Sharing my Business Journey
I started my work-at-home business journey when I was laid off from my corporate job back in 2010. I’ve been through so much since being my own boss and working online. There have been highs and lows, times when I was ready to just give up.
I’ve always been a hard worker, giving 110% at any job, but working for myself; I work twice as hard. And it’s definitely worth it!
So, I’ve been thinking about the lessons I’ve learned along the way since then. I’ve decided to share them with you, so you understand my why and a little bit about my decision to start the VA to the ResQ Academy.
Maybe something I say in these lessons will resonate with you. It would be awesome if you said, “Me too”!
Maybe it will help you avoid a pitfall or see something in a different light. Or maybe something in these lessons will inspire you to really go for it and make your business what you want it to be.
Whatever it sparks in you, I hope you’ll enjoy the following lessons from my business journey.
My History in the Business World
First, a little background history. Before I even started thinking about a business of my own, I had been researching on the internet about how to be a better assistant at work. There was always talk about layoffs, but I never thought it would ever hit our department.
When it did happen, I had been with the company for 10 years. I was, of course, devastated, I worked with my co-workers for most of those years together, and they were like family to me.
After trying for months to find another job with no success, I decided that I needed something to do to keep from going stir-crazy. So, after thinking long and hard with no job in sight, I made the decision to start my own business. My husband had his own business for our entire married life, so I was no stranger to what it was like to be self-employed.
When I was a stay-at-home mom with my 2 kids, I was the one to answer the phone and take messages from the many people that called to hire or discuss business with him. I was really good at it, too; I guess that’s where my natural customer service skills came from. It wasn’t long before I was doing his customer billing, scheduling appointments for him, doing our taxes, and all the many things that business owners do.
My skills also came from what I learned in high school because I always thought I wanted to be a secretary. But, my life turned directions, and that’s a whole nother story.
Now, let’s get on to the lessons:
Overnight success just doesn’t happen
When I started my online business journey, I spent three to four months researching and hoping to find a real work-at-home opportunity. I spent another few months figuring out that the virtual assistant industry was the way to go for me.
I ended up purchasing a course to teach me how to set up a successful virtual assistant business. After the course came setting up a website and getting it up and running. And of course, it was a DIY website, and I had NO CLUE what I was doing.
Once I had my website “live,” it took about another six months to get my first client. Even with that first client, it’s not like the floodgates opened and a never-ending stream of clients flowed in. I had to work hard to make connections and market my business.
I took a ton of “expert advice” on what to do and how to do it. I downloaded every freebie I could get my hands on. When you see other people online doing what you want to do, and you think they’re successful, know that they probably worked really hard to get there and that it didn’t happen overnight.
Stay in Your Own Lane
Speaking of other people, let me tell you something important–please don’t worry about how other people run their businesses. Run yours how it works for YOU!
Yes, find people that look like YOU’D like to be. But know that your circumstances aren’t identical. You are your own person with your own story, your own set of challenges, weaknesses, and strengths.
So, learn from people who are further along the path than you, but take what you know and make it your own. That’s what will attract clients to you.
They will want to work with you for your particular skill set and the way that YOU do things.
If you’re still feeling afraid of putting yourself out there, read this article.
At some point, you have to stop learning all.the.things, researching all.the.things and buying all.the.things, and you have to start DOING something.
I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, done is better than perfect. Get the website up. Talk to that potential client. Slap a price on your services.
You can always tweak things later. Just get yourself out there. You’re going to make mistakes–but that’s part of learning and growing. The right mindset, planning, and taking action will propel you forward.
We learn A LOT in the doing of things.
Choose services and clients that you love
Otherwise, you will come to resent them and your business. This is YOUR business—so do what makes you happy! I know when you’re first starting out, the temptation is there just to get a client. Any client. Just one person who will pay you some money.
But if you put yourself out there and say you will do just about anything for anyone, you aren’t going to attract ANYONE. People need to “see” themselves in your marketing. They need to resonate with you. They need to know that YOU specifically can help them with exactly what they need.
The best way to do this is to specialize in either what you do (services) or who you do it for (target market). This will help you to make more money and be more successful.
