Lots of questions there! That’s a GOOD thing!
Firstly did anyone have a mentor for staring up? Do a course/training? I’ve seen some on line and wondered if you had an experiences with them or if they were scams. I’m very interested in VA Apprentice, any feedback? Can’t find anything on line!
Be very careful about who you give money to - does the trainer have experience of being a VA? Can they truly say they’ve run a successful business? If so, why are they offering training rather than making their business make them money? Having said that, training definitely gets you up and running faster because you avoid some of the more common pitfalls.
Secondly I only have a netbook which is WAY too small so need to upgrade, I am thinking about a MAC, should I invest? Do you use MAC? I’m used to Microsoft and their packages, how good are MAC’s for secretarial jobs, Word/Excel etc? Obviously their verisons and how do you find that they are compataible with clients?
I’m biased because I think Macs are the devil’s own work - but frankly I have more problems with mac compatibility than I have with ANY other kind of technology in my business. Most of my clients use PCs fortunately, but it will depend on your target market as to whether that rings true for you too…
To be totally remote I thought of using Skype/Dashbox for file storage and Googlemail, what systems do you use?
Get proper storage and back up - something secure and automatic. None of the ones you mentioned are particularly secure or effective! Search for “data back up” in the forum - loads of options!
Also haven’t a clue about setting up a website, how much does this cost? Domain, creating or hosting? This would be included in the VA apprentice course I mentioned, another reason I’m interested as trying to figure out start up cost and do a business plan - really need your feedback to research this!
How long is a piece of string? Would your business be a one-size-fits-all website? Depends very much on how you want to work… But setting up a website is becoming cheaper and easier all the time.
Also how do you register a company name? Do you go as limited or sole trader? Also do you use an accountant for tax etc?
Loads of these questions are answered in the UK VA Survey - it’s out soon and would be a good investment for you to make these decisions.
Lastly I need a full time income and plan to work out of hours to start, can this be done? How can I work in the evenings? Do you do this?
Yes and no. Do you have at least 20 hours/week to work on your business and can you make some of those hours in traditional business hours?