COVID has been around for more than a year, and you spent some or all of that time working remotely from home for your employer. Now, you realize that you enjoy working from home. However, you’d like to work from home as your own boss!
You are not alone! Many of us came to the same conclusion. We may have come to that conclusion by working remotely for our employers then loving it. Or perhaps you concluded because you needed to be home while your children were in remote schooling and needed your assistance. Maybe you decided to homeschool your children and do it all yourself. However, you decided to work from home. You are now home.
What Is a Virtual Assistant
A virtual assistant works remotely (from home or on the road) to assist others in accomplishing tasks. Tasks can include data entry, programming, bookkeeping, and so many more business opportunities.
One of the best ways to work from home is to become a virtual assistant (VA). Now is the perfect time since most businesses have found ways to allow work to be completed at home. Most people can handle VA work around their commitments. If you need to drive your children to and from school, that won’t be a problem.
VAs generally have some control over their schedule and which projects they accept. For example, I would never accept an assignment that requires me to work 9 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday for one company. Instead, I prefer to diversify and work with multiple businesses. This allows me greater flexibility, and if I lose one client, I have others to work with until I fill the open hours again.
Hardware Needs For A Virtual Assistant
You don’t need a huge investment to begin VA work. In fact, you probably already have what you need due to all the COVID changes. Minimally it would be best if you had a computer such as a desktop, laptop, or even a Chromebook, internet access, printer, and a space to work. Additional helpful hardware is a fax and scanner. Finally, keep all of your receipts because working for yourself at home allows you to take your business expenses as tax deductions.
Sure, you could perform your work at the kitchen table, but I highly discourage doing that. I don’t have a huge workspace, but a corner of the room is set up with an L-shaped desk. This serves as my sewing/craft space as well as office space. In addition, on beautiful summer days, I have a portable desk set up on the deck or even at the campground by the pool. No one says you can’t enjoy the outdoors while still working.
APPs And Software Needs
Minimally you will need Microsoft Office and Google Suite. Google Suite is free, and I have yet to have a client that requires Microsoft, but it could happen. Organization is a skill you really want to work on, especially if you have multiple clients with multiple deadlines and priorities. Let’s talk about some tools that are available for free to help you with your business.
Cloud computing will help you have a top-notch VA business, and Suraj Kumar Rajwani has information to share about technology and technology, and venture capital.
FREE – Google Suite is the essential tool. You will have access to Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Presentation, Google Forms, and more. Inevitably, these Google Suite tools will be used all day, every day.
FREE – Milanote is awesome. Rather than having post-its and notepads all over your desk, Milanote serves as a visual board to organize projects, ideas, tips, tools, and whatever you want. For example, I work as a copywriter, and for one company, there are specific standards. So I keep a project outline board for that business. The app has themes you can rely on, or you can build from scratch. It is quite easy and available on your laptop/desktop, as well as an app on your phone.
FREE but with per-transaction fees – Paypal is the most used app, but occasionally I work with a business that uses Venmo. Both are easy to use and allow you to get paid, send invoices, send payments, and more. They do charge fees, but it is so easy. Additionally, your banking institution probably partners with Zelle.
FREE – Typeform is a free app to create custom forms and surveys. You can create forms to have a business provide all of the information you need to perform the work. It is versatile and nicer than other free options.
FREE – If you need to work with someone else’s calendar and set up meetings for them, this is the app for you. Checking availability is easy, and the users can cancel and reschedule meetings themselves. This interactive calendar is so much better than twenty emails going back and forth to come up with a mutually agreeable meeting time.
FREE – Lastpass allows you to store all of your client’s passwords securely. The last thing you want is to lose their passwords or compromise them in some way.
FREE and PAID – Zoom is a free online video conferencing app. Most people can do their work with the free version, but it has time limitations and other limitations. If you need to record, create breakout rooms, and longer meetings than one-half hour, get the paid version.
Are You Ready To Get Started?
There are many other tools you may find work great for you depending upon what you and your client need, but these are the tools I find to be the most effective. Let me know what tools you love!