Many administrative professionals are starting to discover the Virtual Assistant industry, and are asking questions about how to get started.

In my networking circles, the admin professionals who want to get into the VA industry are hesitant because they are not sure of the earning potential of being a VA. They are concerned that their job security will be gone by deciding to go out on their own.

This is a real fear, and there is some validity to it if you do not do your research before getting into business.

I have also come across a lot of new VAs who got started without the proper preparation and research, and who are now struggling to find clients.

The good news is, all you have to do is start the research now and you will be able to get your business revving into higher gear. It doesn't matter where you have come from, it only matters where you are going.

Here are a few answers to some burning questions I have received recently:

Can you make a good living as a VA? Of course you can earn whatever you wish as a VA. There are many VAs who have crossed the six figure threshold with their businesses, and you can too. It takes a lot of work, great focus, skill and support (among other things), but it's very possible. As a VA you are a business owner, and because you set your own hours, your own rates, and you select your own clients, you are the in the driver's seat in terms of determining what your income will be. The key to making a good living is to find the clients who need your services, and work with them.

Can I be a VA part time? Absolutely! You set your own hours, and as long as you communicate those to your clients so they know when you are available, you can do it part time. Some people start their business when they are still in the corporate world, and that can work too. I sometimes suggest finding a client or two in another time zone when you are getting started (i.e. if you are in ET, work with clients in PT so you can work evenings and you will have overlap with their workday). You will find that most clients don't need 'full time' support from you, so part time is definitely an option. The key here is to making sure you work when you say you will work, so make the commitment.

What skills do I need to learn to be a VA? This is a very common question, and the answer is easy - whatever skills you have now are the skills you need to get started. If you have administrative experience, then you can get started as a generalist VA. It is important to work on your service offerings so that you know what things you can do for clients, but most VAs don't need to acquire new skills before getting started. The idea here is that you are already an expert at providing administrative support, and so that should be the basis of your service offerings to start with. You can upgrade your skills through training if need be, but you can probably get started without it. The key here is to detail the services you will offer to clients so that you are crystal clear on how you can help them!

Do I need a business plan? Without question, you need to get your business on paper before you get started. Doing a business plan will help you get it all in front of you so you can see your strengths, your weaknesses, your financial outlook, your goals, and everything right in front of you. When you are getting started, it's important to have this information in a business plan form, because it helps you shape your business, and it helps you make really clear and focused decisions on each aspect of your business too. By knowing what you are selling, to whom, and how you are going to sell it, you will realize success much more quickly than just hanging out a shingle and asking people to work with you. The key to a good business plan is detail!

How do I find clients? In my circles, this is the number one asked question. If you are asking this question, you haven't done a business plan and you haven't done your business research yet. You need to determine a target market and an ideal client. This is the fastest path to success as a VA. You need to really determine who you can help with your services, and then you need to connect with those people. It's a simple idea, but one that is very much overlooked by starting VAs. Once you are clear on how you can help people who need you, and once you connect with them, you will have an endless pool of potential clients and you can build a successful business. The key to finding clients is to know your services inside and out, and to know how to explain the benefits of those services to people who need them.

Getting started is not hard, but getting started the right way takes a little extra legwork. Whether you are just thinking about becoming a VA, or if you have already started and are struggling, reach out to other VAs in your network, and ask questions. Research the VA industry itself, as well as your area of specialty, and your potential clients too. Then connect the dots to build a business that works for you!

Author's Bio: 

Tracey D'Aviero is a successful Virtual Assistant as well as a VA coach and mentor. She helps new and aspiring Virtual Assistants build solid foundations for their businesses by teaching them how to put procedures and plans in place for success and growth. Pick up a copy of Tracey's free ebook "3 Way To Get The Clients You Want!" at http://www.yourvamentor.com.