Do you want to start a personal assistance service? If YES, here is a complete guide to starting a personal assistance business with NO money and no experience.
The personal assistance business is a versatile business which you should be willing to start as a new entrepreneur. Apart from the versatility of the business, it is also highly profitable. There are lots of people who have ventured into this business and have achieved success in the united states.
The job of a personal assistant cuts across different areas of specialization such that one needs to be vast in knowledge because there is no specified work to do; you might be given a variety of tasks to undertake. The personal assistant business has to do with helping high-level executives with their daily operations and helping them navigate through their busy day.
As a personal assistant, you can be hired to provide service to both individuals and corporate bodies. If you are working for an individual as a personal assistant, you would need to know the itinerary of the person so that you will be able to help them plan their day and closely work with them to coordinate travels, draft emails and possibly undertake other duties like dry cleaning, picking up gifts, etc.
The most successful personal assistance businesses are those that have been consistently providing their clients with excellent services and as such, have built a vast client base comprising of professionals who require personal assistance services.
For you to be successful in this business, you need to build a strong and robust client base which will open several doors of opportunity for you.
Steps to Starting a Personal Assistance Business
1. Understand the Industry
The personal assistance industry is known for providing various on-demand services to clients. They offer services to business executives, employees and individuals.
Players in this industry offer services ranging from running errands and personal shopping to making travel reservations and home management services. These personal assistance services could be provided in-person or remotely.
For instance, in hotels, a personal assistance company will assist guests to perform various tasks such as booking hotels, arranging for spa services, booking transportation, recommending night life hot spots, luggage assistance request, procuring of tickets to special events, and assisting with travel arrangements. Personal assistants also assist with sending and receiving parcels.
In hospitals, the need for personal assistance services keeps increasing. A hospital personal assistant provides services similar to those of a hotel assistant; the only difference is that they serve patients and employees.
There are a lot of independent personal assistance companies providing errand services for their clients. They help to provide information services, make telephone calls, and set dinner reservations, research travel arrangements, and other related services.
Depending on the task, most personal assistance service companies bill on an hourly rate while the service charges can also fluctuate. Other personal assistance companies’ bill monthly at a flat rate based on the number of requests a client is allowed to place each month.
Between the year 2000 and 2010, personal assistance services in the united kingdom become a key marketing and loyalty tool in the banking sector. The personal assistance services industry is a growing and very active industry in the U.S.
There are about 790 registered personal assistance companies employing about 2,828 people with the industry raking in a whopping sum of $271 million annually. The industry is expected to continue to grow at a rate of 2.6%. It is important for new entrepreneurs to know that there is no company within this industry with a dominant market share.
The entry barrier in this business is low and un-restrictive. This has encouraged more players to come into the industry. The amount required to start up this business is very low. You do not need employees or an office facility to start this business.
The personal assistance business is very open to any aspiring entrepreneur with the requisite skills to start this business make a profit from the industry. Within the next 5 years, emerging technology will make it easier for more players to come into the industry thereby increasing the competition in the industry.
2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
The demographic and psychographic composition of those requiring the services of personal assistants is not restricted to any particular age group or gender, neither is it limited to people and organizations in your immediate community, but it cuts across people and organizations that have need for one service or the other.
So, if you are looking towards defining the demographics and psychographics of your personal assistance business, then you need to make it all encompassing. It should include companies, organizations, and individuals within and outside the United States.
3. Decide Which Niche to Concentrate On
Personal assistance service comprises a lot of services which you can offer to your clients. So you need to be very versatile to be able to compete with other players in the industry. You need to explore some niches that will help you stand out in this vast industry.
Here are some niche ideas you can incorporate into your personal assistance business;
- Accounting and Bookkeeping
- Article/Blog Writing
- Data entry
- Photo Editing Expert
- Social Media Manager
- Customer Service
- Event Planning
- Graphic Designing
- Logo Designing
- Telemarketing and Sales Leads
- Translation Service
- Travel Planning
- Website/Blog Designing
The Level of Competition in the Industry
There is no doubt that the competition going on in the personal assistance industry is getting stiffer by the day, so you have to be on top of your game by being highly creative in order to come up with concepts needed to survive in the industry.
