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. You’ll get instant access to 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!

Virtual Assistant Training + Coaching What You Need To Watch Out For

Virtual Assistant Training + Coaching What You Need To Watch Out For

 

What You Need To Watch Out For When It Comes to Virtual Assistant Training + Coaching

Don’t be afraid to ask questions – it’s your time + money that you’re investing.

This isn’t my standard blog post, it’s more of a rant.

Thought I’d warn you now <grin>.

Seems that everyone is now either a Virtual Assistant Coach or Trainer. I think it’s great that the industry is growing BUT, do these new Coaches + Trainers have the experience to really teach others how to be successful?

There are so many newbies jumping on the Virtual Assistant Coaching + Training bandwagon when many of them haven’t been in business long enough to be considered successful. I’m sorry but you’re not qualified to be a coach or trainer if you’ve not run a successful VA business for at least 3 years (the bare minimum in my opinion).

According to the Small Business Association (SBA) and many others, 80% of all small businesses fail in the first year alone. After the first year, the number falls but only about 50% of businesses make it to five years.

Those are some pretty sobering statistics huh?

Here’s the thing, how can someone who has been in business less than a year really understand what it takes to run a successful business?

They’ve not been in business long enough to know!

Not only that, they’re teaching people stuff that is just plain wrong.

Like a contract is not necessary – WRONG. They are very necessary; in fact, don’t work without a signed contract. It’s protection for both you and your clients.

I’ve seen things like:

  1. You don’t really need any experience… except know how to use the Internet. You’ll have a hard time finding clients if you don’t have the skills they want.
  2. People guaranteeing that you’ll make 5k or 10k a month if you buy their coaching or training. Sorry folks, no one can guarantee how much anyone else will make. It’s just a marketing ploy.
  3. If you read or hear something saying that it’s easy to be a Virtual Assistant, that you can make thousands of dollars only working 4 hours a day… it’s hogwash.

You have to put in the time and effort especially when you’re just starting out.

On a side note – it’s definitely possible to make 10k a month but there is a whole lot more to it than just being a Virtual Assistant.

I’m passionate about this industry and I’m seeing more and more people who are new to the industry get taken advantage of by slick marketing.

Some of these newbies are teaching crappy methods, and it brings down the entire VA industry.

I know when I first started I didn’t know what to ask or to look for when thinking about investing in training and/or coaching.

And… I ended up buying a LOT of crap.

You don’t know what you don’t know.

Please, I ask you to do your homework when it comes to hiring a coach or buying a course.

Find out:

  • If the person really is/was successful.
  • If they’ve been in business for more than a couple of years.
  • If they have a refund policy.

Ask for testimonials, ask for proof of success – it’s important since you’re trusting this person with your potential livelihood + business + your hard earned $$.

The VA Industry is NOT standardized which means there is no certification for trainers or coaches like in other industries.

Here are a few more tips that you might find helpful:

  1. You can use a program like WhoIs.Net to see how long they’ve owned their domain name. It can give you an idea of how long they’ve been in business. For example, if you go to this website and type in thetechiementor.com you’ll see when I first registered this domain back in 2011. (I would still ask this question directly to the coach or trainer – they could have re-branded and changed their business name).
  2. Award Winning Virtual Assistant or Best VA Trainer, what does that even mean? Who voted for them? How many people voted? Is it even a real award?
  3. If you’re in the UK, check to see if they’re VAT registered (you have to be VAT registered if you earn £85k+). Anyone who isn’t is definitely not earning 6 figures, whatever their marketing says.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions – it’s your time + money that you’re investing.

Oh and one more thing.

Yes, I know… I’m what you would call a VA Coach or Trainer. But I’m starting my 10th year in this industry and ran a successful VA business for 5 years before I started The Techie Mentor. I’m not asking you to buy my stuff or hire me unless we’re a good fit.

Ok… rant over.

What do you think?

