Setting Up A Virtual Assistant Business Without Getting Stuck In Analysis Paralysis

Setting up a Virtual Assistant business is overwhelming, isn’t it? There are pages and pages about it on the web. It’s hard to know what to do first or where to start. In this blog post, I’ll share an overview of the steps and processes you need for setting it up and getting it running.

So, let’s get started. I remember what it was like when I started way back in 2009. I found tons of helpful information. But the problem was that 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 in what order. To help you avoid the same mistakes that I made, I thought I would share my system. Setting up a Virtual Assistant business, after all, is just a series of systems working together.

#1 – Create A Virtual Assistant Business Plan

When setting up a Virtual Assistant business, you need a plan for how and when you will do the necessary work to make it happen. I have a DIY step-by-step Business Launch BluePrint that walks you through everything you need to set up your business systems; it’s a big old list of tasks to follow.

#2 – Know What To Expect

You need to realize that you feel overwhelmed whenever you do something new because it’s new and you’ve never done it before. Understand going in that you are going to be overwhelmed. You may also feel confused 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 an idea of what you’re getting into. 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 confused by doing what I call “collecting gurus.” What I mean is listening 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-tos. 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 set up a VA 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. 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, even more confused, and then stuck because you don’t know what to do or who to follow. You have to make a decision and then take action.

#4 – Know What It Takes

It takes hard work to launch and set 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, and 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 your skills and expertise. You need to look at your current skill set and how you can use it to your advantage. You don’t need any special Virtual Assistant certification to be successful.

#5 – Realistic Expectations Are A Must When Setting Up A Virtual Assistant Business

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 and schedule are.

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 and an 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.

Start With Your Key Business Systems

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

  • Business
  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • Delivery

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

PS: Ready to embark on the journey of building a freedom-based business? Join me in Techie Biz in a Box, your comprehensive guide to leveraging systems, automation, and tech. Discover how to streamline your processes and reclaim precious time for the things you love. 

Susan Mershon
My most popular VA resources

My Most Popular VA Resources

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  1. Jess

    Thankful for all your info! I’ve joined the free training vault, but I’m confused as to what the difference between the $39 Action Plan and the $5 Getting Started training.. You’ve done a wonderful job putting out a lot of great and simple info and I’m still finding myself a little lost! For someone who is interested in the back end, techie type VA services that has absolutely ZERO experience in any of this (I’m a hair stylist by trade) where would you suggest I start? I am a plan, list type of person. So a checklist of sorts is most beneficial for my brain. Thanks so much!!

    • Susan Mershon

      Hi Jess, thank you! The Action Plan is a DIY program where the Getting Started System is hands-on training with ongoing support. If you’re looking to learn Tech Skills I would recommend checking out the Techie VA Training Vault at It focuses on all things techie.

  2. 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!

  3. Justina

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

  4. 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.

  5. 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”!

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

  8. 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!

  9. Kealoha

    Looking forward to future installments of this series.

    • Susan Mershon

      Thank you Kealoha – much appreciated.

    • Susan Mershon

      Thank you Sheila – much appreciated!

  10. 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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