Every few months a fellow coaches’ wife asks about streams of income other than direct sales and I pull out my blog
The more moves you have under your belt the more challenge it becomes to find a job.
But, not all VA opportunities are equal. If you are considering pursuing a career as a Virtual Assistant there are a few things to consider just as how to market yourself, what certifications may be helpful, and which industries you are best capable of serving.
The Benefits of Virtual Work
The biggest benefit of virtual work for me is that I have the ability to flex my hours. I’m been blessed to connect with amazing clients who trust I will complete my work by the deadlines they request, but I’m also going to take off Tuesday mornings for BSF.
The other thing I love about virtual work is that every minute I am working is work. When I was an administrative assistant at a small college the summers were absolutely miserable. There was absolutely nothing to do for 7 hours a day and all I wanted to do was go home and clean my house. I hated that my job felt like a waste of time.
Speaking of cleaning my house, I love that in between tasks I can hop up and switch a load of laundry or get dinner started. I’m home in case our boys miss the bus, have a day off school, or are aren’t feeling well. I can even do a Walmart Grocery pick up run in the middle of the day without it impacting my “office hours”.
I can work in yoga pants, squeeze in a mid-day workout if I sleep in, and almost always pause to video chat with my nieces for a few minutes. Doctors appointments aren’t that big of a deal either.
Essentially, everything that frustrated me and added stress to our family with working in an office setting is eliminated by working virtually.
The Challenges of Virual Work
Most VA’s are 1099 contractors meaning they don’t have paid vacation days. While we are able to flex our time, extended vacations may mean going without pay.
Virtual work requires a lot of additional communication. It’s important to make sure your clients know that you are working. Additionally, since you are likely on contracts with specific hour alotments, it’s important to understand the details of a project before you work on in incorrectly and waste both time and money.
There are always new ways to do things, and often virtual work includes finding the balance between convenience and cost. While it may seem more cost effective to have newsletters printed, hand stuffed and mailed, when you combine the cost of the work plus materials it may be better to outsource the project. It often falls the VA to assess these tasks and help the client make informed decisions.
Many times a VA becomes the catch all. Especially when working for small companies the line between work and personal will blur. A VA may find themselves booking vacation reservations and work travel on the same day.
As a company grows the VA must be willing to expand their roll and learn new things.
So, how do you find clients? There are companies that outsource VA’s and there are many Virtual Assistants who work on their own. If you are just starting out, I encourage you to consider working with a company that will match you with clients for a few reasons. First, the client will be vetted for you, so you will know that you will be paid for your work. Second, if an issue arises you have someone to back you up and work through the conflict.
Once you have a handle on things, don’t be afraid to network and go out on your own. For one thing, you will have the opportunity to negotiate your contract and can include your preferred hourly rate.
My two favorite resources for learning about Virtual Assistants are VA Elevated and Belay Solutions both are ones I’m personally familiar with so I trust the content is accurate. There are plenty of others out there, but I encourage you not to pay for anything.
If you are choosing to go the freelancing direction is may be necessary to pay to join a group at some point, but not at first. Learn about the industry, build up your resume, see what you can do for free.