Becoming a Virtual Assistant is not an overnight, get rich quick, or sometimes very lucrative experience…at first. And sometimes life intrudes – just like in a regular business environment. Here is a quick glimpse of my life experiences from the past week and how I am trying to bounce back –
My two year old caught the flu – it was a miserable experience. She only wanted mommy – so guess who got NO work completed?
The price of owning your own business is that when life intrudes – your business sometimes has to take a backseat. Be prepared – as much as you can be. Have a little money set back, if possible, to cover for losses. Search out long term clients so that you can build a relationship that allows for even more flexibility.
I lost a couple of contracts – which stinks – but that probably would have happened in a traditional business setting as well.
On the plus side – In the last two days I’ve completed 2 document edits for a law firm, conceptualized 3 blog posts and am getting ready to write one more, created 2 Facebook ads – and a brochure.
My point is that luckily, I can rebound from that short term cash flow issue. Which makes being my own boss fantastic.
If you are looking to start your own virtual assisting business – or need a virtual assistant – keep me in mind – because it’s business as usual over here!
Deciding to work from home as a virtual assistant is not an easy decision. There is a lot of uncertainty, doubt, and competition. Where to start? How much to charge? What platform to use to promote?
The best decisions start with a plan.
Find a niche. Any niche. Data entry expert? Administrative help? WordPress guru? Name the number one skill that is most marketable and make it a priority to advertise that skill.
Share with friends and family. No one will hire you if they don’t know you are working!
Offer trades to get reviews. Offer some free or discount services in order get reviews to whichever platform used. Small businesses always need help and the more advertising that is out there the better the chance of your name being mentioned.
Do not be afraid to ask for help – find a forum. Freelancing forums are all over Facebook. Find one, join it, get involved. Information will be easy to come by and you will find others who started the same way you are.
Do not lose hope! Even the best businesses start at ground zero!
Virtual employees are making up an increasing amount of the workforce. It is a tempting advantage for many people tired of the 9-5 grind and ready to strike out on their own. Every year over 1 billion dollars of work is completed through UpWork.
When searching and starting a freelance lifestyle there are good and bad points to every type of website that offers employment.
Getting started on UpWork is incredibly easy for the beginner. There are no fees that need to be paid to open an account and the only information needed is an email address.
After setting up your account follow these steps and advice to succeed:
- Set up your profile and upload a profile picture – clients are more likely to search you out if they can see your face.
- List all skills you have – do not skip out on any wording. Data entry, customer service, content editing – describe every skill and program. This makes your profile more complete and easily searchable by clients.
Applying for projects:
- Only apply for projects with clients that are listed as “payment verified” – verifying payment methods is one way that UpWork eliminates less than honest clients.
- Cover letters – get to the point quickly. Use as few sentences as possible to highlight your skills and express your interest in the project. Highlight other projects or jobs that you have held that relate to the project you are applying for.
- Understand that you may need to take some lower paying projects in order to build your reputation and “UpWork hours”. You can charge more once clients start rating and more hours are worked.
- Always respond to invitations – even if the job is above or below your skill set. This keeps your job rating high because you communicate. And a client always appreciates hearing back from an invitation and will probably keep you in mind for future projects closer to your skill set.
- Read the entire job posting – some clients request only freelances with a certain number of hours or certain skills. If you have less than the requested number of hours then the client would like they won’t even see your proposal.
- Every month a freelancer receives 60 “connects” or allowances to propose for a project – most projects require 2 connects so you will be able to apply for 30 projects a month without upgrading to a premium package.
Got the job?:
- Download the UpWork time tracker to your desktop. This allows you track your time without having to sign into UpWork every time. Most clients will want to pay you hourly – so it is very important that all time is logged. UpWork only guarantees payment on time tracked through the time tracker.
- Keep communication open. If you don’t understand an aspect of the project – ask.
- Clearly communicate if you are not going to complete a part of the project. Clients will appreciate that you were open and honest about missed deadlines.
Keep in mind:
- UpWork charges a service fee. This fee equals 20% of your earnings for the first 50 hours and then tiers down based on hours. Some people don’t like this aspect but you are also not paying a monthly fee to search and apply to jobs.
- UpWork does have a premium membership available which costs a small monthly fee. A freelancer then receives rollover on connects and 60 extra connects as well.
Working from home is NOT sleeping all day and watching Netflix. Working from home is WORK.
