Should you consider starting a virtual assistant business?

If you have ever considered becoming a virtual assistant . . . or if you are thinking of becoming some type of solopro but you’re not quite sure exactly what you want to do . . .  today’s newsletter is for you.

First, let’s all get on the same page by defining what a “virtual assistant” is. VAnetworking.com defines a virtual assistant as “a highly-trained independent entrepreneur who provides a myriad of business support services virtually via phone, fax and internet based technology to support and meet the growing needs of businesses worldwide. … A VA is your right hand person helping you to succeed in your business. The irony is you may never meet your VA as odds are they live nowhere near you.”

Kathy Goughenour, today’s guest writer, has years of profitable experience as a virtual assistant. (She’s made $100,000+ in her best years!) Now she coaches others on how to start and build a VA practice.

I am pleased to be Kathy’s affiliate in offering her upcoming 90-day Virtual Assistant Training program, which kicks off on September 29. Not only is the curriculum thorough, but she limits enrollment to only 19 individuals to assure a high level of individual attention. I am familiar with Kathy’s work and her training program and am confident it is the real deal. (Plus she offers a guarantee.)

For more information (and to sign up), click here. Insert cashin in the space provided for a discount code and your price will be reduced by $100.

First, answers to all the questions you would ask if you were face to face with Kathy (and weren’t uncomfortable asking questions about her income!)

Here  is Kathy’s brand new audio about the VA profession. I know you guys love solid figures—hourly rates, annual income potential, numbers of clients—as much as I do, and this audio is especially frank and revealing.

(Kathy says the audio file functions better when you listen to it right from your computer rather than downloading the file for later listening.)

The follow is an article from Kathy that may help you decide that being a VA is right for you.

15 Surprising Reasons You Should Consider Starting a Virtual Assistant Business

by Kathy Goughenour

Whether you’re looking for a good way to make money working from home or you already have a home-based business, this guide provides insight into the unlimited possibilities available in the booming Virtual Assistant industry.

A Virtual Assistant (VA) is an independent contractor who provides specialized skills to a target market she serves from her home office.  The specialized skills offered by individual VAs vary widely and include professional, administrative, technical and creative services.   The target markets served by VAs vary just as widely and range from authors to zoologists.

Before we jump into the 15 surprising reasons, let’s talk about the not-so-surprising reasons you should consider starting a Virtual Assistant business:

  1. Freedom and flexibility.  You don’t have to work typical business hours or 5 days a week.  Pick up your children from school and go to their soccer games.  Attend morning exercise classes at the gym (that’s what I do). You have the freedom and flexibility to set your own schedule.
  2. Work from home. Save gas and time.  Walk to your home office.  Never wear pantyhose or neckties again.
  3. Be your own boss. Choose who you want to work with.  How much money you want to make.  You design your own destiny.
  4. Live (and work) anywhere you want. Maybe you love where you live, but there are no jobs in the area.  By starting a VA business, you’re essentially creating your own job.

Now for the 15 surprising reasons you should consider starting a Virtual Assistant business:

  1. Make a good income. By working a 40-hour work week, I can teach you how to earn $35,000 a year.  Want to work less?  No problem.  You can still earn an average of $35 to $50 an hour.  Want to earn more?  In my sixth year as a VA, I earned a 6-figure income.  I can teach you how to do the same.
  2. Use it as a steppingstone to other online or offline businesses. Break into the world of online business in this low-cost, easy-to-learn business model.  You learn how to market and run a successful online business.  You build a network of colleagues and clients.  You gain valuable insight to your niche and target market.  The sky is the limit.  As a result of what I learned as a VA, I developed two additional online businesses.  LeadBoosterClub.com is a membership site for real estate agents.  ExpertVAtraining.com provides training for people who want to start their own Virtual Assistant businesses.
  3. Enter a booming industry. Demand for Virtual Assistants is growing rapidly. Small businesses and entrepreneurs who need support are discovering that Virtual Assistants can provide it more cost effectively than employees. Here’s just one example to prove my point. In January, 2009, Reuters.com published the article “Down economy a boon to virtual assistants.” In this article, virtual recruiter Gayle Buske of Team Double-Click stated, “Demand for our [virtual assistant] services has actually gone up. A lot of clients are replacing their brick-and-mortar offices with virtual offices. They’re staffing virtually.”
  4. Get retrained in 90 days. If your job has been outsourced or is simply no longer in demand, it may be time to get retrained in a new career.  Or, perhaps you’re a returning veteran who needs a new opportunity.  If you know how to write complete sentences, talk on the phone and have basic computer skills, a good training program can guide you to have a virtual assistant business set up and ready to bring in clients in 90 days.  If you need to brush up on your writing or basic computer skills, there are resources to help you do that quickly.
  5. Do something you love. What are you passionate about? Whatever it is, you’ll be able to create a VA business around it.  When you start your own VA business, you get to design your own job.
  6. Spend little to set up a VA business and even less on overhead. If you already have a computer, high-speed internet and low-cost long distance, all you’ll have to buy to set up your business is a website.  To purchase a website that provides everything you’ll ever need in a VA website, you should plan to spend between $300 and $600 to have it set up and under $25 a month to host.
  7. Create a career that moves with you. Trailing spouses of corporate employees or military personnel can create a business that they can earn good money from no matter where they live or how frequently they move.
  8. Gain experience and knowledge while earning a good income. Are you a college graduate or unemployed professional who can’t find a job?  A VA business not only brings in income, it also gives you the flexibility you need to continue your job search and go on interviews.  When the job market improves, you’ll have something of value to add to your resume. And who knows? You might like the freedom so much you’ll want to continue with your VA business even when the job market rebounds.
  9. Earn additional money to offset rising costs of living or savings you’ve lost. Are you a retiree who has lost your 401k or retirement money?  Maybe you’re on a fixed income and simply need more to make it to the end of the month.  If you need extra income to make ends meet, or to take that trip you’ve been wanting, you can earn it working as a Virtual Assistant.
  10. Overcome prejudices. The Virtual World is blind to physical attributes.  What matters online are your skills and abilities.  This is a benefit to anyone who might be discriminated against or have difficulties getting a job in the Brick and Mortar World for reasons such as age, gender, physical disabilities, ethnicity or race.  Online, you’re never too old or too young, too attractive or too unattractive, too thin or too heavy.
  11. Earn money without marketing or bringing in your own clients. If you simply cannot stand the thought of marketing a business and bringing in your own clients, you can work as a subcontractor to other VAs or outsourcing businesses.  These businesses take care of getting the clients and then they subcontract the work to individual VAs.
  12. Start your VA business before quitting your day job. This hybrid approach provides a safe way to start building your VA business before quitting your salaried day job.  Since you’re in charge of your work schedule for your VA business, you can decide which days and times to work, leaving you available to continue earning a stable income from your day job.  Once you’ve created a steady stream of clients in your VA business, you can make a smooth transition out of your cubicle and into your home office.
  13. Perk up a failing freelance or consulting business. Changing from a consultant business model to a VA business model, I went from earning just under $25,000 annually to earning over $100,000 annually.  I charged the same fees and offered the same services.  My theory on why this happened is that many small business owners have the perception that consultants are expensive and recommend solutions but don’t implement them.  On the other hand, they believe VAs are inexpensive workers who get the job done.  Tap into those beliefs to increase your earning power.
  14. Escape the corporate rat race. You may think that because you’re a manager in Corporate America or because you have an advanced degree that being a VA would be taking a step (or two or three) backwards.  Think again.  These days a VA performs tasks that used to be reserved for managers of corporations.  Virtual Assistants are web designers, search engine optimizers, copy writers, accountants and project managers, just to name a few.
  15. Cash in on skills you already have. Do you already know how to write web copy, marketing materials or blog posts?  That’s what I did as a Virtual Assistant and I charged $75 per hour.  Even better, I charged by the project and earned a six-figure annual income.  Maybe you love creating spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations or setting up shopping carts and autoresponders.  Whatever you enjoy doing, there’s a need for your skills.

If you’re serious about earning good money working from home, a Virtual Assistant business may be right for you.

