Starting a virtual assistant business can be very profitable. With proper planning, execution and hard work, you can enjoy great success. Below you will learn the keys to launching a successful virtual assistant business.
Importantly, a critical step in starting a virtual assistant business is to complete your business plan. To help you out, you should download Growthink’s Ultimate Business Plan Template here.
14 Steps To Start a Virtual Assistant Business:
- Choose the Name for Your Virtual Assistant Business
- Develop Your Virtual Assistant Business Plan
- Choose the Legal Structure for Your Virtual Assistant Business
- Secure Startup Funding for Your Virtual Assistant Business (If Needed)
- Secure a Location for Your Business
- Register Your Virtual Assistant Business with the IRS
- Open a Business Bank Account
- Get a Business Credit Card
- Get the Required Business Licenses and Permits
- Get Business Insurance for Your Virtual Assistant Business
- Buy or Lease the Right Virtual Assistant Business Equipment
- Develop Your Virtual Assistant Business Marketing Materials
- Purchase and Setup the Software Needed to Run Your Virtual Assistant Business
- Open for Business
1. Choose the Name for Your Virtual Assistant Business
The first step to starting a virtual assistant business is to choose your business’ name.
This is a very important choice since your company name is your brand and will last for the lifetime of your business. Ideally you choose a name that is meaningful and memorable. Here are some tips for choosing a name for your own virtual assistant business:
- Make sure the name is available. Check your desired name against trademark databases and your state’s list of registered business names to see if it’s available. Also check to see if a suitable domain name is available.
- Keep it simple. The best names are usually ones that are easy to remember, pronounce and spell.
- Think about marketing. Come up with a name that reflects the desired brand and/or focus of your virtual assistant business.
2. Develop Your Virtual Assistant Business Plan
One of the most important steps in starting a virtual assistant business is to develop your business plan. The process of creating your plan ensures that you fully understand your market and your business strategy. The plan also provides you with a roadmap to follow and if needed, to present to funding sources to raise capital for your business.
Your business plan should include the following sections:
- Executive Summary – this section should summarize your entire business plan so readers can quickly understand the key details of your virtual assistant business.
- Company Overview – this section tells the reader about the history of your VA business and what type of virtual assistant business you operate. For example, are you a business support, personal support, virtual administration (VA) service, social media management service, website design and development service, or an ecommerce service?
- Industry Analysis – here you will document key information about the virtual assistant industry. Conduct market research and document how big the industry is and what trends are affecting it.
- Customer Analysis – in this section, you will document who your ideal or target customers are and their demographics. For example, how old are they? Where do they live? What do they find important when purchasing services like the ones you will offer?
- Competitive Analysis – here you will document the key direct and indirect competitors you will face and how you will build competitive advantage.
- Marketing Plan – your marketing plan should address the 4Ps: Product, Price, Promotions and Place.
- Product: Determine and document what products/services you will offer
- Prices: Document the prices of your products/services
- Place: Where will your business be located and how will that location help you increase sales?
- Promotions: What promotional methods will you use to attract customers to your virtual own business? For example, you might decide to use pay-per-click advertising, public relations, search engine optimization and/or social media marketing.
- Operations Plan – here you will determine the key processes you will need to run your day-to-day operations. You will also determine your staffing needs. Finally, in this section of your plan, you will create a projected growth timeline showing the milestones you hope to achieve in the coming years.
- Management Team – this section details the background of your company’s management team.
- Financial Plan – finally, the financial plan answers questions including the following:
- What startup costs will you incur?
- How will your virtual assistant business make money?
- What are your projected sales and expenses for the next five years?
- Do you need to raise funding to launch your business?
3. Choose the Legal Structure for Your Virtual Assistant Business
Next you need to choose a legal structure for your new virtual assistant business and register it and your business name with the Secretary of State in each state where you operate your business.
Below are the five most common legal structures:
1) Sole proprietorship
A sole proprietorship is a business entity in which the owner of the virtual assistant business and the business are the same legal person. The owner of a sole proprietorship is responsible for all debts and obligations of the business. There are no formalities required to establish a sole proprietorship, and it is easy to set up and operate. The main advantage of a sole proprietorship is that it is simple and inexpensive to establish. The main disadvantage is that the owner is liable for all debts and obligations of the business.
