Tips For Starting a Virtual Assistant Business While Employed

Tips For Starting a Virtual Assistant Business While Employed

tips for starting your VA biz while employed

Many people start their Virtual Assistant business while working either full or part-time.

I know, I was one of them.

I had a full-time corporate career, plus an infant at home when I started my Virtual Assistant business over 10 years ago.

I remember what a struggle it was to figure out how to juggle it all and stay sane!

If you’re like me and you’re working on starting or building your VA business while you’re still employed, I want to share a few of the tips that really helped me.

I’m including a free sample work schedule + transition checklist for you to download to help you plan your exit from your JOB. You’ll find the download at the end of this post.

Ok… let’s dive into the tips!

#1 – Schedule Everything!

You only have so much time each day to fit in everything you need to do. Use a planner or online calendar and schedule out your days in detail. When it comes to doing your VA work, schedule it around your job and family commitments. Be sure to include downtime for yourself, otherwise, you will burn out.

For example, set aside 4 hours per day Monday – Friday to work on your business. Get up two hours early in the morning and then work two hours in the evening. Then work 4 – 6 hours on Saturday and take Sunday off.

This was the schedule I followed to help me launch my business.

If you have a lunch hour, you can use that time to work on your business too. Just don’t do it at work.

Find a schedule that works for you and stick to it. It takes commitment to build a business especially when you’re working in a JOB.

I used the hatred of my soul-sucking job to help me stay focused!

What can you use to help you stay focused? Find out what it is and use it to fuel your fire.

#2 – Talk Deadlines NOT Schedules. 

Remember, as a Virtual Assistant you get to dictate when you work. If a client asks when you’re available, remind them that it doesn’t matter when you get the work done. What matters is meeting your deadlines.

I would tell clients that my schedule depends on my family so, it changes. Then I asked them when they needed the task completed.

Now realize I didn’t offer the types of services that kept me in front of the computer during “business hours”. The work I did for clients could be done on my schedule when I wanted. The key was to deliver on time.

Always focus on your deadlines NOT when you do the work. It’s not a JOB.

#3 – Work Around Your Commitments. 

Your job is important as it’s still paying the bills so, be sure to do your client work when you’re not working.

Go out for lunch and work at a local cafe or restaurant.

Get up an hour earlier in the morning and do client work or work late into the evening.

Remember, you set your own work hours and the most important thing is to meet the promised deadlines to your clients.

Keep in mind if you’re using free wi-fi, you’ll need to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to secure your connection and your data. Don’t take the chance of information falling into the wrong hands!

I recommend using Tunnel Bear VPN. It’s easy to use – just install and activate.

I use it every time I’m not in my own office.

They have a free version so you can try it out.

#4 – Have a Support System.

It’s so important to have people around you that understand what you’re going through. Who better than other Virtual Assistants? We’re a tight-knit family, here to support you on your VA journey.

Join my Facebook community – VA Tips, Tricks + Advice to connect with other Virtual Assistants both new and experienced.

It’s a safe space to ask questions, vent, get support and help each other succeed.

#5 – Have an Exit Strategy.

You need to have a plan in place before you’re ready to leave your job behind.

You need to plan your exit!

It’s so important to step back and think about how your life will change when you’re no longer employed.

You don’t want to quit your JOB before you’re ready.

Take time to plan.

Things like how much do you need to earn before you can quit?

Or, what expenses will be cut or alleviated when I’m no longer working for someone else?

What new expenses will I have?

Having a strategy or plan is a MUST for being successful.

#6 – Know Your Why.

What’s your why?

Your WHY is the reason WHY you want to start your own Virtual Assistant business.

My why is, I wanted my FREEDOM + I wanted more FLEXIBILITY in my life.

They are the driving force behind everything I do, even now.

It’s important for you to know what drives you – your WHY.

You need something to keep you going when the times get tough because they will.

And, when they do… you need to focus on your WHY.

I use a Vision Board to help remind me what I’m working for when the going gets tough.

Put your why where you can see it every day.

It’s hard work to start a business – remember it takes time + commitment.

