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Avoid the Pitfalls of new VA's!
Learn how to avoid many of the most common mistakes many new VA business owners have made. Read »



Start a Virtual Assistant Business Part-time

 

Can you start a virtual assistant business part-time?

Yes, you can start part-time and there are some advantages to approaching your business this way.

You have another source of income which takes some of the pressure off you as you are building your home based business. It’s always to your advantage not to approach your clients with any sense of desperation. No matter how hard you try to cover up your desperation, clients will sense it.

This also gives you a taste of what being a virtual assistant is really about and whether it is the right career move for you. Good to know before you invest in starting a virtual assistant business as your sole source of income.

Starting part-time does have some challenges as well. You will need to spend some time planning your schedule and honing your time management skills.

Here are some tips for successfully Starting a Virtual Assistant Business Part-Time…

  • Depending upon your current employment situation, you may not want to disclose the fact that you are starting a virtual assistant business to your employer and coworkers; however, you do need to check to see if there are rules against other employment. Home based businesses are becoming very common these days and are much more accepted, but you will want to check your company’s policy just to be sure.

  • Be sure to act ethically while at your current employer’s workplace and give the same 100% effort you gave before deciding to start your own business.

  • While it is extremely temping to check email and voicemail messages from your virtual assistant clients, you need to be fair to your employer and honor your time while at work. Be sure to do anything not related to your job on your lunch hour and/or after work.

  • Check your company’s policy on computer and internet usage. Remember that you are still an employee while at work and concentrate on your job so that your work does not suffer while you are becoming a virtual assistant.

  • You will also need to handle phone calls while at work. You don’t want to be talking to current or potential clients on a cell phone while at your desk. This is not a professional way to conduct yourself for either your business or job.

  • Keep in mind that once you are ready to go full-time and leave your current position, you may be able to provide virtual assistant services to your current employer. You don’t want to burn any bridges here. My former employers have been sources of new clients. Always think about the business relationships you are building and treat everyone with respect. You just never know where you will find your next client.


  • Be upfront about your Virtual Assistant

    Business Part-Time Status…

    The best way to handle starting a virtual assistant business part-time is to be clear to all potential clients that you are part-time from the very start.

    Be clear about your work schedule, your turn around time for work and most importantly, when and how you can be reached during the day.

    Most clients will understand your position and be perfectly fine with leaving you email or voicemail messages while you are at work and letting you contact them when appropriate. As long as clients know when and how to contact you or know when to expect to hear from you, they can relax and feel confident you are taking care of them. I found people usually get upset when they feel ignored.

    You will also need to plan how you will work your virtual assistant business at home while also taking care of your home and/or your family. You may need to be creative with your time to find ways to work on your business while still taking care of everything else but it can be done. Perhaps you can check your emails early in the morning before going to work. Maybe return phone calls in the evening after your children have gong to bed.

    Whatever your situation, if you are determined to work full-time as a self-employed virtual assistants, you will find a way. Remember too, that it will be hardest in the beginning but things will be easier in the future when you have established a client base.

    One other thing to mention when starting part-time…

    Keep your emotions steady while at work. Starting a new business can be an emotional rollercoaster for many people, especially in the beginning. There are many ups and downs and financial pressures when you start a business. A home based virtual assistant business is definitely less costly and risky than many other businesses, however, it can still be stressful. Try to keep your mind on your work while you are at your job, and worry about your business later. Your coworkers will appreciate your not taking your business stress out on them.

    How do you know when its time to quit your job and go full-time in your business?

    You should start your business with a good business plan.

    Here is you will define your goals and have a detailed financial plan for what your start-up costs will be. Your plan will lay out how much money and time you will need to reach your personal and professional goals. Everyone’s goals are different, therefore I suggest you create your own business plan and clearly define what your financial goals are and what is the best way for you to achieve them.

    Your start-up costs will include everything you need to setup your home office and the virtual assistant software you will need to run your business. You need to make sure you have high speed internet connection and a business phone and fax service. You may want to continue working full-time until you have all of these things paid for so you can start your business without taking on any debt for these.

    The other expense you will incur when starting your business is promotion.

    You will need marketing material , promotional items and perhaps fees for attending networking events such as business networking luncheons or tradeshow. You may want to keep working until you have paid for these expenses and will not start your business by incurring any debt. In fact it is a good plan to pay off credit cards and have some savings in the bank before you quit your job so that the money you make with your first clients can go to you and not paying for these expenses.

    A good strategy for the beginning of your business is to find a few clients that you have on a retainer basis. You may take on clients in the beginning that only need you for one-time projects but remember to concentrate on find a few regular clients as well. These will provide your steady income and will be the clients you build a long-term relationship with. You will want to have some of these before you quit your current job. It is always easier to find clients when you are not desperate.