A Guide to Start and Run a Virtual Assistant Business

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virtual assistant business

Thinking about starting a virtual assistant business? 

Tired of working the 9 to 5 and want more control over your work life, schedule, and clients that you work with?

My name is Connor Gillivan. I’ve been an entrepreneur for the past 10 years and I’ve worked with 1,000’s of virtual assistant business owners.

It’s with much excitement that I write this article to talk about how you can start your own VA business and start making your income online.

Here’s what we’ll cover in the article:

  • 7 Steps to Start Your Own Virtual Assistant Business
  • Virtual Assistant Business Case Study
  • Most Common Challenges for a Virtual Assistant Business
  • Virtual Assistant Services You May Offer

7 Steps to Start Your Own Virtual Assistant Business

As an entrepreneur that has worked with 1,000’s of virtual assistant businesses, I’ve seen all of the ins and outs of starting, running, and scaling a VA business.

Whether you’re just starting out or looking to grow your existing VA business, here are my top tips for success.

  1. Determine Your Services and Target Market: First things first, you need to figure out what services you’re going to offer and to whom. Are you skilled in social media management? Do you specialize in email marketing? Do you want to work with small businesses or entrepreneurs in a particular industry? Determining your services and target market is key to attracting the right clients and setting yourself up for success. Here’s a list of 30 Small Business Virtual Assistant tasks that you may be able to offer.
  2. Establish Your Brand: Once you’ve figured out your services and target market, it’s time to establish your brand. This includes creating a business name, logo, website, and social media profiles. Your brand should be consistent across all channels and should accurately represent the services you offer. My recommendation is to choose one social channel, like LinkedIn, and go all in building a following there around your expertise.
  3. Set Your Rates and Payment Terms: One of the biggest challenges for new VAs is figuring out how much to charge for their services. Do your research and see what other VAs in your niche are charging. Don’t undervalue your services, but also don’t overprice yourself out of the market. Once you’ve set your rates, be clear about your payment terms and make sure you have a contract in place to protect yourself and your clients. Here’s a resource on the average cost of a virtual assistant so you can see what’s currently being charged in the market.
  4. Create a Marketing Plan: Marketing is crucial for any business, especially for VAs who are just starting out. Determine the best marketing channels for your business and create a plan for how you’re going to attract and retain clients. This may include social media marketing, email marketing, networking, and more. Like I said above, go for one channel and really master it before adding other channels. You can also offer your services on freelance marketplaces like Upwork and Fiverr.
  5. Stay Organized: As a VA, you’ll likely be managing multiple clients and projects at once. Stay organized by using a project management tool, like Asana or Trello, to keep track of deadlines, deliverables, and communication with clients. Additionally, keep track of your expenses and invoices using an accounting software like QuickBooks or Xero.
  6. Build Relationships with Clients: Building strong relationships with your clients is crucial for your VA business. Be responsive, communicate clearly, and go above and beyond to meet their needs. Happy clients are more likely to refer you to others and continue working with you in the long run.
  7. Continuously Improve and Grow: Finally, always be open to learning and growing. Attend conferences, take online courses, and read industry blogs to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and best practices. Continuously improving your skills and services will help you stand out in a crowded market and attract more clients to your VA business.

Follow these 7 steps from day 1 and you’ll be in great shape to build a thriving virtual assistant business.

Just make sure not to skip any steps!

To give you more inspiration, here’s a case study of a VA business so you can see what it will look like as you get it started and grow it.

Virtual Assistant Business Case Study

va business case study

Let me share with you the inspiring story of how my friend, Anna, went from day 1 of her virtual assistant (VA) business to having 10 regular monthly clients.

Anna had always been interested in starting her own business, and after doing some research, she decided that becoming a VA would be a great fit for her skills and lifestyle.

She had a background in administration and was proficient in various computer programs, making her well-equipped to handle a variety of tasks that entrepreneurs and small business owners need help with.

Day 1: Getting Started On day 1, Anna set up her home office and created a list of services she would offer as a VA. She also spent time researching and determining her target market. She decided to focus on working with real estate agents, a field she was familiar with and passionate about.

Weeks 1-2: Establishing Her Brand Next, Anna worked on establishing her brand. She came up with a business name and created a website that showcased her services, rates, and portfolio. She also created a social media presence on LinkedIn and started networking with real estate agents in her area.

Month 1: Anna had her first client within the first month, a busy real estate agent who needed help with email management and social media marketing. This gave her the confidence she needed to keep going and start marketing her services more aggressively.

Months 2-3: Anna continued to network and market her services, and soon landed a few more clients. As she worked with each client, she made sure to provide excellent service, communication, and responsiveness. Her clients were so happy with her work that they started referring her to others, helping her build her reputation and credibility.

Months 4-6: By the fourth month, Anna had reached her goal of having 10 regular monthly clients. She continued to work hard, providing high-quality work and building strong relationships with each client. As her client base grew, she was able to hire an assistant to help her with administrative tasks and other duties, freeing up more time for her to focus on serving her clients.

Today: Fast forward to today, and Anna’s VA business is thriving. She has a steady stream of clients and is making a comfortable living doing work she loves. She’s able to work from home and set her own schedule, giving her the flexibility and freedom she’s always wanted.

