If you have been following along, this is the final installment in our four-part series on starting your own Virtual Assistant (VA) business. In part 1 we learned how to select a specialty; in part 2 we equipped your home office; and in part 3 we covered how to build your clientele. Now it's time to take a step back and evaluate what you have accomplished to determine is your service offerings should be modified or expanded.
This is a critical business exercise, whether corporate or virtual. The goal of this step is to learn from the past to adjust your path for the future.
Conduct a self-evaluation. Review the personal inventory you created in part 1 and make changes, as appropriate. Have you acquired new skills? Are there items on your dream job list that are no longer dreamy?
Conversely, are there items missing from your personal inventory that you should add? For example, are you receiving requests from your clients for a service you don't current offer, say, transcription.
Acquiring additional skills may allow you to expand on your service offerings or increase your fees.
The key in this step is to look at where you are, in terms of skills and types of assignments you are completing, and determine if you are on the right career path. Only you can decide if it is the right path for you. If you are unsatisfied, you will burn out quickly.
Conduct an office space evaluation. The next thing you need to do is consider the working environment you created in part 2. Are you lacking a piece of equipment that would increase your productivity, such as a color laser printer or transcription device? Does your computer need to be upgraded? Is it time to add a second phone line?
In addition to evaluating the physical components of your office, you must consider intangible aspects as well. Are your business hours during the most productive time for you and most convenient to your clients, or are you working 24/7? Would daycare for your children allow you more uninterrupted work time?
Determine additional areas of interest. As you think about the assignments you have received, also think of the ones you would like to acquire in the future. If you have spent months developing flyers and newsletters for local customers, perhaps you would enjoy expanding into corporate advertising copy.
For each area of additional interest you identify, determine if you currently possess the skills required or if additional training or education is in line.
Continually learn and grow. Never stop learning. Large corporations spend millions each year on continuing education (CE) for their employees. Accountants are required to earn a certain number of CE credits each year to maintain professional certification. You, too, should incorporate continuing education into your business philosophy.
View each project as a learning opportunity. Stay current with technology to prevent your skills from becoming obsolete. Explore your local library or community college for appropriate courses and seminars.
Do not limit yourself to what you know today. Tomorrow is full of opportunities just waiting for someone to come along and grab them by the horn. Why shouldn't that be you?
I hope you have enjoyed this series on Starting Your Own Virtual Assistant Business. Just know that you are not alone; there are plenty of resources available to help you. Hopefully, I've been able to provide some direction.
Best of luck, and I wish you much success!