The Office for National Statistics has, just this week, estimated that the unemployment rate in the UK is 3.8%, which is the lowest since records began in 1974. The contracting pool of available candidates means that it’s becoming increasingly important for employers to attract return to work parents back to the workplace. Employers have not
So you’ve decided to take the plunge and commit to a full-time virtual assistant role. Whether it’s the chance to work flexibly from home, or you’re looking to diversify your workload, a virtual PA job in the UK is a fantastic option for administrative professionals.
However, before you hand in your notice and commit to becoming a virtual assistant in London, there are a few things to put in place.
It may not be the first thing you think of but it’s essential that anyone offering virtual PA services in the UK has a strong brand to go with it! The market is quite saturated, so it pays to have a recognisable name and identity before you begin. Think about your name – will you operate under your given name or will it be something that describes your services instead? Do some research into what’s on the market – if you choose something that’s too similar to another brand, you will struggle to compete on a Google and social media search.
It’s also worth thinking about your visuals. Will you have a logo, or rely on images? What colour scheme will your branding be? Getting this sorted before going out to clients will ensure an authentic brand identity from the very beginning.
Charges and services
Before you start quoting on virtual assistant jobs, it’s important to establish a pricing matrix. You may choose to charge by the hour, by the project or as a flat fee, depending on the type of work you’re completing. You need to consider how much you need to charge to not only cover living expenses, but other compulsory elements like tax, National Insurance and pension.
It is inevitable that some clients will try to bargain with you, so it’s important to know how far you’re willing to drop in order to still make a living. Some virtual assistants in the market do have very low prices, so it may be tempting to try and compete. But, at the end of the day, you need to make every task worth your while!
It’s also important to establish the scope of your services – as a London-based virtual assistant, what exactly will you be offering? Is it just straight administration, or can you assist with other tasks, such as copywriting or website design?
A virtual PA job in the UK may have its benefits, but one of its pitfalls involves either engaging an accountant or taking charge of your finances yourself. You’ll need to decide whether you want to trade as a limited company or sole trader, what to do with VAT and how to make sure you have all the necessary records come tax time.
There’s no point offering your virtual PA services if you can’t actually deliver on them. Make sure you have the appropriate technology to keep connected with clients and complete tasks required. This includes video conferencing tools such as a camera and microphone, all Microsoft Office software and a fast and consistent Internet connection. It would also work in your favour to be well-versed in mobile technology so you can work on the go, with access to a wide range of apps.
This is also the point you can get your website going – this should include a summary of your services and your experience.
You’ve got the brand, know how much you’re charging and are all teched up. It’s time to find your first virtual assistant job! This can be a long process that requires a multi-faceted approach, so it’s worth starting this before you resign from your full-time role.
Social media is a VA’s best friend so as soon as you confirm your branding, it’s time to get networking! Start with Twitter and LinkedIn – these are the two platforms that are most likely attract your target audience. Let your existing network know about your new venture – they may not require your services in the near future, but could know someone who could.
On your website, add some blog posts or create short videos – whatever you think will attract your audience’s attention. You could also build an email list so that you can keep any leads warm. Perhaps consider offering a free service to incentivise signing up?
Alternatively, consider signing up with an agency like Tiger Virtual. They will contact you as and when roles emerge.
Once you build that base of clients, make sure you ask for referrals or testimonials – this will allow you to attract ongoing business, reducing the need for proactive business development.
Tiger Virtual recruits for virtual PA jobs in the UK. Submit your details today to make sure you’re on our database.