Are You the Parent or Child in Your Virtual Assistant Business?
Ever considered the idea that a business is like a parent and employees like its children?
Think about it. Employers must nurture and supervise their businesses and employees like parents must do with their children. The “family unit” thrives on strong direction, fair but firm discipline, and solid structure. The employer “parent” is responsible for instilling this foundation, and making determinations that affect the health and well-being of the “family unit,” the business itself.
Its “children,” the employees, have only to do what is asked of them and collect their “allowance” in the form of wages. They don’t get to decide how much they will be paid. They don’t have to deal with administration and taxes, profits or losses. And the success or failure of the business affects them only to the extent that they continue to have a job.
When making the decision to become self-employed, a Virtual Assistant goes from employee “child” to business owner “parent.” There’s much more at stake now, and they have a keen interest in the success and profitable operation of their Virtual Assistant business.
However, this is often a role that Virtual Assistants don’t readily adjust to. They may not realize as new business owners that there’s more to creating and running a self-sustaining business than simply performing services for clients. Often, they will even charge professional service rates equal to their former hourly wage--and end up earning less because they haven’t accounted for operating costs, capital outlay and profit margins, much less the Social Security, Medicare, unemployment, disability and other benefits they used to receive as employees!
The good news is that all it takes to go from employee “child,” who has never had to be responsible for the success of a business, to strong, intelligent Virtual Assistant business owner is some intentional thought and smart planning.
There’s even a business tool for this—it’s called the business plan.
The business plan gets Virtual Assistants to consciously and methodically decide where they want to go in their Virtual Assistant business and how they will get there. It forces them to think through all the details of their business, and creates a roadmap for their Virtual Assistant business success. But what many Virtual Assistants struggle with is where to even begin.
The Virtual Assistance Chamber of Commerce offers an excellent starting point with the Virtual Assistant Business Plan Template.
This creative plan for the imaginary company Superlative Virtual Assistant Services, owned by the fictional Suzy P. DeQue, is written with proper format and outline. It consists of 14 pages of example text, spreadsheets and figures so Virtual Assistants can get an idea of what kind of information to develop for their own Virtual Assistant business, and includes four Excel financial worksheets and a free service rate calculation tool.
As a Virtual Assistant, are you passively sitting in the carseat of your business, or commanding at the steering wheel? Be in control of your fortune! A business plan is the one document your Virtual Assistant business should not be without.
About the Author
Danielle Keister is founder of the Virtual Assistance Chamber of Commerce, a professional association of Virtual Assistants worldwide dedicated to helping Virtual Assistants build smarter, more successful businesses, and providing tools and resources for business owners to connect with qualified, professional Virtual Assistants.