It might come as no surprise if you have read any of my other posts, I am always on the look out for a way of making an extra income, so a few years ago I tried my hand as a Virtual Assistant (VA).
My first job was assisting a local business with some papers needed to defend a claim that had been made against them in the small claims court. I didn’t provide any legal advice, as I’m not qualified and assisted solely with the administration.
Why would a business hire a Virtual Assistant?
I wouldn’t rewire a house as I don’t have the relevant expertise therefore I’m prepared to pay someone that does, this saves me time, money and worry that I’m going to make a right mess of things that would no doubt cost me more to correct.
Owning a business is like spinning plates, if you take your eye off one, it it will no doubt loose momentum shatter, this will in turn result in a domino effect with the rest of the plates after having lost your focus.
A business owner will be responsible for finding new customers, social media marketing, dealing with the accounts among other activities and lets not forget carrying out the work that is actually going to bring in the cash.
A Virtual Assistant is like the electrician called in to rewire a house, they would have developed their skills over a number of years and have the necessary experience to save the business both time and money.
Another benefit to a business in hiring a Virtual Assistant is that they are self employed, deal with their own taxes and you don’t have to pay them for holidays.
Can you be a Virtual Assistant part-time?
Just because you put up a nice looking website, there are no guarantees that you are going to get businesses wanting to use your service right away and you can’t blame them, they don’t know you from Adam and you want to take their money for an untested service.
It is because of this that you are going to have to spend a lot of time looking for that first customer. If it is possible you might want to see whether you are able to carry out your services voluntarily in your area and ask for testimonials that you can post on your website or blog.
Whether your customers are local or in another part of the country, you will have to consider how they are going to contact you whilst you are at work or in hours where you are not working as a VA. It is unlikely that you are going to be able to take calls or reply to their emails while you are at work.
Being a Virtual Assistant part time is certainly possible, but it will be a lot harder.
What services can you offer?
No matter what your experience, there is always going to be something that you are able to offer that is going to be in demand or someone just doesn’t have the inclination to do themselves.
Don’t be deterred if you don’t feel that you have the necessary computer skills to offer a service, your strength might be found elsewhere, whether that is event planning, accounting or PR.
Below is a non-exhaustive list of services that you could offer a as virtual Assistant.
- Data Entry
- Debt recovery
- Report Writing
- Search Engine Optimization
- Social Media Management
- Website/Blog maintenance
- Writing press releases
What you will need
As you are going to be self employed you are responsible for ensuring that you have all the necessary equipment to carry out your role. If it goes wrong you are going to have to replace it or risk losing customers.
- A reliable internet connection
- Computer, with the necessary software
- Business cards
Getting customers as a new VA
You are an untested entity so it is unlikely that just because you throw up a lovely looking website you are going to get people falling over themselves to hand over their money.
It is with this that you have to remember that you are your own business and the rules of attracting new customers apply to you too.
- use social media
- run offline local advertising
- get some business cards
You might also want to consider volunteering your services locally in exchange for testimonials that you can post on your website showing how satisfied they are with your work.
Not to be forgotten, there are also websites that allow you to bid on jobs posted by businesses
How much can you make?
How much you make will depend on your efforts and skills. You will potentially earn more if you decide to do this full time rather than part time, but the beauty of being of being self employed is that you able to set your own rates.
Be realistic a good guide would be to charge between £25 – £50, tough researching your competition is always advisable, no one wants to be priced out of the market.
Don’t be deterred, give it a go and if it doesn’t yield the results you want at least you have given it go. Dust yourself off and try something else.