How to start an online business
All you need is a laptop, the right software, a good internet connection and some time and space to create…
So you’ve decided to take the leap from working for someone else to working for none other than yourself.
It’s a big step going from having a great idea to actually taking the steps to make it happen. I have watched a number of people I admire make this leap and have seen how very well it has worked out for them. I have also seen how hard it can be at times, and just how much work and commitment is involved.
The first thing you need to do is work out what you want to offer, how you will offer it and if it will make you any money. A hobby is one thing and can turn into a profitable side-hustle, but making the decision to leave a position with a guaranteed pay cheque can only be done if you are in a position to support yourself.
Take a look at the Australian Government’s Starting a business guide for the practical steps you will need to take if you want to make this happen.
For me, it all started when I was working a part-time role around raising my two young children. My husband had a small bookkeeping business he ran on the side while working four days a week for a large finance company. When he was offered a new full-time role he couldn’t refuse he decided it was time to step back from his small business. This left me with an opportunity to build on his existing client base while also broadening the scope of the business beyond bookkeeping and into the Virtual Assistance space. It also meant my commute reduced from an hour to ZERO.
Straight up, I was very lucky to find Ingrid Bayer and the VA Institute which has given me invaluable guidance, support and some confidence to feel like I can make a go of this. I booked into an online group coaching course with Ingrid who supplied me with templates, contracts, resources, a book and links to relevant online tutorials. Her team also set up my website and new business email account which has made the startup phase very easy for me indeed.
So, after my introduction to the VA world and going through a VA startup checklist, I secured my domain name, business bank account, insurance then signed up to loads of essential small business apps (I now can’t live without Trello, LastPass, My Hours, Canva, Drop Box and Carbonite to name but a few). It was then time to do what I was dreading but what Ingrid told me was absolutely essential….. get out there and start networking…
Once again, after putting my big girl pants on, I was very lucky to attend the first ever Sydney Virtual Assistants Support Community meeting. The group was organised by two lovely women who each have successful VA businesses they run full time. Shout out to Deb at Versatile VA and Amanda at Streamlined Organising. It was such a relief to meet people who were already successfully doing what I was trying to achieve and have a supportive facebook group to lean on for questions and advice.
Other items I have ticked off my TO DO list to get myself setup include:
being certified by the VA Institute following the successful completion of my VA Startup course.
setting up business facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram pages as a free way to connect with an audience and promote the business.
designing and ordering business cards. At first I didn’t think business cards would be relevant in this day and age, but I have been told they are an essential item when it comes to networking.
joining the Australian Virtual Assistants Association which has some useful resources on its website and an annual VA Conference which I plan to attend.
applying for and being accepted by Upwork freelancing platform. This means that when the time comes I will be able to bid for jobs posted by clients all over the world.
So that’s pretty much where I’m at. I’m going to continue with my Copywriting course, better establish my social pages and keep working on my new Bookkeeping skills. Soon it will be time to put myself out there and start pitching for some new work. Stay tuned!