Every life goes through a period of change. Lately, mine has been more like the meteor that ended the reign of the dinosaurs than the gentle eons worth of evolution of other species.

The business that I started out with did not end up being my end result. That doesn’t mean I failed. It means that my business went a different direction than what I had planned.

A good business and business person is willing to change and evolve with the ebbs and flows of the world.

I’m proud of where my business is going. I’m proud that I am gaining new followers for my course that will help others live this same dream. I’m proud of the clients I have. I’m proud of my kids for hanging in there with me.

In business, you MUST keep sight of the important and valuable things in life. If you are spending more hours working than spending time with your kids when your entire goal was to be home with your kids – you might need to reevaluate your goals in business.

Business As Usual

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!

I want to work from home but…

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!

How to Get Started On UpWork

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:

  1. Set up your profile and upload a profile picture – clients are more likely to search you out if they can see your face.
  2. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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?:

  1. 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.
  2. Keep communication open. If you don’t understand an aspect of the project – ask.
  3. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.