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Virtual Assistant Business FI

How to Start a Profitable Online Business as a Virtual Assistant

January 31, 2018

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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. Advertising with Twitter can often be rewarding as it is one of the fastest growing platforms today.

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!


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17 responses to “How to Start a Profitable Online Business as a Virtual Assistant

  1. Really great stuff here. Thank you for sharing your journey into the VA world. It’s something I’d love to pursue down the road, but right now I only have time for freelance writing while I’m home full-time with my youngsters. So, keep posting and I’ll keep reading!

    1. Thanks Laura! Yeah, I really feel like combining my writing and VA helped me “reach the next level” with my business. Whenever you have more time, it’s definitely something to consider pursuing.

  2. I think I would be interested in VA services when I decide it would be better to leave my full-time job. Right now I wouldn’t have the time to dedicate but it certainly sounds like a good way to diversify income if or when I freelance full-time. Thanks for sharing your experience with us.

    1. You are so welcome! Being a VA does take some time, but once you’ve gotten some good experience, it can be a lucrative way to make money.

  3. This is a very good article that I feel people who want to get into this business can benefit from. I like articles that tell me exactly what I should or need to do — it’s so much more helpful then just being vague about it all. Thank you!

  4. The article was so informative.I have outsourced lot of my business works to my virtual personal assistant in India who has helped me in lot my activities like email management, SEO etc. It is very effective.

    1. Thanks for your feedback. Hiring virtual assistants can keep business costs down which I think is why more and more businesses are turning to them to do many tasks.

  5. How to get paid on hourly basis? I can’t afford basecamp or any other time tracking software right now which usually required monthly setup fee. What to do?

    1. You can track your time manually with a spreadsheet. That’s actually how some of my clients prefer me to keep track. It’s kind of on the honors system since there’s no actually timer or anything watching what you do though.

  6. Thanks Kayla, for your quick reply. One more question burning my head after seeing your course “$10k VA”. I am wondering how many clients do I need to earn $10k per month. Because I observe some VA companies’ pricing model. I have found two types of model: hourly and task-based. Hourly model is quite impressive, but how many clients may willing to get me paid 8 hours a day, 30 days per month? And for the task-based model, I saw some companies are charging only $50 for 15 tasks for a month. 15 tasks! That’s a lot! So I am wondering how many clients will order more task in a single month so I can reach the goal of $10k?
    So, I am confused is it really possible to earn $10k per month and if it’s possible, then how many clients do I need in a single month to achieve the goal? Please discuss it further, I am really looking to start my own VA business seriously.

    1. The thing is, I didn’t start out the first month making $10K. It does take time to build up to that. The point is that it can be done with hard work and dedication. As for the number of clients you need it depends on what you are doing for them and what they are paying. Experience also plays a part in that as well. Remember, it is possible to start part time on the side, while working a full time job, and build your income before attempting to turn it into full time work to replace that full time job. That’s what I did and it worked well for me.

  7. I am a VA for a company but I would like to start working for myself, as my current hourly rate is between $9-12 an hour. There are definitely services that i am not skilled enough to do, so I’m not sure what to charge and how to even start. At some point, making a full time income would be ideal. Any tips?

    1. I suggest taking what you’ve learned and pitching to people yourself. You could probably start between $15-$20 since you have experience. Also, start taking courses and classes to learn more and build up your portfolio!

  8. I am glad I stumbled upon this post! I am making the switch to the virtual administrative world, but I am confused as to where to start! I have the skills, the blog, and the motivation, but I am still struggling to get something started! I will dig a little further into you website!

    1. Good luck! And you can always start with deciding what you want to do, how much you need to earn from that, and then start pitching people you’d want to work with. You’d be surprised to know what a great cold pitch can do for you!

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