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 down time 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 everyday.

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 here 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.

Oh… and each week I host an Open Mic Session in my VA Tips & Tricks Facebook Group where I deep dive specific topics & answer your questions, be sure to join us for the next one – http://bit.ly/vatipstricks.

Thanks for reading – Susan

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

4 Ways To Scale Your Virtual Assistant Business

4 Ways To Scale Your Virtual Assistant Business

4 Ways to scale your virtual assistant business to work less + earn more.

Have you reached that point in your business where you’re looking to do something new + different?

There may come a time in your business when you’ve grown bored with the same routine day in and day out.

I know this was me after being a Virtual Assistant for 5 years. I had grown restless and wanted a change. I enjoyed working with clients but somewhere along the way I stopped liking what I was doing.

Maybe you’re looking to:

  • gain back some of your freedom
  • earn more money
  • become a consultant
  • reach more people
  • change things up
  • or….

The beauty of having your own business is you can change anything at anytime!

My motto is Your Business – Your Choice.

You get to choose everything you do – so when it’s time for a change – change it!

That is perfect for me since I’m one of those types that needs constant challenge to keep me interested.

Here are 4 ideas for you to consider if you’re looking to do something different with your business. These aren’t the only options – just the most common.

#1 – Build a Team of Virtual Assistants.

Build yourself a team of virtual assistants that can either do overflow work for your clients or the work you don’t want to.

This is where I started. I wanted to get more time back in my day but still earn money.  Plus I was tired of turning business away for things my clients wanted but I didn’t do.

Just know that when you add more people to your business – it adds a layer of complexity to it.

More moving pieces to manage.

But.. it’s a great way to scale your business. Just be sure you’re clear on everything involved. I’ll be doing a blog post to expand on this topic in the coming weeks – so stay tuned if you want more details.

#2 – Start a Virtual Assistant Agency.

First off, there’s a big difference between a VA Team and a VA Agency.

When you build a team for your business you’re still working with clients.

When you start an agency you take on the roll of CEO, which usually means you’re no longer working with clients. You’re in charge of going out and getting the clients for the business.

You become the sales and marketing department all by yourself.

I would recommend building a team first then moving into an agency so you have some experience and a general idea of what it’s like to manage a team and delegate the work.

Building an agency is a great way to earn lots of money without working one on one with clients.

#3 – Be a Matchmaker.

A Matchmaker is someone who refers or matches Virtual Assistants with clients.

You become a connector.

There are a couple different ways matchmaking works.

One is to help clients find qualified + vetted virtual assistants.  Your main focus here is creating a satisfied client base where you charge them a fee to match them with the right VA.

Two is helping qualified + vetted virtual assistants find clients. Your main focus here is creating a satisfied base of Virtual Assistants where you charge them a monthly fee to be part of your association or club.  These are what most of the VA associations do.

Either way is a great way to help both clients + virtual assistants.

#4 – Become a Consultant.

When you’re a consultant you are known for a specific expertise or speciality.

They do more strategic type work vs the day to day stuff.

AND… Consultants earn more money than assistants.

So… what do I mean by become a consultant.

I mean specialize in something.

Learn everything you can about a specific industry, techie tool or system.

I’m a Project Management Consultant. It’s something I brought with me from my cube farm days and it’s something I am passionate about.

What are you passionate about?

Where do you have existing expertise?

Is there something you want to learn?

I love all things strategic so, my newest passion is Sales Funnels. I’m learning everything I can about them + the tools they use.

I’ve recently started working with coaches to help them create group coaching or membership programs using content they already have. Another passion of mine.

If you want to be a consultant, take some time to figure out what are you passionate about and how you can offer it as a service to your clients.

There is so much potential in this industry. It’s there for the taking. It’s up to you to figure out what works best for you and your goals.

As I mentioned, these are not the only ways you can scale your business. These are the most common.

The sky is the limit!

So… do any of these peak your interest? 

Feel free to post below and let me know.

I’d love to here 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.

Oh… and each week I host an Open Mic Session in my VA Tips & Tricks Facebook Group where I deep dive specific topics & answer your questions, be sure to join us for the next one – it’s FREE! Go to http://bit.ly/vatipstricks.

Thanks for reading – Susan

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

Why You Need To Offer Audit Packages In Your VA Biz

Why You Need To Offer Audit Packages In Your VA Biz

Why you should be offering audit packages in your va biz.

they’re a great way to earn extra $$.

Do you offer them?

Audits are a great way to sell your expertise to help solve your client’s or prospective client’s problems.

Have you ever had someone want to “pick your brain” because they had a problem and thought maybe you could help them solve it?

Or… they’re having issues with (fill in the blank) and wondered if you could take a look at it for them. In other words, you’re troubleshooting the problem for them.

I know I have.

Now, I’m all for helping people but there should be a limit on how much time + expertise you give away for free.

Discovery Sessions are a great way to find out if you can help prospective clients but they should not turn into Solution or Troubleshooting Sessions.

When you’re either troubleshooting an issue or giving someone the solution to a problem, you should be paid for it.

And… that’s what Audit Packages are for.

An audit is where you sell your expertise as a consultant to either troubleshoot an issue or figure out the solution to a problem.

Let me give you an example of what I mean.

I had a prospective client reach out to me because they were having issues with their Infusionsoft and wanted to know if I could fix it.

So, during the Discovery Session, I asked as many questions as I could to try and diagnose the problem.

But… they didn’t know Infusionsoft well enough to answer my questions.

I’d seen enough messes when it came to the set up of Infusionsoft that I knew it was not something I could diagnose without getting my hands on their system.

