What Do I Need To Get Started As A VA?
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What do I need to get started as a VA?

Essentials for a Virtual Assistant

One of the many benefits of working as a virtual assistant is that you don’t need a lot to get started. Unlike other businesses where you might need a lot of equipment, VAs can hit the ground running.

To make things simpler, a list of the equipment you might need has been split into sections, so that you can see at a glance if you’re missing anything crucial. Of course, what equipment you’ll need depends largely on which services you’re offering as a VA, but below you’ll find all of the essentials.

Once you have all of your equipment ready, you’ll be able to embark on a new career as a virtual assistant!

Because you’re setting up as a virtual assistant, your office will probably be based in your home. You’ll need to find a quiet space away from the hustle and bustle of daily life to focus on your work.

If it’s feasible, a separate room or area is perfect, as it will help you separate your ‘work life’ from your personal life. If you have room within your budget, perhaps add some small decorations to your home office so that it feels like a calm and peaceful space. This doesn’t have to break the bank – a photo frame or two and a potted plant can instantly help make your workspace feel less sterile!

Office equipment:
 Computer – as you will be working from your computer all day, it’s wise to use the best PC or laptop that you can reasonably afford.
 Printer/scanner
 Backup storage or system – several apps and websites allow you to backup files online, so a physical external drive isn’t essential.
 Reliable internet connection
 Desk and chair – you’re going to be spending a lot of time in your chair, so make sure it’s comfy and suitable for your height!
 File cabinet
 Telephone
 Notebook or sticky notes – for jotting down notes or ideas.
 Calendar – either a physical one or on an app

Optional:
 Transcription software and equipment – if you offer transcription services.
 Phone headset – so you can talk hands free.
 Whiteboard or noticeboard – for writing to-do lists and task deadlines.

If you’ve never set up any kind of business before, you will need a few things to make things organised for you and your clients.

Business equipment:

 Business plan – a plan is the best way of making sure you’re keeping on track. This should include your goals, budget, marketing strategy, policies, and the kinds of tasks you take on. Consider making a plan with a business coach to ensure success!
 Website and/or blog – this will help potential clients learn about your services.
 Social media accounts for your business
 Email account for business
 Telephone number for business
 Invoicing system
 Bookkeeping software
 Content management system – make sure you have a system for delivering work to clients.
 Services agreement/Work for hire agreement
 Insurance – when you’re self-employed, insurance is your own responsibility.
 Bank account for business

Optional:

 Business software – (e.g. Transcription software, accounting software) This will vary depending on what services you provide. What software will you need to provide your chosen services?
 Electronic PDF editing/signing software – This isn’t essential, but if you need to sign forms often, having a method of electronically signing them can be a useful timesaver. it.

As well as physical equipment, there are a few things you will need on a personal level to succeed as a VA! Working as a virtual assistant is an amazing experience, but it’s not without its setbacks.

Personal equipment:
 Determination – Things may go wrong from time to time. Knowing how to roll with the punches is vital.
 Enthusiasm
 Motivation – now that you’re self-employed, you’ll need to motivate yourself to get started each day!
 Positive mindset
 Administrative skills – you’ll need basic skills to make sure you’re keeping invoices etc. organized and up to date.
 Marketing knowledge – being a VA is a learning curve, so you can pick up most of this as you go along but reading a few good marketing books before you start wouldn’t hurt!

What If I’m On A Budget?

There might be a lot of equipment you already have, so make sure you gather everything you already own before dashing out to buy something new. If you’re working to a tight budget, keep an eye out on local community pages. Your friends or neighbors might be selling second-hand items at a hugely discounted rate – sometimes you can even find things for free!

The most expensive piece of equipment is probably going to be a computer, so as long as you already have one you can get started even if you’re on a budget. Don’t be afraid to ask around – some people might be upgrading their office equipment and be willing to let you take a desk or chair off their hands!

Once you have your equipment set up, you’ll have everything you need to start your business right. Remember – everything doesn’t have to be completely perfect before you start. A slightly wonky desk is better than no desk at all! As long as you’re willing to invest whatever you can into your business, you’ll be off to a great start.

Carol

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