But choose services and people that you enjoy.
And it’s perfectly okay to change your mind over time. Remember, this is YOUR business journey, and you should love what you do!
Build your business around your life–not the other way around
Being in business for yourself has so many benefits. A big one is an ability to leave time for the things that are important to you in life. Weave your business around and through what you want to do. If you’re just going to box yourself into a 9-5 schedule, and work every night and all through the weekend, then why bother leaving the “regular” job that you hate if that’s the case?
- Maybe you have a family and want to spend more time with them.
- Maybe you have kids, and you want to make it to more of their school functions.
- Maybe you enjoy volunteer work.
- Maybe you love to travel.
You can do all of that and run a successful virtual assistant business.
Remember the things that are important to you in life and build your business around those things.
Break it down
As you’re building your business, there will be times when you’re going to feel quite overwhelmed. There’s so much to do on the back end of setting up your business. You must think about a business name, a website, taxes, a client intake process, and marketing.
And then, when you get those clients, you must figure out how to juggle client work with continuing to build and market your business. It never ends! Make sure that you’re having the best business journey that you can possibly have.
When you feel overwhelmed, break things down.
Instead of having 50,000 thoughts swirling around in your brain, 3 lists, and 25 sticky notes, simplify it all and break it down.
Here is a process that will help:
- Think about your goals and what’s most important to accomplish.
- Look at your schedule in blocks of time. Mark off blocks for personal time, business building time, marketing time, client work, etc.
- Take those bigger goals that are overwhelming and write down all the things you need to do in order to achieve them.
- Use that list and turn them into to-do items that need to be accomplished in order to achieve that thing or goal.
- Then, take those to-do items and schedule them into your time blocks.
Doing it this way will really decrease the overwhelm.
Whenever there are too many things, or you have a goal so big you don’t know how you’re ever going to achieve it, keep breaking it down into smaller and simpler pieces. And then schedule those things on your calendar.
It takes a little while to get used to scheduling things if it’s not something that you’ve done before. But if you’re looking at a busy life with client work, marketing, and things you need to take care of on the back end of your business, plus everything else that’s going on in your life, having some type of schedule that works for you will save your sanity.
No person is an island
Doing this whole entrepreneur business owner thing by yourself is hard. And it can get lonely. You’ll have times when you second-guess yourself. And times when you might miss having co-workers and talking to other people, live and in person.
But just because you’re running a business by yourself doesn’t mean that you must be alone. Get out there and network with other business owners like yourself. This can be at in-person networking meetings where you live. It can be online virtually.
First, it makes you feel less lonely. But it also shows you that other people “get” it and go through the same things that you do. Sometimes you just need a sounding board. And sometimes you need advice on how to handle a particular situation. It can also help create some accountability.
Finding online or in-person networking groups of fellow VAs and business owners is a great way to get that help. You never know what you’ll get out of it. Maybe you’ll get a new referral partner. And perhaps you’ll get a new best friend. It’s the best way to have an awesome business journey.
Find yourself a Good Mentor
Also, if you’re looking for guidance or a way to stay on track and really move your business forward, consider getting a mentor.
When I first started out, I didn’t know anyone online at all. And I didn’t have much money to invest in myself or my business. (But I quickly learned the importance of doing so.)
Before that, I found some online forums where I could talk to other VAs. Then I became friendly with someone who became my mentor in a Facebook group. It made a huge difference in my business and how I went about things.
You can work with mentors one-on-one and in group settings. You can get something valuable out of each situation. Whatever way works best for you right now, connect with people who can support you, hold you accountable, and guide you.
And, in turn, be there for others. If you’re in a forum or a group and you can answer a question or help someone out, do it. Remember that you were just like them at one point, wishing someone would extend a hand and help you out. It feels good to pay it forward.
If you’re looking for some guidance and support, to be with a group of other people who “get it” and can help move you forward, I’d love you to consider joining my Facebook group.
Also, if you’re considering a mentor, join me in one on one mentoring or my group mentoring program.
Thank you so much for reading. I’m sure you’ll get there with your business too! Just relax and do what’s most important for you.
