Do you want to launch your own home-based business, but you’re not sure what type of business to start?
Then consider working as a Personal Concierge, or sometimes called, a Personal Assistant. Not only does this allow you to work-from-home, but it falls under the most basic human needs of not having enough time and having way too much much on your plate. People are more than willing to pay good money for an extra set of hands so that they can get stuff done.
As Personal Concierge you’ll assist individuals with their overflow of tasks and errands:
- Booking travel
- Appointment setting
- Running errands
- Picking out gifts
- Planning parties
- Meal prep
- Dog walking
- Grocery shopping
- Sending out correspondence
- Internet research
- Mailing packages
- Picking up kids
- Managing repairs, service setup like cable or internet, etc.
- House and pet sitting
- Waiting in line for concert tickets, renewals, form submission, etc.
- Dropping and picking up items from the dry-cleaner
Being a Personal Concierge does not require any special skills, training, or a large startup budget, however, you will need to be professional and organized.
So how do you get started working from home as a Personal Concierge?
1. Have a Business Plan
Since it’s unlikely that you’ll be taking out a loan to launch your business, you don’t have to have a formal business plan, but you do need to create a simple plan so that you have a roadmap to chart your journey. Within your plan, you’ll need to include things like what services you’ll offer, what to charge, how to accept payments, how you will market your business and take care of bookkeeping and financials. Need a little help? Life Hacker has a free one-page business plan to get you started.
2. Business Structure
As a Personal Concierge you’ll most likely work by yourself, so choosing your business structure should be relatively easy (Sole Proprietor). But if you are going to have a partner or you’d like to have some extra legal protection you’ll need to file for a Partnership, Limited Liability Company (LLC), or S Corporation. Each structure has its own pros and cons, meeting with an attorney or an accountant can help you to determine which structure best suits your needs.
3. Register Your Business
If you plan on using something other than your own name, you will need to apply for a DBA – Doing Business As (only if you plan on working as a Sole Proprietor). You will also need to research to make sure that someone else isn’t already using the name you want to use. This is also a good time to look at available domain names for your website.
You will need to keep track of all of your business expenditures and sales by opening up a separate bank account for your business. Along with having a separate business bank account, you’ll need to figure out how to accept payments and what type of bookkeeping software to use. PayPal is a third-party payment solution that is both widely used and accepted, and it allows your customers to pay with a credit card. You'll also want to keep track of income and expenses, this is can be done on a spreadsheet, but I've found that using a bookkeeping platform helps to keep things more organized. Platforms like QuickBooks Online and Wave are affordable and easy to use.
5. Build Your Website
There are many affordable ways to create a website for your business, but I highly suggest using a multidimensional content management system, like WordPress. In fact, WordPress is what I use and most other small business owners and bloggers use.
Not sure where to get started? No problem. Setting up a WordPress website via BlueHost is easy and affordable. Here is a step-by-step tutorial on how to set it up (this should take less than 20 minutes, seriously). Once you go through these steps you can purchase a theme (this is the design element of your site) to create a custom design. My site was designed using StudioPress — it's so easy to upload and to modify, and it gives you a highly professional looking site.
You will want to designate a separate email account for your business activities. Once you purchase your domain name and hosting, you’ll be able to get an email address that reflects your business name. Having a separate phone line for your business can be nice, but it’s also an added expense and it may not be needed. Explore different options, like using your smartphone, Skype, or Viber.
Related Content: Do You Need a Business Phone for the Home Office?
7. Marketing Your Personal Concierge Business
Now that you have your website ready you will need to get traffic to your site. Start by setting up social networking profiles on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to promote your business. Place free ads on Craigslist, start a weekly newsletter, print business cards, blog weekly, and ask family and friends to spread the word. You may also want to post flyers or promote your new business at your local chamber of commerce. Remember to take a little time each and every day to market (promote) your business.
8. Getting Your First Clients
Now that you have all of the essentials in place, you’ll need to secure your first client to start making money. While there are numerous ways to go about this, take a look at these articles for more in-depth instruction.
- The Way to Find More Clients and Make More Money
- How to Get More Business Clients and Customers
- Getting (and Keeping) Your First Client
Of course, it should go without saying, that you deliver high-quality work that's completed on time or ahead of schedule. Word of mouth marketing will be one of your most powerful tools in getting new clients and repeat business from current ones.
Testing The Water Before Making The Leap
If you'd like to test out being a Personal Concierge or Errand Runner before you invest in starting a business, there are a multitude of on-demand apps where you see if this sort of work is up your alley. Apps like Wag! (dog walking), Instacart (grocery shopping and/or delivery), TaskRabbit (cleaning, personal assistant, or handywoman), or Postmates (food, grocery, and alcohol delivery). If you end up enjoying these sorts of gigs — then consider starting your own Personal Concierge business where you can decide what sort of services to offer and how much to charge.
Related Content: Five Types of On Demand Money Making Opportunities
While I provided some basic steps to getting your Personal Concierge business off the ground, I highly suggest investing in your personal development by reading books like, The Concierge Manual: The Ultimate Resource for Building Your Concierge and/or Lifestyle Management Company or The Concierge Life: What You Need to Know to Build a Successful Business, Live Your Passion, and Change the World! and taking courses online that will sharpen your skills.
It's also worth your time to connect with other Personal Concierges or Assistants to share ideas, resources, and to have a like-minded tribe of professionals to vent to, share wins with, and get advice. You can check out organizations like Task Complete which offers Concierge Training, or VA Networking which trains Virtual Assistants.
Good luck and keep me posted on your journey!
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Originally published in March 2015. Content updated in June 2019.
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