You might have seen some outsourcing websites where freelancers can register, bid, and apply for jobs posted up by companies and individuals around the world. People Per Hour, 3desk, Fiverr, Guru, oDesk and Elance are just a few of those sites but there are a ton out there if you look. But do these types of websites actually lead to paid work?
Being a Virtual Assistant is awesome. It’s incredible in fact. I have a really enjoyable lifestyle and have worked from America, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Italy, France, Oman, the Canaries, Portugal, Spain and Bali. But the life of a VA is not all unicorns and fairies – I worked my arse off to become successful, but I also learned a helluva lot in the process. And now I’m going to tell you everything you’ll need to know if you want to become a Virtual Assistant yourself.
If you’ve decided to focus on working in your local area then it’s likely you’ll be networking at some point. However I can tell you from experience that you will be definitely be met with some blank stares when you tell people what you do! Although Virtual Assistance is becoming better known, to some people it’s like you just told them you were a quantum cat herder. But follow these tips and you’ll be networking like a pro in no time.
When I started out as a Virtual Assistant I thoroughly researched other VA websites and noticed that many of them mentioned contracts or terms and conditions – yet when I asked another VA about them she said she never used a contract and simply trusted her clients.
So what did I do?
Once I needed to remotely show a client how to do a couple of things. My client had lost an email and I thought they might have accidentally clicked the ! icon which means ‘report spam’. So I took a screenshot of my Gmail inbox with this button highlighted in order to ascertain if they had indeed done this.
And I actually drew arrows on the screenshot.
When I’m trying to talk a client through a task it always helps if I can either see what they’re looking at on their screen or they can see what’s on mine so I can show them what to do. A really easy way to do this is to use the free screen-sharing facility on Skype.
At some point during your VA career you’re going to get some late payers. I wish I didn’t have to just tell you that, but it’s just the way things are. Some clients are really good payers and some clients are a pain in the rear – it’s the way of the world. There are a few things you can do to mitigate the damage however.
This is a Virtual Assistant case study and interview with Kathryn Hall. Kathryn runs My Virtual Sidekick, is based in Shoreham in Sussex and has been providing admin support and transcription services to creative women since 2011. This is the story of how she became a VA.
This is a Virtual Assistant case study and interview with Jama St. John from Strategic Virtual Solutions. Jama manages a team of VAs from her farm in Franklin, Georgia, has clients all over America, Canada and Australia and has been a VA since 1996. This is her VA story.
When I first started working for myself, it never once occurred to me that I could or should fire a client. I’d worked as an employee for years and employees are the ones who get fired not the other way around – plus I was new at freelancing and thought it was important to take all the work I was offered. Rookie error…