Defining a Virtual Assistant: Understanding What the Business Can Do With the growth of virtual assistants has also been a change in what it means to be a virtual assistant. The leaders and founders of this particular entrepreneurial job have made distinctions between what it means to be a virtual assistant, and what it doesn't mean. When you are explaining your business to others, you want to make sure to keep this standard. Being a virtual assistant is becoming a distinct definition of a specific home owned business. It is expected that the standards will be upheld of a virtual assistant for all others who are working in this profession. This means that a virtual assistant is someone who provides a variety of services to businesses and individuals following the standard that has become formalized in the past decade. The first angle that is taken towards approaching what a virtual assistant is includes the idea of being virtual. If you are not working out of your home, or remotely, then you are not considered a virtual assistant. Instead, it is considered to be a temporary job or a telecommuting job. One of the standards for being a virtual assistant is having the freedom to work where you want. The second part to being a virtual assistant is the distinction that is made in the job description. Most virtual assistants will cringe at the idea of being called a secretary or freelance worker. Technically, a freelance worker is one who only does the job for extra income. At the same time, a secretary is one who doesn't do the work continuously with only one client. A virtual assistant is provided in order to create a substantial and long term relationship with a business. The main distinction that most virtual assistants will work towards creating is the idea of being in a relationship with a business, and making this their business. This goes beyond the expectations of any temporary work or telecommuting job. It also means that the services a virtual assistant can provide will go outside of job descriptions that are made in the office. By understanding the standards for being a virtual assistant, you can best approach this in your own relationships with businesses. You're Hired!: How to Find the Perfect Fit for a Virtual Assistant The idea of a virtual assistant is to take away the headaches that you may be having with your business. This may begin with some of the extra work that you have, and may even move into implementing website designs. If you want to make sure that you find the right virtual assistant, you will want to make sure that they have the qualities you need in order to function at their best. Just like a job interview, you want to make sure that a virtual assistant is presentable and professional in what they do. Even if they are doing work behind the scenes, they are representing your business. Because of this, you should examine their manners and professionalism before you hire them. If you are unsure of how to begin, there are several practical things to look into. A virtual assistant will begin their presentation virtually. This means that any virtual assistant will have a website. You will want to make sure the website is organized, presentable, and informational on who they are and what they do. The website is their first presentation, and often times reflect their personality. From here, you will want to meet with the virtual assistant, or at least call them, to make sure that they are a good fit. By simply putting together some questions about what you need, you will be able to see if the virtual assistant will work for you. They should be able to consult with you at a professional level. Everything from answering the phone properly to providing you with quality answers is important. This includes everything from confidence to articulation in the conversation. Of course, you will also want to make sure that your virtual assistant has the proper experience. This begins with education, but can also include a variety of other things. There are virtual assistant certifications that are available for serious businesses. Even if they are just starting out, this will help them to show they are professional. They should also have some knowledge or association with the Virtual Assistance Chamber of Commerce. If you want to make sure that your virtual assistant will work well for you and present the company in a professional manner, then you will also want to make sure that they are confident, articulate and experienced with what they are doing. This will give you the ability to find someone who you know will work well with what you provide. Working Through the Hierarchy: Virtual Staffing Agencies Finding the right virtual assistant to get the job done is important for your success. You have already determined that for the project or maintenance that you need to have done for your business, it would be best to find someone that will help with what you need. However, finding the right person for the job is important to determine before making the leap of signing the contracts. If you want to make sure that you find the right virtual assistant, you can examine a variety of possibilities. One of the areas that you can look is through virtual staffing agencies. These particular agencies will have individual virtual assistants working with them that specialize in different areas. By using an agency, you will have the ability to get exactly who you need in order to get the job done. One of the abilities of virtual staffing agencies is that you don't necessarily have to work through one person. If you have a variety of projects that need to be done, you can find different specialists in all of these areas. By doing this, you will have the ability to combine the efforts of several individuals in order to get the job done. Of course, if you decide to use the virtual staffing agencies for even one person or project, you will have the ability to be ensured of quality. Because each virtual assistant is working under another person, you will be able to be certain that the assistant will have the right credentials, and already has proven themselves in the virtual assistant network. This will allow you to be assured that the person is right for what you need. Using a virtual staffing agency to find the right person is a way to network and find the right person for the job. Keeping the options open towards virtual staffing agencies is one of the ways to ensure that you will get the best for your business and individual needs. Working Options: Setting Your Schedule as a Virtual Assistant Becoming a virtual assistant as a profession requires organization. This doesn't just mean organization for your clients it also means organizing your needs and wants. One of the most important considerations that you should make is how to work your options for the organization you want. This includes setting your schedule so that you are happy with the work load you are carrying. For some virtual assistants, work can become overwhelming with what needs to be done. Some assistants will work from twelve to fourteen hour days in order to get everything done. This may not be plausible for you, especially if you are just beginning. The important thing to keep in mind is that there are options for you to organize your time as you want. The first thing you want to decide is how you want your time to be organized. You can define whether you want to work full-time or part-time. You can also determine whether you want to be a virtual assistant as a way to quit your day job, or simply to supplement income. If you are starting out, you will especially want to determine how to work this specific aspect. You can keep your job and also work as a virtual assistant. It is simply determining the hours that you want to work. As soon as you know exactly how you want to organize your time, make sure that your clients know. This way, they will understand when to reach you and when you are off duty. This will also help you in making sure that you don't receive a phone call in the middle of the night asking for paper work for a business. Keeping organized with your time is one of the many secrets to being a virtual assistant. By doing this, you will be giving yourself the ability to be your own business, instead of being someone else's business. It is up to you to set your own standards from the beginning, in order to ensure your success in the end. What Is Your Motive? Quality or Quantity With the growing popularity of virtual assistants as an opportunity for entrepreneurs is also the need for defining what the policies and potentials of a virtual assistant service is. Whether you are a provider of these services, or someone looking for services, the intentions behind what is offered is one of the most important moves you can make for a business. From the first client to the fiftieth, gaining new business is important and exciting. After you have your first client, you will begin to see the potentials that your virtual assistant business can reach to. This includes expanding services, offering more to more people and organizing your time so that you can be sure to include a variety of businesses. However, before making the giant leap of too many clients, you want to make sure you are on track with your vision. The main reason why it is important to keep yourself in check is because it is easy to gain bragging rights. If you are a virtual assistant, you can easily say that you have a certain number of clients, and along with those clients come dollar signs that can be addictive. The more quantity you build; however, the less you are able to offer with your virtual assistant services. The most important thing to keep in mind when balancing your services with quantity is to find the right clients who are willing to respect the quality of work that you do. It is better to have fewer clients who are willing to pay a little more and truly value your service. If you begin to get overwhelmed with work, don't say no to a client. Instead, help them by directing them to either your virtual assistant team or a network that can provide the same quality. It is okay to say no. No matter what phase of the game you are in for your business, you want to make sure that your intention is right. Keeping a good service should always come before keeping a lot of service. This will help you to be successful in whatever business endeavors you decide to pursue with your virtual assistant ownership. The Beginning of a New Job Description: History of Virtual Assistants The idea of working for yourself at a home is a concept that has become popular for many. For those who want to become independent, work on their own time, or want a part time job, they have also worked towards finding new job opportunities that will ensure their success. One of the growing jobs that are available is a virtual assistant. This particular job profession, from its beginnings, has grown into a popular method for earning income at home. Virtual assistants are known to be one of the fastest growing job professions right now. In the United States there are roughly over 2,000 individuals working at home as virtual assistants. It is expected that this number will continue to rise in the years to come. Even though the numbers may be small, looking at the short history of virtual assistants shows the effectiveness of this job opportunity. The idea of creating outside secretarial services for companies began in the 1970s. This particular era was the beginning towards ideas of being an entrepreneur and finding outside options for success. The idea of being a virtual assistant linked directly into this. By the year 1992, one known by the name of Stacy Brice began to work as a secretary for companies. However, she quickly learned that it would be more effective to expand her services into more assistance. By the year 1996, the idea of being a virtual assistant was officially in effect. Not only did Stacy Brice continue to create a model that would be effective for businesses, but also began to promote virtual assistance through a creation of various portals. In a time frame of two years, this particular company went from a home office to a large idea for business. 