how to start a virtual assistant business

How to Start a Virtual Assistant Business in 2021

16 November 2020 | by Gina Lucia

Looking to start your very own virtual assistant business? Well, my friend look no further because this article will break it down for you step-by-step. Plus, I’ll be giving you some refreshing advice you might not find elsewhere.

How to start a virtual assistant business

First, let’s outline what a virtual assistant is, so we’re all on the same page.

What is a virtual assistant?

According to Wikipedia, a virtual assistant is generally self-employed and provides professional administrative, technical, or creative assistance to clients remotely from a home office.

While this statement is accurate, the role of a virtual assistant has evolved to encompass a wide variety of skill sets and specialities beyond the traditional ones.

Virtual assistants can, of course, be general assistants who help business owners with admin tasks. But they can also be Pinterest Virtual Assistants, Marketing Virtual Assistants, Copywriting Virtual Assistants and more. 

virtual assistant niche

Deciding on your virtual assistant niche or speciality

So before you even think about setting up your website (I just know you’re itching to!), the first thing you’ll need to do is to pick your niche or speciality.

This is important because, in order to figure out who your ideal client is, first, you’re going to need to decide on what you do.

The area of expertise you go into will be determined by your experience, interests and/or what you want to learn. For example, you could be a virtual assistant who offers any of the following traditional services:

  • Email management
  • Data entry 
  • Admin
  • Accounting
  • Etc

Or, you could offer services that are a little out of the traditional virtual assistant box, such as:

  • Pinterest marketing
  • Video editing
  • Copywriting
  • Photo editing
  • Etc

This step shouldn’t be rushed. It’s more important than you think to really make sure your chosen area of expertise is going to work hard for you.

Services to offer as a virtual assistant

Services to offer as a virtual assistant

Now you’ve decided your niche or specialism, you’ll then want to decide what services you’re going to offer.

This entirely depends on the niche you’re in, but I’d recommend starting with just one service. This will be your flagship service that’s very specific and tailored to your ideal client.

Trust me when I say, it’s easier to perfect one service than have three services that don’t work so well.

Then you’ll want to make sure the service you offer is something that will either save your potential client time or make your potential client money.

These two things are the key to any successful and sought-after service. 99% of the time, clients want you to achieve one, or both of these things for them. 

virtual assistant rates

Your virtual assistant rates

So let’s move onto pricing. 

How much you charge clients for the work you do depends on the value you provide them with. 

Let me give you an example. If you were a virtual assistant offering email management for online course creators, you could word your service in one of two ways.

  1. I offer email management for busy course creators. I organise your inbox, filter messages and manage your calendar for you.


  1. I take care of the overwhelming inbox of busy course creators. I implement my tried and true system to organise, declutter and streamline your emails. This is then synced with your calendar so you can focus on the more important work in your business.

I hope you can see the difference here. The first talks about the basic features of the service, the second talks about the benefits it will bring.

Which of the above would you pay more for?

The second, right? 

Of course, you can compare your rates to others in your niche and industry. You can use calculators to come up with numbers. But in reality, what you charge is reflected in the value you provide. Have that in mind when deciding your rates.

virtual assistant website

Setting up your virtual assistant website

This is perhaps one of the least important steps on this list (even though I know you’re excited to get it done). 

Believe it or not but you don’t need a fancy website with tones of blog posts and content to be successful as a virtual assistant

In fact, all you need is a simple website which ticks a few boxes. 

Rather than go into this in detail now, bookmark this post to read once you’ve finished this one. 

That post talks about the 5 things your business website needs to turn visitors into customers. Those 5 things are simple and you don’t need a designer or developer to help you do them.

Save yourself as much time as possible by keeping your website simple – you can always add to it later. 

find clients as a virtual assistant

How to find clients as a virtual assistant

You have everything set up, now it’s time to find clients to pitch your services to.

Here’s where my advice might differ from other people’s:

  • I don’t think you should set up any social media accounts (unless you’re offering social media services)
  • I don’t think you should build an email list
  • And I certainly don’t think you should be blogging to get new clients

The fastest way to get yourself up and running (whether you’re just starting, or as you go) is to invest your time in cold emailing potential clients. 

Social media is saturated, takes years to see results and a massive time-investment for you and your business. When you’re struggling to find new clients, you need something quicker, far more reliable and that you can control.

Cold emailing is that thing.

Don’t forget the important stuff

Setting up your virtual assistant business should be enjoyable, but you mustn’t forget about the important stuff.

Making sure you have a contract to send clients once they agree to work with you is vitally important and making sure you manage your incomings and outgoings is too.

So if you need some extra assistance, here are some more resources to get you going:

So, are you thinking of starting a virtual assistant business? Has this article been helpful? Leave me a comment below because I’d love to hear from you!