Lean on your WHY when the going gets tough for you.

Reach out to your Support System for a boost when you’re feeling low.

You’re not alone!

It’s possible to build a thriving Virtual Assistant business while you’re still working, I’m living proof.

It takes commitment and persistence but, in the end, all the hard work is SO worth it.

You’ll have your freedom and the flexibility to work when you want from where you want.

I hope you found these tips helpful. They really did make a difference in helping me meet my deadlines and keeping my sanity.

If you want a sample of the schedule that I used when I was working + an exit strategy + transition checklist, click below to download them all for free.

va-transition-blog

What are you going to work on first?

Feel free to post a comment below and share! I’d love to hear from you.

All comments + questions are welcome.

If you know someone who might benefit from this information, please share. You can use the share buttons below the post.

If you’re looking for more details on how to start or scale your VA business including how to specialize by learning in-demand skills, join my FREE VA Training Vault. It’s over 8 hours of how-to video training for Virtual Assistants that want to create a successful business.

Thanks for reading – Susan

Don’t forget to leave a comment if you found this information useful – I’d love to hear from you!

What To Watch Out For When Starting a Virtual Assistant Business

What To Watch Out For When Starting a Virtual Assistant Business

What to watch out for if you’re starting a virtual assistant business.

What I call Bad Advice!

Seems like I’ve been on my soapbox a lot lately… and I guess I have because I’ve seen such a change in the VA Industry in the last year.

I’ve seen so many pieces of what I call “bad advice” given to new Virtual Assistants; I wanted to write a blog post that covers them all!

It’s the good, bad + ugly things you need to watch out for when you’re starting your VA business.

Oh… some of this stuff is actually taught by so-called experts in their training + coaching programs and used in their marketing.

This will be one of those posts that grows – as I find more bad advice I’ll be sure to add it to the list.

So… let’s dive in.

#1 The Fake It Until You Make It Strategy – I wrote an entire blog post on this one but I’m going to summarize it here. (You can read the full post here).

I understand taking an opportunity to learn something new but you need to be honest with your clients. Let them know you’re willing to learn – don’t fake it.

Faking means you’re not really sure what you’re doing. Like saying you know Infusionsoft but you’ve never seen it before.

Lack of confidence means you have the skills and know what you’re doing, you’ve just not done it enough to be confident yet. For example, you’ve taken classes to learn WordPress but you’ve not offered it as a service yet. Do you really want to fake it with your clients? You’re working in their business – their baby.

They trust you can do what you say. Remember, it’s your business and reputation on the line.

#2 Work For Free – Why would you work for free? Your knowledge, skills + expertise are valuable and you should be paid for them. When you work for free you’re not valuing the work you do or yourself. Not to mention, people who want things for free can turn out to be nightmare clients.

I see lots of people saying work for free for a testimonial, but you’re still giving away your time + knowledge. And… they’re worth something, right? Yes, they are!

Instead of working for free, offer a discounted rate and then ask them for a testimonial after you’ve completed the work. They get a break on the rate and you get paid for your time, expertise and knowledge.

#3 It’s Easy Anyone Can Do It (Be a Virtual Assistant). Nope, not true. It’s not easy and not everyone is cut out to be a VA. Take the time to really understand what it takes to be successful.

Learn all you can about the day in the life of a Virtual Assistant so you can make the right decision for you. Just know that it’s a lot of work when starting out but it’s worth it for the freedom and flexibility you get.

Remember… it’s a Business NOT a JOB. 

It’s a tremendous amount of work to set up a business and learn all you need to know about being a business owner + a Virtual Assistant. If it’s not for you – that’s OK. Just realize it’s not easy.

#4 You Can Make $5k In Your First 30 Days. No one can guarantee how much you’ll make in any timeframe… period.

There are so many factors that go into being successful as a VA. Is it possible? Sure but it’s the exception NOT the rule.

Don’t fall for this marketing ploy.

#5 Get a VA Certification. I wrote a blog post on this one too! I’ll summarize it here but if you want to read the whole thing click here.

There are no true “Virtual Assistant Certifications”. There is no Industry wide approved certification.

