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One of the things that I love about my job is that I get to work from home. I adore the fact that I get to be here for Emma when I want to and need to be, but that I can also provide a steady income for my family. Yes, this blog is my main business, but did you know that I also do virtual assistant and other freelancing work on the side? No? Well now you know and knowing is half the battle. Taking the plunge to start your own virtual assistant business might seem pretty scary at first. In fact? I was downright terrified when I started putting myself out there, but the thing is? I really like having extra money to save and invest more than I like being fearful so I made the leap. You would not believe how incredibly grateful I am that I did it. At times when our income has dropped below our livable expenses, it has saved my rear end more than once.
If you’re unfamiliar with the term, a virtual assistant is someone who…well? Assists. For some, a virtual assistant will do everything that a personal assistant does. For others, they will do specific tasks like respond to emails or schedule meetings only. No matter what your job actually entails, you’ll love being able to do it from home, the grocery store or even a baseball game if you need. For some, it’s a great way to make just a few extra dollars a month and for others, they will turn their VA business into a full time income. There is no wrong or right way to work it so always keep that in mind.
Before you start you’ll need to identify your skills. Are you a killer writer? Do you handle email and calendars like they’re a piece of cake? Are you good at all of the above and then some? Whatever your skills are, you’ll need to be solid and confident in them if you’re going to charge people for your time. Rank your skill list from strongest to weakest when you go looking for a job. I personally write very well (usually) and very quickly so that is the skill that I promote the most. I’m also fairly good at doing repetitive tasks quickly so I add social media scheduling and things like that to my list as well. On the other hand, I am almost horrible at design work so I wouldn’t want to include that in my list of skills because it’s not something I’m comfortable offering to someone for pay. Once you’ve identified your skills, be sure you add them to and update your resume with them too just in case you ever want to work for someone else again.
You’ll also have to figure out what your rates will be. Some virtual assistants will charge hourly, some will charge daily, some will charge by the task. I personally have offerings that work on a per task, hourly and even a monthly rate depending on what task I will be helping them with. Your business is yours though so be sure you figure out rates that you are comfortable with. You’ll also have to decide if you’re going to require pre-payment for projects that you work on or whether you’re okay with a different pay scale.
Once you’ve got that info set in stone, set up a website! To make it easier on yourself, go with something simple like a self hosted WordPress blog. They’re super cheap to set up. You just need a domain name and a good host. Starting a blog or website isn’t hard and it certainly isn’t expensive. You can start your own blog for less than $4.00! I have a tutorial that walks you through every step of starting your own blog or website that can help you get things set up if you need. Once you have your website up, you’ve got a central place to send potential clients and a place to showcase your rates, testimonials and even samples of your work if that applies.
On your website, you’ll want to list any experience that you have, testimonials from previous clients, services that you currently offer and of course a way for prospective clients to contact you. Make sure that your new virtual assistant website has an awesome design too. I actually did this step last, but I truly wish I had done it right off the bat and I’m certain that had I? It would have helped skyrocket my VA business much quicker.
After that? You’re ready to go! It’s time to start promoting your website and your skills! You can list on sites like Odesk.com or you can list in Facebook groups specifically for virtual assistants. As you start to pick up clients, you’ll notice which groups and sites give you a good return on your time and which ones don’t so that you can target your ads to where you actually get new clients from.
Working as a virtual assistant can be fun, it can be a great way to boost your income and it can be an awesome way to build your own business, but at the same time, it is a real business. Your clients will depend on you for the tasks they hire you for and if you can’t deliver, they won’t stick around. Be sure to build your business with respect, treat your clients as you want to be treated, deliver quality work every single time and soon you’ll have a successful business!
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