How to start working as a health Virtual Assistant

Written by Samantha Gemmell | 3 October, 2022

Working as a virtual assistant

Did you know you could earn a side income working as a health VA? VA work is ideal for students and new graduates alike – it’s flexible, you get to network and learn from amazing practitioners, and you can work from anywhere in the world.

There is a huge demand for support in the health profession – there are over 150,000 allied and complementary practitioners in Australia alone. So, if your interest is piqued, let’s look at how you can start working as a health VA.

How to become a health Virtual Assistant

Set up a business

You can’t run a business if you haven’t set it up yet. The good news is this is reasonably easy to do these days. If you’re working as a practitioner, you’ll have some steps in place, but for those new to business, you’ll need:

  • An ABN
  • Potentially a business name (however, you can work under your own name to begin with)
  • A basic legal contract – I use an agreement template from the wonderful Michelle Whitehead
  • A business email – even if you set up a separate Hotmail or Gmail account, you want your business correspondence in the one place
  • A method of invoicing and accepting payments – this can be as simple as an invoice template and a business bank account, but you can also explore accounting software and payment gateways such as Stripe

If you’re super-keen, you can also set up social media accounts and/or a one-page website.

Decide who you want to work with

If you want to work with awesome people, you need to know what that looks like! Knowing who you want to work with means you know where to share your services and when to say no to someone who isn’t a fit.

As an example, I work exclusively with people who are in the health and wellness profession. Most of my clients are practitioners, but I do also work with some health food companies and supplement companies.

You may even choose to niche down further to your specific modality. This is particularly useful for marketing-based VA work such as blogging, social media and customer service. When practitioners reach out to me for a VA referral, they will often ask for a VA who is either qualified or a student in their modality.

Another option is that you could work with practitioners who focus on your favourite area of health. For example, you might work with naturopaths and nutritionists whose niche is children’s health or sports/athletes.

The more specific you get, the fewer the opportunities, but the greater the likelihood that your clients will see you as the perfect fit for their needs!

Figure out what you’re offering

Virtual assistants used to offer a bit of everything – but these days, more VAs are building success by being incredible at a few specific services.

Let’s do a simple exercise to help you figure out what you’re going to offer:

  1. Brainstorm a list of everything you could do to help your ideal clients with their business
  2. Circle the top three to five options that sound like something you’d enjoy doing on a daily basis

Congrats! You have your initial list of services.

As an example, my major services are writing content, social media content and marketing strategy. On occasion, I’ll pick up related work such as editing an opt-in or writing some website copy to mix it up.

Feeling overwhelmed by your list? You can start with one service and expand when you feel comfortable. For the first two to three years of my business, all I did was write – and 90% of that was writing blogs. But once my confidence grew and I wanted to explore other options, I added other services in.

Choose your price

There is nothing worse than chatting with a dream client, only to stumble when they ask what your fees are. As a business owner, it’s up to you to figure out a price for your services that suits your goals, boundaries, and energy.

What if you’re unsure about what the job entails? I recommend jumping on a call to ask them about what they are after. Once the call is done, you can do some quick calculations and send them a follow-up email with your quote.

Put yourself out there

It’s one thing to do all of the planning and prepping for working as a VA. But your dream clients won’t know that you’re sitting at your laptop waiting for them to turn up! It’s up to you to get out in front of the people you want to work with.

Take a look at the ideal people you want to be working with – where are they hanging out or looking for help?

Most of my clients come through social media – Facebook groups, Instagram stories and the like. Some people may be hanging out on LinkedIn particularly if they are health business owners, health food companies or supplement companies.

This is where a lot of new health VAs get caught up. But as with any type of business, you do need to take your first step and put yourself out there! The more you do it, the easier it becomes – I promise.

Keep going

Wouldn’t it be lovely if every VA could magically get a full book of dream clients right at the start? In reality, it’s usually a slow trickle for the first little while.

The more that you work with people, the more of a reputation you build up in the profession. Eventually, you will reach a point where you do not actually have to go looking for clients. In the interest of full disclosure, reaching this point took me two to three years of being really consistent and nailing my niche.

It could take you more or less – it depends on how consistently you show up and how many of my mistakes you avoid making! But if you keep going, you can build your business up into a raging success, whatever that looks like for you.

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Samantha Gemmell

Sam is a qualified Nutritionist (BHSc), health writer and mentor for prospective health writers. Her goal is to give practitioners a voice and presence in the online world, so they can make the world a healthier place. You can find her tips, tricks and thoughts over at www.samanthagemmell.com 

Read more by Samantha Gemmell

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