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 side that makes good money creates opportunities that you didn’t think possible before.
Once you land your first client you start to realize the endless possibilities available to you working online.
Can you start a side business as a virtual assistant and work full-time and still have a life?
The answer is yes.
Starting a business as a virtual assistant on the side while maintaining a full-time job has some limitations but look at it as an opportunity instead of an obstacle.
The obvious benefits of starting a virtual assistant business on the side while holding down a full-time job are that you have financial security and don’t have the stress of not knowing when you next paycheck is coming.
rIt goes without saying that having a steady income will allow you the peace-of-mind to dedicate time to building your VA business on the side. More so, A study conducted by the Academy of Management confirms, starting a business while working holding down a day job increases your chances of success.
I always recommend to my clients to hold onto their day job while building their business. If you keep your job, you can quit at any time, but it’s harder to get your job back if your business doesn’t succeed.
So many often look at their full-time job in the wrong light saying things like “I hate my job”, “I wish I could quit”, etc. When coaching my clients I try to find a way to help them reframe their full-time job and find the positives instead of focusing on the negatives.
For example, if you hate one of your responsibilities you could have a meeting with your boss to talk things through to see if there are ways to adjust certain aspects of your job description to make you happier at work. When you’re happier at your day job, it gives you more energy to work on your virtual assistant business.
The biggest drawbacks of working full time and building a VA business on the side
Oprah Winfrey said, “you can have it all, just not all at once.”
The biggest drawback of working full time and building your VA business is the issue of time. You’ll have to work on your business in the evenings and weekends and learn how to make each minute count, i.e. maximizing your time.
While working full-time and building your business you’ll need to pull double-duty. And if you’re married and have a family it can feel like triple-duty!
Considering that we all have the same 24 hours in a day, you need to break down what you’re doing each day and how long each “thing” takes. Maybe you know that you work 8 hours a day and require 8 hours of sleep and need “x” amount of hours to spend with family, etc. Account for all the time that you can’t work on your business so you can see just how much time you do have to dedicate to building your business. This starting point will help you plan your time wisely.
ACTION TIP: Create a Google spreadsheet and list it out all. You need to actually see with your own eyes where your time goes.
Maximizing your time to build your virtual assistant business
When you have limited time in the day to build your virtual assistant business, you have to be more focused and spend your time on business building activities that get results quickly.
I find that the more time an aspiring VA has on his/her hands, the more likely they will spend surfing the internet searching for “shiny objects” that they think will help them get more motivation or results.
A huge time suck for new VAs is working on projects that aren’t necessary at the beginning stages of business (like a website, yes, it’s true, you don’t need one right away).
Another activity I see new virtual assistants wasting precious time on is the creation of social media posts to promote their business. Chances are if you’re a new VA, you don’t have much of a following and these posts are falling on deaf ears (or blind eyes?). Your time is better spent by connecting directly with the people who have the need and financial resources to hire you. Spending time networking in social media groups and building connections with business owners offer a better ROI. Find people with problems and solve them. Spend time proving that you can help. Show them that you can help, don’t just talk about it.
The most important thing you should be doing when starting out is figuring out how to make money, in other words, building the foundations that will ultimately bring clients to your virtual doorstep, anything else is a waste of your time. If there is no immediate ROI, move on. So for the love of all things holy, stop wasting the time that you DO have on things that may or may not bring cash into your bank account.
Activities like learning a marketable skill or networking are your best bets.
Outsource unnecessary work
To get your business off the ground you need to maximize your time as I mentioned above. One way to do this is to outsource housework. Consider outsourcing cooking, cleaning, laundry, ironing, and shopping. It may not be financially feasible but if you have the extra financial resources, use them to give yourself more time to spend on your business. It’s a better use of your time.
Once a week for two hours I have a mother’s helper come to do menial tasks like washing and drying dishes, folding laundry, preparing the kid’s lunches for the next day and straightening up in general. Because she’s a young girl her rates are lower. In addition, I have a cleaner once a week for the entire house. This alone frees up a significant amount of my time that is better spent on my business.
I know it sounds trite but if you think about it, if time is your most precious resource and you’re already low on time because you have a full-time job, you need to figure out how to use the time you do have.
Once you’ve figured out how much time you can dedicate to building your business, schedule that time in your calendar and stick to it.
The time you block off doesn’t have to be in one go. You could break it up into 25-minute time blocks (called Pomodoros) or 2 one-hour time blocks. I find for me that I am at my best first thing in the morning so waking up an hour earlier to get work done before my kids wake up is effective. I get some of my best work done during that time when the house is sleeping.
Once you’ve determined how much time you can afford to spend on building your business you need to start working on the nuts and bolts of your business which include:
What services am I going to offer
How do I set up my business legally?
Who are my ideal clients and how do I find them?
Creating client on-boarding systems like client contracts and intake forms
To answer all of these questions I created a free email course called “Your First Client” that will help you figure it all out.
Click here to sign up to my free course.
Figuring out all of the above takes time so don’t try to rush the process. Need some help along the way?
Leave me a comment below with the biggest struggle you’re experiencing so I can help.
I read every comment.
18 thoughts on “How To Start A Virtual Assistant Business While Working Full-Time”
Really excited to start a VA business in 2017!
I’m excited for you, Amy! How can I help you get ahead?
Thanks for all the info! Will read the steps.
You’re welcome, Joy!
This is awesome. I am going to start taking this advice and do my research. Thank you for supplying us with this wonderful information.
Glad you found it helpful, Teresa! Thanks for reading. xo
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.
You’re very welcome, Juria!
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.
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?
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?
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?
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.
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
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.
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.
How are you. First, I wanna say, finding you was a huge blessing to me! You have a wealth of information that I’m just having so much fun soaking up!
Here’s my question: I do not have a computer? Can I expect to be able to use my iPad and cellphone as my only hardware when starting? I know there are so many software out there (which I’m learning step by step), and I know I can use their corresponding apps. But is this enough to start with?
I have a whole lot more questions, but I’ll start with this one!
Thank you for your words! Having a computer will make things hard. There is only so much you can do with an iPad BUT it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get started. It just means that you might need to go get to a laptop or desktop from time to time when you need a bigger screen. I’m happy to answer ANY more questions you have. xo, Reese