Category Archives: Building a virtual assistant business

Don’t make these rookies mistakes when starting your virtual assistant business

We all make mistakes, it’s what makes us human. The key is to learn from mistakes and not make them again. But what if you can learn from my mistakes and never fall prey to them while building your virtual assistant business? 

Below are some of the biggest mistakes I made when I first got started.
 

1. Not getting my systems in order before taking on client work

 
Thankfully my growth during my first year of being in business was solid. I had 10 clients in 12 months and a team to support me. But the back-end systems of my business were a hot mess. I didn’t have intake forms, or automation set up to handle the repetitive time-consuming tasks that I did on a daily basis. I wasted hours each week on non-billable work and that cost me time and money.
 

2. Not picking a niche

 
I was all over the place. I had a lawyer, ice cream distributor, design firm, finance coach, non-profit entrepreneur, and more. If clients had money and needed administrative help, I was all over them like a cheap suit.
 
I said yes to working with anyone with some money to throw at me (that sounds a little like prostitution, eek!). This meant that I had clients in so many different industries. I had to learn to use industry specific software which took time and could only be used for specific clients. I wasn’t able to focus my time learning the kind of software that I was passionate about because I was too busy serving the myriad of clients I had. Moreover, when asked “what do you do” I always said something generic because let’s face it, I had no specific niche. This made marketing doubly hard.
 

3. Accepting any type of client or work

 
So this goes with the one before, do not, I repeat DO NOT take on work just for the money if you feel it’s not a good fit. You’ll regret it and resent your client. Instead, work on saying yes to the right kinds of clients. Don’t know who those clients are? Think about the industries you’ve worked in and the people you worked for that you loved. That’s a great start.
 

4. Not having your contracts and agreements in place

 
This is such an obvious one but often times we’re so busy getting our business set up and running that we forget some of the most crucial details and that’s making sure we have bonafide contracts and agreements in place BEFORE you sign up a client.
 

5. Shiny Object Syndrome

 
This one could be number 1 but it’s not because well, it’s just not. 😉
 
I can’t tell you how many minutes per day I wasted on reading blog posts, or surfing the web trying to find the right font for a project that didn’t end up getting done for whatever reason. Oh and FACEBOOK. We all get sucked into the vortex of social media and have a hard time coming out of it. For the love of all things holy, please stop. Spend your day on activities that can push your business forward. Be RUTHLESS about this. Get used to saying to yourself “what is the ROI of this activity?”. Your most active time of the day tends to be in the morning so don’t use it surfing the web or responding to emails, use it to work on your business and get clients!
 

6. Lack of structure in your back end systems

 
You have got to be set up like a BOSS before you land your first client. You aim to impress them, right? Show them how you run your own business. This is a testimony to how awesome you are and why you’re the right person for their needs. But most of you don’t have your systems in order. What do I mean by systems? Set up a proposal submission process, client onboarding process, and continued communication chain. Also, set yourself up with the standard software that all VAs need to know how you use.
 

7. Not charging enough

 
One of the biggest mistakes I made when I first started out is undervaluing my expertise. I was working for C-level Fortune 500 companies before I became a VA and when I got my first VA client, I was making $18/hour while the company that was matching me with clients was charging $35/hour for my services. They took HALF my earnings. If they can charge $35 for what I am doing, why can’t I? But I didn’t. My first client outside of the staffing company asked me what I expected to earn and I said $20. $20!!! Ladies and gentlemen, the term “know your worth” isn’t one that I like to use because I don’t feel like what you make has anything to do with how worthy you are. But I will tell you this, know what the fair market value is for the services you offer and combine that with the whole life experience you bring to the table. Then figure out how much you need to make each month and charge based on THAT, not some “I think I should charge just this because (enter some excuse about why you’re not good enough yet). Go out and get what you need, girlfriend/boyfriend. You’re fucking awesome.
 

8. You have a website that looks like my kid sister designed it

 
I’m just kidding, it’s not that bad but it’s not doing you any justice and my guess is that you’re probably embarrassed by it, too. Consider this, your website is the person that stands in for you 24/7 when you can’t. Your website needs to show off how capable and amazing you are in every sense of the word. Make sure the links work, make sure you’ve run the copy through a program like Grammarly to check for spelling and grammar mistakes.