1998 was met with the Global Association of Virtual Assistants as well as a growth in companies for the particular assistance. In a time frame of ten years, virtual assistance has grown from a one person job to an entity that is popular around the world. Not only does this include individuals who find a profession in the job, but also programs such as certification to be a virtual assistant. By creating the standards needed for out of office work, the history of being a virtual assistant has led to success for many. Tapping Into the Other Line: Networking as a Virtual Assistant Working for yourself can be filled with life lessons and changes that need to be made. As you take on your few jobs, you will begin to realize that there are certain things that may need polishing or changing. Why reinvent the wheel with what you provide to others? Instead, you can become involved with networks that can help you to get where you need to go. The best way to become involved in networks is by getting involved with those who have been practicing being a virtual assistant for years and who have the knowledge about the best way to work things. This will allow you to expand your services into a more professional presentation towards others. Not only will the virtual assistants who are experienced provide insight on a variety of virtual assistant sites, but they also will offer ways for you to link to others who are working in your profession. Most of the virtual assistants will have forums, classes and conferences that will help you to find people who are going through the same things that you are in the virtual assistant business. The major idea of networking is to find others that are working like you and who are facing the same types of things. This will allow you to find solutions for things as well as pick up on some of the things that you missed when setting your business up. Even though being a virtual assistant means that you are usually working on your own, you can still build a community and network with others in order to liven up your own workspace. Getting to know others in the virtual assistant business is one of the great ways to make sure that you succeed. By doing this, you will be enabling yourself to build your business effectively. The community of virtual assistants is one large virtual team that is willing to work together and help those that are involved in the business of providing services for other. Taking the Next Call: Virtual Assistants as Administrative Assistants Your schedule is busy and hectic. Not only is it busy, but it is becoming even more stressful. You have fifty things to do in one day, but most of the time, these are interrupted by talking on the phone or having to take in service calls. Happy with the problem, you decide that it is time to expand. In your expansion, you look at the option of hiring an administrative assistant. However, this takes paperwork, the need to have someone in an office space all of the time, and complicated factors, such as payroll. An alternative that seems to be more effective is a virtual assistant. By doing this, you will have the ability to get all of the administration taken care of, without having to worry about hiring an actual employee. The ability to use a virtual assistant as an administrative assistant is as simple as making sure that there is an understanding of the vision of your business. A virtual assistant will be able to take in all of the calls that you need, answer e-mails, send faxes, and do any type of secretariat work that you did. They can also do some of the simpler tasks, such as keep track of appointments and pick up the mail so that you don't have to worry about it. This way, you don't have to worry about any of the administrative needs and can simply focus on offering services. One of the important parts to keep in mind about hiring a virtual assistant as an administrative assistant is that there will be an expectation to create a partnership. This is because the virtual assistant, while working remotely, will be working continuously with you. This is an important thing to keep in mind, especially if you are looking for administrative duties that include more personal needs, such as handling reservations and appointments. If you want to take out the small stuff for your daily schedule, then finding a virtual assistant is a good key. This will allow you and your business to take a step up without the problem of being scattered because of the lack of time. If you want someone who will offer you the best of an office without an office, a virtual assistant is the one who can put in the paperwork for you. Taking Out the Trash: Concierge Services and Virtual Assistants There are several services and approaches that can be made through the job description of a virtual assistant. Depending on your specialty and field, you can use any sets of skills in order to create a relationship with several clients. One of the possibilities is to use concierge services as one of your basis' for being a virtual assistant. Concierge services are technically defined as different business endeavors than being a virtual assistant. However, sometimes the job descriptions will overlap between services. If you are good at doing the small things, then being a virtual assistant and concierge service is a definite possibility. A concierge service is one that will work on putting together details for an individual or business. They will often be the ones to book travel arrangements or appointments for businesses. They also will do things such as run errands take in dry cleaning, and a variety of other smaller jobs. The idea of a concierge service is to handle the things that an individual or business doesn't have time to do, so that everything can run smoothly. One of the approaches that many concierge services will use is to offer missing links to companies. Some concierge services will focus this on things such as entertainment. If you decide to do this, you will have the ability to provide event planning as well as services that link to providing information on things such as a vacation. If you want to provide services in different areas, this is another option for a virtual assistant with a branch of concierge services. If you are good at arranging time and have the resources to get things done fast, then providing concierge services as a virtual assistant can be beneficial. This will allow you to fill in the smaller gaps as well as providing larger management services to companies. By covering all of the bases you will be able to ensure that the individuals you work with have a partnership with you on all levels. Studying the Math: Credibility of a Virtual Assistant Just like a job interview, most business owners will want to examine the credibility of a virtual assistant before they decide to sign a contract with them. Just like a resume, most business owners will want to make sure that the credentials are available for the virtual assistant. This will help to define how good they will be for the work that you are asking them to do. There are several ways to define the credibility of a virtual assistant. There are no set standards for an assistant, meaning that the number one credential should be in your confidence to have them do the work, and in their confidence to do the work effectively. Having the personality and understanding the vision should be one of the number one considerations for a virtual assistant. Beyond this, there are a variety of possibilities for a virtual assistant. One of the growing credentials for an assistant is the certification for a virtual assistant. However, this is not a required credential. It will simply allow the virtual assistant to gain the knowledge that they need in order to expand their abilities. Some will, instead, have credibility related to schooling or certification from things such as computer programming. There is also the possibility that they belong to the Virtual Assistant Chamber of Commerce as a member, or the national and international associations. This will help you to define whether they are virtual assistants, and will help you to see their seriousness in their job. One of the other determining options that you can look into is the years of experience that the virtual assistant has. You can expect that a smoother job is going to be done with someone who has at least five years of experience in what they are marketing. Unless you have worked with virtual assistants before and know that they can do the job by your standards without that much experience, it is best to make sure they have some experience. If you want to make sure that your business has the best reputation, then you also want to make sure that you have the right person working for you on the pieces to the puzzle. Having a virtual assistant with the required credentials is one of the necessary parts to helping you put together the whole of your business. Signing the Line: Contracts and Forms in Virtual Assistance One of the most important parts of becoming involved with a virtual assistant is making sure that the final offers are clear. This means that all of the contract work and forms should be understood and signed by both sides. This will prevent any problems from occurring later on, and will help to define all of the terms of services that you need. There are a variety of forms that a virtual assistant may decide to use, all which will make a difference in the type of services that are negotiated between you and the virtual assistant. The first of these that you may see is a retainer agreement. Basically, this will let you know what the work is and will define what the important aspects of the work will be, whether long term or just with a project. If you are only working with the virtual assistant with one project, you may be looking at different forms. Most likely, a per-project agreement will be looked at, which will define the terms and conditions of the project. Most likely, this will be signed once a year, and will be used if you are only using the virtual assistant occasionally. From this point, you may also be signing other alternative agreements. Confidentiality agreements may be important to consider if you have the virtual assistant working with paperwork in your office. Non-solicitation and non-competition agreements can also be looked over with a virtual assistant. This will ensure that a virtual assistant that only works with you every once in a while won't go and tell someone else what your business is doing, causing you to be in conflict with competition. Depending on the type of work you will need from the virtual assistant, you will want to make sure that you have the proper forms to sign. Having the agreements clear and legal between you and the virtual assistant will help you to make sure that everything is done correctly from the beginning to the assistance that you need. Setting Up the Plan: Building Your Virtual Assistant Business You have decided to make a career move that you