I’d love to hear from you.

All comments + questions are welcome.

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

  1. Virtual Assistant Certifications + Why You Don’t Need One
  2. The Fake It Until You Make It Strategy
  3. What Is A Virtual Assistant
  4. Tips On Sub-Contracting

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. You’ll get instant access to 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!

Stay Focused when Life Gets in the Way

Stay Focused when Life Gets in the Way

Staying Focused

I don’t know about you, but the first quarter of 2018 has been a challenge for me.

Why?

Because life got in the way of my business.

Has this happened to you?

Between a lingering illness and family issues, my first quarter goals went unachieved and are now second-quarter goals.

I have to admit I was angry, disappointed and discouraged… but I know it’s all part of the journey on the path to achieving my dreams.

It’s easy to get discouraged when you look at everything you planned to do and got ZERO accomplished, and you have to keep pushing out your deadlines. Not fun!

But… it’s important to stay the course. Every step forward is a step closer to your dreams.

So, you may have a misstep or even a back step but don’t let it stop you. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get back on the horse. For only you can make your dreams a reality.

Stop letting life get in the way. Try a few of these helpful tips:

  1. Look at how far you’ve already come. You wouldn’t have made it this far if you let life stop you.
  2. If you have a Success Jar, read what you’ve accomplished. If you don’t have one – create one. Here is a blog post all about them.
  3. Stop beating yourself up because you’re not where you “should” be yet.
  4. Don’t compare yourself to others or where they are in their journey. They have their path and you have yours.
  5. Never stop trying. You’re not alone in your struggle – everyone has to deal with distractions.
  6. Your thoughts determine how you feel. If you think you’re overwhelmed, you will feel it. Work on changing your thoughts.
  7. Ask yourself “What’s the alternative?” In other words, what will I do if I stop trying? Will I achieve my dreams? As Jiminy Cricket said, “Let your conscience be your guide.”
  8. Unplug for a day or two. Sometimes getting away from it all is the best cure.
  9. And remember… you’re important; without you, there is no business. Take care of yourself!

How do you handle life’s hiccups?

I’d love to hear your comments. Please take a moment to leave me a comment and share your thoughts.

Please share if you know someone who might benefit from this information. The share buttons are 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. You’ll get instant access to how-to video training for Virtual Assistants that want to create a successful business.

Thanks for reading!

Enjoy your day – Susan

Do You Have a Success Jar

Do You Have a Success Jar

A Success Jar

We are always so busy looking ahead that we forget to stop and look at how far we have already come. It is easy to lose sight of what you’ve accomplished when you are concentrating on what is left to be done. One of the best ways I’ve found to remind myself of how far I have come in my entrepreneurial journey is to use a Success Jar.

What is a Success Jar?

It is a simple jar that holds all of your successes, accomplishments and celebrations! It is a great method for fighting your fears and removing self doubts!

Here is how to create your Success Jar!

  • Find a glass or plastic jar. It can be a jelly jar or a pickle jar, small or large.
  • Decorate it with ribbons, bows or anything else your heart desires.
  • Every time you accomplish anything – no matter how small – write it down on a sticky note.
  • Fold up the sticky note and add it to your success jar.
  • Once a week, open your Success Jar and read all you have accomplished.
  • Celebrate.
  • Take the previous week’s sticky notes and add them to a plastic zip bag. At the end of the year, read them all and celebrate how far you have come. You will be amazed!

Remember, becoming a Virtual Assistant is a journey, not a destination. Take time to enjoy it, embrace it and celebrate.

What do you think?

I’d love to hear your comments. Please take a moment to leave me a comment and share your thoughts.

Please share if you know someone who might benefit from this information. The share buttons are 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. You’ll get instant access to how-to video training for Virtual Assistants that want to create a successful business.

Thanks for reading!

Enjoy your day – Susan

PS – What is one of your Successes from this week – please share!

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. You’ll get instant access to 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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