When I decided to become a Virtual Assistant 2 years ago there wasn’t a lot of information out there on what to do or how to start. The idea of leaving a comfortable and secure job role was daunting and to leave that for the new and predominately unknown world of virtual personal assistance was going to take grit, determination and courage!
In this article, the first in our series on ‘Making the Leap from PA to VA’ we hope to provide you insight into how to set up as a virtual PA, the things you need to consider before making the leap with a view to supporting those thinking about making the leap.
Independent vs. VA company
The first thing to think about is what type of VA you want to be?
Most VAs are self-employed but you can choose to either be;
- independent and run your own VA business, or
- work on behalf of a company that has a team of VA like Designated.
The first option offers potential for growth, but also carries greater risk and investment in a range of additional business skills such as sales and marketing to get your VA business up and running.
Alternatively working for an established VA company might be a better route if you are concerned about setting up your own business and the risks associated with that.
There are many benefits which include;
- having guaranteed clients.
- no need to spend un-billable time on sales and marketing or networking.
- having access to a supported IT infrastructure.
- having access to a qualified accounts team who can manage your invoices and accounts.
- being able to work with a team of other VA’s who can offer you support.
- the camaraderie of working in a team for an established and reputable company.
Planning and research
If you decide you want to work for an established company, make sure you carry out plenty of research into the different VA companies operating. Consider the work options available to you, terms offered, and type of clients you will be working for.
Income and Pricing
Income must be a key consideration. If you choose to work for a VA company, calculate the hours you need to work to achieve the income you need – remembering that as a self-employed person there’s no sickness, holiday pay, or pension.
If you prefer to set up independently, research the market rate and work back from there although remember to consider your costs in this too. It’s good to consider what a ‘worst case scenario’ would mean to your personal cash flow.
Self employed status
You will also need to research your requirements as a self-employed person. HMRC provide lots of advice and guidance on their website. If you have friends or family who are self employed chat to them for advice, otherwise you could contact an accounting or tax professional.
VA set up
There are some essential items that you’ll need to invest in, and we recommend the following:
- High specification laptop (MAC or PC) – up to date with latest software and have security software installed and up to date.
- Mobile phone
- Broadband/wireless connection – must be high speed and reliable.Sometimes a residential connection is just not enough, so you may need to consider an upgrade.
- Home office – a dedicated area of your home that is quiet and without distraction.
Once you’ve done your research, decided on the type of VA you want to become and invested in the essentials it’s time for the really exciting part!