Knowing how to start a VIRTUAL ASSISTANT Business doesn’t have to be complicated but does require research and time. I will share with you the legal steps it took me to start my VIRTUAL ASSISTANT Business. This article is not intended to provide or replace any legal advice or legal requirements on starting a business. Laws and legalities will vary depending on where you live. Please check with your county, city, and/or state for the proper legal procedures you need to take to start your own VIRTUAL ASSISTANT Business.
First and foremost I had to determine if working out of my home was permitted by zoning laws. Sad to say not everyone will be allowed to work out of their home due to zoning laws. Zoning laws determine where you can set up shop. I contacted the county in which I live to find out if working out of my home is permitted. Fortunately, zoning laws permitted me to run a business in my home. I was then directed to my county’s website address to view the laws of what I could and couldn’t do in relation to running my business from my home. For example I am not permitted to have any signs in front of my home, no visible products in public view, and no excess traffic in my neighborhood just to name a few.
Business Type or Entity
Second, I needed to decide what type of entity my Virtual Assistance Business would be. I had to choose from the following: Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, Limited Liability Company (LLC), or Corporation. Needless to say I didn’t know what the difference between these was so I did some research.
Registering A Fictitious Business Name
Third, I contacted the Clerk of Superior and State Courts office for my county to find out how to file for a fictitious business name for my VIRTUAL ASSISTANT Business (also known as Doing Business As [DBA], assumed name, firm name or trade business name).
Side Note: As a sole proprietor and because I wanted to do business using a name other my legal name, the state of GA requires filing for a fictitious business name.
The Clerk of Courts Office searched for the business name I wanted to use to make sure no one else was using that business name in the county that I live.
Getting A Business License
Fourth, I went to the get a business license. I received my business license the same day. I had to pay an occupation tax for the estimated gross income I expected to make for the year. The fee to get my business license was approximately $65 including the occupation tax fees.
Opening A Business Checking Account
Fifth, I went to my bank to open a small business checking account for my Virtual Assistance Business. My bank required that I have my fictitious business name registration, business license, and Federal TAX ID or social security number to open a account under my business name. No problem because I was prepared.
Side Note: Some laws require you to get a Federal and State Tax ID if you have employees, are a LLC, and/or are a Corporation. You may be able to also get a Federal Tax ID if you don’t want to do business using your personal social security number.
Sales & Use Tax
Sixth, and finally I had to contact the Georgia Dept. of Revenue to find out if my business/services required me to charge my clients any taxes.
Whew….that was a mouth full. So you can see a sole proprietorship has relatively low start-up costs. As I said before always do your research to find out the legal requirements and procedures to start your own virtual assistant services. You may also want to consult a lawyer and accountant.