DEAR FRIENDS,

With unemployment at its boom, commodity prices rising, many displaced from their jobs, came to the need for a job to earn additional income. Thus the idea of work from home came up, which is now called the virtual assisting; the most popular industry in the west. The modern communication techniques have further changed the scope of this industry. Now, as a virtual assistant, you can work from any corner of the world. Seems to be very good, uhm? Yes, it is. But before you begin, you have to plan a lot. I am giving below my experience in starting a virtual assistance office and the many hurdles that I had to overcome. Hope this information will be of some use to you.

Before you start your own VA office, please consider discussing the matter with those who depend upon you, because they are the persons who are going to be directly affected. When I commenced working from home, I had no idea from where work will come, who will pay me, how much I should charge for a task and so on. I wasted lot of time, energy and money idly sitting in front of my computer. The information I collected online in those days is now disseminated to people around the world in the hope that it may help them. Virtual Assistants are experienced professionals who have worked for many years as personal assistant / secretary / clerk to provide services to clients. Just because you are able to use a computer and can use internet, you cannot claim that you are a perfect candidate for the post of a VA. Before you start, try to find out an answer these questions:

  • Are you employed? If yes, how do you plan to work from home?
  • Are you going to work part time or full time?
  • If you are planning to work part time, how many hours can you work a day? If are going to leave your present employment, do you have enough finance to maintain your family? I would suggest that initially you work part time and then upgrade to full time.
  • What are your skills? What type of work can you handle easily?
  • Who will provide you work?
  • How much will you charge for each task?
  • Do a search of virtual assistants and understand what they have to say. Practice some task and evaluate yourself. I have read an article on marketing strategies "You Are What You Communicate"  which may be of some help to you also.

    Networking will help you a lot in your business promotion. You will have opportunity to come across several VAs there and someone will surely give you a big helping hand. Maybe they don't need your services, but they may know someone who does, or someone who knows someone who does. Learn new topics and upgrade your knowledge and skills.

    There are many websites that can help you out, some of them are listed on the left side. These links should definitely help you get started in the VA business. Each of these sites is loaded with links, tips and resources that you will find highly beneficial. Don't forget to bookmark them (and this page :-) for future reference. As a social service, I have helped many in India and outside to set up their own VA office. Need my help?

    I hope this helps you get started and guides you to success. Remember that this is a long and rewarding road that you are taking. Live, learn and enjoy!

    Sincerely,

    Gopalakrishnan