There seems to be a wave of new Virtual Assistants entering the industry that have an inaccurate understanding of what a VA is and what they’re supposed to be doing as a VA. Which is a shame as this just adds more confusion to clients as well.
Let’s get it straight. A Virtual Assistant IS a business owner/operator. They are NOT employees. As such they are responsible for their own taxes, insurances, software, hardware and other expenditure relating to running a business. Oh, and that means being responsible for their own marketing and PR. What a surprise!
Running a business does mean that it’s going to cost money to set up a business. Yes, almost everyone has a computer and internet connection at least in those countries where it’s become a normal way of life. But that doesn’t mean that’s all you need to run a business from home. Apart from having a good skillset (or should I say excellent skillset) in the services you plan to provide, you also need to be prepared to pay out for things to get that business running.
Things such as: web presence in one form or another, business cards, phoneline or mobile phone for your business, space in your home that can be turned into an office – you might actually get clients visiting sometime, a post office box if you don’t want to tell the world your home address, membership of industry based groups that are designed to help you develop yourself and your business, updated software and the occasional training courses to use that software, and perhaps even some advertising in local phone books, newspapers or other avenues.
It amazes me that people decide they’re in business and then actually start asking questions about taxation, or commenting they can’t pay for something but expect it to be given to them free, and so on. Wake up! You’re in business. It’s going to cost you not only time and resources to run it, but money also.
So, if you’re not yet ready to operate as a Virtual Assistant fulltime (and that means, actually making an income and that means you must have clients already) then either don’t quit your job, or find a part-time job or register with temping agencies until such time you’re bringing in sufficient income to quit and work from home fulltime.
If you don’t have clients yet – you’re not in business. It will happen and you need to put in the effort to network LOCALLY as well as online. There are clients living around you too, in case you may have forgotten that. They aren’t all online. So many ‘VAs’ claim to only want clients online so they don’t have to go out but the reality is that there are people local to you who need your services – why cut off your nose to spite your face? Make the effort and go out and meet people locally. You can’t stay indoors 24/7 you know – you need to go out, get fresh air, meet people, and learn from locals who know more about your local business laws than those on the internet on the other side of the world from you.
So, if you’re planning to run a business, then make the effort to really make it work. A half hearted effort will only land you with less than satisfactory results and you will become one of the many statistics who say that ‘working from home doesn’t work’. I’m telling you it does, as can many others who have put in the time and effort (that means months and years) to make it work.