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  Title: How To Start Your Own Virtual Assistant Business

Author: Liz Folger

Thanks to the Internet there's a new way to make money with your
computer. You might be surprised at all the different services
you could offer with this new home business. Most people have
become familiar with word processors, which usually consists of
typing manuscripts, letters, transcription and writing resumes,
but the new virtual assistant is like word processing on

 Diana Ennen, has been a home-based word processor now for about
15 years. She started to educate herself about all the
possibilities a person has when starting a virtual assistant
business. Diana Ennen along with Kelly Poelker, a certified
Master Virtual Assistant, just finished writing an ebook called,
"A Bizy's Guide: How To Start Your Own Home-Based Virtual
Assistant's Business."

 So What Exactly Is A Virtual Assistant?

 Diana Ennen explains, "A virtual assistant, or VA, is a highly
skilled professional who provides administrative support and
other specialized services to businesses, entrepreneurs,
executives, and others who have more work to do than time to do

 Many VAs work as independent contractors from their own home.
VAs use leading edge technology to communicate work assignments
via the Internet, e-mail, disk transfer or such traditional
methods as regular mail, overnight shipping and even pick-up and
delivery in local areas. A VAs services typically include word
processing, medical or legal transcription, database management,
Internet research, e-mail handling, reminder service, bulk
mailings, information processing, and any other tasks typically
given to the office secretary. Many VAs also provide web
development, design and maintenance, desktop publishing, meeting
and event planning, bookkeeping, and business start-up
consultations. The services are endless depending upon your
knowledge and skills."

 Tisha Silvers explains her virtual assistant business as, "One
who assists another from literally anywhere in the world. I
don't limit it to just business support functions. And I
consider the person a few miles down the street to be just as
virtual if you don't meet regularly or at all. I have a few of
those kinds of clients myself."

 How Can You Market This Business?

 Showing clients how much you can help them as their VA isn't as
hard as you think. Julie McMann explains, "Using a virtual
assistant allows clients to outsource any projects that can be
done from a remote location. It allows them to accomplish more
with less time. Since time is so precious to business owners,
anything that frees up time and keeps the business moving ahead
is extremely valuable. It's also convenient to be able to hire
and utilize a virtual assistant whenever you need them. One
month you may have more projects than another. It's much less
expensive than hiring a full-time employee who doesn't get used
to their full potential. Clients also benefit by not having to
worry about providing employee benefits such as insurance, 401K,
vacations, etc. Finally, office space and equipment are provided
at the expense of the virtual assistant, which again saves the
client money."

 Do You Have What It Takes To Become A Successful VA?

 Here are some questions to ask yourself when you think about
starting your own virtual assistant business:

  Do you have excellent typing and proofing skills? Do you
enjoy helping people? Are you familiar with the Internet and
enjoy learning new things about it? Do you already know
several people who could utilize your services? Are you
capable of making a great income and will stop at nothing to
make it happen?


 Diana and Kelly explain, "Every virtual assistant has their own
unique skills and experience that enables them to start their
business. The right skills are those that you have perfected and
can perform well. As you further develop your skills, you can
expand your service offering.

 Skills range from the basics such as typing to highly
specialized areas like web design, graphic arts, technical
writing, and more. A professional VA will be proficient in the
Internet, computers, software, word processing and spreadsheet
applications, etc. In addition to the technical skills, a
professional VA will have good business management skills as
well as knowledge of marketing, advertising, and public
relations. Business management skills not only help you in
operating your own business, but allows you to aid your clients
in running theirs.

 VAs must be motivated. You can't get discouraged when you
experience minor set-backs. Start fresh each day. If the phone
didn't ring yesterday, make it ring today. Failure is not an
option. You need to know that you're going to make it and will
stop at nothing short."

 How Much Can You Make?

 "Our research shows most pricing is centered around a base
price of $25 per hour. However, the rate does depend on the
services you provide and also how long you've been in business.
Another consideration is the area in which you live. In some
areas you will receive more than in others. For example, in
south Florida you can charge a better rate in Miami, than say a
smaller town like Pompano Beach.

 There are different ways in which you can charge for services.
By the hour, by the project, by the page, or for something like
event planning you could charge a certain percentage of the
total event cost. Many VAs offer reduced rates for a monthly
retainer option. With a monthly retainer your client commits to
a certain number of hours per month at a predetermined rate. If
you work less than the committed number of hours you are still
paid the same. If you work over the committed number of hours
then you would bill the client for the additional hours at that
same rate or whatever is agreed upon," says Diana and Kelly.

For More Information On How You Can Become A Virtual Assistant

 You can purchase Diana and Kelly's ebook, A Bizy's Guide: How
To Start Your Own Home-Based Virtual Assistant's Business at:

About the author:
Liz Folger is Work-at-Home Mom Expert and author of "The
Stay-at-Home Mom's Guide To making Money From Home". Her book is
available at your favorite bookstore or by calling 800-632-8676.
Liz has also created a resource site for work-at-home moms at:
http://www.bizymoms.com. When you visit, don't forget to sign up
for the free e-newsletter.




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