Being a Virtual Assistant is awesome. I have an incredible lifestyle and have worked from all over the world in some exotic places. But because the life of a freelancer is not all unicorns and fairies, I’m going to tell you everything you’ll need to know if you’re thinking of setting up your own VA business so you can avoid some of the mistakes I made!
This is a VA case study and interview with Becky Considine. After years of high-level admin experience and work as a PA and EA within the NHS, Becky decided to re-evaluate her career after having her second daughter. She runs her business from Oxford, England and launched OXVAS (Oxford Virtual Assistant Service) at the end of 2013.
I’m lucky because I seem to have been born with loads of confidence. It never occurs to me that I won’t be able to do something – I might wonder how I’m going to do it, but I never think that I can’t. However, I know that most people aren’t freaks like me and need a bit of a push to get out of their comfort zones. So hold still while I give you a good hard shove!
Testimonials are important for Virtual Assistants because people are way more likely to hire you if they can see you come recommended – so a testimonial page or a WordPress quote rotator widget as I have on my own PA site is vital if you want to show how good you are. But how do you get testimonials when you’re just starting out and haven’t done any work yet?
This is a Virtual Assistant case study on MOI! You can read a bit about me here but this is the story of how I became a VA, what I did before I went freelance, how I manage clients and what I’d do differently if I had to start again. I set up Munro PA Services at the end of 2008 and I live by the sea in sunny Brighton.
Because I recommend you set up your VA business alongside your regular job, one of the questions I get asked a lot is “when should I leave my job to solely focus on being a Virtual Assistant?”. Although there are as many answers to that question as people asking it, in all honesty, it boils down to one simple thing:
Working for yourself is extremely hard work, you need a different mindset than when you were an employee and it isn’t for everyone. Because you should know what you’re letting yourself in for, let me tell you exactly what it’s like to be a freelancer so you can make an informed decision and decide if it’s something you’d like to do.
A while back I was talking to a woman who was thinking about becoming a Virtual Assistant and wanted some advice. She said: “I’m confused as to what to do at the moment. Full time work is a safe option but the hours are too long for me now and I’m trying to run a part-time business too. I need help to figure out the best direction for me.”
Although I believe every Virtual Assistant should have a niche, I know it’s not always quite that easy. Having a specialised area of expertise certainly makes you known as the ‘go-to’ person and leads to more work, but when you first start out how on earth do you decide what your VA niche should even be?
When you first start out as a Virtual Assistant, you’ll need to have a good think about what services you want to provide. If you’ve already decided on your niche then you’ll know exactly what your chosen target market needs doing but, if you’re like I was when I first started and you haven’t, here are a few things to think about that might help you work it out.