Table of Contents

What IS a Virtual Assistant, Anyway? ------------------------------------------------------- 4 Should You Become a Virtual Professional? ---------------------------------------------- 5 Is Virtual Work Really for You? --------------------------------------------------------------- 9 Skills Needed to Become a Virtual Assistant -------------------------------------------- 10 Skills Checklist for Virtual Assistants ------------------------------------------------------ 11 Setting Up a Home Office -------------------------------------------------------------------- 12 Keeping Your Home Office Paperwork Organized ------------------------------------- 14 Getting Legal: Setting Up a Basic Business Structure--------------------------------- 15 Planning Your Virtual Career – as a Business------------------------------------------ 16 A Fill-in-the-Blank Business Plan for Virtual Assistants ------------------------------- 19 Contracts for Virtual Assistant Services--------------------------------------------------- 32 Marketing and Advertising Yourself as Virtual Administrative Professional------- 41 Offline Advertising and Promotions on a Shoestring----------------------------------- 42 Internet and Website Marketing for Virtual Assistants --------------------------------- 46 Using Craigslist to Advertise your Administrative Services--------------------------- 49 Do’s and Don’ts for Writing Advertisements--------------------------------------------- 51 Writing and Submitting Articles to Market Your Services ----------------------------- 60 Starting an Ezine to Market Yourself ------------------------------------------------------ 62 Using Social Networks to Market Your VA Business ---------------------------------- 63 Should You Start a Blog for Your Virtual Assistant Business?----------------------- 65 Companies that Hire Virtual Assistants --------------------------------------------------- 68 Able Innovations-------------------------------------------------------------------------------Able Web Professionals ---------------------------------------------------------------------Alliance Business Consultants -------------------------------------------------------------Assistant Match--------------------------------------------------------------------------------Axion Data --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Boundless Virtual Solutions-----------------------------------------------------------------Busy Bee Virtual Assistance----------------------------------------------------------------Continental Promotion Group (Tempe, AZ) ---------------------------------------------CRH Services ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------Dion Data Solutions --------------------------------------------------------------------------Docutype ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Executive Assistance Business Solutions -----------------------------------------------Executive Secretaries ------------------------------------------------------------------------Have License Will Travel --------------------------------------------------------------------71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 80 81 82 83 84 85 1

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Hess Business Professionals---------------------------------------------------------------- 86 JoLain Virtual Services (Florida)------------------------------------------------------------ 87 Keene Team------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 88 Keys for Cash ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 89 Maine Virtual Solutions ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 91 Modern Assistance ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 92 Motion Temps ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 94 Pro Advantage Support ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 95 Reed Technology ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 96 Remote Envoy ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 97 Subsistants -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 98 Team Double Click----------------------------------------------------------------------------- 99 Office Details / My Concierge Desk------------------------------------------------------- 100 Old Fashioned Office------------------------------------------------------------------------- 101 Pioneer Staffing-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 102 Real Estate Virtual Assistants -------------------------------------------------------------- 103 StaffOut------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 104 The Virtual Professionals-------------------------------------------------------------------- 105 VIPDesk (W-2) --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 106 Virtual Office Temps -------------------------------------------------------------------------- 108 The Virtual Assistance Chamber of Commerce ---------------------------------------- 109 Virtually Yours 925---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 111 Virtual Office Associates--------------------------------------------------------------------- 112 Virtual Staffing Team ------------------------------------------------------------------------- 113 VOAssistant ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 114 VSS CyberOffice ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 116 Working Solutions----------------------------------------------------------------------------- 117 Companies that Hire Captioners and Transcribers------------------------------------ 118 Aberdeen Captioning------------------------------------------------------------------------- 119 Alice Darling Secretarial Services --------------------------------------------------------- 120 Allegis Communications (Seattle, WA) W-2--------------------------------------------- 121 American High Tech Transcription -------------------------------------------------------- 122 All Professionals Litigation Support ------------------------------------------------------- 123 Broadcast Captioning and Consulting ---------------------------------------------------- 124 All Professionals Litigation Support ------------------------------------------------------- 125 Cambrige Transcriptions -------------------------------------------------------------------- 126 Capital Captioning ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 127 Caption Advantage --------------------------------------------------------------------------- 128 Caption Colorado------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 129 Caption Max ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 130 2

