When you tell your friends and family that you want to start a business, one of the first objections you’ll probably hear is that starting a business is expensive.
While this is true for many types of businesses that require:
- a storefront
- inventory to sell
Starting a virtual assistant business is actually pretty cheap. In fact, it is possible to start a virtual assistant business with no startup costs!
However, if you do have to spend money to get started, most of the startup costs involve technology and digital assets.
So, how much are you looking at when you want to start your own virtual assistant business? Let’s break down the most common expenses so you know exactly what to expect!
Required Expenses to Start a Virtual Assistant Business
There are a few very basic requirements that you need to start a virtual assistant business.
If you don’t already have a computer, or if your computer is super out-dated, you may need to buy a new one.
A computer is essential for virtual assistants since all of your work will be done digitally. As a VA, you work remotely and have to provide your own equipment since you’re not an employee of your clients. (Hence the name “virtual” assistant.)
If you already have a computer that runs decently well, your startup cost for this may be $0. If you’re trying to bootstrap your business in the beginning, you may be able to make it work with an older computer until you earn some money from your first clients.
But, keep in mind that having an older or slower computer may affect how quickly you can work, thus impacting the amount you can earn. So, I recommend getting a new computer when you can afford to.
The potential cost of this can be several hundred dollars to a $1,000 or more. My computer cost almost $2,000 in 2016, but I plan to use it for several years.
When buying a computer, remember that it’s an investment that will help you make money, so don’t skimp out by buying a cheap computer that will need replaced in just a few short months.
2. High Speed Internet
Similar to not cheaping out on your computer, you shouldn’t go too cheap on your internet either.
As a virtual assistant, almost all of your work will be done online using a high speed internet connection. There are a few things you may be able to do without internet, but in general, internet is a requirement for being a VA.
Whenever my internet service is down (which happens too frequently in my opinion), it’s a huge inconvenience and also results in lost wages and productivity.
Unfortunately, my rural location means there’s not much I do to shop around or combat the problem of crappy internet service since there’s only one provider in my area that offers high speed internet.
However, if you live somewhere more populated, you should shop around to find reliable, high speed internet at a good price.
Personally, I pay $80 per month for my internet package. Even if I wasn’t a VA, I’d still pay for internet in my home since I don’t have cable, but I’d likely pay for a smaller package.
If you’re just getting started and don’t already have internet, you may be able to get by with a free internet package from FreedomPop to start with.
If you plan to have phone calls with your clients, you’ll obviously need a phone in order to do this.
Like the other two things listed above, having a phone is something you’d probably pay for anyway, so it’s not necessarily an added expense just because you’re starting a business.
I don’t currently use a separate phone for personal vs. business, but it is something I’m exploring as I try to do a better job with work/life balance.
What I’m considering is trying FreedomPop’s free plan since I only use my phone for business on a limited basis anyway.
I’ve also thought about simply getting a second phone plan from a company like Straight Talk in order to have a completely separate phone, phone plan, and phone number for business purposes.
Optional Expenses to Start a Virtual Assistant Business
In addition to the required expenses above, there are a few other things I’d recommend checking out when you start your business. These may be things you can implement over time so you don’t have all the costs to contend with upfront. However, many of these things will make your life much easier as you grow your business.
4. A Website
A website is optional?! You may think I’m crazy, but hear me out.
Having a website has been tremendous for helping me grow my VA business. It has helped me find clients, and given me a playground to work on my skills without screwing up a client’s website.
That said, I know several virtual assistants who have had tremendous success without having a website. One person that comes to mind is my friend Denise, whom I interviewed to get the scoop about growing a VA business without a website. The interview is included in my course, $10K VA.
Websites have multiple moving parts that all come with separate expenses.
Website Domain Name
The first thing to do is purchase your website domain name. I buy all of my domain names with GoDaddy.
Most domain names will cost around $15 per year unless you have a premium name in mind. If you use my link, you can get your first domain name for $0.99!
Website Creation and Design
You can DIY your website with a free WordPress theme if you have some basic knowledge and skills. But, if you shell out a little money, you may be able to hire help with your website design and creation.
A full-fledged website designer will be expensive (think in the thousands of dollars). But, you can also find some people to help you with customizing an existing WordPress theme for only a couple hundred dollars.
In the beginning, when your website has little traffic, you can go with a super budget-friendly hosting plan with Host Gator.
I used Host Gator for years before switching when my website traffic grew and I needed a larger host.
For step-by-step help on how to set up your hosting and website, check out my guide here.
For more options to use for website hosting, check out my blog post here.
5. Virtual Assistant Training Costs
Training is not a required cost to start a virtual assistant business. I started mine without paying for any training. There’s of information on this website and other sites around the internet that can help you get started for free.
However, if you have funds available, training can help you get started faster and help you avoid costly mistakes. VA training will pay for itself by helping you get clients, make money faster, and keep you moving forward with accountability.
If you’re interested in getting some training to help you start your VA business quickly, check out my course,$10K VA. In the course, I walk you through exactly what I did to grow my business to earn $10,000 consistently every month. There are also some awesome bonuses included in some of the course packages.
For specific skills training, you can take other courses, like Pinterest VA, a course from my friend Kristin Larsen. Plus, there are tons of free courses around the internet to help you learn specific skills as well.
I have a whole other post about tools to use in your VA business. But, the bottom line here is that you should only get tools as you need to for your work. Don’t get bogged down paying for every tool under the sun if you don’t need them. 🙂
Total Cost to Start a Virtual Assistant Business
The total cost to start a virtual assistant business can range from FREE to a few hundred dollars. It depends on what you decide is worth paying for to start your business, plus there may already be some things you’re personally paying for or have that you can use in your business.
Relatively speaking, it’s still super cheap to start a virtual assistant business when compared to many other types of businesses.
Are you ready to get started? What tools are you going to use in your business?