Now, I know there are a few organizations that offer certifications, just be aware of what they mean by certified.

Ask questions like “What do you need to do to obtain the certification and what do you get from it?“

There’s a big difference between completion and certification.

Bottom line is you don’t need to be certified to be a successful Virtual Assistant and be sure you understand what you’re getting for your investment of both time and money.

#6 Get Your First Client Then Figure Out What To Do Next. Not a good way to start a successful business. A business is a system. You need to set up your business systems BEFORE you work with clients.

I’ve seen people who followed this advice and ended up posting for help on what to do next in a Facebook Group and guess what? The client that just hired them was in the group and saw the post. Not a good way to start a relationship.

If you’re looking to build a successful business and give your clients a first-class experience, do yourself and them a favor, don’t follow this bad piece of advice.

Take the time to have your business set up before you land your first client.

#7 How To Start Your VA Business With NO Money. You can definitely bootstrap starting a VA business BUT you will need some money. You have to register your business and the fees vary based on where you live.

Just realize that there is an investment in starting any business – it’s not free.

#8 How To Start a VA Business With NO Experience. You don’t need experience as a VA to start a VA business. But… you need to have experience working with clients. If you don’t, it will be a much harder journey.

Whew… ok that’s it for now. I hope you found these of value.

As I find more, I’ll be sure to add them to the list.

If you’ve got one to share, please do!

I’d love to hear from you.

All comments + questions are welcome.

Be sure to use the share buttons to share this post with anyone who might benefit from this information.

If you’re looking for more details on how to start or scale your VA business including how to specialize by learning in-demand skills, join my FREE VA Training Vault. It’s over 8 hours of how-to video training for Virtual Assistants that want to create a successful business.

Thanks for reading – Susan

Don’t forget to leave a comment if you found this information useful – I’d love to hear from you!

5 Must Haves When Starting A Virtual Assistant Business

5 Must Haves When Starting A Virtual Assistant Business

5 Must Haves When Starting

It can be downright confusing and overwhelming trying to figure out what you need to do to start a Virtual Assistant business. I know… I’ve been there.

To help cut through the clutter & confusion, I have created a simple list of the 5 Must Haves you need to have in place when starting your VA business. These are based on experience as well as trial and error.

  • Business Name
  • Skills/Services
  • Rates
  • Target Market
  • Online Presence

In this week’s VLOG I explain why each one of these is important and share tips & tricks too!

Here are the resources I mention in the video, enjoy!

List of Services

Rate Calculation Worksheet

US Trademark Search

10 Business Name Generators

Thank you for watching.

Please share your key takeaways or aha’s below, I’d love to hear them.

If you’re looking for more details on how to start or scale your VA business including how to specialize by learning in-demand skills, join my FREE VA Training Vault. It’s over 8 hours of how-to video training for Virtual Assistants that want to create a successful business.

Enjoy your day  – Susan

Are You Lacking The Structure You’re Used To

Are You Lacking The Structure You’re Used To

Do You Have Structure In Your Business?

When you leave the employee world behind and start your own business, we are lacking the structure we are so used to having.

As an employee, you are given structure by your employer.

Things like…

  • What time to come to work
  • What time to leave
  • When to take lunch
  • What you are working on
  • When you get a review & a raise
  • And so much more….

It is up to us as the business owner to add structure to our own business.

Now we don’t necessarily need to set specific work hours….but it would be nice for clients to understand what hours and days you work.

In this week’s VLOG, I talk about the need for structure in our business and share tips & tricks on how to create it for ourselves.

Thanks for watching!

Do you have a structure in your business?

Feel free to post below and let me know what structure you have in place.

I’d love to hear from you!

All comments + questions are welcome.

If you know someone who might benefit from this information, please share. You can use the share buttons below the post.

If you’re looking for more details on how to start or scale your VA business including how to specialize by learning in-demand skills, join my FREE VA Training Vault. It’s over 8 hours of how-to video training for Virtual Assistants that want to create a successful business.

Enjoy your day – Susan

Don’t forget to leave a comment if you found this information useful – I’d love to hear from you!

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