The side hustle series continues! I started this series last year to share some in-depth insight on various different money-making side hustles you can try if you are looking to earn extra money. Instead of just listing out ideas, I wanted to provide a realistic guide to help you establish a thriving new side hustle of your choice…Because a good idea is just that unless you act on it.
While it’s no secret that my side hustle of choice is freelance writing, I know that not everyone adores writing as much as I do. Plus, there are tons of other side hustles in other niches to help you earn a sustainable side income.
Virtual assistant work is one of them. If you want to become a virtual assistant, this is a top online job right now since it’s flexible and pays well.
What is a Virtual Assistant?
A virtual assistant or VA may have been a term you’ve heard before. It basically refers to an online personal assistant who helps individuals and businesses manage and operate various different tasks. The range of work a VA can do is so wide (I will cover some main tasks later) that this side hustle has become a growing need as more and more people develop websites and grow their businesses.
Quite a few people in my personal life ask me how they can earn extra money on the side and I almost always recommend VA work if they can use a computer well. Unlike other side hustles, VA work often doesn’t involve complex or specialized skills and anyone with organizational skills and basic computer skills can take a stab at it.
Some people even run their own VA businesses or do it full-time.
How Much Can you Make?
According to Payscale, virtual assistants can make anywhere from $12 when they first start out to $30 or $50 per hour depending on experience. Some people even go on to earn more, but at that point, it all depends on who your client is, the type of work you’re doing, and what their budget is like.
On the bright side, it’s not hard to find a client who will pay you $20 per hour and you don’t even need a degree.
While there being a virtual assistant comes with great earning potential, I do want to point out that virtual assistants who work as freelancers and choose their own clients will probably earn more than a virtual assistant who is hired to work for a company.
This is because when you get to pick your own clients, you can choose your rates and offer custom quotes. When you work for a company who hires VAs, you have to settle for their hourly rate, their projects, and their schedule.
There are pros and cons to both situations, but in this post, I’m going to be discussing how you can become a virtual assistant who’s self-employed and find your own clients.
What does a Virtual Assistant Do?
Like I said earlier, virtual assistants can do a wide variety of tasks. If you’re considering trying out this side hustle, my advice to you would be to narrow down your specialties and offer those services so you are doing work that you enjoy and are good at.
For example, I narrow down my VA specialties to social media scheduling, blog commenting, managing comments, blog management, and SEO work.
Other tasks that VAs perform include, but are not limited to:
- Creating graphics and pictures for blog posts
- Scheduling blog posts
- Managing email inboxes
- Organizing and scheduling newsletters
- Creating and sending out invoices
- Managing multiple social media channels
- Coming up with a content strategy to implement
- Dealing with customer issues or processing returns
- Updating SEO on websites for pages and blog posts
- Scheduling meetings and conference calls
- Booking speaking engagements
- Performing market research
- Live chat support
- Managing affiliate programs
- And more!
As you can see, the possibilities are practically limitless when you work as a VA and you don’t just have to work with only bloggers either. Many entrepreneurs and start-ups need VAs desperately so there is a big need to fill.
My Love – Dislike Experience with Becoming a VA
I first heard about becoming a VA last year, and just a few months ago, I became interested in giving it a try. My initial intention was to diversify my income and mix up my workload to relieve myself from writing all the time. Not a day goes by where I don’t write something even though some days I don’t feel like writing at all.
Becoming a VA would allow me to mix things up, choose my rates, and earn a steadier income aside from freelance writing. It was easier said than done I suppose. When I first attempted to break into the VA world I felt like a newbie all over again just like when I started freelance writing.
I didn’t know who to pitch, what type of rates to set, and when I did pitch someone they always seemed more interested in my writing services or not even interested at all. I was feeling a bit down about it at first like VA work just wasn’t for me.
Fast forward to now and I’ve landed a few great clients with work I love and I’ve finally boosted my VA income to practically cover my monthly rent payment. Granted, my rent is not much, but I’m getting somewhere.
As a blogger myself, I like to keep my VA work limited so I can have time to work on my own projects as well. But it has great potential to even out my freelance income and you’ll see the change in my next online income report.
I had to implement a few strategies to obtain my first few VA clients and you can do this as well.