know will benefit you. You want to make sure that you can offer the best services to people, and that it provides a substantial income for your household. You have decided to do this by creating your own virtual assistants business. You have found something that you would love to do for businesses, and know that it will provide you with the freedom that you want. However, it is also important for you to begin to establish your look in order to bring the right customers to your site. If you are beginning to build a virtual assistant business, you want to make sure that you are seen in a professional light. This will ensure that you get the right customers, and will provide you with the ability to create better quality services with each customer. This will begin by designing a website. This is the first impression that you will give most people, making it important that you do what is needed. After this, you will want to make sure that you are verified. Finding certification programs as well as finding the national and international associations to belong to can help you to find the right customers. Of course, this will occur more over time. By beginning to build your reputation through the right education and networks, you can begin to find customers for your business. The first thing to any business is making sure that everything is set up with the right effort and with the right look. Image is everything when someone first visits a website. Because of this, it is important to make sure that all of the details are taken care of and all of the credentials are in place. This will help you to target the right people into using your services. Seeing in the Back of Your Head: Understanding Virtual Assistance through Business Visions Every business has a vision of what it wants to be and where it wants to go. At times, this business may only be one person. However, they have taken the step of being the business, which means they want to get somewhere and do something. If you are working as your own business with other businesses, you want to make sure you see both sides of the story. As a business owner, you begin with a vision. Once this vision starts to be reached, you can begin to expand into seeing the broader picture. Typically, this will be when you hire a virtual assistant. However, hiring a virtual assistant doesn't just mean understanding your own vision. It also means understanding the vision of the virtual assistant. As a virtual assistant, this same scenario also applies. It is your responsibility to understand what every business owner needs and where you can fill in the gaps. This is the best way to offer service at a good quality. While there are limits to what you can say and offer, there are also great ways to see at the same level as the business you are working towards. No matter what side of the coin you are on, this is the best way to work with or as a virtual assistant. This is the beginning to creating a great business partnership and working towards the goals together. Beyond the contracts, the terms and policies, is the understanding of the overall vision. By doing this, it will allow one who is a virtual assistant to work towards quality in their business. Being a virtual assistant or a business owner at any level begins with a mission and vision statement. This same mission and vision needs to be focused on whenever someone else is brought into the larger picture for assistance. This will help everyone involved to work towards the potentials of each small or large business owner. Saving the Pennies: Pricing a Virtual Assistant If you are a smart business owner, you know the questions that are important to ask before you get involved in anything. One of the common questions that you have probably grown familiar to asking is "how much will this cost me?" Knowing how much each service will cost with a virtual assistant can help you to define what you want and need done and what isn't essential to get done. Most virtual assistants will price their services by the hour. The only exception to this is if it is only one project that has a standard pricing, such as websites. The hourly charge that a virtual assistant will provide will most likely be in relation to the type of services they offer, the going rate of virtual assistants and the materials that will need to be provided for the services. For basic services from a virtual assistant, you can expect to pay an average of $30 per hour. This is standard from the Virtual Assistant Chamber of Commerce. However, if the services are more advanced, such as event planning, you can expect to pay up to $75 per hour. Even though this is more than a hired administrative assistant, you can expect to save money with these prices. The reason why the pricing is set like this is because of the work that is done for you. Most likely, a virtual assistant will not be working for you eight hours a day. They also will not be working consistently throughout the week. When you factor this into how much work you need, you will be paying less than part-time assistance with the pricings. Included in the pricings are also things such as phone lines, supplies and other needs that the virtual assistant may have. If you want to make sure that you get the best price for a virtual assistant, then you only have to see what types of services are included in the pricing. By knowing the standard pricings, and defining whether you will save money or loose money, you can determine the best way to save your pennies, while getting the quality work that you will need. Reading In Between the Lines: Using Virtual Assistants for Writing and Transcription Hiring a virtual assistant has endless possibilities. Depending on what you need, you can easily find an assistant that will provide you with the best services and quality, without taking any extra time or money from your business or from you. One of the possibilities for a virtual assistant is using them for writing and transcription. This will allow you to bring your business to a different level. There a variety of virtual assistants, all that focuses on different things for their business. One of the common businesses with virtual assistants is writing and transcription. This particular field of expertise in a virtual assistant can provide you with a variety of things from a script and into writing. The first set of services that a virtual assistant may offer with their writing and transcription is the basics of writing. This can be everything from article writing to copy editing and proof reading. There are a large number of writers who are working as virtual assistants and can give you quality work. If you need things such as press releases for your business or newsletter publishing for a website, you can hire a virtual assistant to help with what you need. Some virtual assistants will focus on different options for writing services. One of the common abilities for many virtual assistants is transcription. If you have something that you have recorded and need the writing in a form such as Word, you can easily use a virtual assistant to take the recording and type in everything, word for word. You can also do this if you need something recorded live, such as a meeting. Many virtual assistants will be available to take diction or record notes that you may need to have available to you. Whether it is simple typing or press releases, the right virtual assistant can help. By hiring a virtual assistant for writing of any type, you will have the ability to make your business more noticeable and will continue to stay organized. The idea of a virtual assistant that focuses on the words is to hire them to keep everything in writing. Putting Your Virtual Assistant to Check: An Ethics Check for Virtual Assistants With the growing popularity of virtual assistants are also systematic approaches to making sure that the clients receive the best. This helps to keep the virtual assistants honorable and in check with what needs to be done for customers. If you are looking at a potential virtual assistant, you can check their code of ethics to make sure that they are following what needs to be done. The code of ethics is one that was established by the International Virtual Assistants Association (IVAA). This particular group is a non-profit organization that works for virtual assistants to establish their businesses. One of the main parts of the group is to offer a set of certifications and programs that can be used to help develop the business of virtual assistants. The code of ethics that is provided by the IVAA is not only something that virtual assistants should follow. It also provides certifications that help to determine whether one understands these ethics. This consists of an examination that is taken for ethics. If the virtual assistant passes, they are certified in the ethics check. The code of ethics consists of a variety of things. This begins with integrity and honesty when dealing with a client. This includes preventing conflict that may put one's business at risk. It also includes ensuring that the work done by the virtual assistant is completed while using the knowledge that they have in technology and administrative assistance. This particular code is centered on establishing a responsible and professional atmosphere for virtual assistants. If you want to make sure that your virtual assistant is linked to the right methods, than seeing if they have passed the ethics check is a beginning. You can also see if they are a member of the IVAA. Both of these particular credentials can help you to determine whether a virtual assistant is seriously in the business and can help you in what you are doing. Putting Together the Figures: Virtual Assistants and Database Management One of the abilities of using a virtual assistant is to have possibilities for maintenance care without having to spend your own time at the desk. No matter what the project or time period, a virtual assistant can help you to find better solutions. An area of expertise that many virtual assistants can help with is database management. Database management can include anything from maintaining records that come in every month to handling databases for things such as web portals. By doing this, they give you possibilities for opening up your schedule and keeping accurate records at the same time. No matter what type of extra things you need to put into the file, a virtual assistant can help. Most virtual assistants will be familiar with specific types of database management portals. You will want to make sure that the program they use is similar to the one that you can best access. Most likely, databases will be maintained in something such as Microsoft Excel or Microsoft Access. However, there are other possibilities that will offer better maintenance. For example, SQL may be a better option for virtual assistants to maintain a website. Making sure you know about the program is important for better maintenance. Another important part of getting a virtual assistant to work with the right database management is to understand exactly how you want things to be organized. This doesn't just include knowing the categories. You should also be prepared to say how often you want the database managed, have an idea of what this work will take, and have the ability to communicate about the best possibilities for what you want. This will allow you to work with your virtual assistant as a team and create a job description that will be effective for both of you. The basis for database management relies on the computer programs that are used as