• Sarah@VHFY

List of items to consider when setting up your own business...

Updated: Jan 6, 2021

When I decided to set up my own business Virtually Here For You I didn't really know where to start. I knew I should be able to do so with a bit of Googling and asking some friends but I also knew there were a lot of things that I would never have thought of!

I Google'd 'things to think about when setting up a Virtual Assistant company' as well as just 'setting up a limited company' and found a number of different posts. None of these had everything in one place so I decided to create a list of all the things I have done, to make it easier for you.

Don't get me wrong, I am not saying I now have it all in one place but what I have done, is listed out all of the things I found I needed to think about.

Some will be relevant to any business, some may only be relevant to VA's.

  • Decide what type of business you're going to be - Sole Trader, Limited or Partnership. I have decided a Limited company so that the liability sits with the company rather than myself (this is a decision I made and might not be the right decision for everyone. If you are unsure you should get some guidance)

  • Think of a company name - this one maybe the trickiest of all! When you've thought of a name you then need to research it to see if it already exists as a business. Also check if there are any companies have similar names. Note: If you're setting up a Limited company then you can't use the name of a company already trading (and for obvious reasons wouldn't want to either). You can check it on Companies House here. Also try typing in the URL and adding .com and .co.uk to Google. I found that some URLs were taken, even though the company wasn't trading, the SEO just wasn't where it needed to be!

  • Register your company on the Government website here

  • Set up a business bank account - I went with Tide bank

  • ICO data protection - not necessary for all businesses but as a VA, if you want to become a member of the Society of Virtual Assistants you must pay your annual subscription (it only costs £40 as a VA)

  • Insurance for professional indemnity (also required if you want to become a member of the Society of Virtual Assistants) Confused.com gave me a number of quotes after I added in my requirements

  • Make sure you have the correct templates for Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, Cookie Policy etc - I have a great contact should you need help. I had no idea where to start but everything was explained in detail and in layman's terms!

  • Register as Self Employed. If you have not filed a return before, you can register here

  • Make sure your SEO is all set up correctly on your website as well as all the other tasks required to make your website known to the bots - you want your website to be showing at the top of the search list

  • Create a logo

  • Get some professional photos taken for your website and headshot for LinkedIn etc - again I have a great contact if you are based in London

  • Create a website. I used Wix and it's so easy once you get going. I got stuck at one point verifying my site so requested a callback which happened in seconds. The rep was great at answering my questions as well as giving me some tips. I'd highly recommend

Things not necessary from the get go but worth thinking about:

  • Register your trademark

  • Branding & logo - I decided to go with my website, a quick logo and create it all myself without overthinking the branding. I know some people will *gasp* but I wanted to be open to all until I worked out who I wanted to target, what were values were etc. I wanted to include my clients thoughts and feedback once I got this so decided that after 3 - 6 months I would revisit and rebrand if I needed to

There are also things like:

  • Accounting package - this is up to you. If you're starting small, you can get cheap/free software or even use a spreadsheet as long as you keep literally everything documented but I'd suggest speaking to an accountant for your best options

  • CRM software - as a small business you might be ok to use a spreadsheet or it maybe included in the accounting software but there are some free packages out there

  • Project management software - as with CRM software, you might not need this but things like Asana, Trello and Toggl Plan (there are so many you'd need to research what suits your best) all have free plans to start

  • Time tracking software - again, this maybe included in accounting software or you could use a spreadsheet but I'm sure you will need to send clients your timesheets. Depending on the work carried out, it's likely that notes will also need to be inclided

List is correct as of October 2020 and created personally, as a helpful list. There maybe things I have missed off so please don't take this as final.

None of these links are affiliated.

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