Being able to make money from home has completely changed our lives. Hubs and I both work from home and homeschool our three kids. Yes, working from home with kids can sometimes be a total crap-fest. But, there are also a ton of pros to the situation.
For instance, we never have to worry about outside events and trying to get the time off from work. If the boys have a soccer game or our daughter has a play performance, we’re there without any disruption.
And, when my Dad had major surgery and my Mom needed extra hands around the house, we were able to be there. We just packed our laptops and stayed in their vacation home for a few weeks.
It’s the perfect way to live for our family. And, on top of all of that, my job is also super-flexible! Making money from home as a virtual assistant means that I get to set my own hours, set my own prices, and decide who I do and don’t work for.
It’s not always easy. But, it’s a damn good deal. And, the best part, is that anyone can become a virtual assistant and make money from home!
What do I need to become a virtual assistant?
The number one thing that you need, if you want to quit your 9 to 5 and become a virtual assistant, is confidence. You need to believe in yourself and value your skills.
It sounds easier than it is, actually.
Think about it.
You’ve been working within someone else’s schedule. And, they tell you what to do and how much they will pay you for it.
When you start your own business, you have to take charge of all of that. You have to put your shoulders back, place your hands on your hips, and say “I will do these tasks, during these hours of the day, and only for this much money”.
Sometimes I think I had it easy because I quit my job and then figured out my business.
I had no choice but to put myself out there. We needed more money without me going to work. There wasn’t any other way for things to do.
When you have a job that provides a reliable income, it’s scary to step outside of that.
But, I’m here to tell you, if you have confidence and you’re willing to try, you can make money from home as a virtual assistant.
What is the average salary for a virtual assistant?
The average salary for a virtual assistant depends on several things. Things like how much you charge per hour, the number of clients you have and how many hours you work each week.
When I first started, I charged $20 per hour and I worked 30-hours per week. The salary that I made was a huge step up from how much I was making from my side hustles.
But, it was dramatically less than I was making working at my 9 to 5 outside of the home. Eventually, I realized that I needed to rearrange how I was running my business.
I started selling bundles of hours (called packages) and increased my rate per hour. I figured I have an MBA, 10+ years of experience in healthcare, and more than a year of experience working from home. Plus, I had been learning everything that I could about online business.
Charging $400 for 10-hours a month seemed really fair and I knew that I could deliver on the expectation that came with that price tag.
The “going rate” for a virtual assistant is anywhere from $20 to $40 per hour. But, the rate that you charge all depends on the tasks that you are able to provide.
If you provide “general admin” tasks, you might charge $20 to $25 an hour. But, if you specialize in full-service Infusionsoft management, you would probably charge $40 an hour.
But, keep in mind, the client determines how valuable the tasks that you provide are to them. In other words, one business owner might not want to pay you $20 an hour for general admin. Whereas another might value that kind of support so much, she’s willing to pay you $30 an hour.
You have to maintain that confidence, list your services and price them the way that you think is fair. You WILL find clients who are willing to pay your rates.
What does a virtual assistant do?
Whatever the hell she wants to!
Seriously. You can offer any services that you want to as a virtual assistant. Someone WILL pay you for them. The internet is a HUGE place. And, there are business owners out there who need your specific skillset. Here is a FREE list of 150+ services that you can offer.
The way that I approached this was to write a list of all of the things that I know how to do. For instance, editing health plans, dropshipping supplements to fulfill protocols, liaising with labs to order kits and download test results, etc.
I also included tasks like copywriting, scheduling, patient support, bookkeeping, project management, etc.
Next, I took a look at the list and started to think about the clients that I wanted to work with and which tasks they would find the most valuable. Then, I crossed out anything on the list that I knew how to do but, I didn’t want to do.
I don’t care how much money people would pay me. I HATE social media management.
How to find clients as a virtual assistant
Once you have a clear idea of who your dream client is, what you are willing to do for him or her, and how much you charge, it’s time to start building your clientele.
There are several ways to do this and you have to decide which works best for you
If you need to build your portfolio or get some good referrals, grabbing assignments from bidding sites could be a good place to start.
These are websites like Fiverr, Freelancer, and Upwork.
Business owners post assignments or projects that they need to get done and you submit a proposal with your experience and how much you would charge. And, it’s a good idea to have a website or a business Facebook page to send people when you bid the job.
You’re not going to make the kind of money that you want to with assignments from these sites and the competition is stiff. But, once you get one or two good assignments you can network and get word-of-mouth clients from there.
I did grab a couple of assignments from Upwork when I first started. But, the whole process of finding just the right project, bidding on it, and then finally getting it was more work than I wanted to do … to find work.
So, I started looking around the web for placement companies. These are companies who connect virtual assistants with business owners and then take a percentage of the hourly rate that is paid.