well as the type of organizational structure that you need. By making sure you have all the notes on how to approach database management, you can effectively use a virtual assistant for all of your organization needs. Project Based Contracts: Hiring a Virtual Assistant for Short Term Work There are two major ways that you can work with a virtual assistant. The first of these is with management projects, which are done over a long period of time. The second of these is based off of short term work, where you simply hire a virtual assistant for a shorter term project that you will need. Depending on the state of your business, you can determine the time allotment for your virtual assistant. There are two types of ways that you can approach short term work with a virtual assistant. Both of these will make a difference in the type of contract that you decide to sign with the assistant, as well as the types of projects you will have your virtual assistant for. Of course, even if you are only hiring a virtual assistant for a short period of time, you can always use the assistant in the future, as they will be familiar with the company and its needs. The first type of short term work that you can hire a virtual assistant for is with maintenance that will only need to be updated a few times a year. For example, if you have specific book keeping that you will need to have maintained once every quarter, a virtual assistant can work on this and consider it a short term project. Most likely, this will be considered a per-project agreement between you and the assistant. The second type of short term work will be for when you need extra help for a specific time of year. Often times, virtual assistants will be hired for an event that is taking place or for an extra busy time of the year. This will allow the extra customer service and maintenance that is needed to be taken care of. There is also the possibility to hire a virtual assistant to do a short term project, such as build a website without the maintenance. This will allow you to find the best solutions for the extra push your business may need. No matter what type of extra help you need, you can find a virtual assistant who can catch onto the vision and help you to reach your goal. No matter what the time frame is, you can easily find a virtual assistant who has the ability to do what is needed for your company. Overcoming the Competition: The Unique Culture of Virtual Assistants Everyone is familiar with the idea of being 'business like' or cut throat in the corporate world. These are common terms that define what it means to be competitive and to stay ahead with services in whichever type of business you are in. However, the tides are changing. The competition that is now in place is not the same as it has traditionally been through businesses. It is no longer necessary to have a business attitude that cuts everyone else out of the picture. This is especially true if you are working towards being your own boss as a virtual assistant. There is enough work to go around for everyone, and if you work hard enough at it, you can get ahead, while creating a network instead of a competition. One of the abilities that you have as a virtual assistant is to belong to a completely different culture of people. Virtual assistants don't have the need to be cut throat or corporate. Instead, they can be cooperative. This is because every virtual assistant will most likely be concentrating on a specific niche. This is one that is probably not provided by others in the community, meaning that assistants can work together to provide a better network and set of services. Being cooperative also means uniting together with other virtual assistants in order to get the job done. Many who have worked as virtual assistants for years will say that it is not necessarily about having the skills it is about knowing how to get the work done for a client. Instead of being competitive, you can create a pact with other virtual assistants who are focused in different fields. By doing this, you will have the ability to work together for the client and better service. The culture of virtual assistants is opposite of what most would see in other fields of work. There is a strong network and desire to support others for success. By looking into virtual assistant networks that are in your community or are remote, you can begin to build a team that will work together to keep everyone in the business. Outside of the Office: Establishing Working Relationships with a Virtual Assistant The idea of being virtual and working for someone is a newer concept to most. The inception of this idea was only thirty years ago, with the concept only becoming popular in the last two decades. Because of this, there are new rules that are being required to be set for how to work with those that aren't in the office. If you have signed a contract with a virtual assistant, you will want to make sure that you have a checklist for keeping the relationship strong. The difficulty of working with a virtual assistant is that there won't be as much communication. You won't see them in the office every day, and there won't be the ability to simply walk across the room to see how things are going. Not only this, but most likely, a virtual assistant won't necessarily be working only for you, depending on the amount of work that you decide to give them. If you have hired a virtual assistant you will still want to keep in touch and make sure that everything is communicated properly. An occasional e-mail or telephone call just to see how things are going on the other end of the business can help to keep things clear. This will also ensure that what you want to get done with your business is receiving the attention that it deserves. Beyond this, you will want to make sure that the relationship between you and the virtual assistant is strong. Even though they are working for you, there should be comfort levels that are reached, even before a project starts. This will give the assistant the room to ask you questions needed and will help them to strive for better quality. If you are working towards hiring a virtual assistant, you will want to make sure that the communication is in place. Talking to the person on the other end every once in a while and supporting a comfortable working relationship are essential to making sure that all of the work is done smoothly. Managing the Paperwork: What You need to Set Up as a Virtual Assistant For most virtual assistants, starting a business simply means finding a client. After you do the work or management for them you get a check in the mail, right? Actually, there is much more to being a virtual assistant and to providing your services to individuals. If you want to make sure that you have everything set up correctly, you will also want to make sure that you have the paperwork filled out correctly. Unless you want to have problems with end of the year taxes, you want to make sure that the basics are taken care of. This begins with making sure that all of the cash flow statements are correct. You should be keeping track, through invoices, of all of the money that you are making. You should also be keeping track of all of the money that you are spending for things such as office supplies. This will essentially determine how much you will have to pay the government at the end of the year. Beyond this, the money you are spending will give you tax breaks for your business. You will also want to keep track of your clients; meaning that you should become aware of who they are, what types of services they are using from you, and any other details that may relate to jobs that you provide for them. If you ever have continuous jobs or a project that needs to be done two years after you have worked with a client, you don't want to be asking them questions. Keeping track of who someone is and what they provide can help you to provide better services. The idea of keeping paperwork as a virtual assistant is one that will allow you to not forget about the details while continuing to do the work. By doing this, you will have the ability to provide the best services, as well as provide services for yourself that are essential to your success. Being a virtual assistant for all of your management needs is just as important as being an assistant to someone else. Making it Clear: Giving Your Virtual Assistant the Information They Need When one is hired for a job, it is expected that the first two weeks will be for training. This will allow the person to become familiar with the job and to understand all of the details that are a part of the description. If you have decided to work with a virtual assistant, this may not be the case. Whether it is a project or long term maintenance, it is important to provide the information that is needed. The first few times that you work with a virtual assistant, you should expect that the communication will be partly about the training into the job. It will be important that you let the assistant know what your business is all about. This includes allowing them to see the vision of the business, let them know the details of what you do, and allow them to see how you are running. From here, you will need to make sure that you have an idea of what you want from the virtual assistant. For example, if you are telling them to answer the phones for you, make sure that they will answer it with your business name. This also means that you should provide them with some general information that may be related to the business. By doing this, you will have the ability to keep a professional look, even on the first day of the job. Most likely, you will not have problems with the training. Because virtual assistants work for several people, they know the routine of the first few days. You can not only expect to provide a fast training. Most virtual assistants will have a list of questions that they will ask their clients when they are hired. This allows them to catch onto the job quickly, and will save you if you miss any of the details. Making business decisions and passing them to a virtual assistant is one of the ways that you can be sure to keep your business image the way that you want to. By doing this, you will have the ability to pass the business to someone who has had some quick training and can make sure to uphold the quality of service that you want to offer. Learning to Value Your Own Work: What It Takes to Offer Virtual Assistant Services If you are working as your own boss, you understand what it means to offer things with good quality and for a good rate. It is important to build your business and offer the services that you want. In the beginning, and sometimes even in the end, it is difficult to determine how you should value your services. Not being afraid of what to charge is one of the important aspects of being a successful virtual assistant. When you are beginning, it is easy to say that $30 for an hour is too high. This may be especially true if you are beginning by working for a friend or with a long term client. Most likely, it will be easier to give them a deal or to alter your prices in order to help them out. This; however, is one of the largest mistakes you can make as a beginning business. One of the first things you need to determine with your work is the value that you put on your service. This is important because it will define what types of people you work for. You need to recognize that it is others who are coming for your services. You are not going out and searching for them. You should also keep in mind that you are your own business. This means that you need to value and rate everything so that you can succeed, while helping them to succeed. Your services are more invaluable than you think, both for yourself and for the client. Even if you are working for a friend, you want to make sure to create a policy of fair payment. No matter what the circumstances, it is important to define your services and to place a dollar bill on them. Underrating yourself will make you unsuccessful in the long run. You will find people who will take advantage of what you have to offer, mostly because they see you as cheap. Making sure this doesn't happen, means being fair with your services and your prices. Learning to work as your own boss means seeing your services as a product. You will need to rate what you would pay to have the same thing done. This will help you to make sure that you get the right clients and the right quality. It is always important to have the confidence in your business that allows you to say that you are worth more.
