Monday, March 8, 2010

What I’ve Learned (So Far) About Starting A VA Business


Nothing is done fast! Ideas have to be well thought out and researched. A business name and entity has to be chosen. Colors, designs, email addresses and the like have to be decided upon. Licenses have to be purchased and fees have to be paid. Marketing and printing can take weeks or months to complete. More research needs to be done. Contacts and relationships have to be built and nurtured, and social media sites have to be opened and maintained. Then you need to continue reading and studying, researching, connecting, marketing and learning. A fellow VA just shared this quote with me: “Patience is not a sprint—it’s a marathon!" Well said. I also love this old Dutch proverb, “A handful of patience is worth more than a bushel of brains.” So, be patient as you build your business and hold on to that handful of patience. It will come.


My mother always encouraged me to read, and sometimes it would annoy me to hear her reminders. But, as always, she was right. There is so much information with so many accessible resources to tap that now there is no excuse NOT to do your homework. Get as much information on your selected business interests as you can. Read books, get on the Internet, and talk to other people in your field. There are numerous checklists for business start-ups. Check out
SCORE for small business mentoring and training and the SBA for planning and financial assistance. There is a wealth of information out there. Look for it and READ!


Of course you can be very resourceful and frugal with your money to make it work harder for you, but be ready to make an initial investment into your business. The most obvious expenses would include your equipment and supplies. You have to have somewhere to work and if you’re a VA you have to have a computer. You will need a phone and probably some way to fax information as well as software to perform all the great projects you will get from your new clients. Check with your local government agencies because many require business licenses or other fees to operate. You may also need to meet with an attorney and an accountant. And, of course, there is marketing. Don’t scrimp too much on your marketing budget although you may not feel this is all that important. You will get a more positive response if you present a professional image as opposed to the “homemade” look. You are a professional—look like one.


I have heard this over and over in my pursuit of opening my business. You MUST get your name and face out there so people will know who you are and what you do. Join your Chamber of Commerce and attend their meetings—maybe get on one of their committees. Participate in a group of networking professionals in your area. Volunteer your services to local charities and maybe even sponsor sports teams or events according to your budget. And most importantly, get involved with online social media. After you set up your personal profile, set up a business fan page on Facebook. And actively post interesting content to Twitter and LinkedIn. There are many, many more social networking venues, but these seem to be the most well-known and used. Keep them current.

As I continue my quest to start and grow a successful Virtual Assistant business, I will post more findings. Until then, keep reading. . .

Monday, February 22, 2010

Five Reasons to Start your Virtual Assistant Business during a Slow Economy

Have you toyed with the idea of starting a Virtual Assistant business, but thought that the economy was so bad it just can’t be a good time to begin? Here are five reasons that may change your mind:

1. Things are cheaper to buy during a recession. Items that you need for your office such as furniture, equipment, office supplies, cell phones, etc. are either at reduced prices to begin with, or companies are having bigger sales in order to move their inventory and compete for their share of the market.

2. There is less competition. Not as many people have the resources to start a business when the economy is faltering, nor are the banks as quick to provide funds. Good entrepreneurs though can see the opportunities that are abounding during this downturn, start their businesses, and thrive.

3. You tend to work harder to build your business. Small business entrepreneurs are aware of the difficulties a recession can present and will use this time to focus on learning new technologies, take classes to increase their skills in a particular subject area, or become creative in marketing their services. You really want to start your business, so you’ll try harder to make it work, even in difficult economic times.

4. Recessions tend to create opportunities for potential business owners to reach out to new adventures. You may have been thinking about starting a virtual assistant business for several years, but because you just got laid off from your fulltime job, or your hours were cut back to part-time, you think the present may not be the best time to begin a new career. Look at all your options—now may be the best time to take that leap.

5. You can learn to be efficient and thrifty. You don’t always have to have the latest and greatest piece of equipment, or the most expensive software written in order for you to run your business effectively. There are many great open source software products out there. Take OpenOffice for example. This downloadable software is a very good alternative to Microsoft Office Suite and it’s free. A simple internet search will reveal many different alternatives.

So, if you have hesitated to start your business because of the recession or don’t think now is a good time to set out on a new endeavor, think again. It just might be the best time of all!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Welcome to The Alliances Blog!

I'm really excited about starting my new business, The Alliances, Virtual Business Solutions, because I truly believe that small to medium-size business owners are really feeling the effects of our struggling economy. You hear of companies downsizing all the time, but you don't stop to think that many of the administrative tasks of those businesses still have to be completed. The Alliances can assist those business owners by providing administrative support on a regular, as-needed, or project basis either on-site or remotely (virtually).

By hiring The Alliances, you are getting an independent contractor that can save you time by taking on those tasks that are vital to your operations but use up your valuable time. We can save you money because we are not an employee, therefore, you don't have to pay payroll and unemployment taxes, benefits or vacation and sick pay, nor do you have to provide office space and equipment. The biggest savings comes because you only pay for time worked--no down time, no socializing, no breaks, etc. You are invoiced only for the time spent working on your projects.

Please visit our website at to see a sampling of the services we have to offer and call us for a free consultation. We want to help you be successful by giving you back the time you need to focus on your business.