Setting Up A Virtual Assistant Business

It’s overwhelming, isn’t it? All the information on the web about setting up a virtual assistant business. There are pages and pages of it! It’s hard to know what to do first or where to start.

Before you continue reading, you can also listen to this blog post instead of reading it, if you prefer. Just hit the play button on the podcast below. 

I remember what it was like when I started way back in 2009. I found tons of helpful information. But the problem was it was not a complete system or process. I had to try and put all the information together myself and hope I had it right. Sometimes I did, and sometimes I didn’t.

It took lots of trial and error AND time to figure out what I needed and what order.

To help you avoid the same mistakes that I made, I thought I would share my system because it’s all about systems. A business is, after all, just a series of systems working together.

I’ve created the Setting Up A Virtual Assistant Business Series. Everything you need to know is laid out in a simple, step-by-step system. (Something I wish I had when I first started).

In this first blog post, I’ll share an overview of the steps and processes you need for setting up a Virtual Assistant business and getting it up and running. Plus, I think a few other things would be helpful – not just the nuts and bolts of things. So, let’s get started.

#1 Create A ‘Setting Up A Virtual Assistant Business’ Plan

To set up your VA business, you need a plan for how and when you will do the necessary work to make it happen. I have a step-by-step VA Action Plan that walks you through everything you need to set up your VA business; it’s a big old list of tasks to follow.

#2 Know What To Expect

You need to realize that there is a sense-of-overwhelm whenever you do something new because it’s new, you’ve never done it before. Understand going in that you are going to have a sense-of-overwhelm. You may also have a sense of confusion because it’s something you’ve never done before.

For most of us starting we’ve never built a business before. I was an employee for over 20 years – I had NO clue how to build a business when I started.

Expect confusion and overwhelm when you’re starting any new venture. It could be a diet; it could be an exercise routine; it could be a business.

Just go in with your eyes open and have an idea of what you’re getting in to. It’s NOT easy regardless of what others may say – it takes hard work to build a successful business and that includes setting up a Virtual Assistant business.

#3 Don’t Collect Gurus

Don’t add to your sense of overwhelm or confusion by doing what I call “collecting gurus“. What I mean is when you listen to several different people on how to do something specific – like setting up a Virtual Assistant business.

You may join multiple VA groups on Facebook and subscribe to numerous VA coaches or trainers on YouTube looking for advice or how to’s. The problem with this is you hear, read, or watch eight different ways to do the same thing! You get more confused because I may say one thing and someone else says something completely different.

It’s not that any of the advice is wrong – there is more than one way to setting up a Virtual Assistant business. There’s no right or the best way; it just depends on who you’re listening to and the method that they’re using.

Trust me, I know – I am a research junkie, I love to collect research, and I fell into this same trap myself. I listened to podcasts, watched videos, and read every blog post I could find on being a Virtual Assistant. I collected so much data (I had a spreadsheet with 11 different tabs) that I got stuck in Analysis Paralysis and ended up with a massive headache to boot!

Because I had listened to too many people, I had no clue which one to follow or which system to implement because they were all different. I finally had to choose which person I would follow and do what they were teaching or suggesting. Otherwise, I would have stayed stuck forever!

So if you find yourself collecting gurus, PICK THE ONE that resonates with you the most and follow their advice. Do what they’re suggesting! How do you know if what they’re saying works unless you do it? Whether that’s me, or someone else, take action and do the work until you get results. If you don’t get the results, you move on, and if it does work, think how happy you’ll be!

By collecting gurus and experts, you get different opinions on different things. Still, the problem is that you get overwhelmed, you get even more confused, and then you get stuck because you don’t know what to do and don’t know who to follow. You have to make a decision and then take action.

#4 Know What It Takes

It takes hard work in launching and setting up a Virtual Assistant business. There is a lot to do when you’re building a business, whether it’s a VA business, or you’re knitting sweaters for a living. Whatever it might be, there is so much that goes into it.

It’s not something you’re going to do in 30 days. It’s not something you’re going to do in one weekend. Now, you probably could, but the question is, do you want long-term success? If you want long-term success, you have to put in the groundwork.

You have to build the foundation for a solid, long-standing business. You need to put the time and energy into your business’s back end – your business systems. A business is made up of systems – you need to make sure that those systems are in place.

Besides systems – you also need the skills that clients want. Just like in the job world, it’s all about the skills and expertise you have. You need to look at your current skill set and how you can use it to your advantage. You don’t need any special Certification to be successful.

#5 Have Realistic Expectations

I know I had unrealistic expectations when I started my business because I thought, “Yeah, I can do this, and I can get out of my soul-sucking job in six months.” Ha, was that ever unrealistic!

