This is a Virtual Assistant case study and interview with Nikki Ince. Nikki is the owner of Willow Admin, a Virtual Assistant company based in North Stifford in Essex. She initially only provided onsite admin support to local businesses but went fully virtual in 2013 and now provides admin and social media support to small businesses and entrepreneurs. This is her VA story.
I really like telling you guys how to set up and become Virtual Assistants but I realised recently that it might be nice if you knew a bit more about me. So after racking my brain for an inordinate amount of time and deleting some rather incriminating and over-shary details, this is what I’ve come up with. Don’t judge me!
Many of you are still in the research stage and finding out whether this whole VA thing is something you want to do, but if you definitely know you want to be a Virtual Assistant and are still in the process of setting up and getting ready to launch whilst in full-time work, there are many things you can do to get ready. Here are just some of them:
Most Virtual Assistants will tell you that working for yourself is wonderful and will bring you unbelievable satisfaction and freedom. But what they often won’t tell you is that it’s also often confusing, scary, frustrating and stressful. Existing VAs will hopefully read this article, laugh and nod their heads with recognition – and new ones will get an insight into what’s coming!
I don’t make websites for a living so I’m not going to go into detail about every single tiny thing you need to have a decent site, I’m just going to provide an overview of the different things you need to think about when you’re setting it up. Having a website will help your business in the long run, so it’s important to have one that appeals to prospects.
Every VA needs to find clients, but unless you come from a marketing background, you’ve probably never promoted yourself before. In fact, the thought may fill you with complete horror! Well, I’m sorry to tell you that you may not like putting yourself out there, but people can only hire you if they know you exist! Worry not though, I’ve got you covered.
Like August, December can often be a quiet time for VAs. Your clients are usually winding down for Christmas themselves and, although it’s great to have a couple of weeks off, if you spend some time during the gap between Christmas and New Year (Twixtmas / Chrimbo Limbo) putting your house in order, you’ll start the coming year way ahead of the game.
Setting up your own Virtual Assistant business may seem like hard work, but I’m sorry to tell you that it’s actually the easy part. Being a successful VA isn’t simply helping someone with their admin or supporting their business, it’s knowing how to manage and communicate with them. And sadly a lot of VAs seem to be lacking many of the skills needed.
An ongoing debate amongst freelancers is whether or not you should display your rates on your website. Although not everyone agrees and I have my own fixed opinion on the matter, I want to outline the pros and cons of both arguments as well as address common concerns so you can make an informed decision for yourself.
So now I’ve covered how to set your rates, how to track time spent on client tasks, how to avoid time-wasting clients and how and when to fire a client, it’s time to tell you how to invoice a client so they can pay you! This is how to set up easy standard ways of invoicing so you can just do the work and bill your client without any stress, worry or confusion.