The above is one of the hardest hurdles that many freelancers have to overcome when first starting out. And it’s not because freelancers feel this way, but because the perception of a freelance worker is sometimes skewed by others.
Finding a work and home life balance when your work is in your home is a common challenge. Others expect you to be able to run errands, pop out for lunch, or drop everything for a chat.
It’s important that when you decided to work from home you set clear boundaries to others about when you are available. This is doubly true if you are also a stay at home parent. When chasing after a toddler, time is limited and you MUST make the most of your work hours.
Being clear about how often your available and which hours work for you will cause less stress when deadlines loom.
In all avenues of employment – whether working at home, in a traditional office, or even in network marketing – there is a time when you must “do it scared”.
A presentation that is going to net a lot of money – but you have to speak in front of a room full of highly successful and lucrative clients.
A video call with complete strangers that are evaluating your skills and experience for a contract.
A client that you are hoping to land but the competition is stacked against you.
All of these types of situations make you want to just turn around and let someone else do it. They make you feel scared, unworthy, nervous, excited, and a dozen other conflicting emotions. But they all come down to – are you really ready? Can you do this? Are you good enough? Smart enough? Will you respond quickly enough?
Let me introduce you to a girl – she’s 12. She was once told that she couldn’t sing by someone that she trusted, loved, and looked up to. This girl had a TON of other people telling her how beautiful and clear her voice was – but that one person had destroyed her self-confidence with just a few ill placed words.
One day she finally listened and decided to try-out for a part – just one little line – in a church for the Christmas program. It took guts and grit to ignore that one little voice that was telling her that she wasn’t good enough.
Guess what? She got the part.
But that wasn’t the hardest part – the hardest part was getting up there and singing in front of all those people and fighting the volume of that little voice still nagging her.
She did it. She did it scared – but she did it.
How many times and things have you walked away from because of a little voice? Sometimes our greatest victories are on the other side of our greatest fears and those moments are the ones that make all of the difference.
You’ve made the decision that you need to work from home – either part-time or full-time!
Every day my Facebook feed is filled with friends who are working a direct sell or MLM (multi-level marketing) company. The choices are endless. I mean ENDLESS! Any hobby you have – there is probably a MLM company that encourages you to sell it. Here is a quick list of the pro’s and con’s for joining a MLM company. Please keep in mind that I am not bashing the MLM industry at all. I’m a part of one. BUT I believe that everyone should go into this industry with their eyes wide open.
First, all companies are not the same and I’ll review individual ones at a later time. This is just meant as a general overview of how MLM companies work and the pro’s and con’s.
Generally, when you join a MLM company you will have found someone and be joining beneath them as part of their team. This person should be more than willing to answer any questions honestly and fully. If you get the feeling they are less than knowledgeable, you can always request to speak with their “upline” or the person THEY joined under.
- Commission! You generally get between 20%-40% from every sale, depending on the company and your “level”.
- You learn more about yourself and, for some, it is a chance to get out of their comfort zone.
- Building your network so that you can build your business.
- Reaching out to family and friends while you build your network can make you feel spammy.
- Hidden fees. This includes website fees that are sometimes hidden behind the “sign up for free”.
- Building a network so that you can build your business.
Those are just a few of the general pro’s and con’s about entering in to a MLM company. Here are some important things to ask before committing to a company as well.
- Always ask about website fees, monthly and yearly quota’s to stay active in the company, if there is a minimum order status, and whether there are any monthly company fees.
- Always ask how much you have to sell to get to each level.
- Remember that most companies are not a “quick way to get money”.
- Read the fine print.
Remember this: ask questions and feel confident before committing to anything.
Fed up with the 9 to 5? Have a full-time job but need more income and can’t find the time for a second job? Really want to start your own business but no idea where to start? What to start? Want to create a lifestyle for yourself that doesn’t include working to someone else’s schedule? Trying to decide between MLM, Direct Selling, or a Freelancer career?
Freelance workers and work from home jobs have broken the mold in the last years – it’s a complete lifestyle change that many people don’t understand or have a lot of respect for.
I’m offering the facts of being a digital nomad, work from home mom or dad, creating a laptop lifestyle; whatever you would like to call it.
Questions about where to start, how to start, when to get started, what to do and not to do; all of these little nagging doubts and how to conquer them.
That’s what I’m here for.