How do you become a VA? It’s a question we get asked a lot. Following on from The Arts VA’s 3rd birthday last week, Charlie has shared some of her top tips for becoming your own boss...
When I first started out three years ago, I didn’t know where to start when it came to setting up my own VA business. Thankfully, the VA community is a very supportive place and I got lots of support and advice from other experienced virtual assistants.
Since starting The Arts VA, I’ve been asked for advice from other administrators in the arts who want to work from home and be their own boss, so I came up with some top tips for getting started as a VA.
When I was still an employee, I would spend my commute into London and lunch breaks researching. I found the Society of Virtual Assistants really useful and also the VACT blog gave lots of helpful advice. I also discovered a great, funny book - Virtually Painless by Kathy Soulsby.
I was confident in my abilities as a VA (a do-er) but I had no idea how to set up and run a successful business. I really recommend getting a business coach/mentor to answer questions, this could be about whether to be a sole-trader or limited company, what to name your business, access to template contracts for clients and how to market your company.
It is such a personal choice who to choose as a mentor, but if you like a no-nonsense approach like me, Amanda Johnson might be right for you too.
3. Reach Out
My experience of the VA community is that we’re a really friendly bunch and so happy to share advice to VAs starting out. Definitely a feeling of collaboration rather than competition.
There is enough work for us all out there!
I regularly get phone calls and emails from administrators in the arts that want to start out as a VA and a couple of them now work as associates for me. Although working as an associate shouldn't be seen as a training opportunity, starting out as a VA associate is a great idea.
4. Market Research
Market research was so beneficial for me. Sending out short surveys to businesses and freelancers in the theatre industry allowed me to hone down on the services I was going to offer. It was also an opportunity to let them know my plans and some of them then contacted me to work with them.
When managing multiple clients, systems and online tools are so helpful (check out our blog on our pick of the best). Tracking your time is really important - make sure to allocate some time every day or week for you and your business, and put your business owner hat on. This is so important!
Also set boundaries and figure out the hours you want to work per day/per week. This is essential if you are going to successfully work from home.
You can read more about my journey to becoming a VA at the VACT blog.
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We’d Love to Hear From You!
If you have any questions about being a VA or would like to know more about how you could work with The Arts VA, you can contact Charlie here.