Every day, for at least 90 days, I’ll write on this blog on the topic of how to start a virtual assistant business and how to become a virtual assistant. I will share my experience of aspiring woman entrepreneur. I’m based in Paris, France. Being bilingual, I want to reach out to a global clientele and I am currently on the planning phase of my international online business, a virtual assistant business. I plan to launch it in March 2012.
In this post I share the 7 steps I will follow as I plan my virtual assistant business to ensure it has a professional presentation and meets on-going success and profitability in the future.
If you have read the end of the previous post, you know that I’m about to share with you my personal 7 steps to a successful, professional and profitable business. How do I know that it’s going to be so? Because contrary to my previous online projects, I am thoroughly planning this one to be a success. Ever since I overcame failure and decided to turn it into success, one of my favorite mottos in life is:
“Failing to plan is planning to fail”
… And I know this from experience!
There are many invaluable resources on how to start a virtual assistant business or how to become a virtual assistant and I believe that most of them are legit, like the VA Apprenctice of Michelle Dale, which is getting rave reviews from past graduates.
Personally, in 2012, I am trying to live the philosophy of “I am enough.” What you must understand is that in the past years I’ve almost systematically reinvested the money I’ve made in education and self-improvement so I plan on sticking as much as possible to what I already have.
It is also mainly because I do not want to be the victim of the “shiny object syndrom”, which is one of the most common issues when it comes to online activities.
Having a “shiny object syndrom” means that you want to purchase every new Virtual Assistant (or other) program, book, tool, etc. that is existing or being released without ever finishing the one that you purchased few days or few weeks ago. Doing so ultimately keeps you from taking action, so you never take action, never implement what you have learned and never get any result in your business… You may already be doing just about that without even knowing it (I know, I’ve been there and it takes determination to stop this bad habit.)
My 7 Steps to VA Business success
Here are the 7 different steps I want to follow over the next 3 months as I start my virtual assistant business:
- Vision/Branding: I initially thought that I had to do all the legal elements first but after giving it some thought, I only want to register my business once I know exactly what I am expecting from it, both in terms of long-term goals and in terms of branding. And you know what? I already changed my ideal business name about 4 times since I started to think about it! So I would highly recommend you to work both on your big vision before anything else. You can start by asking yourself these questions: is your business going to be local or international? If tomorrow your main service, your niche or your unique selling proposition doesn’t sell anymore, will you still be proud of using and able to use this business name? If you think about it this way and kind of “torture” your business name idea until you get to say “aha, I love this! this is terrific, this is perfect, this will rock my world and the world of my team and clients!“, you will have the basics for the hottest brand ever. My take is: a business name sticks to you for a while so you must be picky when choosing it.
- Business Plan/Financial Projection: I will confess something here and will whisper it in your ears because I’m rather shy about it: I really, sincerely am in business to make it big… Which means that I want to hit the 6 figure annual income. I realize it may take several years to get there, so I think the next step after writing down my vision and working on my branding is going to be working on realistic financial expectations and goals for the coming years.
- Legal: That’s when I will register my business and do everything that is related to the legal aspect of setting up a business
- Finance: That’s when I’ll open a business bank account and do everything that is related to managing the financial aspect of a business
- Insurance: That’s is when I will protect my business and do everything that is related to setting up protection for me (as a business owner) and my business
- Plan for my ideal, support team: while I will start as a solo Virtual Assistant specializing in internet marketing, my dream goal is to upgrade to an Online Business Manager role in my business (or Multi-VA business if you know of this term). I feel it’s best suited for me, based on my experience of managing up to 40 persons on various projects in the past. I don’t want to hire my team right away because I think it’s important to experience myself what kind of struggles a solo VA faces at times, but I will definitely plan for this transition right from the start: I want to work towards it and be ready for it!
- Marketing Plan/Launch my business: That’s when I will start marketing officially my business – and I intend on doing this activity for the rest of my (business) life!
WHAT YOU MUST KNOW ABOUT MY 7 VA BUSINESS SUCCESS STEPS:
As I said in my previous posts, I’ve spent over 6 months almost full time learning all aspects of business management and internet marketing and I’ve stumbled upon some of the greatest resources ever – things that school will never teach me and that would easily cost me 10 times more than what I’ve paid to acquire this knowledge if I hired someone to personally teach them to me.
