Where to Begin?

Hi there,

I have a question and I'm sure its been asked before but I didn't see it, so I'll ask again: I can't afford to just quit my job cold-turkey to start this business. I need some advice how to go about starting up my business while working an 8-5 job.

What were some things that worked for you?

What were some things that didn't work?

Any little thing that helped or didn't would be great. Thanks!
 

Rebecka Melson

New Member
I would go ahead and get your business formed and a website set-up as if you were already in business. Establishing a strong online presence is key. It takes a while to get your first client, so it is OK if you work during the day. Use your cell phone as your business # so, they can leave a message and you can return their calls during your breaks. Use a web-based email server so you can check your email from work (during your breaks) as well. I used Microsoft Office Live for my website and it came with email as well, so my email address matches my website address. I have a professional email address I can access anywhere.

Getting clients will be gradual so you can start by doing client work in the evening and on weekends, then as your clientelle builds you can cut back your hours at your regular job. If you do enough searching you will be able to find local networking groups that meet in the evenings or early in the morning. I would try meetup.com to start with.
 

Office Goddess

New Member
Perfect answer Rebecka! I am still working my 8-5 while I try to build clientele.

I set up my business back in June, doing all of the things that you need for a new business: name, state registration, bank account, website, etc. I do my marketing, etc. in the morning before I go to my "other" job and check emails, forum postings, etc. during my breaks and at lunch time.

I try to spend an hour every morning working on marketing "stuff" and then I can focus on my salaried job better knowing that I did something for myself.

I "attend" the VANA seminars every Wednesday afternoon (I record them and listen later since I can't always participate). I have signed up for my local MeetUps (www.meetup.com) and Ask! Boulder networking group. I also answer Craigs List ads for part-time bookkeeping by submitting my business as a respondent.

I am hosting an upcoming Q/A session for small business taxes on 11/15 and another one on LLC basics on 12/02 (both located at this forum's chat room). These may be of help to you.

Also, check past postings for a discussion on what is involved in setting up your business.
 
Thank you for those responses. I am going to see what sort of Licensing I need in Wisconsin. I've also checked out some of the posts here and I think the best bet for me would be to become an LLC.

Is there anything specific I have to do to sign up for the chat or is everyone allowed to chat and attend the Q/A sessions?
 

Office Goddess

New Member
Is there anything specific I have to do to sign up for the chat or is everyone allowed to chat and attend the Q/A sessions?
Hmmm... good question! I don't know! I'll pm Tess to find out and get back to you - I believe all that is required is membership to this forum.
 

Tess

Administrator
Staff member
Hi there! :)
I answered Lily's PM before I realized there was a question here...sorry for the delay we were out of the office the past few days...

So-to answer your question: anyone who's a member here can join the chats (in fact, the chatroom has been open for general chat for the past few days) but you do need to have 25 forum posts to access some features here, like the chatroom.

If there's an upcoming chat you're interested in participating in just click the link in the sidebar on every page that says 'CHAT' and you'll be automatically directed to the chatroom.
I hope that helps clarify!
 

Office Goddess

New Member
Thank you for those responses. I am going to see what sort of Licensing I need in Wisconsin. I've also checked out some of the posts here and I think the best bet for me would be to become an LLC.

Is there anything specific I have to do to sign up for the chat or is everyone allowed to chat and attend the Q/A sessions?
Thanks, Tess! :)
 
OfficeGoddess, what is meetup?

I am still trying to get my all my ducks in a row. It is getting a little more difficult and sometimes I just feel like I should give up (but I'm not going to) because little obstacles are getting in my way.

I am thinking about trying OpenOffice because I don't have MS Office and I looked up prices and its about $450 to get all of the programs, I could buy a cheap new computer for that price.

What keeps you motivated to keep going?
 

Tess

Administrator
Staff member
Hi there, I believe the Meetup Lily is referring to is this one (Meetup.com)

You're right MS Office can be very expensive - have you looked into the Student version? Depending on which programs you need it may be enough for your needs, at least initially.

I've not taken the time to look at Open Office but was just chatting with Agnes about the suite and she absolutely swears by it - so that may be an even better alternative for you!

The main thing that kept me going through the early phase was knowing that I wanted and deserved complete control over my present and my future, that I could absolutely handle whatever it was that came my way (the universe does not offer us things we can not cope with), and that the 'hard part' couldn't possibly last forever. ;)
 
Thanks! I needed that. I think its just everything getting to me and I know this is something I want to do. And I want to build on it, its my first stop in my plan and I don't want to work for someone else for the rest of my life.