Think of it like going through a temp agency out in the 9 to 5 community. When you go through a virtual assistant placement company, you are vetted and then connected with clients who need VAs like you. You are told how many hours the client wants and how much per hour the assignment pays.
The client pays the placement agency, the placement agency takes a cut, and then they pay you.
It’s not the DREAM virtual assistant scenario … you don’t have control over how much money you make and the hourly rate can be minimal. But, you also don’t have to go hunting for clients. And, when you’re first starting out, that’s a big relief.
I worked with PriorityVA and was able to specify my minimum hourly rate. I have also heard good things about Zirtual and Belay Solutions. But, you have to be careful with agencies because they are typically more focused on growing their own business than helping you to grow yours.
Read the contract that they make you sign carefully and make sure that you’re on board with everything in it.
Another place to find virtual assisting jobs is through job boards. It’s the same process as when you’re looking for a 9 to 5 job but, your keyword search is different and where you look is different.
Job board listings have a little more flexibility than placement sites. For instance, with a placement site, if they keep bringing you assignments and you keep turning them down because they don’t pay enough, they will just stop pitching you assignments.
But, with job boards, you can just scroll through and find the ones that pay in the range that you are looking for. If it doesn’t pay what you want, you just don’t apply for it.
But, I found one of my most favorite virtual assisting clients through a job board. We connected right away and I worked with her for more than a year. The word-of-mouth clients that came from her were TOTALLY worth the subscription amount that I paid.
There are other paid job boards out there. But, these are the two that I have used and that I can say without a doubt are worth the money. The job listings are legit and I personally have found clients from these two resources.
Plus, I am NOT an affiliate for either of these so, I’m not making any commission by recommending them. I just really like them.
If you have a clear idea of who your dream client is and a healthy dose of confidence, you can grow your clientele without the help of job boards or placement sites. Here are a few success stories from other VAs to get an idea of how things are done.
First, your rates and services
Once you have spent the time to get very clear about who you want to work for, you have to decide what you will do for them and how much you will charge.
Use the method we talked about before and make a list of all of the things that you know how to do. Then, create your packages.
You can approach this in several ways. You can publish a list of the tasks that you perform and then sell bundles of hours 10-hours, 20-hours, 40-hours per month. Another way is to sell bundles of hours for specific tasks.
For instance, 20-hours a month of general admin might be a $400 package. But, 20-hours a month of bookkeeping would be an $800 package.
Second, your website
You need a nicely designed website that strongly markets to your target audience and publishes your services and rates.
If you’re not comfortable designing your own website, hire it out. This is a serious part of your business and it should be professional and polished. AND, maybe more important than design, is hosting. My #1 recommendation for hosting is Siteground. Their customer service is stellar! Their techs have helped me figure out site speed, bots, redirect links … all kinds of crazy stuff. And, for free. Plus, their hosting plans start at $3.95 a month.
For web design – you should plan to spend no more than $800 for a nicely designed website.
Third, Facebook groups
Most of us have a Facebook profile. You can either start a page from your personal profile or, you can start a whole new Facebook profile just for your virtual assisting business and add a page to that.
Name the page whatever you have named your virtual assisting company. Then, join 20+ Facebook groups that are related to your target audience.
In other words, places where your target audience is spending his or her time talking about business.
Then, make it a priority to search those groups EVERY DAY for the terms “virtual assistant” or “VA”. When you search a Facebook group for a specific term, you get a list of all of the posts that include those terms.
In other words, a list of your dream clients who are looking for a virtual assistant. But, WAIT!
For the LOVE. Do not reply to anyone WITHOUT visiting their website first. Take a damn minute to learn what they do so that you can reply to their comment thoughtfully.
I see so many comments like, “I’m a VA. I’d love to help you out. WEBSITE”.
Don’t be that person.
Reply with things like, “Hi Janet (tag their name so they get your reply), WOW! Your website is stunning. I love the blog post you wrote about XYZ. It’s easy to relate to the part where you talked about ABC. I am a VA who specializes in 123 and would love to send you an email or personal message with a sample of my work (this is especially impressive if you do graphic or copywriting work). My calendar has some openings later this week if you would like to schedule a call to talk more about how I can best support you. Here is a link to my website with all of my contact information WEBSITE.
Spend the extra time to connect Acuity Scheduling or Calendly to your website and drop your scheduling link into your comment too.
Consider your reply to their Facebook comment the shortest cover letter ever. Make it thoughtful and professional.
Networking & Word-of-Mouth
Once you start building your clientele and you have some satisfied customers, ask them if they would be willing to write a testimonial that you can publish on your website with a link to their business.
Also, when you are in those Facebook groups looking for virtual assisting clients, be helpful too. When you see a post with a question that you can answer – do it.
Strictly from a place of being of service and helping a fellow business owner solve a problem. Your name and picture is published next to every single comment so, bring something to the table.
Pretty soon, your comments will be associated with answers and support. That kind of networking is priceless for building your business.