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Caption Midwest------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 131 Caption Reporters----------------------------------------------------------------------------- 132 Casting Words --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 133 CPC Web --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 134 Deposition Services -------------------------------------------------------------------------- 135 Digital Transcription Services -------------------------------------------------------------- 136 GMR Transcription---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 137 Caption Reporters----------------------------------------------------------------------------- 138 Mountain West Processing ----------------------------------------------------------------- 139 Net Transcripts--------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 140 On Site Sourcing ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 141 Production Transcripts ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 142 Scribe It------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 143 Speak Write ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 144 Talk2Type--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 145 Transcription Outsourcing------------------------------------------------------------------- 146 Transcriberz ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 147 TV Caption-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 148 US Transcription------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 149 Visual Data, Inc -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 151 Vitac ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 152 Your Remote Office--------------------------------------------------------------------------- 153 Freelance Marketplaces to Find VA Projects ------------------------------------------- 154 Resources Used for this Ebook ------------------------------------------------------------ 163

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What IS a Virtual Assistant, Anyway?
When you think of a virtual assisting career, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind? You may think of a Jane Friday or traditional secretary, taking stenography or typing memos for an executive, booking travel, and sending or receiving faxes. Virtual assistants do all of these things, and much more. They are typically freelancers or independent contractors that pay their own taxes and work for a variety of clients on different projects. Virtual assistants use technology to communicate work assignments, typically via email or phone. Typical duties of a virtual assistant include word processing, transcription, database management, Internet research, e-mail handling, reminder service, data entry, and any other tasks typically given to the office secretary. Times have changed with the internet as technology has begun to outgrow small businesses in many ways. Many virtual assistants help businesses by spending time taking dictation – from MP3 files. Others update company blogs and handle search engine submissions. Some virtual assistants work primarily in one or two industries, such as real estate or legal enterprises, while others perform general tasks for any small business that needs a helping hand in organization - such as booking and comparing air travel rates. In the twenty first century, the administrative professional has the ability to pick and choose tasks that they work on, simply by going virtual. Let’s face it – business has changed, and many businesses struggle to keep up with a variety of promotional tasks both off and offline. We’re in a time that appreciates – and utilizes – outsourcing many different capacities. Small business owners don’t have time to do it all and the web has made affordable help easily accessible. Administrative tasks are often now regularly outsourced on a freelance basis – and because of this, the virtual industry is booming.

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Should You Become a Virtual Professional?

If you have worked in the administrative field for a few years, or have training in word processing, internet research, and other daily administrative tasks, you probably already have the skills it will take to become a virtual professional. You can gradually make the switch from working the nine to five to becoming your own boss as a virtual assistant. The toughest part of becoming a virtual professional is finding a good amount of clients – which is why we created this book. There are quite a few virtual assistants, transcribers, and captioners out there who are only work part time, not because they make a ton of money and only have to work a couple of days per week -- but because they actually trouble finding work. This doesn’t have to happen to you if you are willing to put some work into building a plan for marketing your services and finding steady work. Your career switch may not happen overnight – but eventually you will become highly successful at what you do. Many virtual assistants start out by freelancing for a few companies and transition to full-time work once their income is steady. The first step in making that jump from office work to freelance admin work is to decide whether or not you have what it takes to become a virtual assistant. We all want to be our own boss, but do we all have the drive and dedication that it takes to be successful without the watchful eye of your supervisor?

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Be honest with this assessment. Do you have a large enough skill set to work primarily on the internet? Are you familiar – and good with -- common word processing software? What unique qualities do you have that can help you stand out amongst the hoards of different people all seeking the same work as you? Do you have the time management skills necessary to run your own virtual assisting operation and meet all of the deadlines set by your clients? Just because you bought this eBook, don’t quit your job just yet! Instead, you need to begin to assess your skills and create an action plan. Some skills, such as the ability to write coherently, a basic understanding of blogging, or HTML are highly marketable and you should really have no difficulty finding a work once you’ve put together your basic skills set and set up a mini-marketing plan. Money Matters – Do Virtual Gigs Pay Well? When you start out as a virtual assistant, you will probably have to take a few jobs that do not pay very well just to build your skill set and create a list of happy clients. Small projects will help you learn how to more effectively manage your time, speed up your workflow, and even help you get more used to using a computer and the internet to search for answers to any questions that may pop up while you are doing work for your client. The low paying jobs will probably last for a short time until you have assembled a list of satisfied clients. Eventually you will graduate into higher and higher paying jobs – the time that you’ll want to take your business to the next level. By this time, you should be confident enough to possibly start thinking about reducing the number of hours you work at your current job to part time status or even quit your job all together and make your living solely through virtual assisting in your selected field. Virtual professionals – including assistants, transcribers and captioners, often make a healthy hourly rate from $15.00 to $75.00 per hour. However, as somebody new to the freelance world, finding the clients can be hard and you’ll want to be diligent in your initial efforts to find work. The average virtual assistant earns $20.00-$25.00 per hour and works at least 20-30 hours a week. If you specialize in transcription or captioning, rates go as high as $75.00 an hour. You can choose to be paid weekly, bi-weekly, per project, or you can work with clients on a retainer. A retainer, commonly used in the legal profession, is paid by the client in order to secure your services. A monetary amount is agreed upon by the client and the business owner for a set number of hours during the month. If you work fewer hours, you get to keep the 6