It just seems like there are so many VA's around, sometimes I feel like what is the need for one more, you know?

I just need to get out of this funk that I'm in today.
 

Tess

Administrator
Staff member
You know, I really do understand how you feel. When I first started out I had days where I was all too aware that there were too many other VAs out there - the thing you can remind yourself of is just why you can do the job better, faster, and cheaper. I used to write out lists of my skills and attributes - kind of silly like 'the reasons I'm good at this...' but it works to give yourself that little boost and remember that you totally have what it takes.
And you're right, it's just a funk, and it's just today ;)
 
OfficeGoddess, what is meetup?

I am still trying to get my all my ducks in a row. It is getting a little more difficult and sometimes I just feel like I should give up (but I'm not going to) because little obstacles are getting in my way..............
What keeps you motivated to keep going?
Hello Shay:

First, I received your PM. After today, I will be able to reply as well as send. Thank you for the message.

Regarding staying motivated, that is definitely an obstacle and challenge for me. Sometimes, I would start re-reading over my initial notes that remind me of the sheer excitement and energy I had when I first embarked upon my new venture of being a Virtual Assistant. And when I see others growing and blooming in their business, it reminds me that I need to get moving if I want to see results, and see them soon. :smart:

Here is a quote I found during my business research that I happened upon. I thought it would be appropriate for you:

"Don't let what you cannot do interfere what you can do" John Wooden.

Concentrate on the things you know you can accomplish and do for now. I know it is easy to become overwhelmed and frustrated and thus lose your momentum. (Boy do I know about that one :nonod:) Try to organize yourself, follow a checklist, establish an easy way to insert new information as you obtain it so that you will continue to flourish.

Hope this helps! :sunny:
 

Office Goddess

New Member
Great suggestions Delilah! Every time I get frustrated I just stop and think about WHY I wanted to do this in the first place. Works every time :)
 
Thank you guys. I think the more I am working at my job, the more it is helping me realize that I can become my own boss and have this business. I think its with the whole not being able to figure out a name that is making everything so frustrating.

Once I just take some time to clear my mind and figure that out, I'm sure everything will fall into place.
 
Shay:

Regarding a name search, perhaps think about a name that represents who you are and what you are offering in services. Sum it up in one or two words to name your business. Perhaps in your tag line you can add something that shows the specialization you have to offer even if you have other services as well. (For example, my tag line under my business name is "Specializing in Home Business Start up and Small Business Support" (However, I am considering shortening the length.)

When you think of terms that describe what you offer or who you are, use the thesaurus to help you with different descriptive words to use for more ideas. If you like, you can indicate in your business name as a virtual or e-business. Some VAs, like Lily's Office Goddess is unique. She is using something in her name that indicates what service she can offer and a little of her personality as well. ;)

With my name: Caliber Virtual Services, I want clients to feel my work is of the highest quality or caliber and at the same time it is a virtual or e-business.

You may want to also consider whether or not you will continue to remain solo, eventually grow into a partnership or even enter into an outsourcing network of other VAs to help you with incoming work that you may not specialize in or not interested in doing. In that case, you may want to choose a name that will allow growth in the future.

Just some humble thoughts and ideas for you to consider. Hope that helps! :)
 

Office Goddess

New Member
There may be a lot of VAs out there, but there are SO MANY different varieties of us AND there aren't nearly enough of us to go around! Also keep in mind that no one VA can handle more than a handful of clients if they still want a life :D

I think that there is still a HUGE niche available for all of us. Maybe not so much in 50 years but when you realize that there are currently hundreds of thousand of entrepreneurs and only a few thousand VAs the possibilities for work look tons better.
 

Tess

Administrator
Staff member
No such thing as a bad question :)
You can find the results of a recent survey on just that exact topic - here.
 
So I am waiting on my paypal account to verify my info and my bank account info. Once it is all set up, I will be purchasing my website. Then I'll need reviews on how to make my website.

I've been thinking about colors and I already have the text typed up. Maybe I'll just have you look at the text before I put it up.

I'll stay in and work on that since I'm still sick. Well I hope everyone has a great weekend! I'll probably be on here most of the time, lol.
 

Tess

Administrator
Staff member
There's a great big section for website development here - you might find some good starting points, or get inspired to start asking questions.
And, feel free to post your text for review - you can put it in the website reviews section (just note that it's text only) or in the content development section.
Hope you feel better soon!
 
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