How I started My VA Connection!

#1) Do your research:
I did my research. I did a Google search for VA businesses and I did a lot of researching and reading. I researched what I would need to do to get started, what I would need for equipment and what I would need to do to get the word out there about my new business. Marketing today was not what it was 15 years ago.

#2) Hang out with people:
I became a member of an online Virtual Assistant business called CAVA and I networked with those that were part of this site. I asked questions and I soaked in everything that CAVA had to offer. They have many resources to get started as well. I also volunteered my time to CAVA working on their newsletter each month which got my name out there and helped me to gain some experience too.

I joined a local business group and started talking about my new business adventure and this was a great way to get started. Being a VA was a new idea locally but people were very interested in working with me.

#3) Work and then work again:
I started working from home in my spare time. I retained some hours for a local real estate agent; creating flyers, mail outs and loading information into the software that he was using. I was also able to create newsletters for him and help to organize his office. Eventually, I got another client and then another and before I knew it I was able to get out on my own.

The doors just kept opening for me. I went from working with a real estate agent using his software to working for the company that sold the software to creating webinars and teaching agents how to use the software. The ball just kept rolling…

#4) Do what you love to do:
Many people say that you should have a ‘niche’ but I think that knowing a little bit about everything like you probably do already and specializing in what you love to do is better than limiting what you can offer. I had a ton of experience with administrative assistance from the corporate world but I had never worked with a real estate agent before. I was able to adapt well and learn along the way which opened up new doors for me. You have to keep learning and there are many resources available to VA’s.

#5) Plan your business:
Many people say that you don’t need a business plan but I still look back on the first one that I created. This is an always changing document so I like to call it ‘Planning your business’.

Once I decided to quit my job and start my business from home I wanted to have a plan. This helped me get started, get organized and to setup my finances. I still reflect on what I needed to make back then and adjust it accordingly to what I want to make now. There are many free resources out there but I have a free template that you can use. Email me and ask me to send this to you.

#6) What’s in a name:
This was very important to me. A name for your business that you need to be happy with and to live with forever. Take your time, bounce your ideas off of others you trust, write your ideas down and make sure you love it before you make it permanent. This will be your website name, the name you use on all of your marketing materials and the name that will represent YOU and your business.

#7) A mentor or coach or just someone to talk to:
This was also one of the first things that I did. I asked someone to be my mentor and it actually ended up being the first VA that I found on the internet. I also ended up finding a couple of local VA’s to meet up with and this has become a long-time friendship. When working from home it is nice to have someone to talk to every once in a while, to bounce ideas off of, to just ask questions to or to just vent. This is also why I created the Your Virtual B.F.F. group on Facebook. This is a place for you to ask those questions, to vent or to just share your stories with. Click here to join Your Virtual BFF group.

#8) The techy and not so techy stuff:
Once I the above steps were taken care of I was ready to be a VA full-time and to quit my day job. This meant a lot to me and my family. I was finally able to do what I love working from home.

The items below you can work on at your own pace as long as you keep moving forward and doing something or learning something each day.

Some of the obvious things you will need and might already have:
– Laptop or desktop computer
– Internet connection
– Cell phone
– Printer
– Microsoft Office
– Email address – preferably your business name but a domain email address is better
– Workspace or office – this can be your kitchen table or a coffee shop or designated office space

Next steps for your awesome business:

– Domain – your new business name and if it is available your OWN name – I use Mom Webs – Best Customer Service and Prices!
– Hosting and a website – Use Mom Webs here too!   here too here
– Social Media for your business – Facebook group/page, Instagram and Twitter accounts
LinkedIn Planner – If you don’t have a LinkedIn Account or you need help setting it up and growing your followers – you NEED this planner!
– Blog if you choose to do this
– Bookkeeping software or database to track expenses and income
– A Welcome package and a way to invoice clients
– PayPal account for making online payments and for accepting payments from clients
– An accountant or a bookkeeper
– Business bank account
– Terms and conditions document
– Coach or Mentor – I work with Angela Wills owner of Laptop Lifestyle Business Club and I have for about 3 years. She runs a weekly group along with a ton of education to get you started and to keep you motivated.  
– A professional association – I have been a long-term member of the Canadian Association of Virtual Assistants. CAVA has many resources and you can view all request for proposals received by potential clients and VA team owners/leads to assist you in locating new clients.

And some other things you should definitely think about…
– Project management – for tracking your own stuff or working with clients – I use Asana – there is also a free version
– Time tracking – to track how long it takes you to do certain tasks or when tracking your client hours – I use Toggle – also free
– Graphic design – this is for basic edits or for marketing and social media – I use PicMonkey or Canva – there is a free version for each of these platforms