So what you must know is that the rockin’ 7 steps to Virtual Assistant Business plan that I have presented above is greatly inspired from one of the most inspiring women entrepreneurs I’ve ever found online, Alexis Neely. She is a family lawyer, a multi-million dollar entrepreneur (she actually explains with authenticity how she LOST MILLIONS and gained them back for far more) and she is the one who inspired me to get real about setting up a solid foundation for my business.
What I like so much about Alexis is that she’s probably the only one who ever made me aware of and warned me against what she calls “shadow businesses“. They are businesses that seem to be doing ok but are not really sustainable, mostly because they are built on shaky foundations and are one step from crashing. And trust me – I don’t want to get there, so I really pay attention to Alexis’ recommendations!
If you still haven’t taken care of the financial, legal, insurance and tax aspects of your business, then do yourself a favor and by all means… set it up right now!
You will feel a lot better when you can sit down and think: “ok, now I can focus on marketing and performing services in my business because everything else is in order and I’m ready to face any situation“. I know that personally, this is the kind of feeling that I’m striving for in my business.
The mind-blowing fact I’ve learned from Alexis: Your business MUST survive without you! I know it’s not exactly exciting (quite the contrary) to think about leaving this world but if tomorrow never comes… what will happen to your business and those who are directly or indirectly linked to it? To your clients, to your team, but also to your family who may be supported by your business’ income? Really think about this and plan for it – This is what I will personally do.
Check out the 2 incredible programs that inspired my 7 steps to VA business success plan:
(please note: they are affiliate links. When landing on both websites you will quickly notice by yourself Alexis’ carefully crafted, unique presentation and the incredible testimonials she is getting from those who followed her programs. I only recommend her because I’ve spent hours online looking for someone like her and I’m so glad that you visit and read my blog, I absolutely want to share my best and ultimate business resources with you! Alexis not only is a role model for me, she also inspires me to set higher standards in my business planning and management every day. I am sure that you will reap the benefits of learning from her mistakes and successes through these programs for the rest of your life. These programs are THAT good.)
If you can’t afford the programs above or if you want more similar information, then you should definitely go for “Managing Your Thriving Business for Success” by Yvonne Weld and Sally Kuhlman. This is an extremely affordable and unique ebook that I’ve stumbled upon while researching the best practical advices for (online) business management:
Click here to view more details (please note: this is an affiliate link, this book is part of my must-have VA books list that I’ll personally use to start my virtual assistant business)
I have been part of high-end group coaching programs such as Marie Forleo‘s B-school but also got dozens (dare I say hundreds?) of reports, online courses and resources on the topic of entrepreneurship and internet marketing during the 6+ months I have immersed myself fully online. I feel that I have enough knowledge and resources to get started building my virtual assistant business. I will definitely share with you in my posts what I use as I go through the process of becoming a virtual assistant.
Before I leave you for today I want to insist on these 3 important points:
- You are enough and you have enough! You do not absolutely need a book, a program, etc. You CAN start with what you have right now as long as you understand that if you want to have success in your business, you have to plan for it (even if you already created your business, it’s never too late to plan for the next months/years)
- If you need help getting started or feel stuck where you are in your career, check the testimonials of a coach or a program before joining it. Check the links of the persons who left testimonials: are they still in business? are they active online? did they get the results you want to get for yourself? Question everything before you put your money into it. I go through these in-depth reviews before recommending or purchasing a product myself. The same goes for tools and books that you might be tempted to buy. Following is the most important of all…
- Ensure you will be committed to the program/coaching/tool/book you decide to get, from start to finish. I have personally learned that it’s what it takes to get real, lasting results in your business! A program or a coach will not do everything for you, he/she is here to guide you in the right direction as you take action in your business
Tomorrow and for the next few posts, we’ll talk about virtual assistant business branding and I’ll evoke various online resources you can use to style up your company’s brand (woot, I’m going to bring some geeky links love in my blog!)
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