Reading different posts in VA forums I often find that new VAs are thinking too much and making things difficult for themselves. What do I mean by this?
Their online presence, for example.
You definitely need an online presence. In the early days people won’t be able to Google and find you, but they will want to look you up once they’ve met you, either online or in person. Make it simple for them and for you, while you build up your presence online. Doing these simple things below will help you while still very new in your business:
- Purchase a domain (they don’t cost a lot) and this remains yours for as long as you keep it current (renewable every year). The domain could simply be your own name (marysmith.com) or could be your business name, if you have one. You can always purchase another domain further down the track if you decide to operate under a different name.
- Hosting is inexpensive – shop around. There are monthly fees or annual fees, depending on the service you decide upon. Again, this can be changed later down the track if you need a bigger webspace or a different type of service.
- Create a one page site (WordPress is definitely the best option here and is a free program that can be installed on your hosting) with your name, list of services and contact details (phone and email at the very least). Also include your state/country so that those who come across it know whether or not it’s the middle of the night when they’re trying to contact you. You can create and add more pages behind the scenes and add them to the menu later once you’re happy with them. It is a simple program to use – you don’t have to make the site complicated.
- Set up a LinkedIn profile – this is where you create your online bio/resume. Make sure you do fully fill it out so that people can see the types of things you’ve gained experience in. And include a link to your website.
- If on Facebook, create a Facebook page (this is not your profile, it’s a page and stands alone but is still connected to your personal account) and you can link this to your website.
Now, you can join online groups via Facebook, LinkedIn, Yahoogroups, or others out there and share your knowledge, your experience, learn from others and also share your website, when appropriate to do so.
Don’t over think things – you can do all the above in one day and build up your website further down the track. Don’t let the website thing hold you up, simply because you don’t have a full website yet. I started with a single page site many years ago and you can too, today. You just need to make that decision!
Kathie is the owner of VA Directory and is former past President of the Australian VA Association. She founded the Virtual Assistant industry in Australia in the mid 90s, having already been operating a home-based secretarial service. Today the VA industry covers a multitude of office-based services for clients worldwide.