I really didn’t understand what I was getting into, or the amount of work that it takes. I’m painting a real picture here for you. Make sure that you set realistic expectations for whatever your life is, and your schedule is.

If you’re working in a 50-hour career plus you’ve got three kids and a two-hour commute, you’re probably not going to build a business in 30 days, at least not one that’s long-standing and successful.

Just set realistic expectations and go for it, but be aware of what you’re getting into. It’s not easy.

#6 Take Action

All right, so part of building a business or anything is taking action to get where you want to go. One of my favorite sayings is, “Take imperfect action every day.” 

I am a recovering perfectionist, overthinker. I can be my own worst enemy and get in my way all the time, so I have to focus on taking imperfect action every day.

Think about how you can take imperfect action every day to get one step closer to your dream. Whether it’s quitting your job or just making some extra money on the side, you need to take imperfect action to achieve it.

You could start by implementing your key business systems. These systems are the foundation of your business. Without them, your business is on shaky ground. Remember, a business is a system.

The 4 Key Business Systems You Need To Implement

  • Business
  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • Delivery

We will be diving into each one of these key systems, along with planning and understanding what it takes in setting up a Virtual Assistant business that’s successful in this blog series.

For the next blog post, we are focusing on creating a plan for how and when you’re going to do the work needed to get your VA business off the ground.

Do you have a plan for setting up a Virtual Assistant Business?

I’d love to know if you do!

If not, be sure to check out my Virtual Assistant Action Plan. It’s a step-by-step plan that walks you through everything it takes to launch your VA Business with confidence.

If you prefer in-depth how-to training have a look at my Getting Started Training. It’s very detailed and not only shows you how to launch your business but how to market it, find clients, how to package any service, and much more.

Feel free to post below and let me know what action you’re taking today to set up your VA biz. All comments and questions are welcome.

Thanks for reading – Susan

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Written by Susan Mershon

Susan Mershon started The Techie Mentor™ in 2013 to teach Virtual Assistants her no-fluff approach to the systems and skills they need to build and automate a successful business.

With a strong base in project management, Susan brings her love of systems and teaching to offer in-depth training and mentoring to new and experienced Virtual Assistants.

She’s taught over 5,000 students her unique systems and strategies that focus on offering high-end skills that give you the freedom to work when and where you want.

To learn more about The Techie Mentor™ and the systems and skills she teaches without all the fluff or hype go to The Techie Mentor website.

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  1. Kara

    You must have been reading my mind because there is SO much information out there and it makes my head hurt! Love these suggestions and I have enjoyed your webinars and look forward to more great information!

    • Susan Mershon

      Hi Kara, thank you for taking the time to comment and thanks for your kind words. Be sure to subscribe here or on my podcast or YouTube channels to stay up to date!

  2. Justina

    Great post! There is soooo much info out there! I’m looking forward to your next posts!

  3. Mary Humphrey

    Hello Susan,

    Twice in one day, you’ve taught me – updated my LinkedIn profile, and I need to create systems!

    Thank you,


    • Susan Mershon

      Awesome, so glad you’re inspired and thank you for taking the time to comment.

  4. Lisa Reinhart

    I love this! There’s so much information out there that it’s so easy to fall into “research mode” and put off actually getting started. I really look forward to reading the content you’ve provided for us! And a step by step system is such a great tool…so thank you!

    • Susan Mershon

      Thank you Lisa – I hear you on the research mode. You can get stuck in what I call “analysis paralysis”!

  5. Jeanine

    Absolutely it needed and you took time to put very details that people need to think about before starting one.

    • Susan Mershon

      Thank you Jeanine – much appreciated!

  6. Rhonda

    Great information! I look forward to the rest of the series as it is definitely overwhelming to get started. I feel like I’ve been running in circles trying to figure things out. I haven’t launched yet due to all the information and fear of messing things up. Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Susan Mershon

      Thank you Rhonda – much appreciated.

  7. Concepcion

    This is fantastic !!! Exactly what I needed to start up VA. Thank you Susan for this awesome blog waiting for the next!

    • Susan Mershon

      Thank you Concepcion – much appreciated!

  8. Kealoha

    Looking forward to future installments of this series.

    • Susan Mershon

      Thank you Kealoha – much appreciated.

    • Susan Mershon

      Thank you Sheila – much appreciated!

  9. Debbie

    Great blog! I am looking forward to reading on about starting a VA business, as you are absolutely right, it is so confusing and overwhelming to start. Thanks so much for sharing this information in a step by step fashion with us struggling to take it all in.

    • Susan Mershon

      Hi Debbie, thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I remember what it was like, and now there is even more information out there then when I started!

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