A partnership is a legal structure that is popular among small business owners. It is an agreement between two or more people who want to start a virtual assistant business together. The partners share in the profits and losses of the business.
The advantages of a partnership are that it is easy to set up, and the partners share in the profits and losses of the business. The disadvantages of a partnership are that the partners are jointly liable for the debts of the business, and disagreements between partners can be difficult to resolve.
3) Limited Liability Company (LLC)
A limited liability company, or LLC, is a type of business entity that provides limited liability to its owners. This means that the owners of an LLC are not personally responsible for the debts and liabilities of the business. The advantages of an LLC for a virtual assistant business include flexibility in management, pass-through taxation (avoids double taxation as explained below), and limited personal liability. The disadvantages of an LLC include lack of availability in some states and self-employment taxes.
4) C Corporation
A C Corporation is a business entity that is separate from its owners. It has its own tax ID and can have shareholders. The main advantage of a C Corporation for a virtual assistant business is that it offers limited liability to its owners. This means that the owners are not personally responsible for the debts and liabilities of the business. The disadvantage is that C Corporations are subject to double taxation. This means that the corporation pays taxes on its profits, and the shareholders also pay taxes on their dividends.
5) S Corporation
An S Corporation is a type of corporation that provides its owners with limited liability protection and allows them to pass their business income through to their personal income tax returns, thus avoiding double taxation. There are several limitations on S Corporations including the number of shareholders they can have among others.
Once you register your virtual assistant business, your state will send you your official “Articles of Incorporation.” You will need this among other documentation when establishing your banking account (see below). We recommend that you consult an attorney in determining which legal structure is best suited for your company.
4. Secure Startup Funding for Your Virtual Assistant Business (If Needed)
In developing your own VA business plan, you might have determined that you need to raise funding to launch your business.
If so, the main sources of funding for a virtual assistant business to consider are personal savings, family and friends, credit card financing, bank loans, crowdfunding and angel investors. Angel investors are individuals who provide capital to early-stage businesses. Angel investors typically will invest in a virtual assistant business that they believe has high potential for growth.
5. Secure a Location for Your Business
When looking for a location for your virtual assistant business, it’s important to find a place that’s conducive to productivity and creativity. You’ll want to choose a place that has minimal distractions and is quiet so you can focus on your work.
6. Register Your Virtual Assistant Business with the IRS
Next, you need to register your business with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) which will result in the IRS issuing you an Employer Identification Number (EIN).
Most banks will require you to have an EIN in order to open up an account. In addition, in order to hire employees, you will need an EIN since that is how the IRS tracks your payroll tax payments.
Note that if you are a sole proprietor without employees, you generally do not need to get an EIN. Rather, you would use your social security number (instead of your EIN) as your taxpayer identification number.
7. Open a Business Bank Account
It is important to establish a bank account in your virtual assistant business’ name. This process is fairly simple and involves the following steps:
- Identify and contact the bank you want to use
- Gather and present the required documents (generally include your company’s Articles of Incorporation, driver’s license or passport, and proof of address)
- Complete the bank’s application form and provide all relevant information
- Meet with a banker to discuss your business needs and establish a relationship with them
8. Get a Business Credit Card
You should get a business credit card for your virtual assistant business to help you separate personal and business expenses.
You can either apply for a business credit card through your bank or apply for one through a credit card company.
When you’re applying for a business credit card, you’ll need to provide some information about your business. This includes the name of your business, the address of your business, and the type of business you’re running. You’ll also need to provide some information about yourself, including your name, Social Security number, and date of birth.
Once you’ve been approved for a business credit card, you’ll be able to use it to make purchases for your business. You can also use it to build your credit history which could be very important in securing loans and getting credit lines for your business in the future.
9. Get the Required Business Licenses and Permits
To start a virtual assistant business, you will likely need a business license and a permit to operate as a business. You may also need to register with the state or local government. You should consult with your local government office to find out what licenses and permits you need.
10. Get Business Insurance for Your Virtual Assistant Business
The type of insurance that you need to operate a virtual assistant business will depend on the services that you offer.