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full retainer. If you work over the set amount, then you can invoice the client for any extra hours worked.

Almost all virtual assistant gigs are done as independent contractors – which essentially will make you a small business. It’s important to be aware that you will be responsible for health care, retirement funds, and other expenses that an employer usually pays their employees. Becoming a virtual assistant may mean working long hours in the beginning until you have enough clients. You may also have to work occasionally in the evening, on weekends, and during holidays. Currently, there are 3,000 to 5,000 virtual assistants working worldwide. The number keeps getting bigger as more companies take advantage of the services offered by those who want to work from home. If you want to start a virtual assisting business, creating a sound business plan, having enough in savings to pay for living costs until you begin earning a steady income and aggressively marketing your services to various industries are all important to your success. But once you establish yourself, there are many opportunities to be had in this profession.

Benefits of Becoming a Virtual Professional

The moment you decide to become a virtual professional, everyone you talk to will probably tell you how cool it is to be your own boss. You are in control of your work and nobody else (except for your clients) can tell you what to do. If you don’t want to work on Fridays – you don’t have to. Take any days off that you want, but make sure that you finish your projects by the deadline. By being your own boss, you really have the freedom to steer your life where you want it to go. You get to plan your own schedules, choose the projects that you find enjoyable, charge any rate that’s competitive, and be almost totally self sufficient – a major bonus of being an independent professional. Another of the big benefits you will always hear people talking about when it comes to working from home is that you can set your own dress code. If you find all of your work online, who is to say that you don’t have to just hang around in your pajamas or underwear all day long? 7

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Virtual assisting gives you the ability to work in your own style and in total comfort no matter who or what you are doing work for. By working from home, you can also spend more time with your family and friends. The flexibility of having a freelance career is second to none and there is practically no other job in the world that gives you both the spare time and the financial freedom to do what you want to do when you want to do it. Finally, with virtual assisting you can often choose your income potential. Because you work for yourself, you get to keep all of what you earn. Not a penny goes to anyone else - aside from the government in the form of taxes. You are not salaried, so the more work you do, the more you get paid.

Drawbacks of Becoming a Virtual Professional

As with anything in the world, there are drawbacks to becoming a virtual professional. The predominant drawback is that you are not as financially stable as you are when you work for someone else. You have to take care of all of your money management and have to work on project after project if you want to have enough money to stay financially afloat. You’ll also have to save for your own retirement and you own healthcare. These three factors all add up to create a feeling of financial insecurity for many people, and because of the major financial risk involved, many people feel that virtual assisting is not for them. There is also heavy competition in the world of virtual assisting. The internet has been both a blessing and a curse to virtual assistants from around the world – you may find yourself competing with people from other countries for projects. However, virtual professionals are becoming more main stream, and many businesses prefer to hire assistants in their own country, language and time zones. Because of the heavy competition online, you may have to start out with low pay for each project you do as a novice virtual assistant. When your client list expands however, you will be able to make more in the long term.

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Is Virtual Work Really for You?

If you are planning to quit your current job and enter the world of the virtual assistant, then you had better be sure that this is something you want to do. If you need a full-time income right away, take stock -- is virtual assisting really financially possible for you? Can you support your family on the part-time income you will initially make from a freelance virtual assistant gigs? What about healthcare? Can you handle the stress that comes from working with tight deadlines on your projects? Do you work well by yourself and can you speak well when talking with a potential client who may want to hire you for her next project? Finally, do you have what it takes to constantly advertise yourself and your services to anyone who may be interested? (And yes, we will show you how. You just need to be committed to doing the footwork.)

