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How to Set Up Your Virtual Office in Under an Hour

Let’s assume you support the idea of a virtual office. You understand that monthly rent on a fancy office space isn’t worth it, and you don’t want to succumb to a world where you’re surrounded by filing cabinets.

We’ve written about why you should pick a virtual office over a physical one before. We’ve demonstrated why virtual phone systems, virtual assistants, and professional addresses save time and money versus traditional, in-house personnel and office space. For cost-conscious small to medium-sized businesses, there is simply no comparison.

Today, we will assume that you support the idea of a virtual office and would like to get up and running immediately. Here’s how to set up your very own virtual office in under an hour:

Map Out Your Strategy

Not everyone’s virtual office will look exactly the same. Perhaps you do have a physical office, but would like to complement it with virtual assistants. Or, maybe you truly are starting with nothing and want to go 100% virtual from the beginning. No matter what your ultimate goals are, it helps to map out your strategy before diving in.

Possible elements of a virtual office include:

How many of these things you wish to utilize will decide how much work is involved in getting started.

Obtaining a Virtual Office Address

No virtual office is complete without a professional address to receive mail at. As we noted in May’s article, you need not actually reside at the mailing address your mail gets sent to.

Services like, for instance, allow you to give key contacts and business partners a prestigious, professional-looking, 5th Avenue business address. Using such a service, you can:

A $20.00 business pricing plan is available which enables business owners to obtain a prestigious business mailing address in 24 hours. Theoretically, you could sign up today with or a comparable service and accept mail at your new, professional address the very next day.

Selecting a Virtual Assistant

Virtual assistants are one of the most popular virtual office fixtures of all. However, beyond the idea that a VA would be helpful to have, many of us get stock in the process of actually finding and hiring one (much less training one.)

As it turns out, dozens of different companies offer virtual assistants on flexible pricing models that let you buy only as much service as you will individually use.

In a blog post entitled “How To Get Your Virtual Assistant To Schedule Your Doctor’s Appointments”, author Ramit Sethi recommends as his VA service of choice.

Depending on your exact needs, you can choose a dedicated assistant (which gives you access to your own agent, dedicated to your needs, available 10:30AM EST – 7:30PM EST by email and phone) or 24/7 assistance (which gives you 24/7 access to a team of personal assistants accessible by email, phone, and the web.) Pricing details are available here.

Note: Your life will be made infinitely easier by requesting a VA (from AskSunday or any other provider) with excellent command of English.

Training Your Virtual Assistant

The actual hiring of a virtual assistant can be executed in under five minutes. The next, slightly more time-consuming task is training them to perform to your expectations. Here, it’s all about specifics.

Because you will not be supervising a VA the way you would an in-person assistant, instructions, rules and procedures are a must. Luckily, you need not guess at how to effectively train your VA. The above post from Ramit, for instance, includes a detailed instruction script used to train his VA on selecting a nearby doctor.

Timothy Ferriss, author of The 4 Hour Workweek, wrote a blog post about how to outsource your entire e-mail inbox to a virtual assistant and check it only two or three times a week. In it, Ferriss offers concise guidelines for training the VA to respond, delete, file and categorize exactly like you would.

No matter which tasks you envision a VA carrying out, you will need a similar but modified list of rules for them to follow. In this way, the VA you hire will cease being merely an assistant and become your assistant.

Getting a Virtual Phone System

If you’ve owned a “real office” before, the idea of getting a phone system installed in an hour might sound like a pipe dream. But with virtual phone systems, the fantasy is reality. A virtual phone system lets any business get up and running with a serious, in just a few quick steps. All it takes is:

That’s it. Following these simple steps, you and your team will be able to take calls and receive voicemails and faxes from anywhere you happen to be.

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  • Lawrence

    As a virtual assistant you need to learn to work independently and with minimal supervision. Fine tune your communication skills so that you can easily grasp instructions and can communicate more easily with the clients.

  • GJA communications

    Great tips for getting people started. We also really support going virtual. It’s great to see such informative blogs out there that are educating people on the ease and benefits of virtual!

  • Brendon

    The topic of virtual offices is going to be very hot in 2011 along with virtual assistants. The affiliate landscape is shifting for a certain number of people and those folks will be forced to consider virtual offices as a resolution to the problems they have unexpectedly run into.

  • Allison Canty

    Thanks for weighing in Brendon and great post ( on virtual office space!

  • john

    Hi, I think nowadays more people are aware of what virtual assistant is and how to work with them and really a Virtual Assistant can help you out in your business. They can handle wide variety of support services through a single point of contact.
    And this article is EXCELLENT and thanks for all that information

  • Johnv

    This blog is really very informative. I think very few people know how a Virtual assistant can help their business. Virtual assistants utilize the latest technologies to deliver their services and to communicate with their clients. They can handle wide variety of support services through a single point of contact. Virtual assistanst make one’s life easier and better!

    A virtual assistant can help you grow your business by handling your administrative support tasks. You can outsource various tasks like accounting, advertising, clerical, administrative, answering phone calls, internet research, data entry and technical support tasks to a virtual assistant. And the best part is that you can relax and enjoy your vacation or holidays while all your works are done by your virtual assistant.

  • Jason

    This is a great, thorough guide for the small businesses looking to save money and weather the down economy. Thanks for sharing!

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