For many businesses it may feel as though the work load continues to increase whilst the hours in the day decreases, which is probably why large numbers of businesses now utilise the services of a virtual assistant and with the global number of people using virtual assistants set to reach a 1.8 billion by 2021 there’s never been a more perfect time to get on board. 
In this blog we’ll look at what a virtual assistant does, what skills they require and how to go about breaking into what is definitely one of the most flexible and rewarding business sectors out there. 
What is a virtual assistant? 
If there was an official title for those of us that consider ourselves Jacks/Jills of all trades then virtual assistant may just be it. Typical tasks requested from businesses come in the form of social media and email management through to book keeping or particular project management but the nature of work will always be dependent on the types of business that you are assisting. 
There’s no confined limit to what tasks can be covered by a virtual assistant, if the skills are in your wheelhouse and the task can be completed from your home office then it’s a viable offering for your customers. 
What skills should a virtual assistant possess? 
Because of the broad nature that virtual assistant work offers, the services you can provide are only ever limited by the skills you have. The larger your sample set of skills, the more support options you can offer. If you’re considering becoming a virtual assistant then a great place to start is to list the skills that you have and then work out what you can offer and who would benefit from this. Not only will this allow you to see your true potential but it can also be a valuable tool in identifying those first few customers. 
Here’s a sample list of the type of services a virtual assistant can offer: 
– Editorial/proofreading support 
– Website maintenance/design 
– E-commerce management 
– Content creation, i.e.: for social media and blog posts 
– Project management 
– Billing/invoicing 
– Research 
– Email, calendar and logistics management 
– Transcribing/translating 
How much does a virtual assistant earn? 
Naturally the more demanding and skill intense the work then the higher the price, typically a virtual assistant would look to charge around £25 per hour but this will vary depending on the type of work you are completing. 
The important thing to remember however is that you are working for yourself so it’s crucial to work on fostering consistent business relationships and agreements with clients that will help to provide a steady income. Though it is always tempting to reduce prices to boost clients each job you will complete will also need to be billed and administrated by yourself so try to avoid eating into your costs by underselling your time! 
Ultimately as with any business, it can take time for regular customers and business relationships to build so it’s a good idea to have a financial buffer in place as you start out. This may be funds you’ve saved as a business reserve pot or it may mean overlapping current employment with the start-up of your service. Either way it will ensure that you are able to look after your financial security whilst your business establishes itself. 
What else do I need to consider before becoming a virtual assistant? 
Office set up – Are you equipped to begin your work, whilst you may be working from home there are still multiple things to have in place before you can start. You are going to require somewhere to work from that is designated for your business, a good internet connection (remember a lot of your work will be utilising this daily) and a computer that is kitted out with the relevant software to provide the services you want (design software, accounting packages, office packages all have associated license fees that it is worth knowing before you get started). Along with this you will need to ensure that you have suitable storage methods and business processes in place to ensure you are compliant with GDPR and HMRC guidelines. 
Marketing – A virtual assistant with no clients is never the ideal outcome, so how are you going to attract them? Websites, social media, business profiles are all vital parts of your business and invaluable tools for helping you to gain new clients. As a virtual assistant your presence is virtual too and therefor it needs to be reflective of you and the services you provide. There are many free options for websites and online presence building but you may wish to consider the costs of alternative marketing streams too such as Google Adwords, Facebook advertising or similar. It’s a good idea to do your research on the current provision of virtual assistant services in your area so that you can identify any gaps that you could fill. Not only that but it will also give you a good network of likeminded businesses that you may be able to share and trade clients with along with ideas around business practise and support. 
Where does Pink Spaghetti fit into all of this? 
By now you’ve probably got a good idea as to whether this sounds like the right career for you, albeit the route to getting there may sound daunting when looking at all the things to account for before beginning your journey. 
At Pink Spaghetti we can help you during every step on your path to becoming a virtual assistant; we have nurtured over 40 virtual assistants from the beginning of their adventure to being fully fledged and successful virtual assistant franchises. 
Over 70% of our franchisees are employers and are supported to grow their business through regular mentoring and ongoing training and development. 
Pink Spaghetti is committed to providing you with all the help and support you’ll need to make your business a real success story. 
To support you we offer full training, marketing help and continued support in every aspect of your business. With Pink Spaghetti, you might be on your own, but you’re never alone. 
Pink Spaghetti has an enviable reputation for success and franchisee satisfaction and are the only PA services company in the UK to feature in the Elite Franchise Top 100. We’ve also held a 5* rating for franchisee satisfaction from WorkBuzz for the last 5 years! 
If you’d like to know more about starting a virtual assistant franchise, please contact us on 0333 355 0986 or visit our franchising pages to request a copy of our Franchising Prospectus. 
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