Happy Business Journey! And GOOD LUCK!
The History Behind the Virtual Assistance Industry
So, what is the Virtual Assistance Industry? Let me explain a bit about the history behind this term. Being a secretary was the very beginning of The Birth of Virtual Assistance. Since the ’40s, the profession has evolved to include a wide variety of different services. Today it is referred to as administrative, but this is not the only category of services that belongs to this new & exciting profession.
The Virtual Assistance Industry has a rich but little-known history of individuals and organizations that saw an opportunity. The opportunity in the work-at-home arena to develop and grow businesses that could support and sustain families. Many women and men walked the walk and talked the talk that propelled the industry to become the small business resource it is today.
The Birth of Virtual Assistance began its early beginnings with secretarial services during the forties. It’s safe to call secretarial services as the mother of virtual assistance. However, throughout its history, the virtual assistance industry strived to create a distinction from its “mother.” By making it a separate profession yet belonging to the same type of industry.
Collectively they are called administrative professionals. From their separation, virtual assistance has grown. It has advanced until it has become the global preference of business owners. So this is the birth of a profession that has become a worldwide phenomenon. It has permanently changed the world’s view on business ownership.
The Early Beginnings: Secretarial Services
It all began with shorthand when Sir Isaac Pitman invented the shorthand method in the early 1800s. He founded the first school for secretarial services. Only men were admitted to the school, and they were the only ones who could perform the said tasks, given the political climate during those days.
During that time, women were confined to only doing household chores. Not until a decade later, when typewriters were invented, were women finally joining the industry. And around 1930, the number of men in the secretarial services started to wind down. Can you imagine what women of the past would say about the Virtual Assistance Industry today?
The Next Steps
In 1942, the National Secretaries Association was born. It was founded to foster professionalism among secretaries in the US. And less than a decade later, the first exam called Certified Professional Secretaries was administered. The CPS Examination was a three-part exam covering the areas of office technology, management, office systems & administration. More than 66,000 people have achieved this rating since 1951.
It was in 1952 that a special day called “Secretaries Day” was created, which later in the year 2000 changed to “Administrative Professionals Day.” The decision was made to recognize all individuals working in the field with different title names.
Nearly three decades later, the National Secretaries Association was renamed Professional Secretaries International. Six years later, the Professional Secretaries International has renamed to International Association of Administrative Professionals, IAAP.
The Birth of Virtual Assistance
Anastacia “Stacy” Brice began working virtually as a full-time home-based contractor with an international client. She provided administrative support, arranged travel plans, and provided personal assistance. Back then, the most prevalent medium through which people did administrative assistance from a remote location was by using the telephone and fax machines. It was only in 1994 that the internet was utilized to assist business owners from other places.
The term “virtual assistant” was born in 1996. It commenced from a simple conversation between Anastacia Brice and life coach Thomas Leonard when the latter coined the term. This took place during a phone conversation they had together. With the idea already in Brice’s mind, she borrowed the term to name the new emerging profession, and in the next year, she witnessed how the profession was formalized.
It was in 1998 that Anastacia Brice opened the first organization for virtual assistants called the AssistU. The years have had many more developments in this industry. In 1999, the International Virtual Assistants Association was created to respond to the growing number of people involved in the business. And just like any organization, it helped represent the profession to the world.
The Growth Phase of Virtual Assistance
Virtual assistance has grown and created a unique distinction that has marked its identity worldwide. From being simply a sub-category of secretarial services, it equaled the profession. Later it surpassed it in measures beyond its beginning. Today, the work of a virtual assistant is getting more in demand in the business world.
More and more business owners prefer the services of virtual assistants over hiring a personal secretary. Here are the two economic reasons why:
1) Hiring a virtual assistant is cost-effective, and 2) work efficiency is achieved by the many different types of virtual assistants on the market today.
Your Growth, Your Future
Knowing your history helps you understand your foundation. Where you came from, and most importantly, WHY you can build a long-term, sustainable business. It’s because of those that came before you, 10, 15, 20, 25 years ago – people who walked the walk and talked the talk. The people that spent many hours answering questions and overcoming obstacles. These people have paved the way for you to be in the Virtual Assistance Industry you’re in today.
