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Online business has taken off in the past few years – and it’s opened all kinds of new work-from-home doors
There are millions of people making their living online, from home. (I should know – I’m one of them!) Some of the work-from-home-online jobs are pretty obvious (- if you’ve ever been on pinterest, you’ve probably seen the “how to start a blog” tutorials.) Maybe you’ve even considered blogging or joining in the work online world some other way, but just haven’t quite found your “thing” (maybe you prefer to be behind the scenes?) Well, I’ve got a suggestion for you. Become a virtual assistant.
If you’re comfortable on a computer and looking for a work from home job that’ll allow you to be your own boss without having to put the high start up costs into running your own blog or creating your own products… then virtual assisting might be for you.
I see requests every. single. day. in blogger forums and Facebook groups from people requesting competent virtual assistants. When it comes to running a blog (or any online business) there is endless work to be done. (I’m not QUITE at the point where I can hire a VA, but I can see it on my horizon, and I can’t wait to let go of some of my workload.)
While I was researching work at home jobs for this series, I ran into Gina, who is THE lady to talk to if you’re interested in learning how to become a virtual assistant. She’s even created a course (not to mention, a totally free intro course) to teach others how to become a virtual assistant.
I asked Gina if she’d be willing to chat about her experience as a VA, and share a little more about her job and what sort of person would be suited for VA work.
How did you become a Virtual Assistant? What was the appeal?
Basically I was on the lookout for an opportunity, one presented itself and I jumped on it.
What happened in a little more detail was that I was taking an online course, conversing back and forth with the creator and noticed that while he seemed to really want to get back to me in a timely manner, he was having trouble doing so. I brought the “problem” to his attention, proposed myself as the solution and asked him to hire me. And he said yes!
The appeal to me was that the work was flexible in nature, the pay could be predictable and the tasks required a different part of my brain. I.e. I was also building a business as a freelance writer at the time and knew I didn’t want to write for 40 hours per week (I was building a freelance biz on the side of my full-time job in hopes of leaving work behind).
Can we ask you how much you earn as a VA in a year? And what your work schedule looks like?
I started off charging $34 per hour. Since then I’ve moved to a retainer model (i.e. a set amount per week or month).
I share my monthly income reports pretty openly on the blog, but haven’t yet revealed my rates publicly. Suffice it to say that the three clients I had for the majority of this year equated to my former annual salary, but the work I do for them is very part-time. 😉
Who (or what sort of person) would be the ideal Virtual Assistant? Can anyone do it – and succeed?
Can anyone do anything successfully? 😉
Although I don’t think anyone can, I do think more people can than think they can. Many times it’s just a matter of repurposing skills one already has.
The six traits I’ve identified that make for a good virtual assistant are:
- Type A
- Open to Learning
- Naturally Curious
- Not Afraid to Take Charge
- Has a Positive Attitude
You’ll need a decent computer and internet connection. But beyond that, every client uses different online tools and programs, so there’s not anything else you really “need.”
Well, beyond the desire/ability to put yourself out there and be tenacious about finding clients that is!
You run a course – 30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistant Success – teaching people how to be an awesome virtual assistant … tell us about it!
Of course – I’d love to!
30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistant Success is a step-by-step guide for aspiring VAs. There are no pre-reqs (beyond that whole internet/computer access thing) and the course is self-paced, so you can work through the material as quickly (or slowly) as you’d like.
12 modules contain everything you need to know to get your new business off the ground, deep dives into email, social media and blog management, numerous lessons on where to look for clients, how to pitch them and how to build effective relationships over time.
How difficult is it to find work as VA? Will completing 30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistant Success make it easier?
If it’s your main focus, you can find a client within days or weeks. Most people are able to land their first client within 90 days I’d guess.
Yes, the course should help you to find clients by knowing where to look and how to effectively pitch people. Again, it does take putting yourself out there though and consistently applying for work!
How much could a graduate of 30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistant Success hope to earn in their first year as a VA?
Research shows that this is a growing field and that the average North American VA commands anywhere from $35-50 per hour. It’s not necessarily specific to where the VA is in their career though.
It’s really going to depend on:
- How many hours the VA is looking to work.
- What specialized skills they have to offer.
- How tenacious they are looking for work.
If you’re not willing to make prospecting your number one priority until you have a full client roster, you’re not going to be as successful as you can be.
What’s the best advice you could give to anyone considering becoming a VA?
Just do it!
A lot of us think about doing a lot of things for way too long. But if we never actually try, we’ll never know if we could have succeeded or not.
More and more business owners are looking to contract with a VA, rather than hiring staff. And for good reason, a VA doesn’t take up any physical office space, doesn’t have to be paid benefits (insurance, retirement, sick or vacation time), has their own equipment and saves them a bundle when it comes to paying employment taxes.
The hardest part is probably determine what services you’ll offer (which can change), who your target market is (which can change) and then putting yourself out there (which gets to be less over time if you’re successful in finding clients to hire you).
How has working from home / for yourself changed your life?
Oooh… great question!
It’s changed my whole life! I get to eat lunch with my young family every day and lay our two toddlers down for their naps. I can take a yoga class IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY!
I take my work with me wherever we go and we’ve been traveling quite a bit. Since Wade is a stay-at-home dad and our kids aren’t yet in school full-time, we “winter” in South Padre Island, Texas. We leave again in January and I can’t wait!
I’m not going to lie, it comes with it’s own set of challenges too, but all in all it’s SO worth it!
Gina Horkey is a married, millennial mama to two precocious toddlers from Minnesota. She also happens to know almost everything there is to know about the world of virtual assistant work. She started as one herself (and still is one), created a course to help others break into VA work called, 30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistant Success and also has a VA of her own! Due to her unique position of training up excellent North American VAs and running in circles with successful entrepreneurs, she also created a VA MatchMaking Service to introduce the two to one another.
Are you thinking you might want to become a Virtual Assistant – but not totally sure yet?
It’s hard to take the leap – I’ve been there and done that. I know how terrifying it can be to try to decide if something is for you without ever having any experience with it. Gina offers a solution for that – one that takes all the scary out of deciding to become a virtual assistant. She offers a totally free 5 lesson intro course –Jumpstart your virtual assistant career– that can help you get started and find out if virtual assisting is for you!
If you KNOW you wanna become a virtual assistant, or just want more information about Gina’s course, you can check out 30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistant Success.
(Gina also offers a FREE intro course on becoming a freelance writer! If you’d rather just write, maybe freelance writing is for you? Read here about how this lady earned $1200 in her first three months as a part time freelance writer!)
Related: How to Become a Freelance Writer and Work From Home
Related: REAL Work From Home Options (For People Serious About Escaping 9-5)