Become a Virtual Assistant in Australia
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Where to Start to Become a Virtual Assistant and Work from Home

In this comprehensive guide on how to become a virtual assistant and work from home, I will be providing you with some simple steps to do to get started as a virtual assistant.

Please try and do the research first as the results will shape a lot of the decisions you make.  These decisions will impact on how quickly you grow your business and find your rhythm.  It is worthwhile insuring that the decisions are based on the research and not what is in your head or your assumptions.

This guide covers:

  1. What Services to offer immediately based on your existing skills and experience.
  2. Identifying opportunities to grow your skills to meet a market demand.
  3. Picking a target market and doing some market research
  4. Setting your end goal to build a plan for success
  5. Becoming a legal entity and registering a business name
  6. Choosing a Domain Name – things to avoid.

Step 1:  Research – Decide on your services

Most new virtual assistants struggle to define their services and tend to say they do admin.  Unfortunately, admin is different things to different people.  If I put 50 new virtual assistants in a room and asked each to tell us about their specific strengths is in admin I would bet my house that each would say something different.  This exercise is about getting to those strengths, then matching them with the needs of your market.

Activity 1 – Work Out Your Services

Take some time to de-construct your admin, marketing, graphic design, web maintenance, social media or telephone skills.

Most of us have worked in several jobs across a few industries.  Take out your resume and go through your job history and write down exactly what you did and what skills you used at each job.  It is useful to write this down in a sheet with 3 columns (or use a spreadsheet if you wish).  First Column type in the name of your role, second column list the tasks that you did and third column rate it out of 5 (5 being the tasks you enjoyed the most).

Your Role | Tasks In Detail | Rating 1-5 (5 the highest)

List all the tasks that you gave a “5” (or the highest rating) to on a separate page or spreadsheet.  Write next to each if you feel you need to upgrade your skills and/or you need special equipment or software to do it today.

Rating 5 Tasks | Update Skills | Update Equip/Software

For example, if one of the tasks was “transcription” consider if you need to practice your typing skills and find out if you can get a foot pedal and appropriate headset.  (don’t buy anything at this stage because you may not use it).

Once you have completed this list – take note of what services you can offer immediately to clients and which you need to upgrade or up-skill.

Activity 2 – Now do some online research on:

  1. What type or category of businesses would benefit most from your skills.
  2. Find others who offer similar services and find out what they are doing well and what they could do better.

Great places to do research online include Google, Facebook groups, Linkedin Groups, Amazon book reviews etc.  Look for complaints because they present opportunities for you.  You could even add a Google Alert.

Your Niche or Target Market

Now that you have completed the above, think about the type of businesses that would value your existing skills.

It may be tradies or accountants, health industry professionals or small business owners in general.

(Read my article on 10 Questions to Ask To Convert Clients to find out more about building a perfect client profile)

Activity 3 – Do some market research as follows:

Then lift the telephone and ring a few business owners and ask them for some help in setting up a local business as a virtual assistant.  You will find that local businesses are very supportive and will help you with your market research.

Ask them if they feel a virtual assistant would be beneficial to the local area.  Also if they feel that your service would be something they would look at in the future.  Start a conversation without trying to sell them anything.  Talk about them (not you).

Wrap the call around three questions, as follows:
  1. What their biggest challenge will be over the next 6 months
  2. What their goals are for this year
  3. Where they spend most of their time in the business.

If you use social media, ask these questions on your facebook, twitter or linkedin accounts, post them to groups and try and get as many answers as possible.

Why You Should Complete These Activities

At the end of these activites you will know the services that you can offer and your potential markets. Running a business is about solving a problem and you should have a good idea of the problems you will be solving when offering your services. Although you will be working from home and offering your services remotely, starting with local businesses as your client will make it easier for you to fine-tune your offering

Step 2: Your End Goal

When setting up a micro-business there are 3 main pathways to choose from:

  1. Build a business that you can eventually sell
  2. Build a personal brand with star quality to become a recognised guru or expert in a specific market or skill set.
  3. Build an income that will sustain you into retirement.

Choose which pathway suits you and then create an end goal and measure it with an amount that you want to achieve.  Now work backwards to get to an annual/quarterly and monthly goal.

Example:  I want to sell my business in 10 years time for $1 million.  A simple formula to use to calculate the value of your business is:

Pre-Tax Profit + Owner’s Salary + Additional Owner Perks + Interest + Depreciation less Allocation for Capital Expenditures

To estimate your annual goals over the ten years, work backwards where 5 years would equal $500,000, 2.5 years would equal $250,000 and 1 year approx $100,000.  In the first year of trading you want to be able to create an income of at least $100,000.  You can then break this down into quarterly and monthly financial goals.

Step 3:  Claiming your Name and Compliance

To get your business started you will need to do a few things to ensure you are operating legally.  As every country is different (and in some cases each State), go online and do a search for registering a business in your location.

In Australia you can register your business name, apply for an ABN (Australian Business Number) and find out more in regards to registering for GST and a Tax File Number in one place ASIC Connect

asic-connect

Some things to consider before naming your business:

  1. If you intend to sell the business, make sure the name is transferable and means something to potential clients.
  2. If you intend to become a thought leader or Guru then your own name (or pen name) is appropriate.
  3. Is the domain name available?

You should also consider delaying to register for GST until your business is at the required turnover (at time of writing this was $75,000).  Submitting BAS statements regularly can add time and complexity on to your business at the beginning and taking this time to spend on development tasks makes sense.

In the same way, delay trademarking until you are very sure that you have the business design correct.  Again, it can be an expensive and timely activity and best left until you have tried and tested your collateral.

Domain Name

These days it is best if you can get the .com version of your domain.  The search engines already take into account the searchers location when providing results.  However, if in the future you want to expand and become more relevant to more countries then the .com version is preferable.  You can search for a suitable domain here

When choosing a domain think about the length of it.  If it is too long it will become clunky when giving it to others and will be easy for others to make a mistake when typing it out.  You could choose a long name for your business but register the initials as the domain.

Conclusion

The above steps will get you started so that you can become a virtual assistant and work from home.  You will be starting on a journey that will bring lots of rewards in regards to changing your lifestyle.  Yes, there will be challenges but there will also be opportunities to grow your skills and knowledge and a sense of accomplishment.

Once you have completed the steps to get started, it will be time to do some marketing and attract your first client.

Read next –  Marketing for Virtual Assistants to help you attract leads into your business.