After all, many people get it into their heads that there is no more relaxing work atmosphere than being able to wake up late, work on your computer while you are wearing your pajamas, and take off whatever days you want as your vacation. While those can be perks of being a virtual assistant, but let’s be honest here - there are quite a few trials and tribulations that you will have to go through as a virtual assistant before you can reach the point where you do not have to worry about your finances anymore. You cannot expect to simply quit your current job for life as a virtual assistant and suddenly have hundreds of potential clients knocking at your door in hope that you will do a project for them. Are you a team player or do you work better as an individual? While this question may seem insignificant, remember that as a virtual assistant you really have no team to rely on should you not know how to do something. You’ve got to have a little guts, creativity, and gusto – as well as the ability to scour the internet for answers to your questions. Do you have enough self esteem to promote yourself as if you are the best virtual assistant out there? Being able to constantly advertise your services is a major benefit for anyone looking to become a virtual assistant. While it is possible to by

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shy or withdrawn and be successful at virtual assisting, you will have a much easier time if you are able to be vocal and proud of your services skills.

Skills Needed to Become a Virtual Assistant
Virtual assistants can provide services that traditional secretaries do not. These include technical writing, editing, desktop publishing, and web design. Even though you may not possess these skills, if you've worked as an administrative assistant or you have experience in business writing, marketing, public relations, event planning, or legal experience, you should be able to use these skills when promoting your business. Many of your virtual assisting clients may need your help with email inquiries and content management – basically, a person to handle their daily small tasks while they focus on their main jobs. A good dose of web-savvy is a great launching point for a virtual assistant business. Traditional secretarial skills like typing, transcription, monitoring email, setting up meetings, updating calendars, and reviewing documents are also needed by those too busy to do this type of work themselves. Depending on your prior experiences, you may be able to offer a wide variety of services to prospective clients. Keep in mind that you can also learn new skills once your business is up and running – don’t be afraid to ask your potential clients what daily web chores they could do without on a daily basis. You obviously need some equipment as well as some basic office skills. This includes a computer system, Internet access, email, fax, printer, phone, and possibly other items depending upon what services you plan on offering. You will be communicating with your clients via phone, fax, email, or instant messaging – so make sure you are comfortable with the technology. If you’re not sure about what skills you have to offer, we’ve created a skills checklist on the next page to help you assess your marketability.

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Psst, print this page out!

Skills Checklist for Virtual Assistants
Software and Technology Skills Adobe Photoshop Basic Typing Data Base Administration Desktop Publishing Graphic Arts Help Desk HTML Image Scanning Software Installation Internet Searches JAVA Microsoft Access Microsoft Excel Microsoft PowerPoint Microsoft Word PageMaker Pascal Peachtree Photoshop Quarkxpress Office Skills and Specialties Accounting Accounts Payable Accounts Receivable Balance Sheets Billing Bookkeeping Collections Customer Service Data Entry Dictaphone Filing Insurance Legal Terminology Machine Shorthand Medical Terminology Payroll Public Contact Purchasing Real Estate Reception Internet Skills and Specialties Article Submissions Blog Postings Classified Ad Postings (such as Craigslist) Directory Submissions (DMOZ.org, etc.) Ebay Auction Assistance Email Administration Ezine creation File Transfer Programs (FTP) Forum/Message Board Posting Internet Research Keyword Research (using Google Keywords, etc) Link Trade Requests PPC Ad Administration Press Release Submissions Search Engine Submissions Social Media Submissions (Digg, YouTube, etc.) Software Testing Surveying Travel Arrangements Website Updates

Note: There are many more skills you can offer clients; these are just a few of the typical skills offered by VA’s. Why not make a list of other skills here? ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ 11

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Should you get certified as a VA?
While many companies that subcontract to virtual assistants don’t require certification, others will only work with people who are certified. If you plan on starting your own business and finding your own clients, then it’s really up to you. Certified VA’s often make more money and get priority over other applicants for jobs. Certification only costs about $75 and requires an assessment of your skill sets, background, and references. If you don’t have all of these things, including five years of business experience, then you’ll want to find your own clients or work with companies that don’t require it. Search around for the best deal for certification, and read the credentials of the certifying agency. You don’t have to pay for classes to get certified, but if you feel like you need to beef up on your virtual skills, you may want to take an online class. It’s really up to you.