Learning to Not Underestimate Materials: The Value of Service If you have a product, it is easy to put a dollar sign on it. You can simply take the time that it took to put the product together, as well as the amount of materials, and multiply everything together. However, the virtual assistant business doesn't work like this. Instead of being valued by a product, you are being valued by a service. Learning to estimate your value as a service is one of the keys to your success. Unlike a product, a service offers a different arrangement of things. While someone is still paying you for your time, they are also paying you for your knowledge. This is the substitute to the product materials that they would have been paying for. Some have heard the saying that knowledge is power, and is immeasurable. This makes it difficult for some to put a price on the knowledge and services that they are offering. One of the easiest ways to approach your value to service is to simply go by the standards. Several have defined what it is worth to have a virtual assistant service. These are the leaders in the group who know exactly what it takes to be the right hand of a business. This is the easiest way to define what your services and your knowledge is worth. Beyond this, you want to make sure that you don't underestimate your services. This means that you are confident in your pricing and are willing to keep the set dollar, no matter what the circumstances. This will help you to establish standard as well as good relationships with businesses. Not compromising your standard is one of the important parts of offering your service. Even though the end result of your particular business may not be seen through a new set of things, your service is still invaluable. By pricing your knowledge, and making sure that you keep to your standards and policies, you will be able to find quality customers and can provide quality service. Sticking to the price is one of the important parts of being effective with your virtual assistant business. Learning How to Hire Yourself: Becoming a Virtual Assistant There are a variety of personal reasons why one wants to become a virtual assistant. Everything from having the freedom to define your own hours to entering a career field that you might enjoy are two of several reasons why some move into the world of being a virtual assistant. If you are beginning to think about beginning your entrepreneur endeavor as an assistant, you can begin by following some basic steps. The first thing that you will want to consider is exactly what you will provide as a virtual assistant. This can be anything from administrative assistant work to web design. This will help you to target the right clients and to find what you need to in order to succeed. It is recommended that you find a niche by defining two or three things that you will do with your virtual assistant services. This will drive the right people to your company. The next thing that you will need to do is research. This will begin with finding that is in your community and what they might need. It also includes finding who your competition is and how you can remain unique from their services. By knowing the outside environment, you will be able to determine what you need. From here, you will want to decide on what you need. This will begin with making a business plan. Decide on your overall goals, and determine how you will meet them. In relation to this, think about your budget to spend to begin the virtual assistant business. You will also want to think about how much you want to make and how long you want to work each day. These will all help you to decide what types of services you should offer. By setting your goals in the right place, and knowing what you can offer to provide the best, you can begin to step forward into your success. This will give you permission to move out of the office and into your own set of rules. Beginning by setting your own rules is what will determine your success for years to come. Keeping Control of Your Work: How to Keep Policies in Place for Virtual Assistants In a business relationship, there are two ways to approach what is done. The first is to have someone else keep control of the situation. In these relationships, you will be working for someone, while they dictate to you what should be done. The second approach is where you have the control of the situation and build a complete partnership between the two parties. Your approach towards your virtual assistant business will be one to determine your success. The idea of keeping the control of your business is important and essential for your success. Take for instance; you decide to let someone else control what is happening. They will be able to tell you when you are paid, what you will do, how fast you will do it and what is required for the project. As a virtual assistant, you may know this isn't true, but you simply sign the dotted line and let things happen. Most likely, you will be doing extra work for less money and will not be able to have time to build your services. By keeping control of the situation, you are able to approach someone and make a complete partnership. This means that you will communicate effectively with the parties from the beginning. You will let them understand your services and what you are about. You will make sure that they understand the credentials that you have and how you approach the services in quality. You should also work towards asking questions and being interested in the business partner you are working with. Beyond this, you can make sure that you define what your policies and standards are. Contracts are a good way to make sure that this is done. Once something is in writing, and has to be agreed to, it will tell all about what the customer's intentions are. The major concept is to get everything out in the open up front. Everything from letting someone know an estimate of how much something will cost to defining your terms and policies will make for a better partnership. If you want to keep control of a situation as a virtual assistant, it means that you have the leadership and ownership to build your business from policies and standards. You also will have the ability to communicate openly and effectively from the beginning. Doing this is an important part of making sure that your business succeeds for everyone's benefit. How to Avoid Major Pitfalls: Beginning Mistakes of Virtual Assistants Whether becoming a virtual assistant is your first endeavor at being an entrepreneur, or your tenth try at getting out of a job, you want to make sure that you succeed. There are several who recommend different philosophies and ideas on what it takes to become successful in what you are doing. However, you want to make sure that in the process you are keeping yourself in check and avoiding the pitfalls. There are several mistakes that a beginning virtual assistant can make. Eventually, these may lead to complications in your business, or a complete failure of the business. Most likely, you can expect the first year to two years to be the most difficult. This is because you will need to determine your organizational structure, policies and needs for success. If one of these slips, even slightly, it means that you will have to bounce back up and start over again. The major way to avoid pitfalls in your virtual assistant business is to make policies and to stick to them. If you are unsure about what to do and how to do this, you can simply find the wheel that has already been used. There are several places that are guiding virtual assistants into becoming more prominent. In the process, they will let you know how to avoid your failure when you are starting. The policies you know you will want to look into include the customer relations that you will build. It also includes finding the best solutions for contracts, work ethic and standards you need to uphold. Beyond this, it will let you know what you need to do in order to be effective in creating your boundaries on what you will or will not do as a virtual assistant. If you link to any type of business, you know that the heart of the matter is in the vision and the policies. By defining your own policies for service, you will be able to find the best customers and will avoid the downfall that many beginning businesses run into. The terms of service that you create are the ones that will stabilize your success for years. Guidance to the Virtual World: Virtual Assistant Directories It seems so simple to be in a traditional business world. You simply put an ad out for someone to fulfill a job position. One by one, you see who is most credible and confident for the position, eventually hiring the person of your choice. However, things are beginning to run differently, making it necessary to find different ways to find people. If you are looking for a right hand person to help with the business, but have decided to go the untraditional route of a virtual assistant, you will want to make sure that you know exactly where to go. The job interview for a virtual assistant is not located in an office, but is also located virtually, meaning that the way to find the assistance is different. There are a few ways that you can find the right virtual assistant. The first is to look locally. This means that you can look at either Internet portals that advertise local companies with connections to websites. You can also look at other local directories that you know will have the right advertisements for you to find a virtual assistant. Most likely, virtual assistants who are working in the business individually will be listed through these different areas. Another option that you can follow is to look at directories that have been made for virtual assistants that are qualified. The Virtual Assistants Chamber of Commerce is one specific area that has virtual assistant directories. In order to be listed in this directory, one will have to have a certain amount of experience and will also have to be a member of the Chamber of Commerce. Finding the right virtual assistant directories simply means looking into the most well known areas for virtual assistants. There are a variety of areas that are available, all which can help to get you to the right person. Going through a job interview virtually is what will help you to move into an untraditional method of working with someone; virtually. Getting the Help You Need Virtually: Defining a Virtual Assistant For those who work hard in their company or personal life, you know that it is difficult to keep up with all of the