How to set up as a Virtual Assistant (VA)
I recently had a chat with a lady (let’s call her “Viv” ) who is getting all of her ducks in a row to be a Virtual Assistant (or VA in the online business world). We talked about a checklist of things she had to do before getting her business off the ground. This way Viv makes sure her VA business is about ducks being in a row rather than squirrels being at a rave.
A whole tracksuit economy of work from home women has sprung up to create flexibility in their lives. VAs are joining that economy to access that flexibility but also support the tracksuit economy.
Because I am getting more and more VA enquiries I am going to share what I spoke about with Viv in the hope that it can help you, whether you want to hire a VA or be a VA, read on!
Making it legal
So, what do you need to do to start earning money? You need to make it legal and register to get an Australian Business Number (ABN).
Whether you decide to be a sole trader with your ABN or set up a limited liability (Pty Ltd) company to register for an ABN is up to you. While the company is certainly the way to limit your liability, the reality is that the compliance costs of the company may be quite hefty so you are best to weigh up your options and also speak to your accountant about this.
Either way, you need the ABN to make it legal and register for tax.
You should then register your business name with ASIC (though note our comments about protecting your brand below first before you get registering!).
You will only need to register for GST if you earn over the GST threshold of $75,000 in any current year.
Protect your brand and research!
Then you are going to want to think about your brand. Do you need a logo? What are you going to be called?
It is a good idea to protect your logo and name via a trademark registration to ensure no one else can come and trade under your name or trade off your hard work once your VA business gets set up.
It is a good idea to do a trademark search at IP Australia before you decide on your name, business name and domain name. Ideally you want all of these things to be in the one name and a name you can protect. You don’t want to register “Viv the Virtual Assistant” only to find out there is already a business and website with that name so you will never get the trademark.
The next duck you need to get in a row is insurance. As a VA you will be required to have professional indemnity insurance and you may also want to have business interruption or income protection insurance, depending on your personal requirements.
Insurance is important and many people hiring a VA will insist on professional indemnity insurance up to a certain level. Make the enquiries with a business broker and get the insurance that is right fo you so that you can go ahead and find clients with the peace of mind to know you are protected.
VA Service Agreement
A VA Service Agreement is essential to have BEFORE you engage with prospective business owners to work with them.
A service agreement is basically a contract with the person hiring you which sets out the boundaries and expectations around your agreement. The person hiring you will expect a contract. They have confidential information and customer privacy to protect. They also want to know what your turn around times are. YOU need a contract to make sure the boundaries of your engagement are clear. For example, if your client is late paying you, then you want to be able to enforce the payment or even add a provision for penalty interest if they are late.
At the Remote Expert we draft specialist VA Service Agreements covering these items and more. The VA relationship is unique and requires a unique solution.
How do you get a VA Service Agreement
We are working on some VA Agreements with secret sauce in the Remote Expert back room. If you would like to be one of the first VAs to get your hands on one, get in touch here to get on the waiting list to be notified of the release date.