfolio
Now you can look to build your online presence. This is where you’re likely to get most of your clients from, so it pays to take the time to get it right. Start networking and building your relationship with contacts now. Offer introductory rates, to get clients in and start using these initial clients to help you build a portfolio of work and some glowing testimonials.
It’s important to create yourself a marketing plan, you see you would not set off on a journey without knowing where you are starting from or where you are heading to – a marketing plan should really be part of your overall business plan. For me, the stronger the plan the less likely it sill fail. Not sure what sort of things to think about how here – let me share a couple of questions that you might find it useful to answer…
- What are the top 5 qualities people most often appreciate in you or that they tell you are great at?
- Who are the people you might sell to? Think about who needs what you plan to offer, often there is not necessarily a single right answer here – you might have several target groups of clients.
- Who are the people you really are going to sell to? Start to tighten down the groups to more specific criteria about the person who is likely to buy your service – this is where you might start to create an ideal client avatar.
- What price will you charge – use your market research to know what your services are worth to your ideal clients.
- Know your competition. By this, I am not wanting you to be negative to other Virtual Assistants but know what they offer, what are their differences to you, what are their strengths and weaknesses in the eyes of your customers, what is their pricing and what stands them out from other Virtual Assistants.
- Think laterally and literally – how can you stand your Virtual Assistant business out from others – stay alert to what else is going on in the world, country, town etc – you might spot potential opportunities before your competitors do, if you are open to thinking wider than just your own VA business.
- Plan for action…
I’d also suggest you get yourself a Facebook business page, Instagram account, Pinterest account, Twitter profile and/or LinkedIn profile, to start interacting with potential clients, potential referral partners and to raise your profile. I generally recommend starting with being active on the LinkedIn personal profile – and the rest can follow. But if you claim the accounts you can use them as and when you are ready to do so.
By following these simple steps, before you make the leap from paid employment to self-employment, you’ll ensure you’re giving your VA business the best possible start – without jeopardising your health, finances or sanity!
This blog was originally published as a guest blog by Amanda Johnson in support of an event dedicated to supporting women in business and in particular supporting mums get into business. Unfortunately that company was not as honest with their audience as they should have been and have liquidated owing a lot of mums in business money! But the information Amanda our VA Coach, Trainer and Mentor shares is still valid and here to help you make the leap from PA to VA. We have another blog on the common mistakes to avoid that would be really useful to read as you build and grow your Virtual Assistant business.
This blog was updated on 12 Feb 21.