routines. There are fifty million things to accomplish in one day with too little time and too few people to help. If you want to begin saving time, you can invest in a virtual assistant. This will help you to take some of the extra things off of your plate. A virtual assistant is someone that is hired to a company or an individual on contract. Most likely, they will be hired by a variety of people or areas that need extra help in order to hold together the details of the company. Most virtual assistants will work in a variety of job positions, from administrative to technical to creative. Most likely, a virtual assistant will advertise themselves in an area of expertise. For example, some assistants will simply focus on creating technical contracts with others. Most likely, these assistants will be focused on designing websites for you, as well as maintaining the website or database after it has been finished. The job description that a virtual assistant writes for themselves is dependent on the angle that they focus on for gaining clients. One of the benefits of being or working with a virtual assistant is with the idea that they are virtual. This means that they will work for you from their own home office. This also means that they will work with a variety of companies. This allows you to only pay for the work that you need as well as find someone who will only do the extra tasks that you can't seem to fulfill. If you need an extra helping hand, the place to turn to is a virtual assistant. This particular contracted job is an easy way to get the extra work load taken care of. By getting a virtual assistant, you will be able to keep your business flowing without having to do the extra work or hire another full time employee. A virtual assistant is one who can ensure that the loose ends are tied together. Getting It In the File: Becoming an Entity as a Virtual Assistant Just when you think you have everything set up, there is some other detail that you may have found has been left out of the picture. As a beginning business, you want to make sure that you get everything in the profile that you need. This doesn't just include building a network or marketing plan. It also means that you need to do the behind the scenes work and set up your credibility as a business. One of the most important parts of setting up your own home business as an entrepreneur is to set up the paperwork as a credible business with the government. This will give you the ability to find the best way to organize your paperwork. This will mostly include taxes, but will also categorize your business in a specific area for success. The major difference between the types of entities is how they claim to be structured. The structure that they have will then determine the percentage of taxes they can file as well as what types of deductions can be received by the company. The estimates of the business taxes will be determined by the entity that you claim to be. Entities are also important in determining how the overall structure of your business can be run. Some entities will allow you to enter into a business partnership, while others will always claim you as the sole owner of a business. By understanding where you want to go with your business, you can figure out the best entity to become. If you are uncertain about the benefits of each of the entities, you can easily find the information in business start-up sections. Determining your entity will also provide you with information on the types of things you will be responsible for by April 15th. Making sure that you have everything set up correctly will help you to pay the least amount of taxes, and to take advantage of the system that you have set up. By structuring the paperwork correctly through the government files, you will have the ability to function at your best, no matter what type of entity you are. Getting Into the Game: How to Find Clients as a Virtual Assistant Deciding to start an entrepreneur job as a virtual assistant is a large step to take. However, making sure that you have the idea and business plan done is only one step. There is no use in having this done unless you have the clients that can find your skills and specialty. In order to make sure that you begin to succeed with your business, you want to make sure that you can find the clients. The best way to find clients is to make sure that you have exposure in all of the right places. Businesses and individuals will naturally be looking into certain areas for virtual assistants, all which you should make sure that you are a part of. When you begin to gain exposure into the places where you are, you will be able to find the clients that you want. Before you begin to advertise, make sure that you are available virtually. This will mean that you need to have a website, as well as the necessary ways to be contacted by a client. This also means that you should find ways to be listed into local directories that one might look for a virtual assistant. Beginning with presenting your image at this level will help to drive the right people to you. From here, you can expand into being a virtual assistant that is listed in a variety of directories. There are several international directories that you can be listed in for exposure. You can also become involved in the associations that provide networking for virtual assistants. All of these are effective in helping your business to grow. No matter what you are planning, it is important to make sure that you have people that you can help with your plans. Finding the best ways to find clients will help you to get your services out into the public and will help you in building your virtual assistant services. Getting Business Attention: Using the Creativity of Virtual Assistants Recognizing the strengths of different virtual assistants is one of the important parts of finding the right assistant. Most will recognize that every virtual assistant has their own niche as well as their own ideas towards what they can do best in a business. Finding one that matches your expectations is one of the ways to make sure you are getting exactly what you want. For several, hiring a virtual assistant moves beyond doing the extra paper work. This also means that they want to have a virtual assistant who will be able to provide creativity to the business. Having this as part of a business is one of the most important parts of success. Having something eye catching or unique may be an important thing to put on the checklist for a creative assistant. Before you hire a virtual assistant, you will want to make sure that they understand if you have any creative needs. This can range from anything to putting together a flyer that is visual to placing a logo or graphic design that you may need for a special event. There are several virtual assistants who will focus on the visual side of businesses, giving you the ability to use an artistic eye for your business. Another type of creativity you can use with virtual assistants can be with things that aren't as visual. For example, if you want to have a special retreat or event, you can use a virtual assistant to make the plans for you. This can include arranging the invitations to decorating the room. There are several virtual assistants that will focus on event planning making everything you do have the unique flavor to it. If you want to put your business into perspective, then using the creativity of a virtual assistant can help. By doing this, you will have the ability to present yourself and your business as something that is more eye catching. Having someone behind the scenes to make sure this goes through smoothly is one of the best ways to present everything in color. Finding the Right Match: Working with Independent Virtual Assistants Finding someone to help out with your business is about finding the right match. You want to make sure that everything works out on both a business level, as well as with a well defined relationship. This will help you to get the best quality of work that is possible for your business, and will help when you need to build a long term working relationship. One of the ways that you can be sure to get the right relationship is to look at the possibility of working with virtual assistants. Virtual assistants can be found in a variety of areas, all working with other agencies or by themselves. If you are considering a virtual assistant, you will want to make sure that you decide whether to work with them when they work for themselves, or are working under someone else. If they work for themselves, you have just as much of a chance as finding someone that is effective with what they do. The best way to see what the virtual assistant is doing is to simply look at the 'about the owner' page on a website. Most virtual assistants will let you know who they are, what their experience is and what they specialize in. This will give you a good idea of what type of work you will be getting and the quality that is offered through the virtual assistant. You will also be able to see what types of business credentials a virtual assistant has by finding their website. You should be able to see links to virtual assistant networks on the site. Things such as the International Virtual Assistant Network or the Virtual Assistant Chamber of Commerce can help to verify that they are virtual assistants as a business and that they have the ability to function as a complete business. Working with an independent virtual assistant simply means finding the right credentials through the individual. By examining the website and learning about the person, you will have the ability to determine whether the person can work with you in a professional member and to build a relationship through the business terms that you have found through their individual site. Examining the Possibilities: Does Being a Virtual Assistant Really Work? You have all of the organization skills in the world that you need. You also have the ability to make sure that the paperwork and management gets done. More than this, you have a vision of the type of work that you want to do as a virtual assistant. However, there are voices in your head that are working against you and telling you that this may not work. Before jumping into the water you want to know the truth; will a business as a virtual assistant be beneficial? The answer, of course, depends on your willingness to go out on the edge to begin the business. You can make any business work, as long as you are committed to positive results and success. This particular attitude can help you to overcome the beginning business hurdles as well as help you to grow and expand as you continue your virtual assistant business. One of the great parts of beginning a virtual assistant business is the popularity of the entrepreneur job right now. It is being listed by a variety of national surveys that this is one of the top five jobs to become involved in as an entrepreneur. This is partly related to the low costs that you need to begin your endeavors. It is also linked directly to the changes in businesses. Because more corporations are down sizing, and smaller businesses are growing, there is a demand for the extra person that will provide work without the extra time schedule. If you decide to become a virtual assistant, keep the attitude that everything is working in your favor. From your ability to keep a forward looking attitude to the environment that is putting virtual assistants in demand is the ability for you to succeed in your business endeavor. By working towards your own success, you will