How did you start as a virtual assistant?

This is all my own fault for being so helpful. I had no intention of writing a blog – not just yet anyway – but when five people ask for the same information in one day, this is what you get.

The Question
How Did You Start
as a Virtual Assistant?

If you want the really short answer, it’s this “I did a couple of VA courses. I built my website, got business cards. Then just announced to the world and started networking. I launched in August 2023 but I’d never even heard of VAs until earlier that year!” For the longer answer read on…

Questions about being a Virtual Assistant.  Where do I begin? What do I need? When can I start? Who can be?

I first heard of virtual assistants in early 2023. I’m not even sure how; from somewhere online no doubt. I’m sure Google or Facebook would be able to tell me the exact history! Date and time stamped to the second, too.

I’d been looking for work I could do from home for some years as I am an unpaid carer for my disabled child; they are now an adult but the care needs continue. The nature of their disability means that ‘regular’ working hours don’t work for me. I have to be available 24/7 and need work that I can fit in the in-between spaces of my life. There had been lots of discussions back and forth between my husband and myself with different ideas of types of work over the years.

Having found out that Virtual Assistant was something that seemed suitable I went searching and found several lists of tasks that a virtual assistant could do. I diligently went through them all, ticking off all the things I can do, finding 39 entries just on the first list. From there I listed out the tasks I actually enjoy doing which gave me the basic list of skills I can offer – website building, website maintenance, create graphics, creating PDFs, setting up email marketing platforms and automations and more. I narrowed this down to skills that can be done in my in-between times, with client deadlines in mind too.

More Googling ensued to learn more about the business of being a VA. I discovered that there are many different trainers, but I needed help to choose. The Society of Virtual Assistants, a growing professional community, helped me select some specific trainers.

I narrowed it down to these three:

They are all in the UK, but being a VA can be international.

There is also Belinda Sandor in the USA.

You should choose for yourself which trainer is best for you, as each person has something different to offer, different training styles, and personalities too. Check out their free Facebook groups first. So your first VA task is to go and find their groups and join.

Next I decided on a business name, got the web domain, and then started to build this website. This proved trickier than I thought it would: the WordPress I knew had dramatically changed how it worked, but after some frustrations I got the hang of it.

As well as the website I set up a Facebook page and Instagram, updated my LinkedIn profile, designed my business cards and got them printed. I also started going through the VA training courses and learning to use the Canva graphics design tools.

I had a self-imposed launch date. Was I fully ready? No. Was my website perfect? Absolutely not. Had my business cards arrived? No. So what did I do? I launched anyway because I’m not waiting for perfection. Good enough is good enough.

So with confidence and slight terror, I went to my first networking meeting as a tech virtual assistant, where I not only meet lots of lovely, welcoming people I also got my first VA client – woo-hoo! I continue to network both in-person and online, which with the caring is actually easier for me.

So what do YOU need to start as a Virtual Assistant?

  • Skills that you can deliver online
  • Confidence to talk to people
  • A computer
  • A notebook, pen and pencil
  • A phone – I’m not taking calls due to the caring but you can – also handy for various apps
  • Insurance
  • Contract
  • Data Processing Agreement
  • A domain name
    • for your website; I think its better to have one than not
    • for your email, it is more professional than @gmail etc

That’s the very basics. Did I forget something? What would you add to this list?