The personal assistance industry is indeed a very prolific and highly competitive industry. Clients will only hire your services if they are rest assured of getting the best from you.
In the personal assistance business, distance is never a barrier when competing for clients especially international clients. What most clients want is safe and seamless service; hence they are ready to hire your services no matter the part of the world you operate from as long as you can deliver excellent services.
4. Know Your Major Competitors in the Industry
In every industry, there are always brands that stand out from others and are better regarded by clients and the general public than others in the same business. Some of these brands have been in the industry long enough to establish their competence and credibility.
These are some of the leading personal assistance companies in the United States and also around the world;
- Time Etc.
- Peak Performer™ Concierge Services, LLC
- Fancy Hands
- Care2 Share
- Assistant Match
- Office 88
- Virtual Office VA
- Virtual Gal Friday
- Worldwide 101
Before you start-up your personal assistance business, you need to carry out a feasibility study. In order not to fail in this business and to be as profitable as you can be, you would need to consider several factors. One of the most important factors to consider is how to create a unique brand which would be a household name. To achieve this, you would need to make extensive research and consultations.
You also need to devise means to showcase your unique strength and make it attractive enough for your clients to notice you. You will also need to write a business plan which will be comprehensive enough for you to know if this business is viable for you or not.
Another important thing to consider is your source of business start-up capital. This is very important as most lending institutions will be more eager to lend to already established and successful personal assistance businesses than to a start-up. An exciting business plan will help you take care of that.
5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
For this type of business, it is advisable that you start from the scratch instead of buying a franchise. It is easier to start a personal assistance business from the scratch than having to buy a franchise.
Making profit from this business while starting from the scratch might take some time, but in the long run, you will surely start making your profit and clients will patronize you for your efficient service delivery and affordability as against relying on a franchise.
It is interesting to note that most of the big and well established personal assistance businesses all started from the scratch and they gradually built a strong and reliable brand. However, it takes dedication, hard work, and determination to achieve success in this line of business.
6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face
If you intend to start your own personal assistance business today, one of the likely challenges you are going to face is the presence of well – established personal assistance businesses who are already offering same services that you intend to start offering.
The only way to avoid this challenge is to ensure you start your own business with a distinction by introducing something unique.
Some other likely threats you can encounter in the course of starting this business in the United States are the arrival of a competitor within your business location, unfavourable government policies, and global economic downturn which usually affects spending power.
There is hardly anything you can do concerning these threats except for you to be optimistic that things will continue to work for your good.
7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)
In choosing a legal entity for your personal assistance business, you have the option of choosing a Limited Liability Company (LLC), general partnership, or a sole proprietorship.
Ordinarily, the general partnership should have been the ideal legal entity for a start-up personal assistance business especially if you are starting out with a modest capital. But if you intend to grow the business and have clients in the United States of America and other countries of the world, then you should choose the Limited Liability Company, LLC over the general partnership.
One of the notable reasons why you should consider setting up a limited liability company LLC is because it protects you from personal liability.
If the business doesn’t go as planned, it is only the money which you have invested into the LLC that will be at risk. It is not so for general partnerships and sole proprietorships. It is much simpler and flexible to operate an LLC as you don’t also need a board of directors or other managerial formalities.
These are some factors you should consider before you choose a legal entity for your personal assistance business. These factors are; ease of transferability, limitation of personal liability, taxes, admission of new owners and investors’ expectation.
After studying all the legal entities available for your personal assistance business, you will see that the limited liability company is most suitable.
You can even start your personal assistance business as limited liability company and in the future decide to convert it to a ‘C’ corporation or an ‘S’ corporation when it has grown and you have the plans of taking it beyond the United States.