be able to find rewards in what you can do as a virtual assistant. Drawing the Line: What a Virtual Assistant Can and Can't Do Because a virtual assistant is one who will work for someone on a contract basis, there are a variety of things that they can do for you. Often times, it is easy to cross over the line of what you want them to do, or what you think they should do. No matter what you have your virtual assistant for in the beginning, you will want to make sure that the job role is completely understood. A virtual assistant is one who can do administrative, technological or creative work for a company, even while being outside of the company. Often times, smaller businesses will use virtual assistants for an all in one source for taking care of the little things. Larger businesses will also have virtual assistants to provide several duties. However, when defining the role of a virtual assistant, it is easy to continue to ask them to do things, even if this isn't in the job description. One thing to be aware of, either as one who is hiring a virtual assistant, or one who is working as a virtual assistant, is where the line is. The standards of being a virtual assistant have been set in order to eliminate conflict while working virtually. The first definition that is set for a standard is that a virtual assistant is not necessarily anyone who works at home. The job profession has strict standards that stick to administrative and technological abilities. Even though a virtual assistant will usually have specific niches, this doesn't necessarily mean that they will just be someone who works at home. Another important distinction that most virtual assistants will make is that they don't get involved in specific roles with a company. For example, it is not proper business to ask a virtual assistant to be a consultant. It is also not appropriate to ask about marketing services or bookkeeping, unless the virtual assistant has told you that they are willing to do these types of tasks and have defined them in their specific duties. The important thing to keep in mind with virtual assistants is that there are specific roles that they play in their job. It is important to keep in mind that, even though they work on a contractual basis, their specific duties should be defined. By doing this in the beginning, on either or both ends, there won't be any difficulties in making sure that the job gets done. Drawing in the Designs: Virtual Assistants for Web Design Finding the perfect virtual assistant for your business is one of the most important parts of getting your paperwork stacked exactly right. No matter what type of project you need done, there is always an extra hand to help you out with virtual assistance. One of the well known areas where a virtual assistant can assist is with your technology needs, including building or maintaining a website. If you are looking at a virtual assistant to help, you will first want to make sure that you know which areas they work in best. Some will focus on things such as administrative support, while others will be better in things such as technology. Finding a virtual assistant who focuses on building websites will be an important step in ensuring that you get a professional job done with your web portal. Virtual assistants that focus on web design should be able to reference you to a variety of websites that they have already built. This will help to ensure that what you are getting has quality. One of the things to look for with the web designs is the level of professionalism, the style and the overall quality of the site. Each web designer will have their own way to approach web building. You will want to make sure that your virtual assistant matches your expectations. Of course, before you decide to hire a virtual assistant for web design, you will want to make sure that you have a vision of what you want your website to look like. This includes color scheme, fonts, and other types of things that will help to represent your company. Make sure that the virtual assistant sits down with you to discuss the options in order to build the best type of website. From here, you will also want to make sure that the virtual assistant has options for maintaining a website every month. By doing this, you can have someone take care of databases, newsletters and updates that you may need. Most likely, virtual assistants who build websites will have the option to either train someone on how to use the site or will be familiar enough to help keep everything polished. If you are looking for a professional look on web portals, web designers are one of the options that you can use. By doing this, you will have the ability to have an area on the web that represents you the way that you see it. Developing Your Business Potential: Building a Virtual Assistant Team Finding the best work ethic and opportunities that are available to you as a business owner doesn't necessarily mean that you need to look alone. In fact, if you simply look for the right resources, you can find potential everywhere. To truly succeed at any business also means finding ways to build relationships and teams. The idea behind being a virtual assistant means you have the ability to find freedom financially, through time and by doing something that you love. Beyond this, it also means developing services to others as well as building abilities for what you can offer. If you want to be effective in your business as a virtual assistant, you can expand into networking with other virtual assistants. Coming up with a team of professionals who all have unique abilities but the same mindset for success will be beneficial for you to do what is needed through your virtual business. Whether you are just beginning or want to expand into different services, you can easily begin to network to find like minds. These like minds may be missing links to help you find what is needed for your potential. By doing this you will enhance your ability to work with others on the success of your business. The uniqueness of having a virtual assistant team is that you will still be independent and own your own business. At the same time, you will be supporting others that are working towards the same goals of freedom that you are, only from a different angle. Combining all of these angles together is what makes a complete circle of opportunity that will lead to success. Even though a virtual assistant is known to do things on their own as their own business owner in order to gain independence, it does not mean that they have to stop form collaborating and expanding with others. By building a team of virtual assistants, there will be the ability for you to expand on the success that you have begun to envision. Determining Your Pay Check: How Much Should You Charge for Services? One of the many debated parts of services for virtual assistants is the idea of how much the pay check should be. Defining your own freedom also means the need to determine how much you will charge for all of your services. While most virtual assistants are familiar with the standard rates, you will want to make sure that you also include several different angles when determining what your rates will be. Typically, a virtual assistant will charge $30 -- $75 an hour, depending on the services offered. This standard; however, offers flexible room to find what types of rates you want to offer. If you want to be precise in your accounting abilities, you will want to determine all of the needs that you have as a virtual assistant. The most important part to recognize as a virtual assistant is that you don't have the benefits that come with an office job. Because you are working from home, you have the need to find all of your own benefits. This includes things such as office supplies that you may need. It also can include things such as health benefits and the extra income you need to put in the retirement fund. A virtual assistant also needs to make sure that there is the ability to simply eat the daily bread. This means that you should be charging an average rate that will give you enough money to survive when things are slower. Because the work is inconsistent and is on contract, it may mean that you don't receive as much as you may need during the slow periods. Making sure that you have enough to carry you over will help you to find better rates. If you want to be technical, you can add these all together and divide. The most important thing is to keep all of your needs in mind. Working as a virtual assistant can be rewarding if the price is right. Determining what this price will be will drive the right clients to you and will reward you in finding benefits from all angles of working as a virtual assistant. Deciding on Your Career Path: Should you be a Virtual Assistant? The time has come on whether you should take a step into the world of being an entrepreneur or continue with the life that you have learned to lead. You know that you need a change of pace, and possibly of finances. However, there are also several factors to consider when you are deciding to change what you do. By determining what these are, you will have the ability to move more effectively into your future. One of the growing career fields by entrepreneurs is the virtual assistant. This particular type of work from home creation allows one to have the flexibility they want and gives them the ability to work with something that they are comfortable with and enjoy. Everything from administrative services to technical fields is available with a virtual assistant, giving you the ability to organize and work for companies on your own time. If you are considering this for a change in careers, you might want to think about the good and the bad of the field. Most will say that this particular type of job can be demanding. It requires that you have access to virtual lines of communication, such as a phone and e-mail. It will be important that you are in tune to these all of the time, as there are possibilities for requests or information throughout the day. Beyond this, you will need to make sure that you have the personality for being a personal assistant. Not only does this require understanding the skills of the job, but also with being of customer service. Because you are dealing with clients and customers, it is important to make sure that you are willing to provide the right atmosphere for everyone you are talking with. If you have the desire to set your own hours, and respond to the demands of being a virtual assistant, than you will have great potential for success. From here, you will have the ability to expand your services, work with individuals and businesses, and enjoy the free time that you can use outside of the office and inside your home built work space. Dealing With the Small Print: How to Handle Hard to Serve Clients No matter what you do or how you present yourself, there is always someone who just won't be satisfied with what you do. This may not have anything to do with what you provide for the client or how you approach the job. Most likely, it has something to do with their misunderstanding of your job description. However, you want to make sure that you are able to find ways to handle the clients that are hard to please. The easiest thing to do with clients that are not satisfied with anything you do is make sure that you have everything in place from the beginning. Preparing for the worst and expecting the best is always how you should walk into a job. This means that you prepare for the client to not be satisfied. Make sure that your contract and statements