About the Author

Kathy Goughenour is an experienced marketer, veteran Virtual Assistant, and a Virtual Assistant trainer and mentor. From corporate marketing for a Fortune 500 Company to direct sales to real estate Virtual Assistant to internet marketer, she’s been there and done that professionally and personally.

After taking a leap of faith and getting out of the corporate rat race 10 years ago, Kathy’s workplace changed and so did her income… it went up! Now, she has several internet businesses including her Virtual Assistant business, the real estate marketing site, and a VA training site, where she takes people by the hand and personally guides them through setting up their own highly profitable, home-based Virtual Assistant businesses.

Kathy knows the Virtual Assistant business from all angles.  In addition to creating her own six-figure VA business, she has subcontracted work to VAs, outsourced to VAs and successfully trained and mentored VAs.

Want more information about Kathy’s training program? Here’s the full story. If you enroll, insert cashin as the discount code and you’ll receive $100 off the usual price.

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6 responses to “Should you consider starting a virtual assistant business?

  1. Thank you for this wonderful sharing – it compels me to add my two bit:

    It’s been over 2 years since I said goodbye to my corporate (read:pampered & high paid) life.

    All I would like to say is VIRTUAL ASSISTANCE BUSINESS is a RECESSION-PROOF career option!

    Im not kidding – Im earning (sitting in my pyjamas & sometimes with uncombed hair) more than what I had earned in my SENIOR MANAGEMENT high-flying powerful jobs – BTW: I was working with Fortune Top 500 companies – so you know what pay packages Im talking about. Check my professional profile if you dont believe me [linkedin.com/in/polymathea]

    Sure love the flexibility, but the precious perk is not the wonderful new lifestyle & the lil freedoms – but the fantastic creative scope & the first-hand feel of making a humungous difference! And sky’s the limit – you have a skill – you SUPER at it – you have a market out there which needs it. Don’t be mediocre & dont settle for clients who are ok with mediocrity: they do you a disservice! Put your best foot forward every single time – there is no way you gonna fail & there is no way that people aint gonna notice!

    What has surprised me beyond belief is the scarcity of good reliable resources in this arena.

    So folks, if you are planning to take the plunge – NOW is the better time than any! You would soon have your ex-colleagues asking you if they can join your business! 🙂

    Job insecurity? Whats that!
    Recession? Never did better financially than I have in the last coupla years
    Performance Appraisal? Every VA assignment brings in a TESTIMONIAL – a true litmus test every single time.
    Promotion/Pay hikes? When word gets around I am SUPER[ read I dont say good] at what I do – they are not only willing to pay more: hell they throw in a BONUS as well!
    Did I mention Boss? Heheehe – never thought I would ever have a good/great boss – till i began working for myself.

    Take the leap – it will change your life for the better: it sure did mine!

    Would be glad to mentor any newbie VA – FREE! You could reach me through linkedin or through my website if the link is shared with the post.

    Thanks for reading this far. Have a great day ahead!

  2. Pingback: Twitter Trackbacks for Should you consider starting a virtual assistant business? « Stand Up 8 Times Blog ~ Diana Schneidman [standup8times.wordpress.com] on Topsy.com

  3. Pingback: Should you consider starting a virtual assistant business? « Stand … | assistants

  4. I have a group that I manage on Facebook that are Virtual Assistants. Is there a way that I get this information to share with my Virtual Assistants group?

    Aren’t there special areas that a VA can specialize in?

  5. Being a VA can be a highly profitable business for a number of reasons. Right now with the economy being soft, I have to work harder than ever to acquire and satisfy my clients. That means more work for me, but no more hours in the day. As a result, I have to look at outsourcing more of my work in a bad economy than I do in a good one.

    If you are talented and organized, this can be a great business to be in.

  6. Tammy,

    Feel free to copy this post to your group with a link to this blog entry.

    The beginning of the audio is fantastic–it lists and describes five leading areas of specialization for VAs right now. Everything Kathy writes is very nuts and bolts and this topic is no exception. Your group will gain ready-to-implement explanations of VA specialties that are in demand right now!

    Best of luck,
    Diana

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