Please don’t forget where you came from because so many people went through challenging situations to get where they are in today’s world.
Your History is Your Future!
What is a Virtual Assistant?
So, what is a virtual assistant, and where did the title originate? Does it mean the same thing as a secretary or personal assistant? Let’s delve into the subject of virtual assistant and see where this modern word originated.
The term originated in the 1990s as the ability to work remotely due to the internet and the ability to share documents made it a reality. You can read more about the history in this article.
A virtual assistant is a person who provides various services to entrepreneurs or businesses from a remote location. There are a host of things that virtual assistants can do, including:
- Social media management
- Event management
- Managing calendars, appointments, and emails
- Preparing reports
- Personal tasks like booking hotels and restaurants
- Simple digital marketing tasks
And it can be a never-ending list!
Some business owners who hire a virtual assistant can be confused about what a VA is. Often, VA/Client relationships turn sour because of misconceptions about what a VA does for a client and how they do it.
Whether you are a VA or a client looking for a VA, this article will tell you all you need to know about the dos & don’ts and the expectations a business owner can expect.
What a VA is…
- an independent contractor, remote worker, freelancer, or business owner
- skilled at what they do, they don’t need micro-managing
- reliable and hardworking
- able to work well on their own, they don’t need constant supervision
- a home-based business owner, although some VAs prefer to be location independent, they don’t work with clients in their offices
- VAs helps other business owners in their business with tasks they don’t have time for or with skilled services they don’t know how to do
- business owners who are committed to helping other business owners make a success of their business
- a person who deserves respect
What a VA isn’t…
- an employee of the person who contracts them
- a miracle worker, they can’t fix a broken business
- not mind readers; they need guidance from the person who hired them
- a punching bag when things go wrong
A Virtual Assistant (VA) is a business owner and understands how important it is to protect and nurture the reputation of the business owner who hires them. VAs help and assist business owners with their daily, weekly, and monthly tasks and can be a great asset.
Although VAs often meet with their clients on a video call or in person, they don’t physically work in the client’s office. They are not personal assistants, secretaries, or assistants. Sometimes their duties might overlap with these but being a virtual assistant is a different profession entirely.
A Virtual Assistant deserves respectful treatment. Business owners that incorporate saying “please” and “thank you” goes a long way.
Why do people decide to become VAs?
It all starts with this question. WHY! WHY is the pivotal point of any decision. Here are some of the most common reasons people decide to become VAs:
● Most likely, they want to stay at home with their children while being able to earn a living
● They want to be able to work flexible hours
● They always wanted a business they can call their own
● Maybe they like to help people and earn money
● And, because they want to make their own choices, be their own boss, and have freedom in their work environment
We will discuss mindset issues in the next article, but if you want a head start, you can check it out now.
Legally Protect Your Business
Article Credit: FreeU Blog
Rewritten by Linda Henslee
Have you legally protected your freelance business? It’s a question that can send shivers down the most seasoned freelancer’s spine. In a previous FreeU blog post, we discussed ways to help prevent late or missed payments from clients. We also provided strategies for dealing with clients who don’t pay on time or have not yet paid you.
And we talked about how New York City became the first city in the United States to protect independent contractors and freelancers from nonpayment situations. A recent Freelancers Union article celebrates the second anniversary of the “Freelance Isn’t Free” Act and invites freelancers who have successfully filed a claim to share their stories.
But not all of us are protected by a law like this, and nonpayment situations are not the only things we must guard against. The number of freelancers has grown by 3.7 million in the United States over the last five years, according to the 5th annual “Freelancing in America” study, but it’s still up to us to do as much as we can to safeguard our businesses.
With that in mind, here are five ways you can legally protect your freelance business:
*Please note that this blog post is not a substitute for professional legal advice. Consult the laws of your particular region and contact a lawyer for specific advice.
- INCLUDE THE APPROPRIATE ELEMENTS IN YOUR WEBSITE
“If you use a website or blog to promote yourself and your work, you must ensure that you have legal protections. This is often the first place potential clients will stop, so you want to give them a solid first impression and show them that you are a professional on the up-and-up regarding the legal side.”
