Working as a virtual assistant can be done as either a work at home job for a virtual assistant service, or as an independent home business. There are advantages and disadvantages to each. Which works for you is a very personal decision.

Today I will be focusing on being a virtual assistant as a home business. I have a number of articles on being a virtual assistant you may enjoy reading to go into more depth than what I have here.

Skills Required

The skills you need will very much depend on which virtual assistant services you choose to offer. The title virtual assistant can cover a lot of ground:

  • answering customer service phone calls and emails
  • sending mail and faxes
  • taking inbound phone calls
  • following up with previous clients
  • letter writing
  • data entry
  • website design and maintenance

You can specialize in any of these or a combination and market yourself as a virtual assistant. The key is to be great at whatever you offer. And there are many more skills you can offer.

Common Expenses

Once again, this depends on what you specialize in. You probably already own a computer, although having a work specific one can have its advantages if such is in the budget.

You will need a domain name and hosting if you’re going it on your own. You need a good place to showcase your skills and portfolio. If you have the skills, build on your own, but otherwise services such as SBI can be a great way to build a site to attract clients. The expense for either solution, when calculated by the year, really isn’t too bad, especially in comparison with renting an office space outside the home as with traditional businesses.

You may need to buy software both to help you complete your work and to keep track of billing, income and taxes.

There may be expenses associated with finding clients. You will want to print business cards. You might look for work on boards that will have either an upfront cost or take a percentage of your earnings from projects found there. You might try pay per click advertising.

Possible Income Streams

Your clients should be your main income stream. If you provide good service, those who have more work for you may choose to continue using your services.

To maintain a professional look, I would not suggest placing ads on your business website. You don’t want to distract potential clients from the reason they came to your site.

While you hope to attract clients through your site, you may need to consider other sources to bring in business. You can sign up with sites such as Shelancers, Elance or Guru to find work.

Related Scams

When you’re running your own business dealing with clients, your main concern may well be getting paid by your clients. Sometimes this will be really difficult. But there are fewer flat out scams out there when you have your own business. They do exist, however.

Fake job boards, for example. Any time you pay for membership you should first research to be sure that you will be getting something for your money, or at least have the chance to. Sometimes a legitimate source just won’t have a match for you. Other times there may be deliberate deception about the possibilities present on a site.