 

9. Not investing in yourself

 
Do you want to know why the richest people in the world are as successful as they are? They invest in themselves. The first investment Warren Buffet (2nd richest man in the world) made was in a book to teach him how to invest, the 2nd was an actual investment.
 
He also spends 80% of his time reading books. Why? Because through books and courses you’re learning how to be better at your craft.
 
Self-made millionaire Steve Siebold interviewed 1,200 of the world’s wealthiest people to find out what traits they shared. One trait nearly all of them had in common? They read everything from self-improvement books to autobiographies.
 
Instead of reaching for the TV or to surf on FB, invest in your own education, new productivity software programs, etc. There are a ton of free resources out there that can help you with this.
All the mistakes above can be avoided by having access to the processes, tools templates, contracts and weekly coaching to make sure you’re doing things right.
 
The one place to find all the above is in Create Your Laptop Life and I’m thankful that this level of education and support exists today because it didn’t when I first started.
 
I encourage you to sign up to CYLL and join me and hundreds of other virtual assistants/freelancers who are taking control of their lives and finances. The money that’s being made in this network is all the proof you’ll need. See for yourself.
income_report__post_in_FB_from_CYLL
and here is another
Money_CYLL_income_report
Kristina_Keenan_testimonial_for_CYLL
Sending you a whole lot of love today.
To your success!
Reese

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How To Start A Virtual Assistant Business While Working Full-Time

Have you ever thought about starting up a side business as a virtual assistant while working full time? You’re not alone. More and more men and women are looking to supplement their income to create more financial security. But it’s more than that, learning how to set up a virtual assistant business on the sideContinue Reading

16 Responses to How To Start A Virtual Assistant Business While Working Full-Time

  1. Alan says:

    Hiya

    I just wanted to say thank you. I’ve followed the course (and copied all the emails into one document so I have it all handy) and can honestly say I am really enthused and galvanised by everything I have read. I have many of the basic building blocks in place but really, what is holding me back, is taking that first step, or perhaps just knowing when the first step has already been taken. I think your course is great and you are great and thank you so much for everything you have shared.

    • Reese says:

      You’ve just made my day, Alan. Thank you so much for taking the time to let me know how I’ve helped you. Keep your focus and don’t be afraid to take the first step. We all have to begin somewhere.

  2. Crystal says:

    Thanks for this article! I am recruiter by trade and a former VA. I actually want to run the business side and logistics of the business. I want to hire a team of VAs to work on the projects while I manage the clients, projects, billing, etc. What are your thoughts on this. Would you suggest the owner of the VA company be removed from the work itself? I have been a VA before so I know the business in a way.

    • Reese says:

      Thank you for reading, Crystal! I don’t suggest that you be removed from the work if you’re just starting out. You need to have a high-level understanding of the projects your clients need support with, how to do it well, and how to delegate to your team. Once you’re familiar with the clients business and you have a team you can trust you can definitely work towards a project management role. One of my current coaching clients (I coach VAs) has a team of VAs that do all the work for her clients. It’s a great business model. xo

  3. Jenny D says:

    Reese, as always thank you for your advice and help on starting a virtual assistant business. I have come to the conclusion that maybe finding a part-time job while building my business would be easier. My issue is with a 45 hour work week and long commute, I am gone 55 hours per week and exhausted after work to do anything productive. I am mentally exhausted. I feel having a steady part-time job would allow me more mental time to focus on growing my business. What are your thoughts?

    • Reese says:

      Jenny, like you I once worked a 40 hour work week and had a 4-hour commute each day (back and forth). My commute was on the train so if I was doing that now, I would use that time to work on my business. Obviously, if you’re driving, you can’t work on your business. Only you can know if leaving your full-time job for a part-time job is a good idea. Perhaps you have an additional income from a partner that you’re able to depend on, in which case you’ll need to ask yourself if you can take the hit in your monthly earnings in order to allow you to build your VA business. When I finally quit my job I did so because I just gave birth to my third child and my husband traveled constantly. Thankfully his income is enough to support our family so when I launched my VA business, I wasn’t stressed out worrying about cash flow. If you’re not terribly stressed about cash-flow and can afford to work part-time while building your VA business, why not?

