Setting Up Your Business
Any business you start should be set up legally. Your virtual assistant business is no exception. Depending on where you live, setting up a business can involve several action steps.
You’ll likely need a business license, an Employer Identification Number (EIN or Federal Tax ID), and a business bank account. An EIN doesn’t mean that you have to hire employees, but it’s a way to keep your social security safe and your business income separate from personal income.
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To set up your Virtual Assistant business, you’ll want to do the following:
• Create a Business Plan
You don’t have to go crazy here, but you do want to have an idea about who your competition is, what you plan to do, and who you want to do it for and how. You can create a one-page business plan that covers all aspects of your business or you can make it multiple pages. It’s up to you.
A business plan doesn’t have to be some complicated legal document. Write down, in your own words, what you want to accomplish, somewhat like a vision board without the pictures!
• Choose a Business Structure
In most cases, you’ll want to start simple. In the USA, that’s called being a sole proprietor. There’s not much to set up when you’re a sole proprietor. But, as a sole proprietor, you miss out on protection that other business structures allow.
• Choose a Name, Register, and Obtain a License for Your Business
Depending on where you live, you can choose to name the business after yourself, or you may have to get a Doing Business As (DBA) registration. Get your EIN after you select a name, then apply with your city, state, and county (when applicable) for a business license.
Find out more about registering your business here.
• Set Up Your Financial Structure
Once you know what business structure you’re going to use, choose a bookkeeping method, pick the software that you need, set up a bank account, and deposit your startup money (if any) into the account.
Most banks require an EIN or tax ID number when setting up a business bank account, so you’ll want to grab your EIN as soon as possible.
• Set Up Your Office or Area
You’ll need a quiet area, if possible, to work. Even if it’s your kitchen counter, you must have a place that you can depend on to get projects done.
And yes, it’s okay if you have kids around; just lay down some ground rules to follow or do your most intensive work while they sleep!
• Find Potential Team Members
If you plan to outsource some of the work for your clients or yourself, find those team members. Get subcontracting agreements set up with them so that you’ll know how to bid for your clients and pay the subcontractors.
There are many services you can outsource as a business owner. Take a few minutes to read this post for ideas.
• Set Up Basic Processes
You’ll want to know how you’ll do the work. For example, for each client, you may want to set up a discovery call, send the contract or the proposal, get a deposit, and then maybe set up their work in a project management system like Trello, Asana, or Dropbox.
• Set Up Marketing
No one will know about you if you don’t set yourself up to market your business. Develop your branding materials such as colors, fonts, logos, and such. You’ll want to set up your website, social media accounts, email and find the right software to use for each.
Once you have these things in place, you’re ready to rock and roll! Plus, you can get started while doing these things at the same time.
There’s nothing wrong with taking on a client or two while you’re working out the details of your business. And, doing this will help finance your startup.
Want more information about becoming a VA? Read this post from Horkey Handbook.