Eligibility To Access Freelanceu.com Programs And Services
How We Collect Information
How To Receive Consent
How To Withdraw Consent
Payment Data Storage
Security Of Personal Information
User Ability To Access, Update, And Correct Personal Information
Questions And Contact Information
User Information/Password Protection
Billing And Membership
Disclaimers; Limitation Of Liability
Governing Law; Jurisdiction, And Venue
And many other essential elements
“At its core, GDPR is a new set of rules designed to give EU citizens more control over their data. It aims to simplify the business regulatory environment so citizens and businesses in the European Union can fully benefit from the digital economy.”
If you collect data from clients or customers operating within the EU, you’ll need to ensure your website is GDPR compliant.
- CHOOSE YOUR BUSINESS REGISTRATION WISELY.
In our Freelance 101 course, we discuss how to build your brand and set up your business structure. As FreeU co-founder and instructor Craig Cannings says, your personal brand “Determines the distinctive way you want to be perceived and remembered by others.” It also “sets you apart and makes you unique in the Freelance space.”
To protect this uniqueness, register your business name and consider trademarking it. As Nellie Akalp explains in an article titled “4 Key Tips for Legally Protecting Your Business,” checking whether the business name you’ve chosen is legally available to use is essential. For example, in the United States, you can do a trademark search to see whether anyone else has trademarked a particular business name. You can also do a name search to ensure another company in your state isn’t already using it. She explains, “Registering your name allows you to operate your business under that name legally, and it ensures no other business can use your name in your state.”
When choosing a business structure, you must determine whether you’d like to register as a sole proprietor or an incorporated business. Our Freelance 101 course gives a comparison of the two structures. In a sole proprietorship, “YOU are the owner and personally
liable for the business,” but in an incorporated business, “shareholders in a corporation are
not liable for corporate debts.”
The article above puts it this way:
“An LLC and corporation, on the other hand, establishes your business as an entity separate from you, the owner. Your assets and liabilities are independent of those of your business. So, if your business can’t pay its bills or gets sued by a client, your bank account, home, retirement funds, etc. will have some protection.”
But in an article titled “Branding Yourself: Why Freelancers Need a Personal Brand,“ Xavier Morales, Esq. warns that an LLC “doesn’t offer umbrella protection for your brand.” Consequently, he recommends trademarking your logo and business name by registering them separately.
- DETERMINE WHETHER YOU NEED A BUSINESS LICENSE.
This blog post section will be shorter than the others because business licenses are not always needed. It depends on what type of service you provide. A Freshbooks article titled “Freelancing 101: 7 Legal Documents All Freelancers Need” recommends checking your city, county, or state’s websites to determine what required permits or licenses. It explains,
“Business permits and licenses come in many different forms. In some areas, it may be necessary to have a general business license from your city or county to run a company. In other cases, your profession may dictate your licensing requirements – plumbers, contractors, estheticians, and accountants are just a few freelance occupations requiring a permit to demonstrate proficiency.”
In my home province, I can go on the local website, indicate what city or municipality my business operates in, enter a keyword to describe my business, and then select from several permits or licenses that may apply to me. If you’re unsure whether your business needs a license, check your local website for more information.
- CHOOSE THE RIGHT TYPE OF INSURANCE FOR YOUR BUSINESS.
When it comes to insurance, there are many companies and many different options. I recommend researching your area and sitting with an insurance expert to determine what’s best for your business.
If renting an apartment, you may need to include terms in your tenant insurance permitting you to conduct business on the premises. If so, the insurance agent could ask whether you’ll have clients on-site and whether you’ll have merchandise on-site. For example, a guitar teacher may have clients come to her apartment for lessons, but a freelancer or virtual assistant can conduct business through video chat or by meeting at a coffee shop. You may need to ask for special insurance if clients will be coming to your house to do business or if you’re selling merchandise.
