How to Start a Profitable Online Business as a Virtual Assistant
Last spring I decided I wanted to take my blog to the next level. I moved it from a free Blogspot blog into this self-hosted website to help my blog seem more like a business. I’ve seen lots of successful blogs on free platforms, but in my opinion, a blog on a self-hosted website appears a lot more professional, and legit, when you want to make money online from advertising on your site, and even freelance services.
Shortly after moving my blog over to my new self-hosted website, I started asking other bloggers for help getting started as a freelance writer for blogs. I had read lots of online income reports from other bloggers and they were really inspiring to me.
I have always enjoyed writing, so I decided to start my business as a freelance writer.
I moved my blog from Blogspot to this self-hosted site in May and by July I had landed my first two freelance writing clients. (I still work with one of them today!)
So how did I expand from just freelance writing into offering virtual assistant services that now make up over 50% of my monthly income? Here’s how!
One of my first two freelance writing clients asked me if I’d be interested in helping her with some research for another project for her business. Of course I said yes because at that point I wanted to make as much money as possible to throw toward my debt.
Setting a Rate
Since I had never worked as a virtual assistant (VA) before I had absolutely no idea what to expect in terms of rate or even tasks and projects. I was nervous to tell her a rate because I had no idea what to expect so I asked another VA in my niche how much a reasonable starting rate would be.
I pitched my client a rate of $18 an hour and she came back at $16, to which I agreed. We started working together slowly with a few basic tasks and research-based projects each month. After a couple of months, I was able to secure a raise and more tasks and projects, significantly increasing my income as a VA.
I still work with this client today, although we’ve changed to a monthly retainer system instead of an hourly wage for my services.
The Best Things About Being a Virtual Assistant
Offering both freelance writing and VA services in my business has allowed me to diversify my income so that I don’t have to worry as much if one source of income dries up unexpectedly.
Working as a VA with an entrepreneur whom you admire is also a great way to learn about the inner workings of their business while also getting paid.
Some of my VA clients have paid for me to take training courses related to social media, advertising, project management, etc. This is all knowledge I’ve been able to put to great use not only with that client, but also with other clients in my business. New skills also equate to a raise in pay whenever you take on new work too.
How to Find Your First Client
I already told you a bit about how I found my first writing and VA clients, but if you are looking to get started with your first client, here are some tips:
- Build friendships in your niche. My first two clients were other bloggers in my niche (personal finance). I had been reading and commenting on their blogs for months before I got up the courage to ask them for advice about getting started as a freelance writer.
- Offer skills you already have. As I mentioned, I love writing and I had a blog to showcase my writing skills. But writing was just my way to get my foot in the door. I still do some writing (because I love it!) but more of my income is made up of my VA services and coaching from skills I’ve picked up along the way.
- Advertise that you want to get started. Schedule some tweets to go out saying that you are looking for more writing or VA clients. Set up a Hire Me page on your website. Use these free forms of advertising to get your name out there to help you find your first client.
Once you landed your first client, do everything you can to keep them happy. A happy client will gladly give you good feedback or a testimonial you can use to land more clients and grow your business. My very first VA client has been a great asset to my business. She’s always tooting my horn and giving my name to other entrepreneurs that might need help with their business. She’s also highly respected in her niche, so her recommendation means a lot to other entrepreneurs.
Use the Right Tools
As I’ve progressed with my business, I’ve also realized the importance of having the right tools at my disposal. This definitely includes Freshbooks, which is now on my “must have list” for anyone considering a freelance business as a virtual assistant. Freshbooks has saved me a ton of money in PayPal fees and made it easier for me track who owes me money and who has already paid me.
Getting started as a virtual assistant is the best thing I’ve done for my business and it also helped me dig out of my quarter life crisis too.
Are you interested in starting a virtual assistant business? If you have questions, leave a comment below or send me an email. I’d be glad answer your questions!
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