Upgrading to a ‘C’ corporation or ‘S’ corporation will give you the right opportunity to grow your personal assistance business in a way that it will be capable of competing with major industry players; you will enjoy separate tax structure; you will be able to generate business capital from venture capital firms; you will be able to easily transfer ownership of the company; you will enjoy flexibility in ownership and management structures.
8. Choose a Catchy Business Name
When it comes to choosing a business name, you are expected to be creative because whatever name you eventually pick will go a long way to create a perception of what the business represents to the people. Usually people like to follow the industry trend in which they intend to operate from when naming their business.
In naming your business, a simple name is often the best choice. If you are planning to start your own personal assistant company, here are some catchy names that you can choose from;
- Integrity Assistance
- Exquisite Assistance
- Committed Creative
- Integrity Collaborations
9. Discuss with an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
In most countries, insurance policy is a prerequisite for operating a business. It is same in the United States as you won’t be allowed to operate your business if you don’t have some of the basic insurance policy covers in place for the industry you want to operate from.
Based on this, you would also be required to set aside a budget for insurance policy covers and perhaps you could also consult an insurance broker who will guide you to choose the best and most appropriate insurance policies for your personal assistance business.
Here are some insurance policies you should consider purchasing to start your own personal assistance business in the United States of America;
- General insurance
- Liability insurance
- Health insurance
- Workers Compensation
- Employment Practices Liability Insurance
- Payment protection insurance
- Overhead expense disability insurance
- Business owner’s policy group insurance
10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
Every business runs the risk of being in a legal tussle. Though you might not be dealing with much intellectual theft or legal issues in this business, you could still go ahead and file for intellectual property protection/trademark to protect some important documents of the company like your company’s logo, banner design, etc.
This enables you to run your business successfully without getting into any legal issues involving your company’s intellectual properties. To file for intellectual property protection and register your trademark, you should file an application with the USPTO.
11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
Aside from the services you provide, professional certification amongst your key members of staff will definitely stand you out among other competitors.
If you want to make an impact in the personal assistance industry, you should work towards acquiring most of the essential certifications needed in your area of specialization. You are strongly encouraged to pursue professional certifications as this will go a long way to show your commitment towards the business.
Here are some of the certifications you should look towards acquiring if you want to run your own personal assistance company;
- Personal Assistant Specialist
- Concierge Administration
- Certified Administrative Professional (CAP)
- Professional Legal Secretary
- Certificate in Executive and Personal Assistants
Please note that the higher your qualifications and experience, the easier it will be for you to secure high profile personal assistance deal/contract from corporate clients.
12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
It is very important in any business to have the necessary documentation for the business you intend to start. Most especially in a place like the United States, you won’t be allowed to run your business if you don’t have the proper documentations in place.
If you try it, you would be caught by law enforcement agents. Here are some of the necessary legal documents you should have in place to legally run your own personal assistance company in the United States of America;
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Business License and Certification
- Business Plan
- Operating Agreement for LLCs
- Insurance Policy
- Consulting contract documents
- Non – Disclosure Agreement
- Employment Agreement (offer letters)
- VAT registration
- Federal tax identification number
- Apostille (if you intend to operate beyond the United States)
13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
When it has to do with financing a business, one of the first and most important factors to consider is to write a good business plan. With a good business plan in place, you would find it easier to convince your bank and other investors to invest in your business.
Here are some of the ways you can source for startup capital for your personal assistance business;
- Raising money from personal savings
- Raising money from sale of personal stocks and properties
- Sell of shares to interested investors
- Approach banks for loan
- Raising money from investors and business partners
- applying for business grants and seed funding from investors and donor organizations
- Source for soft loans from your friends and family members
14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
Location is not a barrier or challenge in this business as it could be done from anywhere; even from home. If you need to get a business location for your clients to visit you, you must ensure you rent or lease a facility in a visible location. Look for a well accessible location.
Note that it is going to be more expensive to get a business facility in a good location, so you will need to allocate funds in your budget that will cover for leasing/renting. If you are not good at getting the right location for your business, then you should consult a business consultant or a realtor to guide you in choosing the right business location for your personal assistance business.
