When I had my first baby six years ago, I stopped working outside my home. I had a job I absolutely loved, but I couldn’t justify being away from my baby six days a week. I also couldn’t justify putting so much money towards daycare.
One morning, almost a year after I had left my job, I had on the TV, which isn’t typical of me, and, there was some random morning show playing. On came a segment about the top five jobs for stay at home moms.
Being a Virtual Assistant (VA) was one of them. I’ve been running my VA business for five years now. I’ve had the opportunity to work with some incredible clients and I have learned so much.
By starting your own VA business, you give yourself the flexibility you crave, the brain challenge you desire and the money that can support your family, and pad your savings. All while working from home, the hours you want to work, and supporting the clients you want to support, doing things you love.
Want my top five tips for starting your own successful VA business? Keep reading!
Know yourself - if you’re currently working and you absolutely hate the data entry part of your job, don’t advertise your services including data entry. You want to work for yourself so you can do the things you enjoy doing. Some of the most sought-after VA skills: managing email, scheduling meetings, calendar management, travel arrangements, social media management, customer service, blog support, and basic bookkeeping. Figure out the things that you really enjoy doing and focus on those This also goes for your personality - are you super introverted? Then finding clients in Facebook groups may be perfect for you. Or, if you’re extroverted, try to do some in-person marketing.
Know your numbers - how many hours you plan to work can be based on two things: how much you want to make and how much time you have to devote to your business. Start with your end goal dollar amount for the month, figure out if you have 5,10,15,20 or more hours to work each week and then figure out how much you want to charge for your packages from there. Remember, whatever you charge, set aside 30-50% for taxes, so charge accordingly. Also, I would highly recommend working with a qualified accountant to help you deal with taxes and manage your money.
You do not need a website (at least not to land your first client!) I’ve run my business for five years, working with a New York Times best-selling author, corporate board director who serves on multiple boards, award-winning hair and makeup artist and a business coach who serves Mama CEOs, all without a website. I want you to nail down your offering, and begin reaching out to clients ASAP and THEN when you have the time and money deal with your site. Clients aren’t going to care about your pretty site, they are going to care that you show up and do phenomenal work. One of the best ways I find clients I love working with, I do great work for them and then they recommend me to their friends and colleagues. Word of mouth and making connections are two keys to success!
Invest in yourself - when I first started, I was hired at an agency. It was great - there was support staff, monthly trainings, but (you knew there would be a but coming) they took a huge cut of what I was bringing in for them each month. I would have rather paid an expert once, to coach me and then started working independently sooner. Moving from a traditional job to running your own business is a big switch. Give yourself the support you need. You and your business will benefit.
Mindset is huge. Being in business for yourself is an awesome, incredible thing, but if you’re anything like me and 99% of the other entrepreneurs out there, self-doubt or imposter syndrome or shiny object syndrome or procrasti-clean-itis may creep in from time to time. Figure out ways to work around this. Maybe it’s taking daily walks to get some fresh air or journaling or meditating. I love to start each work session with a ritual of inhaling some essential oils and putting in my earbuds. Even if I’m not listening to anything, it signals to me (and my family) that I’m working and being productive.
I believe being a mama requires flexibility, which is something most jobs don’t provide. Kids get sick or half have days of school, and daycare can cost an arm and a leg. Being able to work from home, for yourself, gives mamas another option. You don’t have to stay home and not make money, and you don’t have to make money and not be home.
Running my own VA business is super rewarding. You have the opportunity to work where you want when you want and with the people you choose. The possibilities for earning potential are up to you. It’s one of the best ways to start working virtually. And you can start today!