So You Wanna Be a VA?


Like many long-term VAs I receive many calls and emails from (mostly) ladies wanting to get started as VAs. I thought it might be useful if I put my response to them in a blog post for anyone else who may be thinking of getting started as a VA. I hope you find it useful!

I’ve also produced a podcast for getting started as a VA which might be helpful and can be found at:

Episodes 4, 5 and 6 might be most useful. So check those out as a starting point.

Being a VA is actually about being a business owner and all that entails. Many people who contact me say they want to be a virtual assistant, but then they ask for employment. A VA is NOT an employee. Here is the definition from my website:

“A VA is a business owner – a highly-skilled, independent professional entrepreneur who provides remote administrative, technical and/or creative business support services to clients locally, nationally or globally.”

So that means getting started entails setting yourself up in business. You’ll need to speak to an accountant and then set yourself up with an ABN and business name before you can start trading.

Then you need to market yourself: do some advertising (on and off line), business cards, attend networking functions, join VA groups and networks (eg: and are two Australian-based networks great for newbies) where you can join in the discussion groups, ask questions and learn from seasoned VAs.

If you don’t have that entrepreneurial bent and don’t want to go into business for yourself, then this is not an industry I would recommend for you.

As stated previously, VAs don’t employ staff but there are some bulk transcription organisations like Pacific Transcription who are a reputable business and will put people on from time to time doing transcription work. Pacific are Australian-based. A good reputable US-based one is Ridiculous Productions who have an application form on their site for those looking for work.

I actually got started with them! 🙂

If transcription is your thing, Google ‘transcription providers’ in your area to see what’s available.

Many Australian businesses may still require you have an ABN and the ATO is getting pretty strict now about allowing people to have them if they look like hobbyists so be sure this is what you want to do. You will still need to market yourself and set up the business structure.

Until we change governments this is unlikely to change or get better in the short term.

In your search be very wary – there are organisations out there who will promise you a regular stream of clients and who operate more like an agency (though they call themselves a network). They are usually organisations who will ask for a large upfront ‘membership’ fee (usually $1,000 or more) and the contract you sign will include them taking a percentage of any invoices you raise for clients they have referred. This is NOT the usual VA business model and is certainly NOT how AVBN, VADirectory or Virtually Yours networks operate. There will be a joining fee if you want to get access to job leads but it’s usually just over $100 and they do not have you sign a contract or take fees for clients referred.

I could go into a great deal more depth about getting started but space doesn’t allow – these points though are basic starting points. Check out the podcasts mentioned earlier in this post and if you have further questions feel free to post in the comment box below!

© Lyn Prowse-Bishop –

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