Some other terms to consider including in your insurance policy are
Professional Liability Insurance (a.k.a. Errors and Omissions insurance)
General Liability Insurance
Commercial Property Insurance
Cyber Liability Insurance
As an example of Professional Liability insurance, the Insureon website says a client could sue a web designer, stating that a project delay caused errors in technical plans and resulted in lost revenue. Professional Liability insurance could then pay for an attorney and judgments if the case is lost, even if the designer didn’t make an error.
Similarly, Cyber Liability insurance can protect you from a data breach lawsuit if you collect sensitive customer data and someone steals your electronic data. As the article says, the type of work you do will determine the coverage you need, and letting your potential clients know you are insured can give you an “edge over your competitors.”
- PROTECT YOURSELF THROUGH YOUR CLIENT AGREEMENT.
In a moment of naivete, I once asked a client, “Would it be better for you if I have a contract?” She wisely replied, “Actually, the contract will benefit you.”
According to the article above,
“A contract is not a guarantee that nothing bad will happen or that you are guaranteed to get paid (always a big concern!), but they can certainly help you to avoid issues and resolve disputes. Worst case scenario: if either of you needs to take legal action, the contract can be good evidence of what you both agreed to at the outset.”
Consult a lawyer for more detailed advice on what to include in your contract.
For this blog post, we’ll highlight the following elements to consider:
Ownership of Ideas
Creating a payment schedule can help prevent nonpayment situations. For example, my contracts typically state my rates, when the client is invoiced, and when the client’s payment is due.
A termination clause will prevent you from being left high and dry by a client or give you an escape hatch if you’re in an unhealthy client relationship. You decide how much notice to provide for the contract to be canceled by either party.
Copyrights and ownership of ideas are especially important for freelancers who do creative work. An article titled “The Complete Guide to Freelancing” stresses that it’s important to specify who owns the work once it’s finished. Who owns it? Does your client? Can you display examples of the work in your portfolio? Consult the copyright laws of your region for more information.
In his article, “Essential Clauses All Freelancers Must Remember About Copyrights,” Abdullahi Muhammed warns that it’s impossible to protect ideas with copyright. For example, if you talk about an idea for an article with a potential client, you can’t prevent them from using your idea with a different writer. So, the key is to be careful about pitching your ideas before securing the project.
And there, you have five ways to protect your freelance business legally. This is not an exhaustive list but a guide to inspire your research to determine whether you’re doing all you can to protect yourself.
What tips or strategies have you used to protect your business as a freelancer or virtual assistant legally?
Naming your Virtual Assistant Business
Coming up with a name for your virtual assistant business can be stressful and agonizing for some people. You brainstorm and come up with ideas, but nothing seems right to you.
You want something that reflects you personally as well as your business and what you do. It’s this big, important thing. It will be the name of your website and social media profiles. You’ll write it on tax forms, business plans, and email signatures. So you want it to feel and sound good.
And, for most virtual assistants, this will be the beginning of it all for you, the way that people will come to know you and your business.
So, it’s only natural that it’s a place where many VAs become stalled when it comes to setting up their virtual assistant business.
Don’t make it so hard, and here are some great tips for you:
- Know the rules and laws
Your business structure and where you are located may affect what you use for a business name, such as using part or all of your own name or certain terms. Make sure to check first. Better safe than sorry.
- Don’t make it too hard
Don’t use something that’s too hard to spell. People will find it difficult to see you and your website. Just because you know how to spell it, if it’s not a common word or phrase, others may type it wrong when searching for you.
- Play with words that relate to your services
Consider using a name that relates to the services you provide for your clients. Use a thesaurus to come up with different words that have the same meaning.
Great Tip Below
Here’s what Caroline Davidson, Owner of The Functioning Executive, had to say about her experience with this:
I didn’t want to use my name, so I took the term “Executive Functioning” and put a spin on the words. Executive Functions, simply put, is a term used for the cognitive skills a person needs in order to plan, organize and complete tasks. My business name is “The Functioning Executive”. I function in a support role for busy executives!
- Don’t pigeonhole yourself with a name
While I do encourage you to brand your business based on your services, don’t niche the name down too much. For example, maybe right now you offer social media services. That’s your main focus. So you call your business Susan’s Social Media Boutique.
