Friday, July 16, 2010

"So How do I Become a VA?"

February 1, 2008 by Megan Barber  
Filed under Business Start-up, VA Business

“How can I become a Virtual Assistant?” This question has been asked of me about a dozen times a month recently and that is what really have prompted me to start this blog. 

Through my various social networking sites, websites and forums that I like to frequent, I have received many inquiries in the past year from people who see what I do and want to to know how they can do it too. The answer to the question can be somewhat complicated as there are a few different paths that one may follow.

One of the more popular paths, the most rewarding and the one with the most income potential is starting your own Virtual Assistant Business.  With that comes all the joys that come with small business start-up including, officially filing your business name, and registering your business with the applicable federal and local departments. Of course a lot more than that goes into it and I will get to “small business start-up” in another posting. But being an official VA business owner, you are your own boss, set your own hours, set your own rates, set your own rules, choose the type of clients to work with, and work and market your business.  There are a lot of expenses and a lot of work that goes along with being a small business owner, but it does has the most income potential when you set your rates, and your growth potential. And it is YOUR business, which can have limitless possibilities.

There are ways you can work as a Virtual Assistant without starting up your own business, and here are two ways that I know of.

First, you can work for other VAs out there that are in need someone to take care of their extra overflow work or need their own assistants. For example, my business has grown beyond what just little old me can handle by myself. So I have started a “team” of other Virtual Assistants to take on some of the extra work that I can’t handle myself and I am able to grow my own business and make more money. They are not my employees (I do not hire employees), but are independent contractors, and some usually have their own VA business. The catch with working as a VA this way is that those that outsource do not always have a steady flow of work to hand over, so you sometimes cannot depend on the outsourcing VAs for full-time work. One way to combat this is if help a few different VAs at a time with their overflow if you need steady stream of income coming to you. But it is also a good way to give you a taste of the industry and you may even decide to jump in and hang your own shingle someday.

The second option is working for a company that is set up as a “virtual staffing agency”. For most them, you will still work as an independent contractor, but your join their “staff” of VAs, and they handle all the marketing and nailing down the new clients. They just send you the work, and it can be a little more steady. Like any typical employment opportunity, with staffing agencies you need to be wary about who you go with. Some do not pay a very high or livable wage and some agencies have been known not to treat their VAs very well. Do your research and ask other VAs to give you a good idea on who’s who.

Good luck and stay tuned for more resources on VA business start-up, resources on training & certifications, and VA business tools & tricks .


2 Responses to “"So How do I Become a VA?"”
  1. Stacy Brice says:

    Great additional ideas for how someone can get involved, Meg! I wanted to point out that all independent contractors are business owners, whether they *want* to view themselves that way or not.

    And anyone outsourcing would be wise to make sure the person being retained to do the work is appropriately set up as a business, or that person could find him or herself in a world of hurt with the IRS (who could deem said contractor an employee and require the outsourcer to pay back-owed payroll taxes for the contractor).

    This is why I think it’s wise to only outsource to those who have thought about what they’re doing professionally, have strong business foundations under them, have high standards, and approach everything with regard to their work from a professional (and not hobby) POV.



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  1. The Virtual Perception » Blog Archive » Virtual Assistant: Not a Hobby says:

    [...] an earlier post, So How Do I Become a VA, I covered ways to become a Virtual Assistant since it is a question I get asked so often in [...]

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