05 Dec How to Start a Freelance or Virtual Assistant Business From Scratch
Your skills are valuable!
It boggles the mind that people don’t realize just how valuable their skills, experience and education truly are.
Whether you have an incredible education or not – if you’ve had a job and worked for a business using technology – you have transferable skills that can be used to create a Virtual Assistant or Freelance business of your very own[PERIOD].
So where to begin …
Having been there – I wanted to help you begin the transition into entrepreneurial freedom as easily as possible. That means, creating an online business with a strong foundation so that you can pivot and remain flexible.
Wondering what services are in high demand … righ now?
Grab a free copy of the Top 20 Services in Demand and get to work
Here are 10 simple steps to help you get started – Right Now!
Some of you may select starting an online business as a ‘side hustle’ to make some extra money, or creating opportunity as a full time online professional so you never have to work a 9 to 5 again.
At any rate – let’s start the process of getting you there.
Decide on Services that Tap into Your Strengths ..
When you create a service offering around your strengths and skills that come natural to you, all of a sudden you’ve created a business where your getting paid to do what you love … YAY!!!
You may not think that your skills are valuable but, let me assure you – they are. As this was written, we are in the middle of an unprecedented pandemic which has caused corporations large and small to adjust, shift and pivot the way they actually conduct and deliver results/products/services to their customers.
Those businesses that can remain ‘open’ are now open online only unless they are deemed an essential service. Business has changed to almost 75% an online facing vs. brick and mortar.
That being said – Freelance Professionals, Virtual Assistants and Remote or Online Workers have seen an obvious increase in demand to servicing and supporting teams that are not accustomed to working online.
Your skills are valuable…
Identify Your Target Audience …
It would be lovely to say “I’m here to help everyone” and I mean literally everyone – but alas, this is not a clear reflection of who your target audience is.
- Who would you truly enjoy working with or supporting?
- What industry are they in?
- Where are they located?
Get laser focused on ‘who’ they are and what they’re ‘struggling’ with.
Your services should be the answer to their troubles as you build a relationship of support and delivery.
And, Your Name Is …
Deciding on a business name, can be a fun challenge. Make a list of words that resonate with your personality, your strengths and maybe even your alter-ego.
At any rate – have fun with it and choose wisely!
Look into the applicable Legal …
This is entirely dependent on ‘where’ you live and what is legally required for your Country, Province/State.
Research the following for your region so that you can decide what works best for the business model your building. Ask questions – at your local chamber of commerce:
- Sole Proprietorship
- Tax requirements
Rates, Packages and Time … Setting the right Price
If you’ve narrowed down your services, it’s time to draft out some rates!
Let’s take a look at a few billing options you can offer to your clients to support them.
Retainer Packages: Helps your clients allocate a monthly budget to the specific number of hours for delivery of a service. These dollars are billed in advance to you as you confirm or pre-book your time to support this client. You’ll need to show ‘how you used’ these hours to support them with a very specific time allocation tracker (project management tool), so that you can provide complete transparency.
Proposal of Service: You can provide very specific support on services that are agreed upon between yourself and your client, itemized within a proposal. This is not limited to Special Projects as pretty much ‘anything’ can be itemized in this format. This is a great tool as it provides transparency, outlines protection factors and ensure that anything not outlined or itemed within the proposal are “out of the scope of work” and require separate attention and payment. It protects you from both over and under delivering.
Hourly Rates: You can sell very specific services for hours at a time. This can be done as a stand alone rate or combined in the above mentioned retainer package, if you’re providing a discount etc. At any rate 10 hours at $25/hr for blended administrative support is pretty standard. Not all services that you offer should have an hourly rate associated with them. Some are by far more intricate and demand more of your time and attention.
*Don’t be limited as hourly rates can also be sold in retainer to large clients on a billable cycle.
Example: 20 hours/MO for a minimum of 3 months within a proposal serves as a contract. This can be itemized so that you can continue to provide the service needed and account for your time in the future for reoccurring billing.
Block of Time or Enterprise Hours: Similar to the rate programs above – this program is typically used as “on demand” time where coverage is needed on an open schedule. Typically this is shared by multiple users within the same client/business operation. The purchase of time can be set in combination with a retainer program so that you keep busy and the client doesn’t experience ‘down time’.
*Generally this is used with large client types. 2 or more partners sharing time on a plan. Time purchased would generally be over 40 hours per month.
Establish Your Process …
Create a workflow to reduce the risk of overwhelm should you get more leads and requests for service than you know what to do with.
Keep it simple
A process that maps out the flow of a clients on-boarding and off-boarding cycle can keep you organized.
From the first conversation to them receiving satisfied delivery of your services – What steps need to happen in-between? What confirmations do they need to provide? What assurances do you need to provide as well? Map it out …
Make a List of Potential Clients …
Creating a list of potential ideal clients is a great way get started. Use social media platforms to see if you have shared connections (LinkedIn is amazing). Don’t forget that if you do have shared connections – ask for an introduction. The worst you can here is ‘no’ and that doesn’t mean all is lost.
My first client was actually in the U.K, and as I’m based in Toronto Canada I was super excited to help them… They’re still an amazing client.
The world is your playground – remove the mental shackles …
Lead Generation, Marketing, Referrals …
Finding the right leads and booking appointments needs to be a regular part of your daily lead generation activities so you can keep that pipeline full and growing! Put your lead generation and marketing activities on a daily schedule, so that you can get some traction.
As you begin to serve clients and deliver amazing work – don’t forget to ask for referrals and testimonials. You need to keep improving and both give you constructive feedback to keep your business moving forward and help you attain growth. Don’t be shy – Ask for both!
Market Yourself … You Are Your Brand …
Your online business allows you to showcase your talent and skills as you do what you love and enjoy. Your marketing should tap into you the professional version of you (your brand) that resonates with your target audience.
Your online business is essentially a version of what you do, and how you can help others. You’ll need to spend a few hours each day making connections with others, and tapping into your target audience.
Ask for Help …
Having navigated the online startup process – I’m happy to help you fine tune your online business for great results. With tons of free resources, training material to keep your skills on point and provide access to an online community of action takers determined to have a thriving online Freelance or Virtual Assistant Business.
You’re not alone – If you have questions feel free to connect me.