Setting Up a Home Office
Whether you set up a corner office in your kitchen, designate a guest room to double as your office, or set up a location in your basement, it's crucial that your home office include all the elements that contribute to your productivity, efficiency and overall success. Setting up a home office doesn't have to break your bank account. Very few of us can afford the luxury of having a professional organizer devise an office system for us. Don't despair; there are many creative ways to devise your space with a virtual office in mind. Maybe you are able to have a separate room for your office. If so, that's great since you’ll have many of elbow room to create your own space. But if you don't have an entire room to dedicate to your endeavor, there are many ways to utilize 12

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the space you can carve out for one. Whatever space you choose, make sure it's a space that can be dedicated to your office, and doesn't double as an arts and crafts table for your kids or a workbench for your spouse's do-it-yourself projects on the weekends. Take a look at your space and see what you can do easily and inexpensively to spruce it up and make it conducive to working from home. Sometimes just a fresh coat of paint, some strategically hung pictures or some simple stencil work can brighten up an otherwise dreary corner. Next, look around your house to see what furnishings you already have. If there's a small unused table that could double as a desk, use it. You've probably got a comfortable chair in your dining room that could work fine as an office chair. Look around your home for some useable pieces that can be brought together successfully to create a comfortable and relaxing home office environment. You may also already have book shelves, bins, baskets, boxes and a filing cabinet that could also be incorporated into your office. If you don't already have office supplies available, visit your favorite office supply or discount store and stock up on a few needed items and get your space organized and ready to roll.

Although you can easily start a home office on a shoestring budget, in order to avoid fatigue and back problems, invest in a standard desk and ergonomic office chair just as soon as you can afford them. Watch for office equipment sales, especially among the office equipment leasing firms. You should be able pick up a new, slightly damaged, or good used desk for around $50, as well as a decent office chair for about the same price. While you're shopping for “extra” office equipment, you'll want to be sure to pick up a chair mat. If you don't, you may suddenly find that the carpet on the floor of the room where your do your typing, needs replacing due to the worn spot where the chair is located and moved in front of the computer. You'll also want a work stand with place marker and a convenient box or storage for immediate paper supply. If you plan to do a great deal of work during the evening hours, be sure to invest in an adjustable "long arm" office work lamp.

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Keeping Your Home Office Paperwork Organized
The time to realize how important home business organization is to your overall success is not when you need to find important tax papers or income statements quickly. To avoid problems in the long run, take some time and devise a workable organization and filing system now. Get a sturdy lockable file cabinet and durable hanging folders. Buy manila folders to tuck inside the hanging folders, and make sure you've also got several manila envelopes on hand that you can tuck receipts into and label easily. Organize your financial papers chronologically, and divide them by types. Sort all your financial papers into piles and stack them chronologically. Be sure you have folders for bank statements, credit information, bill stubs, paycheck stubs, receipts, tax information, real estate papers, investment papers, insurance policies and statements, loan agreements and any other financial papers in separate hanging folders. Further divide your tax information by year. Include tax returns, receipts, copies of W-2s, 1099s and other pertinent tax information. Divide the bill stubs by the companies they represent and divide real estate papers by mortgage documents, home improvement receipts, second mortgages and so forth. Important documents such as savings and certificate of deposit passbooks, car titles, stock certificates and yearly Individual Retirement Account, pension and profit-sharing statements should be kept in a safe deposit box, along with any vital records and valuables. Make sure to keep on top of your inbox, especially your bills that need to be paid. Put them in a separate place where they are easily seen and handy. When purging documents from your filing system, be sure to hang on to tax paperwork for at least seven years, and other financial documents for three years. Financial planning software for your computer is available, and most are very user-friendly. Some include online banking functions. If you decide to utilize this,

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be sure to back up your data on a regular basis. If you make a commitment to keep on top of your filing and organization system continually, you'll benefit when the time comes to locate those important documents necessary for your continued success. If you don't, the paperwork monster will easily overwhelm you again and could mean trouble for your business.

Getting Legal: Setting Up a Basic Business Structure
As a virtual assistant, you will typically be treated as an independent contractor, or subcontractor, which means you, will typically be responsible for your own taxes on every tax level. If the business name you choose is different form your name, you file an assumed (or fictitious) name certificate with your city or county. You are notified if another business already has that name, so you can select a new one. Do this before investing in expensive stationery and brochures. It costs only a few dollars to file, and it protects the business name from being used by someone else your area. The three basic legal forms are sole proprietorship, partnership, and corporation. The most common – and least expensive to start -- is the sole proprietorship. As its name implies, a sole proprietorship is owned by one individual. It is the oldest form of business, the easiest to start, and the least complicated to dissolve. Here are some of the advantages of this business form: 1. You keep all the profits – but you must pay regular individual taxes on your income, property, and payroll, but these are not levied as special taxes, as with a corporation. 2. Your business is easy and cheap to organize. You don't need any government approval, although you may be required to carry a city, state or county license. Your only other obligation is to notify the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for the purposes of 15

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sales tax. 3. You're the boss 4. You enjoy certain tax savings.

