Monday, November 10, 2008

Starting Your Virtual Assistance Business Week #!

I joined Twitter about 1 month ago and since that time, I have been asked by quite a few people to give some advice about starting up their own Virtual Assistance business. I was driving myself crazy trying to remember all of the people that I promised to send information to, so I decided to start a blog series on the basics of starting up your own Virtual Assistance Business. I hope you enjoy my tipsand I wish all of you luck! The wonderful thing about being a Virtual Assistant is that we all have our own specialities and niches; which makes us unique! There is enough work out there for all of us. Please feel free to comment with questions or your own stories!

Let me start with saying, that you do not necessarily have to have a business or administrative background/degree to do this type of work from home. (Of course it always helps though!) I have a Bachelors in Education and I’m working on Masters in Education. I do have administrative experience though, but only about 5 years of it. What do I have? I love to help people, I have a niche that works well for me because it’s my passion, I learn quickly and I’m very computer savvy.

Take out some paper or even start a journal and let's start with some questions: "What do you have to offer?" or "What can you bring to the table?" What are you passionate about? My passions are children, education, special education, disabilities, health care and non-profits. The things in my life that drive me are the same things that my Virtual Assistance business is built on. My services are geared to helping professionals in these fields because I find these topics to be exciting and the people worthwhile to work with. Think about those two questions and decide for yourself, who do you want to work with, what do you have that makes you different than others and what are you good at? Don't feel frustrated if you aren't able to answer all of these questions in one day or even a week! This is a learning process, so enjoy the process and don't feel pressured to know all the answers right away.

So, you have a general idea of what kind of people or businesses you would like to offer support services to. Next, you need to decide if you have the dedicated space in your house to offer to your business. If you don't have this space yet, you need to have it before you start your business. Take a look around your house and decide where can you make your business "fit." If you already have this dedicated space, then you can move on to the next step.

Evaluate what technology you may already have and what do you need to make your Virtual Assistance business work. Generally speaking, you will need a computer (Mac/PC; your preference) with Internet access (high speed preferably), a business phone line (there are many low cost options out there), a fax machine, scanner, and a printer. There are other things that could be included in this list, but it depends on what type of services you plan on offering your clients. You may want to purchase a scale to weigh mail if you plan on offering a mailing service to your clients, for example.

Your homework for the week:

1.) Find out more about yourself and what you can offer others...what is your gift?

2.) Where is the space that you can dedicate to your business?

3.) What services can you offer your clients and what technology do you need or do you have to purchase to make your services possible? (Start writing a list of possible purchases you may need to buy so you know beforehand how to budget your business.)

4.) Do some research. Look at other Virtual Assistant's websites and see what services they offer and who their clients are.

Leave me comments! I would love to know about your beginning Virtual Assistance ventures! Until next week!


Karalyn Eckerle said...

I liked your blog article. I think it is important to have a passion for this work in order to be successful. But we disagree on the issue of experience. Too many inexperienced people are becoming virtual assistants and their inexperience and failures often turn people against the use of Virtual Assistants. If you have no real office experience it can be difficult to make appropriate decision when problems/questions arise. In an office you can ask questions of other, more experienced, staff members. By yourself, to whom do you turn when you face a problem for which you have no experience.

I welcome others in this field. My passion for this work is largely based on my love of people and my belief that in helping others we help ourselves. But I do urge people to get some good, hands-on experience in a traditional office situation beforce launching your own business.

Karalyn Eckerle

Rebecca L. Buscemi said...

Hi Karalyn! Thanks for checking out my blog and leaving a comment. Basically, what I'm trying to say is that individuals should not be discouraged if they do not strictly have an administrative degree or experience. I think that I'm unique because my experience is one of a kind; like many other people out there. I feel that if there are more individuals with varying backgrounds, think of all the people that we can reach out to and assist!
I don't have actual "office" expereinec. My expereince has been in classrooms, schools and hospitals. When I'm stuck, I reach out to my fellow Virtual Assistants that I have networked with on social networking sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, FindVirtual and on the forums that I belong to. Thank you again for your comment!

Maureen Hayes said...


Thanks for putting this information all together in one place for those of us that had been asking you for more information. I have worked for years as an assistant and also as an office manager. I hope at some point you will talk about what a typical day entails for you. I know in an office my work could be very varied depending on the type of company I worked for. Is the same true in the virtual world? Are there a lot of different industries hiring V.A's?

Thanks for being willing to share your experience with others!