15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
The personal assistance business is a highly competitive industry. To be successful in this business, you need to enroll for some professional certifications which would give you a competitive edge over your competitors and make your clients prefer your service.
It would also enable you to offer quality service to your clients. The cost of these certifications should also be included in your business plan in order to raise sufficient capital to pursue these certifications. The manpower aspect is also of equal importance as the technical aspect.
You need to hire qualified and experienced staff to help you run your business. The overall success of the business hinges on the quality of staff at your disposal. There are no restrictions to the number of staff you can employ, but ideally, you will need to start with about 3-5 competent staff.
The Service Delivery Process of the Business
As a personal assistance business owner, your main aim is to provide quality and excellent service to your clients. You need to ensure that your clients are satisfied with your personalized services. To achieve this aim, you need to ensure that some things are in place like getting professional and certified personal assistants to work with you, and ensure that you have excellent relationship with your clients.
You should also ensure you give your clients quality service at an affordable price based on their budget. To ensure an excellent service delivery, you need to put your clients at the heart of what you do.
16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed with ideas & Strategies
To make a name for your brand as a personal assistance company, you would have to prove your worth over and over again before you can be recognized and trusted with major personal assistance contracts from corporate clients. So, if you plan to start your own personal assistance company, it will be good for you to learn how to sharpen your interpersonal communication skills.
People and organizations will hire your personal assistance services to help them handle various tasks if they are assured that they are going to get value for their money.
So, when you want to draft your marketing plans and strategies for your personal assistance service, you should ensure to create a compelling personal and business profile. Asides from the qualifications and experience that you have acquired, it is also important that you state clearly what you have been able to achieve in time past as it relates to personal assistance services and the various organizations you have provided services for in the past. This will go a long way to boost your chances in the market when sourcing for personal assistance service contracts.
Below are some of the ways you can market your personal assistance services;
Introduce your personal assistance business by sending your brochure along with introductory letters to all the small scale businesses and corporate organizations which may need your services in the United States
- Promptly bid for personal assistance contracts from corporate organizations
- Advertise your business in magazines, radio and TV stations
- List your personal assistance business on local directories
- Work with your client’s budget by creating different packages for different client categories
- Make good use of the internet to promote your business
- Make use of direct marketing by engaging the service of marketing executives and business development executives
17. Develop Iron-clad Competitive Strategies to Help You Win
The personal assistance industry is a competitive one. This means that you must be creative to be able to come up with a unique strategy to outsmart your competitors in the industry. Part of what you need to do to remain competitive in this industry is to continue to offer professional, excellent and affordable services to your clients. Organizations and people will always patronize you when they know that you provide a better alternative especially as it relates to offering excellent service.
Another strategy to adopt is to ensure that you employ highly skilled and qualified staff who would provide clients with excellent personalized services.
18. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
Your goal in any business should be on how to boost your brand awareness and communicate your corporate identity. One of the secrets of success in larger corporations is their willingness to spend heavily on boosting their brand awareness in order to better communicate their corporate identity to people.
If you intend to spread the tentacles of your personal assistance business to go beyond your immediate city to become a national and international brand, then you must spend money on promotion and advertisement of your brand.
You should make use of the advantages in the print media, electronic media and also social media to promote your brand and corporate identity. It is pretty cost effective to promote your brand via the internet and social media platforms.
Another effective strategy is to sponsor TV and radio programs that are similar to your business while you should also advertise your business in relevant magazines and newspapers. Below are the channels you can use to boost and promote your business;
- Place adverts of your business in magazines, newspapers, radio and TV stations
- Encourage your loyal customers to help publicize via word of mouth
- Make use of the social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Google+ and other internet platforms to promote your business
- Position your banners and billboards in strategic positions around your city
- Distribute fliers and handbills about your business in target areas in and around your neighborhood
- Make contact with corporate organizations and small business owners and inform them about your business and the various services you offer
- Advertise on your official website and employ ways to pull traffic to the site