5. Greater personal incentive and satisfaction. Since you have your investment to lose if your business is not successful, you should be more willing to put time, thought, and energy into the business. And when your business is successful, you enjoy maximum sense of accomplishment since you know its success was dependent upon your decisions about your management ability alone. You can always upgrade your business structure when you’re poised for growth. As a new virtual professional, you’ll probably want to keep things as simple as possible.

Visit the Small Business Administration for details on how to set up a small business structure the best way, legally. http://www.sba.gov/smallbusinessplanner/start/chooseastructure/START_FORM S_OWNERSHIP.html

Planning Your Virtual Career – as a Business

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Virtual assistants market themselves in many different ways, and you’ll want to find what works for you. Like most small businesses, marketing your services is important if you want to maintain a certain level of income. Using the Internet to conduct searches in online classifieds, joining social networking groups, freelance job sites, and contacting people you know are all ways to find work. Offline promotions can offer just as much business as your online marketing campaign. This may mean taking out an ad in your local newspaper, networking with people you already know, going to conferences and other functions to meet people in need of your services, or making phone calls to companies you believe could benefit from your services. Setting up an informal business plan is essential to your success. Don’t be intimidated by the prospect – a business plan is simply a way to lay out your ideas and how you want to get clients.

Setting Your Fees Rates vary for virtual assistants based on the industry you work in and your experience and specialties. The going rate is usually $15 an hour and up, with $20 being fairly common, but some virtual assistants can make up to $50 per hour. When setting your fees, remember that you have to pay your own taxes, insurance and other “benefits” so you should definitely charge more than the same position would pay an employee. The benefit to the client does not have to add another person to his or her payroll. Benefits for any freelance worker often add up to 25% of their salary. Your fees should be determined by how much you want to make, and the kinds of services you offer. Starting out, you may want to charge by the project, or charge a “retainer” for a certain number of hours per week that would cover any projects your client assigned. Do some investigation into what other virtual assistants offer by visiting their websites. We also have a list of forums later on you can visit to talk to others in the virtual service industry.

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Your Virtual Assistant Website As a virtual assistant, the first thing you’ll want to do is set up a basic website and pay for a monthly hosting plan. Do this before you make your business cards so you can hand out your card with a website address. There are many to set up a website, depending on your skills – but many web hosts have a simple solution for those who don’t know HTML – shop around or go with a well-known name such as GoDaddy.com. Don’t use a free web server. A domain name is only about $8.00 a year, and professional hosting can be as low as $3.99 a year. Free web servers are a sign of an amateur – not the image you want to project as a virtual professional. Spend some time seeing what works for other virtual professionals. Make sure your website has contact information that is easy for your prospects to find. Your website should have a page listing your services as well as information on your background, experience, and specialties. If you’re not sure how to word your website, check out the competition – you’ll be able to see how they market themselves. Virtual Assistants are actually a friendly group, and often will share their experience and knowledge in many online forums.

Business Cards – Also a Must For your business cards, consider a freelance artist to design a logo for you or using an online service such as Iprint.com, which is relatively inexpensive and has a great reputation. If you want something more original, check, or pass the word among the students in the art or design classes at nearby college, art or advertising school. Hiring a regular commercial artist will cost quite a bit more, and generally won't satisfy your needs any better than the work of a hungry beginner. The next step is finding, and keeping clients. Once you have a steady stream of clients, you should continue your marketing efforts by attending social functions, updating your website if you have one, and making phone calls to companies in your area who might need your services. Unlike other jobs you've had in the past, clients who use your services will come and go, so you need to be prepared to find new clients at any time.

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Psst, print these pages out!

A Fill-in-the-Blank Business Plan for Virtual Assistants
The next 10 pages are a fill-in-the blank, basic business plan for virtual assistants. A business plan is a written document which describes, in detail, what you want to do and how you are going to do it. You will explain your “plan of action” for success.

How should you use this business plan? We recommend you print it out and keep it with you as you go through the rest of the eBook, as we’ll be providing you with marketing ideas and strategies, as well as specific companies that hire people for contract administrative work.

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