I explained to them that I would need to have access to their Infusionsoft to troubleshoot the issue and then offered my Audit Package.

You see, my business coach explained to me in no uncertain terms that if I didn’t value my time + expertise then how could I expect anyone else to OR how would I make living?

So… I created an Audit Package and stopped solving problems for FREE.

It’s the answer to the “can I pick your brain” questions.

This is the package I still offer today when I need to troubleshoot issues or solve problems.

  1. 2 hours of Consulting time
  2. A detailed report of the issue.
  3. A proposal to fix the problem.

I sell 2 hours of my time as a consultant so I have the time to diagnose the problem, create the report and put together the proposal for how I can fix it for them.

When it comes to Audit Packages you can get paid twice for the same problem.

  • Once to diagnose it!
  • Once to fix it!

I have one package that I use for all the services that I offer since it’s the same rinse + repeat process no matter the expertise.

By adding Audit Packages to your service offerings you’re creating another revenue stream that will earn you more money + help your clients.

So….

  • Stop giving away your time + expertise.
  • Stop letting people pick your brain for free.

Create an Audit Package and start selling your expertise as a valued consultant.

Are you ready to create your Audit Package?

Feel free to post below and let me know what action you’re taking today to create yours.

I’d love to here 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.

HERE ARE A FEW RELATED BLOG POSTS THAT MIGHT BE OF INTEREST:

  1. Discovery Sessions
  2. Sales Funnels The What + The Why

Oh… and each week I host an Open Mic Session in my VA Tips & Tricks Facebook Group where I deep dive specific topics & answer your questions, be sure to join us for the next one – it’s FREE! Go to http://bit.ly/vatipstricks.

Thanks for reading – Susan

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

Why You Need Referral Partners In Your Virtual Assistant Business

Why You Need Referral Partners In Your Virtual Assistant Business

Why You Need referral partners in your va business

Referral partners are a great way to help a fellow business owner + earn some extra money.

This blog post goes over what a Referral Partner is, why you need them, the systems you need + how to find them.

Read on if you want to learn how to add Referral Partners to your business to help you earn some extra income!

So… let’s get started.

#1 What are referral partners?

Well, a Referral Partner is a trusted colleague that you refer business to. It’s usually either a service you don’t like or want to do or it could be you can’t meet their deadline. There are a number of reasons to have Referral Partners, these are the most common.

Let me give you a quick example of how you can use a Referral Partner.

Let’s say you design + build WordPress websites as part of your business. But, you don’t offer graphics or copywriting. Well many of your clients will either need help with graphics or copy for their new and improved website.

So… instead of turning your clients away to find a graphics person or a copywriter (or both), you would refer them to one of your Referral Partners that specializes in either graphics or copywriting.

This way you’re not leaving it up to your clients to find the help they need – you’re helping them find what they need.

Plus… you get a referral fee for referring your clients to them + the Referral Partner gets the business.

It’s a Win-Win for everyone!

#2 Why you need them?

It’s simple – to be of service to your clients.

Instead of saying that you don’t offer a particular skill or service, send them to your Referral Partner instead.

Your clients will appreciate the higher level of service and to be referred to someone you know and trust. You’re saving them time, money and possible frustration too!

Plus… you’re not turning away business.

Referral Partners are a source of income. That’s right, they’re an additional revenue stream for your business.

When you refer business to one of your Referral Partners you earn a referral fee.

On a side note – if you’re considering starting a team or agency of your own, having Referral Partners will give you valuable experience when it comes to working with a team.

#3 What systems do you need?

Well… you’ll need to track:

  1. Referral Partners.
  2. The services they offer.
  3. Their rates.
  4. The referral fee.
  5. How you make client introductions.
  6. How + when you get paid the referral fee.
  7. Follow up with your client.
  8. Follow up with your Referral Partner.

Now, that’s a rough list of the things you’ll need to create a system for. Start by asking yourself each question and how you would like it handled – then write it down.

Each of the items listed above are important to you, your clients and your Referral Partners and need to be part of your overall Referral Partner process.

I would recommend adding the completed process to your Operations System, since it’s part of running your business.

Quick Note – be sure you and your Referral Partners are in agreement on the fee amount + when it’s paid to you. This is so important!

#4 How to find them?

Start with colleagues you already know.  People you’ve met in online groups or training programs. It could be someone you’ve worked with before.

One of my Referral Partners was a team member of a mutual client.

Reach out to them + find out more about them.

  • What services they offer?
  • Ask them if they’re interested in being a Referral Partner?
  • What type of fee do they want?
  • Do they already have a process for referrals?

Check out their website, look at samples of their work and do a test project together to see how you work together.

Since you’re trusting them to take care of your clients, it’s important that you trust them and the quality of their work.

That’s it!

Remember, it’s a relationship between you + your clients + your Referral Partners. Be sure it works for all of you.

Are you ready to add Referral Partners to your business?

Feel free to post below and let me know what action your taking today to start looking for Referral Partners.

I’d love to here 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.

HERE ARE A FEW RELATED BLOG POSTS THAT MIGHT BE OF INTEREST:

  1. VA Systems: The Key Systems You Need
  2. Why Have Trusted Partners

Oh… and each week I host an Open Mic Session in my VA Tips & Tricks Facebook Group where I deep dive specific topics & answer your questions, be sure to join us for the next one – it’s FREE! Go to http://bit.ly/vatipstricks.

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 boot strap 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 here 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.

Oh… and each week I host an Open Mic Session in my VA Tips & Tricks Facebook Group where I deep dive specific topics & answer your questions, be sure to join us for the next one – it’s FREE! Go to http://bit.ly/vatipstricks.

Thanks for reading – 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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