Be a Bookworm
So, here goes with my first tip…
Read as much as you can.
There are so many valuable resources available online and it's important to read a wide range and then focus on what works for you. For example, when I started reading about becoming a virtual assistant, I found there to be a LOT of info out there and not all of it appealed to me. There is a fair bit of what I would consider to be 'cheesy' material published online. And by cheesy I mean pink and hearts. That might suit some folk, but is not how I wish to portray myself as a professional service.
Virtual Assistant Resource
I discovered thevahandbook.com - a clean and clear website with literally everything you need to know, including some free resources / training, as well as the opportunity to sign up to paid coaching courses. I didn't sign up to these, but I have seen the creator, Joanne Munro, speak in videos online and in person at a conference, and she is great - both knowledgeable and funny; which is the best way to be in my book!
Other great resources when considering the freelance / start your own business route and which I quickly bookmarked during my early research are: -
gov.uk/working-for-yourself - Read up on what you need to tell HMRC; keeping accounts; paying taxes; allowable expenses, etc. You can also sign up to some great tutorial videos, which I'll detail more of in a later post.
startups.co.uk - All sorts of info on the why's and how's of starting your own business.
These are just a few websites and there are many more, but I recommend starting here and then branching out into industry specific info.
It can seem overwhelming at first and there is a lot to get your head around, but I found that by just doing a bit of reading each day and bookmarking what you find valuable, it soon starts to sink in.
I was also lucky enough to have a great contact who was already a virtual assistant and she kindly let me buy her lunch in exchange for sharing some of her pearls of wisdom - thank you George McGeorge!
I find that other independents are happy to share info, as they were in the same boat when starting out and everyone is still learning along the way. It's important to keep reading as an independent, as things change and develop ALL the time. You are the only one that will keep your knowledge up to date - no in-house training programme to rely on!
So, connect with others and do your reading and you will soon be able to decide whether going it alone is the right path for you.