Welcome to the new and exciting world of Virtual Assistance. This Book will introduce you to this rapidly expanding home-based business. You will learn in the following pages the basics of this business, how to get started, how to attract clients and how to grow your business. We do not guarantee success. Only you can guarantee your success through perseverance, confidence in yourself, hard work and the belief that you can succeed.

Being a Virtual Assistant is honest work, is not a get rich scheme and it does take time to build a viable business. An evaluation questionnaire is included in this booklet to help you assess your interest and skill level before you decide to invest time and money in making a career of being a Virtual Assistant.

 About Working at Home

I have spent over seven years managing a successful Virtual Assistant practice from my home. I started my practice part time and have slowly built it into a full time business. There are many advantages to working at home and there are also some disadvantages.

When I started my VA practice several years ago I was determined to make it a successful endeavor. I did not want to start a business and have it end up a failure. For the last few years of working in the corporate world I had thought about how my services could be adapted to a home based business; I was confident that I knew what was required to run a business out of my home and that my education and experience had given me the tools to make it successful. I was also confident that I possessed the temperament and personality to make it a success.

Some business backgrounds are, of course, more easily adapted to a home office than others. I started my career in the secretarial field and progressed up the ladder to my last corporate position, manager of Information Technology. I knew that this background in secretarial service and computer/Internet technology gave me a high probability of success. I also knew that I was a self-starter; I knew what was needed to get a job done and I’ve always enjoyed working alone.

I was well prepared when I saw an ad on the Internet soliciting applicants to attend an Internet based school training virtual assistants called AssistU. The information assured me that when I graduated from this sixteen-week course of study I would be prepared to successfully run a business from home. This course taught me how to market my services, solicit clients, manage my business, and the intricacy of providing services through the use of computers, phone and fax that people will pay for. Within one month of completing the course work, I had my first client. Within one year I had four clients and have had a continuing successful business since then.

The advantages of working at home include freedom, enhancing self-esteem, convenience and monetary rewards. As a successful home businessperson, I set my own work hours and can choose what hours and days I do not work. Sometimes I may work on Saturday or even Sunday or I may work in the evenings. On the other hand, I can take three or even four day vacations from time to time. I can even load up my laptop, cell phone and printer and go for an extended trip and still run my business. I feel good about myself now that I have succeeded in building a successful business, and the monetary compensation for my work is determined by me, not someone else. This is a business that can be located anywhere there is access to computers, the Internet and a telephone.

 

Working at home does have its negatives. I sometimes miss the human interface of the office. I had many friends who I now see only occasionally and it is harder to make time during the day for social calls unless well planned. On the other hand, the home office can be so much more efficient because there are fewer interruptions; I tend to concentrate more on my work and less on what the person in the next office is talking about. Managing a home office requires time and attention that is taken for granted in the corporate world. This includes marketing your services, acquiring clients, maintaining records, billing clients and keeping knowledgeable about your business. When you start a home based business, you have to start by doing it all yourself.

We don’t realize the costs of maintaining a home office until we negotiate for health insurance, pay our own taxes, purchase our own equipment and pay for business long distance. However, these are mere inconveniences and can easily be managed by a well-organized home office.

With the advent of instant communication through the computer and Internet and the concerns with the environment and energy conservation, I feel that I am making a positive contribution to society and my health by working at home. I am very happy about the decision I made to start my Virtual Assistance practice and encourage those who have the interest and background to seriously consider working at home.

Kathy Sparks

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