Anna’s journey to success as a virtual assistant shows that with hard work, determination, and a little bit of luck, anyone can turn their dream of owning a business into a reality.

It all starts with taking that first step and staying committed to your goals.

Most Common Challenges for a Virtual Assistant Business

va business

Starting a virtual assistant (VA) business can be an exciting and rewarding venture, but it also comes with its own set of challenges.

Here are some of the most common challenges you may face when starting a VA business:

  1. Finding clients – Finding and attracting clients is one of the biggest challenges that many VA businesses face. You’ll need to invest time and effort into marketing your services, building your brand, and networking with potential clients.
  2. Setting prices – One of the most challenging aspects of starting a VA business is setting prices that are competitive and fair. You’ll need to do market research and consider factors such as your experience, skills, and the value you provide to clients.
  3. Managing time – As a VA, you’ll likely be juggling multiple clients and projects at once, which can be challenging to manage. You’ll need to have strong time-management skills and be able to prioritize tasks effectively.
  4. Staying organized – Staying organized is essential when running a VA business. You’ll need to keep track of client information, project details, deadlines, and invoicing. It’s important to have systems and tools in place to help you stay on top of everything.
  5. Building trust – As a VA, you’ll be working with clients remotely, which can make it challenging to build trust and establish a strong working relationship. It’s essential to communicate clearly and effectively, be responsive to client needs, and deliver high-quality work to build trust and credibility.
  6. Keeping up with technology – As a VA, you’ll need to stay up to date with the latest technology and software tools to provide the best services to your clients. This can be a challenge, as technology is constantly evolving.

Starting a virtual assistant business comes with its own set of challenges, but with the right mindset, skills, and strategies in place, you can overcome these challenges and build a successful business.

It’s important to be prepared for the challenges that may arise and to have a plan in place to address them.

Virtual Assistant Services You May Offer

virtual assistant business services

As a virtual assistant (VA), there are a wide variety of services that you can offer to busy entrepreneurs to help them manage their businesses and stay organized.

Here is a list of virtual assistant services that you might offer:

  1. Administrative tasks: This can include tasks such as email management, scheduling, appointment setting, travel arrangements, and data entry.
  2. Social media management: Many entrepreneurs need help managing their social media accounts, including creating and scheduling posts, responding to messages and comments, and monitoring analytics.
  3. Content creation: You can offer services such as blog post writing, copywriting, editing, and proofreading.
  4. Customer service: Providing customer service through phone, email, or chat is a common VA service that many entrepreneurs outsource.
  5. Bookkeeping: Many small business owners need help with managing their finances, including invoicing, managing accounts payable and receivable, and reconciling bank accounts.
  6. Project management: As a VA, you can help entrepreneurs manage projects by keeping track of deadlines, delegating tasks, and keeping everyone on track.
  7. Research: Many entrepreneurs need help with research, including market research, competitor analysis, and product research.
  8. Website management: This can include tasks such as updating content, managing plugins and updates, and monitoring website analytics.
  9. Email marketing: Many entrepreneurs use email marketing to reach their audience, and a VA can help with tasks such as creating and scheduling campaigns, managing subscriber lists, and monitoring analytics.
  10. Online business management: As a VA, you can help entrepreneurs manage their online businesses, including managing online marketplaces, responding to customer inquiries, and managing inventory.

These are just a few examples of the many services that a virtual assistant can offer to busy entrepreneurs. Here’s a more extensive list of 30 virtual assistant services that you may decide to offer.

As a VA, you can tailor your services to meet the specific needs of each client, and offer a customized solution that helps them run their business more efficiently.

My recommendation is to niche down, choose a specific client that you want to work with (for example: marketing agency owners), and offer specific services that meet the needs of your ideal client.

Riches are in the niches!

What Is Outsource School?

Outsource School helps you to unlock the potential of virtual assistants and accelerate your business growth.

This is the exact system Outsource School’s founders, Nathan Hirsch and Connor Gillivan, used to go from zero to 8 figures and 40+ virtual assistants with an exit in 2019.

Since being founded in 2020, Outsource School has helped 1,000+ business owners hire 2,000+ virtual assistants for their companies.

Schedule a free sales call to learn more

Free resources you might like: 


In conclusion, starting a virtual assistant business can be a challenging, yet incredibly rewarding experience.

As a VA, you have the opportunity to work with a wide variety of clients and help them manage their businesses more efficiently, all while enjoying the flexibility and freedom that comes with being your own boss.

While there may be challenges along the way, such as finding clients, setting prices, and managing your time effectively, these are all things that can be overcome with the right mindset, skills, and strategies in place.

Remember that starting a VA business is a journey, and it’s important to take it one step at a time.

Set achievable goals, develop your skills, and stay focused on providing high-quality services to your clients.

With hard work and dedication, you can build a successful VA business that allows you to enjoy the freedom, flexibility, and fulfillment that comes with being your own boss.

So, if you’re considering starting a virtual assistant business, know that it’s a path that’s filled with endless opportunities and possibilities.

Take the leap, believe in yourself, and you might just find that the possibilities are endless.

We hope this helps!

Want help outsourcing & hiring virtual assistants? We make it easy! Learn More, Speak w/ an Expert, or Request a Callback



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