The Virtual Assistant Handbook by Nadine Hill is the only guide for Virtual Assistants (VAs) in the UK. I’m not just saying that as a compliment, it really is the only one! Fortunately, it’s an excellent book.
What is a Virtual Assistant?
If you’re not sure what a VA is, here’s a quick introduction. A VA works remotely on tasks like administration, bookkeeping, event organisation, telephone answering and personal assistance. Small businesses who need admin support but don’t want an employee can hire a VA by the hour. VAs usually work from their own home and many never meet their clients face-to-face.
Being a VA appeals to lots of mums because many have administration experience, but self employment is far more flexible than being employed. Sounds great so far? Not surprisingly, there are a few snags along the way, but this book deals with all of them in turn.
First of all, Nadine explains that being a VA is not for you if you want to be handed work and to then quietly get on with it. A client will be looking for a self-starter, someone with their own ideas who isn’t afraid to ‘manage’ them. You will also need to get out there and look for work (not always easy if you’re used to getting things done behind-the-scenes). The VA handbook gives you plenty of useful advice on how to do this, even if you know nothing about marketing.
Nadine talks about her own experience of starting a VA business throughout. She shares the challenges she encountered and the lessons she has learned. Finding clients (online, networking, PR and more), getting started, setting a price, selling extra services and future development are all covered in a clear, honest and practical way.
If you’re thinking of starting out as a virtual assistant in the UK, this is essential reading.
Helen Lindop of Business Plus Baby reviewed this book for us.