By Alyssa Gregory, About.com Guide
The Pros and Cons of Starting a Virtual Assistant Business
A virtual assistant is a business owner who supports other small business owners or entrepreneurs in a variety of industries by providing administrative, creative and/or technical services.
Some of the reasons you might want to start a virtual assistant business include:
- Your business can be entirely home-based.
- Startup costs are minimal, especially if you already have a home office set up.
- You can provide general business support services, or specialize in a specific area such as real estate, social media, Internet marketing, etc.
- You can create a business with flexible work hours.
- There are hundreds of high-quality resources online to advance your skills, knowledge and experience.
- You get to use exciting and fun software and tools every day.
- You can grow your business to the point where you outsource extra work to subcontractors.
- There is no specific education, training or certifications required to become a virtual assistant.
- You can provide ongoing services for your clients and create long-term relationships.
Some of the potential challenges of starting a virtual assistant business include:
- It can be difficult to get clients when you first start your business.
- You may find that you’re competing with offshore support people who charge a very low hourly rate.
- As the industry grows, so does your competition.
- It can be difficult to identify the right rate to charge.
- You have to be willing to continuously keep up with technology and expand your knowledge.
- You have to be careful to maintain independent contractors status as defined by the IRS.
- You may find it challenging to work with clients who are used to hiring employees instead of delegating to another business owner.
- Your work could be high-stress and deadline-driven.
- You may need liability insurance, depending on the services you offer.
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