Six months into working with clients, you decide that you are really much better at—and love—project management. But your business name says “Social Media.” Now you need to start a full rebrand, purchase a new domain name, and possibly pay to change some business paperwork.
It’s not that you CAN’T change your name. It’s certainly not impossible. But it’s best to think ahead about your business plans and goals and create a name that encompasses that.
- Focus on the outcome of what you do for clients
What kinds of results do your clients get from working with you? Think about physical as well as emotional outcomes. If they can relate, they’ll want to know more about you and be interested in working with you.
Another Great Tip
Here’s how Kat Salonga, Owner of Virtual, At Last! decided on hers:
My business name is Virtual, At last! As in “my business is goin’ virtual, at last!” I decided on it since it has the word “Virtual,” and I figured it might be good for SEO. I also wanted my clients to feel relieved and thankful that their business is finally launched online; my customers are usually non-tech savvy female entrepreneurs. It represents the feeling of triumph after all the hard work.
And another great explanation to get your wheels turning from Sencery Clemente, Owner of Tailor-Made Virtual Design:
I started by writing down all the words that I wanted to be associated with my business. When I think back on it now, it was really a list of values that I wanted my business to be founded on.
Then I started thinking of experiences I had in the past when dealing with service providers and wrote down the good and the bad about those experiences – those were mostly emotions of how the experiences made me feel.
After that, I looked at the lists and started to think about how I wanted my future clients to feel when they interacted with me and worked with me. I want them to have a unique and specialized experience because we are all different in what we need/want/desire for our businesses.
- Keep it simple- Use your name or initials
If you’re really struggling and nothing sounds right to you, then keep it simple and use your name, initials, or some variation of that. Again, just keep in mind the rules and regulations for where you live. In Georgia, where I live, if you’re a sole proprietor, you don’t need to register the name if using your own name in your business name. In other states, however, if you brand your business with your name, you can’t sell it in the future.
Are You Planning On Ever Selling?
Here’s what Jessica Scotten, Owner of Pineapple Relations, had to say about this when she was coming up with her business name:
I have no idea if I want to sell in the future, but future me can’t make decisions like that today, so I’ll plan on being prepared.
- Never underestimate the power of a great tagline
If you decide to use a simpler name or your own name, use a tagline to explain more about what you do. Sometimes coming up with the tagline makes figuring out the business name easier.
And, if you change up your services or your market over time, you can tweak the tagline to match while keeping your business name the same.
- Make sure the name is available
When you come up with something, Google it and perform a business name search to make sure it’s not already being used. Then search to see if the domain is available.
Register Your Name Legally
Here is how Julie Hoflin, Owner of Your Versatile VA, handled it when setting up her business:
I checked the free trademark search websites to ensure it wasn’t already trademarked in either the US or Canada, and once that was done, I officially registered the name in my province. In my jurisdiction, by registering the name legally, a deeper trademark search is completed, and I felt so much better knowing if/when granted, I could rest assured I wouldn’t suddenly be told to stop using this name after investing time, money and effort into branding and establishing my biz under this name.
So there you have it. My best tips for coming up with your virtual assistant business name.
I want to give you one more reminder to always check the laws for your area—depending on your business structure and location; different rules may apply when it comes to naming your VA business.
What Have you Done for YOU Lately?
So maybe you’ve been thinking about starting your virtual assistant business, but things keep getting in the way. Or, more accurately, you keep LETTING things get in your way. Today’s let’s talk about just What Have you Done for YOU Lately?
I’d be interested in what you have to say so answer this question in the comments below.
Ask yourself this question:
Is it something you really want for yourself?
Then, please stop putting yourself last. YES…LAST!!
If you’re ready to do something for YOU then I invite you to join me in my private Facebook group.
In the group, you can find out things like:
- How to go from employee to a confident entrepreneur
- Deciding on your services
- Narrowing down your target market
- Figuring out your rates
You’ll step away from the group with confidence and clarity for your business. And you’ll be ready to rock it!
So, if you’re ready to do something for YOU, let’s get started!
Click here to get access: Facebook Group You’ll want to go to the Units section to access all the great information that’s located there.
Come on, what do you have to lose?