Picture the scene. I’m 17 years old, it’s around 8.45 in the morning and I’m on a bus on my way to work. It’s one of my very first jobs out of school, I work from 9 to 5.30 every day in a huge airless room at a faceless call centre in a massive building with hundreds of other people. As I look out of the window, the bus passes a tree in the park… and it suddenly hits me.
Although I had often outsourced the occasional one-off task, I was actually doing everything myself and only started regularly working with a VA after I broke down in tears after spending most of the week dealing with a host of support emails instead of getting any real work done. That was the moment I knew it was time to get some help.
As you don’t need any formal qualifications to become a Virtual Assistant, there’s often confusion and misunderstanding in the VA Handbookers Facebook group around what being one entails. Because I sometimes see it described as an “easy side hustle”, I want to explain what it actually means to be a Virtual Assistant.
Because Associate work is a great way to take on more work both when starting out and as you become more successful, I asked my VA Handbookers Facebook group to post up any questions they had on the subject and then I asked members who had experience of both sides of the fence to answer them. This is what they said:
If you’re a new Virtual Assistant or thinking of becoming one, I’m sure you’re worried about how you will get new clients. So to help you get an idea of who could be that elusive and exciting first client, I asked members of my VA Handbookers Facebook group a load of questions about their first one including how they got them and what tasks they needed help with.
Although you may really want to set up your own VA business, stepping into the unknown can be quite scary. Because I know that going freelance will change your life in so many fantastic ways, I asked members of my VA Handbookers Facebook group what the best thing about being a Virtual Assistant was. This is what they said:
Members of my VA Handbookers Facebook group often ask whether it’s worth writing a blog. On one hand, they hear that it’s good for search engine optimisation (SEO), but they also don’t want to write one if they don’t really need it – plus they’re not really too sure what to write about even if they do decide to start one.
If you want a satisfying and fulfilling freelance career it’s really important to have clients that you enjoy working with – because there’s no point in leaving a (horribly unfulfilling, tedious but secure) full-time job to still be miserable at work! A great client is a truly wonderful thing and they’re actually not as hard to find as you might think.
Difficult clients can undermine your business, knock your confidence, feed your insecurity, make you doubt yourself and even make you start to hate freelancing – so it’s really important you know how to identify and manage all the different types. Remember that you work with your client, not for them so you should proactively steer the process and manage the relationship.
After seeing friends go through some serious life changing events, Sarah Liddle started to question what life was all about and where her own life was heading. Sarah also wanted to spend more time outside on her smallholding and with her family so she decided it was time to set up her own Virtual Assistant business.