The Journey Begins
Two years ago I was working as an independent contractor doing medical transcription from home. I had been doing medical transcription for about 8 years, with the last 6 being from home. This was a huge blessing for our family because it allowed me to take care of our home and not have commuting costs, which are significant as we live 20 miles from the nearest “big” town of about 2,500. Not a lot of great job options as you can imagine.
While the transcription did provide the benefits of bringing in a small second income and keeping my work-related costs to a bare minimum, it did not hold my attention, and I actually found myself rather bored most days and wishing I could find something that piqued my interest a bit more. So I did what I always do and turned to the vast information on the Internet to see what else I could find.
It didn’t take much searching before I found a new direction – virtual assistant work. If you aren’t familiar with the term virtual assistant (or VA) and what they do, I’ll give you a brief overview. Virtual assistants work virtually for businesses and individuals doing a wide variety of tasks. They can work from home or on a laptop from a coffee shop or in any location around the world. Many people love VA work because it allows for location flexibility.
Any type of business owner can utilize the services of a VA. Clients I have worked with have been business coaches, an Amazon seller, bloggers, network marketers, and consultants. Some VAs specialize in their ideal clients so may work with only health and wellness coaches, for example.
VAs often specialize in the type of services they provide also. When I first started my VA business, I offered general administrative tasks. This included calendar management, email management, travel arrangements, expense reporting, and social media posting. As I learned more, I realized I really liked the online marketing niche so I became a bit more specialized and offered services relating to online marketing.
As a VA, you can offer your services directly to clients or you can find a multi-VA team to join as a subcontractor. I had a mix of subcontracting and direct clients for the first year and then moved to direct clients only. Generally, you will earn a higher rate with direct clients and a lower rate with subcontracting. However, subcontracting is a great fit for many people.
In my first calendar year of running my VA business, I made just over $45,000 and averaged 45 hours per week. This included client work as well as my own business building activities, such as marketing and learning. I can only speak from my own personal experience and am quite sure the income potential completely depends on each individual person.
The most obvious pros of having your own VA business are flexibility with your schedule and a higher income earning potential than most jobs. Personally I found I had less schedule flexibility with subcontracting than I did when I found my own clients to work with, mostly because I could then only choose to work with clients whose needs fit my desired work schedule. For example, I did not want to work daily so I purposely chose not to work with clients who needed daily management of their calendar or email or who wanted to communicate with me on a daily basis.
The income earning potential, again, is entirely dependent on each individual person. Someone who is more proactive and wants to earn more money will be more inclined to market aggressively and seek out more client opportunities. Higher rates can also be charged for more specialized and high-level services rather than general administrative services.
I believe the hardest part for most VAs, at least getting started, is finding clients. I found that after the first few clients, it became easier to find more, perhaps because I felt more comfortable with the entire marketing and onboarding process.
However, many VAs who do not want to find their own clients will subcontract with other VAs or multi-VA teams who find the clients and outsource the work to the subcontractors. Be aware this isn’t necessarily more stable than having your own direct clients because any business owner at any time can decide to change their business and no longer need VA services.
Virtual assistant work is in high demand, and there are many business owners needing great assistants to help them in all aspects of running a business. If you have skills that you believe would be transferable to virtual work, start a search for information to figure out how to make it happen! It could literally be life changing for you and your family!
Need an in-depth guide to help you on your path? Grab The Bootstrap VA: The Go-Getter’s Guide to Becoming a Virtual Assistant, Getting and Keeping Clients, and More! This ebook was my first resource, and I still recommend it today!
If you have questions about becoming a VA or would like to know more, please comment below!