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How Anyone Can Take Any Offline Business Online As A Virtual Assistant

Michelle Dale - Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Have you ever considered to yourself that the idea of being a virtual assistant appeals, yet because you haven’t evolved from a traditional personal assistant or secretarial background then it would be impossible to know where to begin?

In a post a while back, I explained my interpretation of what a virtual assistant was, and to put it simply, it’s a person, who assists another person online. This means, that based on my interpretation, this could mean many things… To discover your inner virtual assistant, and finally go digital, you can follow this formula and see where it takes you:

  1. What skills do you have (can be anything)?
  2. What passions do you have (interests, hobbies, talents)?
  3. Are they useful to other people? Can people benefit from your skills or passions?
  4. Are they profitable? Would people exchange money for your skills or passions?
  5. Do you enjoy doing them? Can you sustain them on a daily basis?

If you have a passion, then the likelihood is that there other other people out there who can benefit from your passion, whether this be through services, coaching, consulting – or whatever else you can think of.

Most people will believe that they don’t possess a skill which could be utilised online, so I would like to present a scenario of the most unlikely trade or skill I could think of and then show how to take that online.

The most unlikely thing I could think of was plumbing.

Let’s say that Joe is a plumber, and wants to move to Thailand – sure he can try and learn how to speak Thai, and retrain to understand the plumbing business there, but that can take time, so Joe gives up… What are his other options?

1. A negotiation service, people go to him online to negotiate the best prices with local plumbers via email. Of course Joe has the knowledge of how much things cost and what are the best products. So he is in a great position to call up the plumbers in a local area by looking them up online, making a few calls using Skype Out to get some quotes, finding the best price and then arranging the appointment for the client. Who wouldn’t want to pay a fee to someone who can find them the best quality and price for a tradesman, which could save them potentially hundreds or thousands in the future from cowboy plumbers, and arrange everything for them? Joe can continue to work online as if he was based in his home town or country.

2. Joe could also start a blog teaching people how to do basic plumbing jobs themselves, like changing a washer on a washing machine, he could also advise people on the right questions to ask their plumber on the different jobs they may need doing in order to get the best deal, by sounding like they know what they’re talking about.

3. Finally Joe could contact plumbers and negotiate a finders fee for the people who contact him, so he takes a fee from the client, and a fee from the plumbing business for introducing them.

Joe is from the UK, so he can set his entire business to operate “virtually” from the UK, while he’s living in Thailand. Because of his chosen location, he will need to earn a fairly low income to sustain his lifestyle in a much less expensive country.

Consider what you are good at, then brainstorm the many and varied ways you could take your offline passions, and turn them into an online business, assisting people with exactly what they need.

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Hi I'm Michelle, an entrepreneur specialising in virtual assistance, a digital and real world nomad, and a down-to-earth mother of three.

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