Thanks to the explosive growth of worldwide telecommunications networks and powerful web-based software, work from home jobs are more popular than ever. Becoming a virtual assistant is one of the best ways to take advantage of one’s unique knowledge and expertise to start a small business. Basically, a virtual assistant is someone who performs tasks such as secretarial work, IT support, copywriting and social media marketing for various clients online. All that’s required to get started is a quiet home office to work from and a reliable web connection.
Before you start out, take a moment to weigh the pros and cons of becoming a virtual assistant. On the plus side, there’s a fair degree of autonomy and independence that comes with being able to work from home and set your own schedule. As far as drawbacks are concerned, virtual assistants lack the job security and benefits of salaried positions in the real world. However, it can be a very enticing proposition for those who are motivated self-starters that can think on their toes. In addition, you’ll find plenty of guidance from helpful organizations like the International Virtual Assistants Association to ease the transition.
Niches and Outsourcing
First things first, assess your strengths and weaknesses when choosing a niche that fits your particular skill set. You’ll find that you can make more money by becoming a specialist rather than a jack of all trades. Clients can be found on sites like Virtual Assistants. Learning to outsource your own grunt work to other freelancers is part of the territory. You can find them on sites like elance, oDesk and Guru. These sites are also terrific forums for securing freelance work for yourself.
Marketing Your Business
Oftentimes, a virtual assistant will quickly discover that marketing their business can actually be tougher than running it. Social media platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook are some of the best ways to evangelize. Use your own personal website or blog to attract clients through article marketing and build word of mouth hype through guest posts on other authority sites around the ‘Net. At first, it will make sense to rely on job boards like VA Networking. Eventually, you’ll be able to build enough clout to strike out on your own.
Once you’ve got a decent pipeline of clients to rely on, you can start to think about potentially expanding your operation or moving into new fields. Perhaps you’re interested in founding your own virtual assistant agency. Many thriving virtual online enterprises have started out this way. The direction you choose to go in is entirely up to you. Though it may be challenging and stressful at times, being a virtual assistant is one of the most exciting new professions to emerge since the dawn of the World Wide Web.