  4. Karina says:

    Hi Reese! Great post. Thank you. My biggest struggle is finding and connecting with event planners (my niche). Your advice on listing out the time blocks is on the money. I think maybe I need to expand on that and make a list/plan of what I’m doing to find these potential clients.

    • Reese says:

      Thanks, Karina! Yes, make a list and plan out your day so you know what to expect. I was on a coaching call with one of my clients today and we spent a lot of time talking about online relationship building. This is the KEY to finding clients. If you are struggling to find event planners, tell me, where are you looking?

  5. Juria Snipes says:

    This was interesting and informative. It’s difficult to plan out your day when you work full-time. I am very interested in starting a VA business. At the current moment I’m learning about social media management. Thanks for the info.

  6. Teresa Zagari says:

    This is awesome. I am going to start taking this advice and do my research. Thank you for supplying us with this wonderful information.

  7. Joy says:

    Thanks for all the info! Will read the steps.

  8. Amy says:

    Really excited to start a VA business in 2017!

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How To Launch Your Virtual Assistant Business With Ease and Have Fun Doing It!

    Starting my own virtual assistant business reminded me of how I used to experiment in the kitchen as a 7-year-old. I would throw together a lot of ingredients that seemed to go well together, do some taste tests, and adjust where necessary. Sometimes my concoctions were a success and sometimes I threw everythingContinue Reading

2 Responses to How To Launch Your Virtual Assistant Business With Ease and Have Fun Doing It!

  1. Lenlen says:

    I want to become a virtual assistant..but how to start it????

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Busting the 9 Biggest Myths About Starting Your Virtual Assistant Business

Don’t let these biggest myths hold you back from starting your virtual assistant business. I’m telling it like it is.Continue Reading

8 Responses to Busting the 9 Biggest Myths About Starting Your Virtual Assistant Business

  1. Tawana Williams says:

    Hey Reese,
    I’ve followed you for awhile and I feel off but I really believe this could be a great career. So I’m back. I’ve been a bit confused about how to get things off the ground. Hopefully, I’ll speak with you soon.

    • Reese says:

      We all feel a bit off at times, it’s normal and I’d agree with you that working as a VA is a great career. XO

  2. Evah G. says:

    To be honest, you have burst a few myths that I had a very strong opinion about. E.g. I need to have a website before venturing out…and also that I need to generalise so that I can be a “great” VA.
    Thank you for bursting this myth bubble.

    I have a question that I would like your clarification:
    How possible is it for a VA from Africa to attract clients in the west? I ask this because many African entrepreneurs are yet to embrace the idea of employing a VA.

    • Reese says:

      Evah, great question! The answer is, be so good they can’t ignore you. Learn everything you can about running a business and constantly improve upon your skill set. It shouldn’t matter where you are. Case in point…I live in Israel and my clients are in the US. True, I was born in the States but I use VAs from India, Pakistan, Europe, etc. I have found amazing support from all over the world and I don’t care where my support lives. I care if they get the job done right. Keep that in mind. To attract clients in the West, network in online forums where those prospects spend their time. XO

  3. Thanks for this article, Reese. So helpful. I think I bought into each and every one of the 9 myths – but I haven’t let it stop me. I built my website (www.virtualisticsllc.com), started designing marketing material and have begun sharing my new venture with others, but I’m still lacking the confidence to really sell it. So, I’m hoping your course will be affordable because I absolutely love reading your material and I know it would be beneficial to me.

    • Reese says:

      Angela, I’m glad the post was helpful! Don’t let anything stop you. The key is to always move forward and it sounds like that is what you’re doing. I can help you gain the confidence you need to market yourself! My course will be just the thing you need. I got your back. xo

  4. Hi,

    great post. Well done! I agree almoust with everything. What I don’t agree with is not having a website. It’s true that there is no point to make one if you don’t know who do you work for and why…But I think it’s better to have that clear before get started. Why get started anywhere without knowing what’s your niche. When it comes to attention to details that’s more up to the person. Maybe non native speaker can not see ‘small things’ in the language, but every non English person at least should have excellent spellchecker. The language is the basic tool. I invest in Gramarly. You can not start any business with zero investment.

    All the best, Rahela

    • Reese says:

      Thank you, Rahela! You’re right! Do the hard work of figuring out what you’re doing and who you’re doing it for. Then move onto a website. Thanks for your comment.

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