A few months after I started blogging as a hobby, I decided I wanted to take my blog to the next level. I had read lots of online income reports from other bloggers and they were really inspiring to me.
I have always enjoyed writing, so I decided to start my business as a freelance writer.
How I Got Started as a Freelancer
In order to make my blog seem more like a business than a hobby, I moved it from a free Blogspot blog to self-hosted website. A blog on a self-hosted website appears a lot more professional, and legit, when you want to make money online from advertising on your site, and even freelance services.
Shortly after moving my blog over to my new self-hosted website, I started asking other bloggers for help getting started as a freelance writer for blogs. I moved my blog from Blogspot to this self-hosted site in May 2014. By July, I had landed my first two freelance writing clients.
But as I soon discovered, my real talent isn’t writing. I mean, I’m a decent writer and I still do some freelance writing. However, my real talent and what sets me apart as a freelancer is my ability to organize thing and provide virtual assistant services.
Starting My Virtual Assistant Business
One of my first two freelance writing clients asked me if I’d be interested in helping her with some research for another project for her business. Of course I said yes. At that point I wanted to make as much money as possible to throw toward my debt and this sounded like an easy task.
Setting a Rate
Since I had never worked as a virtual assistant before, I had absolutely no idea what to expect in terms of rate or even tasks and projects. I was nervous to tell her a rate because I had no idea what to expect, so I asked another VA in my niche how much a reasonable starting rate would be.
I pitched my client a rate of $18 an hour. She came back and asked if I’d do $16. I agreed.
We started working together slowly with a few basic tasks and research-based projects each month. After a couple of months, I was able to secure a raise and more tasks and projects. This significantly increased my income as a VA.
The Best Things About a Virtual Assistant Business
Offering both freelance writing and VA services in my business has allowed me to diversify my income. This means I don’t have to worry as much if one source of income dries up unexpectedly.
Working as a VA with an entrepreneur whom you admire is also a great way to learn about the inner workings of their business while also getting paid.
Some of my VA clients have paid for me to take training courses related to social media, advertising, project management, etc. This is all knowledge I’ve been able to put to great use. You can use it not only with that client, but also with other clients in your business. New skills also equate to a raise in pay whenever you take on a new client too.
How to Find Your First Client
I already told you a bit about how I found my first VA client by accident. But if you’re already looking into being a VA, here are some things you can do to find your first client.
Build Friendships in Your Niche
My first two clients were other bloggers in my niche (personal finance). I had been reading and commenting on their blogs for months before I got up the courage to ask them for advice about getting started as a freelance writer.
Offer Skills You Already Have
As I mentioned, I love writing and I had a blog to showcase my writing skills. But writing was just my way to get my foot in the door.
I still do some writing because I love it! But, more of my income is made up of my VA services from skills I’ve picked up along the way.
Advertise That You Want to Get Started
Schedule some tweets to go out saying that you are looking for more writing or VA clients. Set up a Hire Me page on your website.
Use these free forms of advertising to get your name out there to help you find your first client.
Ask for Referrals and Testimonials
Once you landed your first client, do everything you can to keep them happy. A happy client will gladly give you good feedback or a testimonial. You can use these to land more clients and grow your business.
My very first VA client was a great asset to my business. She was always tooting my horn and giving my name to other entrepreneurs that might need help with their business. She’s also highly respected in her niche, so her recommendation means a lot to other entrepreneurs.
Use the Right Tools
As I’ve progressed with my business, I’ve also realized the importance of having the right tools at my disposal. This definitely includes FreshBooks, which is now on my “must have list” for anyone considering a freelance business as a virtual assistant. FreshBooks has saved me a ton of money in PayPal fees and made it easier for me track who owes me money and who has already paid me.
Investing in working with a coach, or taking a course can also speed up your business growth and help you grow your revenue faster. I know I couldn’t avoided a lot of newbie mistakes if I had worked with a business coach when I first started out. That’s why I created my course, $10K VA to help other beginning VAs start and scale their business to earn up to $10K/month!
Starting my virtual assistant business is the best thing I’ve ever done for my life and finances!