I've done several posts on this blog now about the Virtual Assistant Lifestyle. When everybody else is using the method of hiring VAs to achieve this — well, I AM the VA and I'm living this lifestyle too and reaping the benefits of this industry, making virtual assistance work for me.
But what if you have all the entrepreneurial business owner traits in you — leadership, dedication and determination, yet you don’t actually have any VA skills, how could you possibly start up a business as a Virtual Assistant?
Well, it’s not that difficult. Virtual assistance has really evolved and a lot of new opportunities are opening up to have a very successful VA business, with experienced Virtual Assistants doing the work, but you yourself, can be at the helm of the business, and be captain of your own ship.
Here’s how it works…
First you need to decide on what services you are going to offer. I would never recommend you start a VA business with a service menu that you know nothing about. So for example, don’t start offering web development and SEO unless you have skills and knowledge in this area. It’s too complex and in order to have a successful, high quality VA business, you need to know what you’re talking about. So if this is you, then choose a service which is common, and you can easily set your business up with — something that’s not complex, but which is in demand.
Example Business Model.
Video blogs are popping up EVERYWHERE on the Web these days. A majority of these people would benefit from having their video’s transcribed, with a really quick turn around time. So this is where you can come in, sourcing 2 excellent transcribers, and perhaps 1 proofreader / editor (or perhaps if you possess this skill you could do this part), you could set up a virtual assistant service, for transcribing video’s within 48 hours from the time they come in.
This is just one example, and there are many. You don’t need to possess the actual skill of transcribing to offer this as a service (you need to know your capabilities e.g. how many words per minute your VAs can type), however you do need to have the skill of being able to really select your transcribers and ensure that the intake of clients runs smoothly and the work that is being delivered back is to a very high standard. Some may argue that this is not virtual assistance, but if you are assisting and handling your blog owner clients, and their transcribing, then you are assisting them. If you are doing this online, then you are a virtual assistant.
So how do you now go about providing this skill, when you are not able to transcribe yourself? Let’s say at this stage you have decided that you will set up your service targeting Vlog owners for transcribing their video’s. You then need to find reliable capable virtual assistants who can transcribe. So where do you go?
Option 1: You Can Submit An RFP
You can search for a Virtual Assistant who offers transcribing as a service. You could submit an “RFP” Request For Proposal, detailing the plans of your VA business and what kind of help you need. This could be somewhere like VA Networking or Virtual Assistant Forums.
Option 2: You Can Use A Recruitment Company
I highly recommend using a virtual recruitment or outsourcing service which takes the hassle out of finding virtual assistants for you. This could save you a lot of time. One example is Chris Ducker’s Virtual Staff Finder.
Option 3: You Can Hire A Multi-VA Company or White Label
There many excellent multi-VA companies out there who have a larger capacity for dealing with intake of work. For example, my VA company, Virtual Miss Friday, will offer white label services to select clients and companies, where we can work directly with your clients as if we were your own company. If you are going to do this yourself with another VA company, make sure there is an agreement in place to ensure that discretion is kept at all times.
Option 4: Post A Job
There are many sites out there that have directories of virtual assistants with a whole range of skills, such as Upwork, Freelancer and Outsourcely too. These sites are very “DIY” and it could take you a long time to find the right VA for you. You will need to do several interviews and significant background research, and you will then most certainly need to work with the staff for a period of time (around 3 months minimum) before you offer their services as your own – you need this time to assess their capability, commitment and reliability. This — out of all of them — is the least ideal scenario, but it can work if you are willing to put in a lot of trialling and testing. I have got lucky occasionally and picked the right person first time, but there have been many other occasions where I have wasted a lot of time and I have been disappointed with the staff I was trialling. So use this method as a last resort.
The most vitally important thing to keep in mind is that you must NEVER COMPROMISE ON QUALITY. Find the absolute best staff you can, and then mark up your rate based on whatever it is they charge. If you cut corners on the quality of the work you provide, then your business will suffer as a result of that.
So there you have it, and once you have learnt how to set up and create your Virtual Assistant Business, you can run it in a manner that many entrepreneurs run their businesses, but as you can see, you don’t necessarily need the virtual assistant skills yourself, to make it all happen. You must however always make sure that your clients are not lead to believe you are the one providing the services. Always make it clear that you have a team and you manage that team in order to get their tasks completed.