When starting a virtual assistant business, money is a big concern. How do I know this? I know because I had the same concern as well. The thought, “What if I cannot afford it?” buzzed around in my brain, along with other questions.
- How much is this going to cost? Do I need a website?
- Do I have to have it designed?
- Do I need a dedicated telephone line?
I honestly wished someone would have taken me by the shoulders, looked into my eyes, and firmly said to me, “Slow down.” Unfortunately for me, no one did that. Fortunately for you, I am attempting to here.
Please, don’t do what I did. Don’t spend money too fast.
I spent money that I didn’t have to spend. I’ll admit that. In fact, this is going to sound crazy, but I went to the bank and I took out a personal loan for $3000.
Pick yourself up off the floor, stop crying, and don’t worry that you’ll need to go to the bank and take out a loan for $3000. You don’t need it. In fact, all I had to show for that loan a year later were the payments I had to make on it. I don’t know what I did with that money besides buying myself cute things for my closet office and maybe a few business cards that I still have sitting in that closet. The only thing of real value that I spent that money on was a little online training that I got from some of those ladies who reached out to me in the first days of my business.
The online training that I took on some of the basics of business was the most valuable thing that I spent that money on, and the truth is that training was pennies compared to my $3000 loan.
Quite honestly, the training cost about 10 percent of that amount, and it paid for itself a million times over.
Basic Needs First
Before you can even consider those things, you need to make sure that you have the basic needs of a virtual assistant before you can even begin to launch your business. There are some very basic needs that every virtual assistant must have. These include:
- A computer – You don’t have to have the latest and greatest but you do want a computer that will run the basic programs such as Microsoft Office, Skype, and an internet browser.
- High-Speed Internet – Working virtually requires that you be able to connect to the Internet quickly and easily. You will want to invest in a reliable Internet service provider.
- A phone – Whether you have a landline or a cell phone you will need to have a way to communicate with your clients and potential clients.
- A quiet place to work – Though it isn’t necessary to have an office, it is nice to have a place to call yours when it comes to where you work. You could claim a corner of the bedroom, redo a closet and make it into an office nook, or use your spare guest room as an office.
Handling Your Business Finances
I realize that you are probably more concerned about making money, however, it is important that you have a solid budget and bookkeeping plans in place before you ever make money. If you don’t do anything else establish a separate PayPal account or checking account to keep your business finances separate from your personal finances. This will make things much easier to handle at tax time.
You will also want to track your income and expenses. There are a variety of ways to do this. I recommend using a system for this whether you use a simple spreadsheet or a more robust bookkeeping program, such as QuickBooks.
Be Prepared for Tax Time
Though I am not an accountant and cannot offer advice for you in that area, I can tell you, as an experienced virtual assistant, you will want to keep good records so that you can claim all the expenses that are possible.
Being self-employed means that you pay all your own taxes, unlike if you had an employer. I suggest making an appointment with a certified public accountant. At the very least you will want to keep those records, as I mentioned, tracking your income and expenses.