Some business insurance policies you should consider for your virtual assistant business include:
- General liability insurance: This covers accidents and injuries that occur on your property. It also covers damages caused by your employees or products.
- Workers’ compensation insurance: If you have employees, this type of policy works with your general liability policy to protect against workplace injuries and accidents. It also covers medical expenses and lost wages.
- Commercial property insurance: This covers damage to your property caused by fire, theft, or vandalism.
- Business interruption insurance: This covers lost income and expenses if your business is forced to close due to a covered event.
- Professional liability insurance: This protects your business against claims of professional negligence.
Find an insurance agent, tell them about your business and its needs, and they will recommend policies that fit those needs.
11. Buy or Lease the Right Virtual Assistant Business Equipment
To run a virtual assistant business, you will need a computer, reliable internet access, and a phone. You may also want to invest in some software to help you manage your virtual assistant business.
12. Develop Your Virtual Assistant Business Marketing Materials
Marketing materials will be required to attract and retain customers to your virtual assistant business.
The key marketing materials you will need are as follows:
- Logo: Spend some time developing a good logo for your virtual assistant business. Your logo will be printed on company stationery, business cards, marketing materials and so forth. The right logo can increase customer trust and awareness of your brand.
- Website: Likewise, a professional virtual assistant business website provides potential customers with information about the services you offer, your company’s history, and contact information. Importantly, remember that the look and feel of your website will affect how customers perceive you.
- Social Media Accounts: establish social media accounts in your company’s name. Accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and/or other social media networks will help customers and others find and interact with your virtual assistant business.
13. Purchase and Setup the Software Needed to Run Your Virtual Assistant Business
In starting a virtual assistant business, you need some basic software. This includes a word processing program, a spreadsheet program, and a communication program. You may also want to consider investing in some task management software to help you keep track of your clients’ requests and deadlines.
14. Open for Business
You are now ready to open your virtual assistant business. If you followed the steps above, you should be in a great position to build a successful business. Below are answers to frequently asked questions that might further help you.
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How to Start a Virtual Assistant Business FAQs
No, it is not difficult to start a virtual assistant business because you don’t need a lot of money to get started. You can start your business with a computer and an internet connection. You also don’t need to have a lot of experience or training. There are many online courses and resources that can help you get started.
You can do a few things to get started in a virtual assistant business with no experience. You can start by researching the industry and learning about the different services that virtual assistants offer. You can also join online communities and forums where virtual assistants discuss best practices and offer advice to newbies.
The most profitable virtual assistant business provides administrative and marketing support to other companies. This type of business can offer a high level of service and support, making it valuable as it can be critical to the success of these other companies. As a result, this type of virtual assistant business can charge a higher price for its services, which makes it more profitable.
It can cost anywhere from $100 to $2,000 to start a virtual assistant business. The most important expense is usually your computer and internet connection. You may also need some office supplies, such as a printer and paper.
The ongoing expenses for a virtual assistant business can include items such as computer software, internet service, and training courses. In addition, virtual assistants may need to invest in marketing and advertising to build the business.
A virtual assistant business makes money by providing administrative, creative, technical, or project management services to multiple clients remotely. The most common ways to charge for these virtual assistant services are by the hour, by project, or through a monthly retainer. Some virtual assistants also offer one-time jobs, such as data entry or creating a social media strategy.
Yes, virtual assistant businesses can be profitable because they offer a unique service that is in high demand. Virtual assistants can provide a wide range of VA services, such as administrative support, social media management, and marketing assistance. This allows the owners to focus on their core business functions and grow their business without having to worry about administrative tasks.
Most virtual assistants fail because the owner does not set up their business correctly. They do not create a system, do not have a process, or do not have a solid plan. Furthermore, many virtual assistant businesses fail because the owner tries to do too many things themselves instead of outsourcing or automating some of the processes. Lastly, virtual assistant businesses may fail because the business owner has not created a brand or marketing strategy.
If you are starting a virtual assistant business, make sure to set it up correctly from the beginning. Outsource or automate some of your processes, create a system and a marketing strategy. By doing these things, you will increase your chances of success.