As I have started discussing in the previous posts, there are many ways to make money from home using the internet. It is more convenient working from home if you have your own set of computer and a reliable internet connection.
For those of us who still rely on internet cafés it could mean a lot of hassle and more expenses. Off course, setting up your online business this way can still be done. I actually started learning this way (renting computer and internet usage on internet cafes) but I realized I’m actually spending more money and time as compared to buying my own set of PC and paying for an internet connection at home.
Okay, having your own PC and internet connection at home is relevant for this topic because we will be talking about how to make money online from home by being a virtual assistant.
What is Virtual Assistant?
So what is a virtual assistant? It is simply the internet equivalent of a personal assistant in the offline world. It is one of the most popular businesses for work at home moms and dads.
For people who have experience in an administrative field, they can offer themselves for hire as virtual assistants to online business clients. In the same way if you have profession or expertise related to administrative fields then you are a prime candidate for having a successful virtual assistant business.
Getting started as a virtual assistant requires a few simple steps. There is no formal credential process to become a virtual assistant, but there are several companies who offer training and their own credentialing.
Obtaining training or credentials is not absolutely necessary to be a successful virtual assistant, but it can be helpful in obtaining jobs as a newcomer. If however you want to sign up for any training program or course, do your due diligence and investigate the company. Get recommendations from other successful virtual assistants and consider finding a mentor who can help you get started.
In order to become an independent contractor, you’ll need a business license to conform to legal issues. By obtaining a business license you’ll be able to open up a business bank account and keep your business and personal finances separately. Being legal also means you can declare many of your business expenses as tax write offs.
Setting Up Your Virtual Office
It may not be so necessary but you may also want to set up your virtual home office. Maybe a place or a corner in your house where you feel comfortable to work and that playful children or family members know you’re on the job and won’t disturb you.
Once done, you’ll need to establish your virtual office. As with any other online business, the very first step to do is to advertise yourself. No one will notice and hire you if you don’t advertise.
Creating Your Virtual Assistant Website
On the internet, you’ll use a website to advertise yourself as a virtual assistant. Having a website is essential to establishing your presence. If web design is not in your skill set, find someone who can make a website for you. Try to contact other virtual assistants and see if you can barter for the design if it’s something that you cannot afford to begin with.
Or you can contact me and I’ll help you do the technical jobs of creating a simple website for you if given the time. 🙂
On your website you should, at minimum, list your services and who you are. You can also include an hourly rate, although many virtual assistants like to charge by the project instead of by the hour.
As far as services matters, don’t offer services that you don’t like to do. If you can make spreadsheets but don’t like to do it, then don’t offer that service. If you have background in a specific field, for example accounting, then you can list this as a specialty.
You can also specialize in the type of work that you offer. Many virtual assistants limit their business to writing and editing, web design, data management or planning, but some offer a mixture of all types of services. Remember, this is your business and you can choose what tasks that you want to perform.
Getting Virtual Assistant Jobs
The first challenge for any new virtual assistants is getting the first job. The best way to get virtual assistant jobs to begin with is to start networking. Your best leads will come through people that you already know, whether they are online or in your hometown.
Let people know what you are offering and promote your website address so people can see who you are and what you are doing. Make sure to include up to date contact information on your web page, including a phone number.
After getting your first client, it’s important to have a contract set in place before you start working on a project. You can get many sample contracts online that you can adapt for your needs. Make sure you and the client are both on the same agreement about the type of work that you will be doing. That way there should be no surprises when you deliver the project and your bill.
After you have a few projects under your belt, you’ll begin to build a reputation. Then your virtual assistant business will grow naturally to include repeat clients and new projects. When you consistently do good work, your reputation will precede you and you may have more projects that you know what to do with in a short period of time. Make sure not to overbook yourself, and collect a network of other virtual assistants who are willing to take overflows for you if the need arises.
Almost easier said than done but just follow the few basic steps discussed above to get started in your own journey to make money form home as a virtual assistant.
Market Site For Beginning Virtual Assistants
Does dealing the legal requirements scare you off? Does setting up a virtual assistant advertising website still new to you and seems daunting to start it. Don’t have any group or network of friends online yet?
Don’t worry, if you’re still starting there are freelance sites online that won’t require such things especially if you work as an independent job provider.
Go and check Odesk and if you want to start right away. This is a free to join freelance market site and it offers lots of online jobs for the simplest data encoding to web developing and programming.
If you’re looking for online jobs, sign up at Odesk as a “Freelance Provider“. If you’re looking for people to outsource your work and projects, sign up as a “Buyer“.