for the work that you are doing has clauses about what is acceptable and what your terms and policies are relating to the work that you do. You can also prevent the dissatisfaction with your clients by making sure that you keep communication open. This means that you will want to begin by having a set of questions for the client to answer about what they need and the details of the job. This also means that you will want to find out any information you can about the type of business they are running. The more you know, the more likely you will be to succeed. Of course, if the client is still not satisfied, make sure that you have specific clauses that will draw the line on how much work you will or will not do. Make sure that you get your money's worth for the services that you provide. It is always okay to say that you can longer help someone, just because they are being difficult. Most likely, they will realize later on that it is not necessarily your services that were lacking. By simply setting your policies in place and making sure that you investigate the client, you can prevent the hard to deal with clients. If something does arise, you can be prepared for putting certain policies in place. This will allow the clients to understand where the line is drawn. By doing these few simple things, you will have the ability to avoid any confusion or miscommunications from those you are working with. Character Building in Business: Keeping the Human Elements of Virtual Assistance Being your own business is often times a new market for many. It means that attitudes and characters have to change towards a business mind that is willing to communicate openly about business ideas and needs. For those that are offering services, this also means making sure that everything is laid out on the table from the beginning so there are no bad relationships in the end. Even though working as a virtual assistant means that you need to keep a business attitude, specific things can never be looked over. The most important thing to always keep in mind is that there is a human element behind every business. Understanding this, respecting your clients as partners, and tapping into the characters and human side will help you to have a virtual assistant business based off of quality. The major reason why it is important to tap into the human element of every business relationship is because it is the basis for customer service. By understanding the customer, and there needs, you will be able to find the best business solutions for them in quality. As soon as someone decides to hire you as a virtual assistant, they are telling you that they trust you. This means that they are asking for you to be responsible for a part of the business that they are working in. To have a good character with your virtual assistant business first means respecting the partnership that is taking place. Beyond this, it means respecting the individuals that are involved in your services. You want to make sure that, no matter how much you grow as a business, you are always seeing the vision of the partners you are working with and understand what they are working towards. By building character in your virtual assistant business, you will also build respect for your own business. Being a virtual assistant is more than being an owner of a business. It is also about providing services that help to support others with what they are doing. The most effective way to do this is by respect and the human element. Blowing Up the Balloon: How to Expand Your Services You started with a simple business plan of some services that you would offer to the community. Right away, you began to get involved with networks, directories and local customers. Much to your expectations, you are now a successful virtual assistant. You are able to offer your services to a variety of people, and find the rewards in being the extra helping hand. However, there is also an idea that is staying in the back of your mind. You have the need and the desire to offer something new and different. For virtual assistants, there is always the ability to expand skills into a new field or area. By doing this, you will be giving yourself the ability to have more clients with more possibilities for success. If you are thinking about expanding your services, it is simply going back and making sure that the markets are in place. This first means that you will want to have the credentials for expansion. For example, if you are adding in website design, make sure that you have samples you can use that will draw in specific customers and target markets. From here, you will want to make sure that all of your clients know you are offering something new and different. Many times, they will be happy to add this to their package, or can spread your name to someone else who can use the services. There will also be the need to find a different type of customer with the different services. Every business is at a different stage of growth and will need different things. By identifying these needs, you will have the ability to reach an entirely diverse set of people. Whether you are simply adding in new management processes, or are working towards an entirely different service to provide to others, you want to make sure that you approach it boldly and with the ability to provide the best. By redefining your quality with expansion, you will have the ability to create more success for yourself as a virtual assistant. Beginning with the Foundation: Using Virtual Assistants for Real Estate If you are involved in real estate, you know that there can be some rules that are more of a sticky business. Often times, there are certain moves that need to be kept confidential, as they can affect the living situation of a person. There are other specific things that need to be done in the real estate profession that are unique to that profession. If you have your own practice, and are thinking of hiring a virtual assistant, you want to make sure that you are on the same page. If you want to make sure that the virtual assistant you are working with understands real estate, than you can simply look at the credentials that they have. This will help you to determine what is best for your business and can help you find a specialist as a virtual assistant. If you want to be sure that a virtual assistant understands the business you are in, you can look at the International Virtual Assistants Association, or IVAA. This offers certification for real estate specialists so they can work with you in your business endeavors. The certification for real estate and virtual assistance is comprised of a variety of understandings. The first is that the virtual assistant will need to understand the terminology, legality and language of the legal documentation that is being used. This will allow you to use them as an administrative assistant with your real estate. The certification also provides information on what a virtual assistant can and can't do with the help that they are providing. Beyond this, a virtual assistant who focuses on real estate will be shown the real estate industry and the major ways in which it functions. This will allow the virtual assistants to walk into any real estate office and talk the lingo, as well as provide the proper mannerisms for the job. Overall, this will allow them to have the right mindset for what you need. By finding a virtual assistant for your real estate office, you will be able to continue to expand. If you want to do this effectively, then it is important to make sure you find the right specialist. One way to determine this is to find a virtual assistant that is certified as a real estate specialist. This will give you the support you need when you are moving into a new territory of your real estate business. Becoming Successful with What You Love: Building a Virtual Assistants Business Many virtual assistants will begin to work towards reaching the finish line of being a successful business. They will spend the time to organize what services they offer, how they will offer them and with finding the right clients. Through the process of learning what is needed, there is the need to define the type of success that you want and how you want to achieve it. There are several levels that you can enter in becoming a successful virtual assistant. Most of this will come with experience, practice and gaining the knowledge that you need for the job. Through this, you will be able to become successful with your business. Continuing to define what you need and constantly growing into your virtual assistant business will help you to find your success. The most important thing to keep in mind with your virtual assistant business is that it is about the process, not the goal. No matter what stage you are in, there is always room for growth and for defining what you need. This may mean that you will grow into success by redefining the services that you offer. It also may mean that you work into finding out what it means to be a professional virtual assistant. For some, being professional simply means offering services at a good quality. Beyond this, it may mean expanding into other services that will make you a well-rounded virtual assistant. If you want to continue to build, you can easily become certified to expand to more clients. The more you know and the more you can offer, the better of a chance you will have at continuing your success. Becoming the best virtual assistant doesn't have any secrets. It simply means taking the steps that you need to be successful. By beginning with the goal of having success in your business, and moving forward one piece at a time for this, you will have the ability to offer the most for your services. Adding in the Extra Help: Should You Hire A Virtual Assistant? Whether you are a small business or a corporation, the question arises, should you hire a virtual assistant? You know that there are a large number of tasks that need to be done during the day, some which seem impossible to do. However, you know that this is a large leap into a new way of functioning for your business. If you are determining the best business moves, you may want to evaluate your reasons for getting involved with the extra helping hands. The major reason why anyone would hire a virtual assistant is because there is too much work that is taking away from things that they would be doing. The best way to evaluate on whether you need a virtual assistant or not, are to see what you are doing all day. If you are spending time on administrative correspondence and not your vision, then a virtual assistant may be a good answer. This is especially important if you have noticed that your business is beginning to grow or expand. Another factor to consider with a virtual assistant is the resources that you will need. This will depend on the place where your business is and what type of help it needs. If you are growing considerably, it might be in your best interests to hire a full-time or part-time employee. However, if you don't know if you will have that much work, a virtual assistant is a better option because everything is off contract. That means that if there is no work, you don't pay them. By hiring a virtual assistant, you will be helping yourself with both time and money. The simple thing to do is to evaluate your situation. If you have room for some help, but not for a larger step, hiring a virtual assistant is the best option. This will ensure that you will get the best, while saving time and money in the long run.
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