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What it Takes to Become a Successful Virtual Assistant

Do you know if you have what it takes to be a successful Virtual Assistant?

What are the Essential Virtual Assistant Skills and Characteristics you need to be successful?

If you have never worked for yourself before you may not fully be aware of the realities of self-employment.

Running a successful virtual assistant business is much more than performing some wordprocessing and clerical work for a client. Successful VAs are not only highly skilled in computers, software, internet and basic office functions, but are skilled business owners and marketers as well.

You will be the CEO of your own home based business!

This can be the most rewarding thing you have ever done, and also the most demanding. You will be responsible for every aspect of your business from the start-up costs and marketing your business, to providing excellent service as you build your reputation.

Take some time to research the industry and think about what a typical day will be like. Be clear about why you want your own business and what you hope it will accomplish for you and your lifestyle.

Here are some things to think about as you determine whether you really have what it takes to succeed as a Virtual Assistant.

  • Why do you want to start your own business? Do you have reasonable expectations?

  • Finances. Can you afford to start your own business? Do you have to support others? Do you have medical coverage for you and your dependents? What are your start-up costs and can you afford them?

  • Essential Virtual Assistant Skills. Take a realistic inventory of your skills. Being a VA is not simply a home typing job. Recent studies show 75% of VAs have at least 10 years of high level administrative experience. They are highly skilled in software, computers, internet and general office procedures.

  • Self-Discipline. Can you handle working alone without a boss? If you are a working mom with children at home, you will need to have a plan for handling interruptions and distractions while keeping on task and meeting deadlines. Do you have the support of your family?

  • Time Management skills. Can you juggle multiple assignments? Are you able to create your own schedule and stick with it? Keep in mind that when starting a new business, you will need to spend much of your time and energy marketing your business as well as working for clients.

  • Outgoing. If you are introverted, you may like the idea of working alone; however, you need to be outgoing enough to market your business. Most VAs market their business services as much offline as they do online.

  • Confidence. Are confident enough in your skills to believe you have a reasonable chance to succeed in this business? Can you “sell yourself” to prospective clients? Can you remain positive despite adversity and the inevitable ups and downs of a new business?

  • Do you take pride in your work and are you willing to take responsibility when something goes wrong? Are you conscientious and detail oriented?

  • Customer Service. Are you courteous on the phone and can you convey your message with warmth in an email? Do you get along easily with a wide range of people at all business levels? Your ability to establish report with your clients, and their clients, will determine the success of your business. As a self-employed professional, your reputation is everything.

  • Do you thrive on change? Can you handle an unpredictable schedule and changes at the last minute or do you prefer a routine and structure to your day? Successful VAs understand the unsteady workflow of this business and the need to be flexible and adapt to the needs of their clients.

  • Can you handle criticism from a client without becoming defensive? Are you tolerating of the viewpoint of others or do you tend to be opinionated and stubborn. Remember the client is paying you and therefore your goal is to make them happy, not to be right.

  • Are you trustworthy and dependable? Clients will need to trust you with confidential information and must be sure you will keep their confidences in an ethical and professional manner.

  • Are you a quick learner? Do you have the desire and ability to learn about your client’s businesses and acquire new skills if needed? Virtual assistants work as business partners with their clients and take pride in the fact that they help their client’s business grow and prosper. This is a different attitude from many employees who simply do an assigned task and go home.

  • Will you enjoy working at home? This may seem like a dream; no traffic jams, long work hours or office politics. The reality may not live up to the dream. If you have children, will you be able to juggle both work and family responsibilities despite the many distractions? If you don’t have children, will you be lonely? Coworkers may be a pain at times, but they also provide daily human contact and friendships. Will you be able to handle working by yourself much of the time?
  • These are just some questions to ask yourself before you decide if starting a virtual assistant business is right for you.

    If you take the time and think about your decision, you will probably make the best decision for your situation. By doing some research and careful planning, you have an excellent chance of being successful and living the lifestyle that you truly enjoy.

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