Decide who you are Targeting
Just like with any side hustle, you need to determine who your service will help. That’s how you will reassure yourself and others that it’s valuable. Whether you choose to help overwhelmed mommy bloggers, established business owners, or professionals who just “ain’t got time for Facebook and social media”, knowing exactly who your target market is will help you narrow down your search and only put your time and effort into promising leads.
Try to avoid being a jack of all trades and trying to offer every service under the sun because odds are, you may not be good at or like doing everything.
Learn the Basics
If you know little about the virtual assistant industry like I did, but want to get yourself established quickly, you need to turn to the pros to learn the basics. Luckily, right when I decided I wanted to dabble in VA work, professional freelancer Gina Horkey came out with her course,
Luckily, right when I decided I wanted to dabble in VA work, professional freelancer Gina Horkey came out with her course, 30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistant Success. I tried it out as a beta user and learned a lot of skills to help market myself for well-paying work that I would love.
It’s a self-paced email course that is really laid back and easy to follow. It’s filled with resources, tools, actionable steps to take, and real-life case studies from other successful people who have taken the course and become successful – which I loved.
The best part is that if you take it actively, you can complete it in just a few weeks and be on your way to booking VA clients and boosting your income.
The course includes 12 self-paced modules containing 3-7 lessons, end of module checklists, and even a quiz at the end of each lesson to make sure it all sinks in.
I’ve been following Gina since last year and she’s the real deal. She started earning about $4k a month after freelancing for only six months.
Last month, she earned more than $18k and more than 22% of that was from virtual assistant work so the proof is in the pudding. Gina shares all her best tips and strategies for becoming a successful virtual assistant starting at $147. There’s also a 30-day money back guarantee but I’m sure you won’t even need to consider that.
Students can easily earn back their small investment after just one month of working as a VA which is why I’d highly recommend the course if you’re serious about getting started.
Perfect your Pitch
A perfect pitch is a must if you want to land jobs. Pitching used to be my least favorite thing to do but now I love it because I’ve figured out a great strategy that helps me get clients.
Once you have your basic pitch down, you can use it as a foundation to send out custom pitches to potential clients. For example, if someone is looking for blog management help, your pitch should different than the one you’re sending to a client for email management assistance.
If pitching is completely foreign to you and you have no idea where to start, I created a Pitching Mini Course and Challenge that will teach you everything you need to know about identifying your ideal client, crafting a unique pitch, following up and more. My course and challenge go hand-in-hand and are designed to help you take action to gain your next quality client in 10 days or less.
Here is a sample pitch template I’ve created that you might find helpful.
My name is____________ I follow you on ___________ and really like the way you (insert a genuine compliment about their work or business to set the tone for a friendly relationship and smooth out any awkwardness).
It seems as if you are quite busy on a day-to-day basis with all that you do. I am writing you to see if you are interested in bringing on a reliable person to help perform tedious tasks and manage certain aspects of your business/blog/website to free up more of your time.
I provide content management and social media management services for businesses, companies, organizations and other busy professionals. I specialize in working behind the scenes in order to help you increase productivity, improve your work-life balance, and take your business to the next level.
I’d love to learn more about your needs and discuss how I can assist you. For examples of my work, references, or if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!
I look forward to hearing from you.”
Establish your Website and Optimize It
While most people recommend having a network to build your VA hustle, I didn’t have much of a network to begin with and had no idea where to look.
I found Facebook groups to be very helpful in landing gigs and finding leads. Gina has an active Facebook group for students who have taken her course to help them get started.
If you want to check out websites on your own for leads, some beginner sites that you can check out to land VA gigs are:
These sites are quite competitive, so your best bet is to set up a website or ‘Hire Me’ page and optimize it for search engines. SEO (search engine optimization) does take a while to start working, but I optimize every post on this blog and every page of my website for search engines and while it’s brought readers to my site it’s also brought, potential clients.
Starting your own website or blog is highly recommended and can even help you increase your income since you can monetize your blog and treat it like a side hustle.
Setting up a professional website is easier than it sounds. Here is my step-by-step tutorial guide that walks you through how to set up a website/blog with Bluehost in just minutes.
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