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As I mentioned in my last post “Why I Decided to Become a Virtual Assistant”, I was loved being a stay-at-home mom but, I missed working. I researched several different MLMs and found that none of them were for me.
Making the decision to go back to work was not easy. However, I knew that it would be the best for me and my family. I developed a specific list of criteria that needed to be met before I was willing to take a job.
- No daycare for baby. A large part of why I stay home is because daycare is super expensive! It’s hard to find people these days that are trustworthy and that you won’t pay through the nose for. Besides that, almost my entire paycheck would have gone to daycare
- I needed to be able to work flexible hours. Something I would be able to work on before the kids woke up, during nap time and after they went to bed. I was adamant that I did not want my job to interfere with my time with my daughter. Yes, I know this won’t always be the case!
- I wanted a job where I was not tied to a computer and headset for 8 hours straight. While there is nothing wrong with those jobs, been there, done that. Not going back. Plus, with a precocious toddler, I need to be able to get up at a moments notice to redirect her from whatever she is climbing on. 🙄
- If I was going to be willing to give up my precious free time, I wanted it to be worth my time monetarily.
I was very strict with my criteria and did not budge. I narrowed myself down to a couple different MLMs and virtual type work. As I mentioned in my previous post, the seed had been planted when I came across a virtual assistant offering her services to a Beachbody trainer. I fell in love with her website, I knew how to do the same exact services she was offering and she was charging a crazy amount of money to do it.
In my search, I began taking a look at what a virtual assistant was and what they did. A “virtual assistant is anyone who trades services in return for payment from afar”. The term “virtual secretary” was used several times. I will admit that my initial understanding of what a virtual assistant did was just that. A secretary who had the luxury of working from home. Simple enough I thought, I am more than qualified. But as I researched on, I found that virtual assistant was more of a general term. Yes, virtual assistants provide general administrative services, but they also can provide social media management, content production, bookkeeping and even event planning!
After reading a list of over 150 services that I could offer and get paid for, I knew this was the job for me. But in true Sarah fashion, I will admit there I did make a few pro/con lists before making my final decision.
I made my final decision to become a virtual assistant at the end of August 2017.
I had already figured out my WHY, so I was ready to roll. Making the decision was the easy part; getting started was another story. Seriously, it wasn’t that bad. As I began reading a mountain of articles that I found, I realized that I had two options with my new found career.
I could either start my own freelancing business, or I could sign on with a virtual assistant agency such as Fancy Hands or Upwork.
After several hours of research, I found that starting my own business would work best for me. Starting your own business isn’t for the faint of heart, that’s for sure! I knew by going out on my own that I would be able to have more control over the work that I did, hours I worked and money I made.
When signing up with companies like Fancy Hands, for example, you are paid per task; the tasks are on a first come, first serve basis. You never know what type of tasks will be available and you cannot pick them up and save them for later (with a few exceptions). I wasn’t a fan of this because I knew I wanted to have more control over the type of work that I did and when I did it.
So while you can work at any time you want, there really is no guarantee that tasks will be available and decently priced tasks at that. Also, if you decide to contract with these companies they own your clients, you do not. So if they go out of business, so do you.
Let’s Chat Pros to Starting Your Own Virtual Assistant Business
- I love the flexibility. The keyword to the phrase virtual assistant is virtual. All you need is a computer, strong internet connection, and a cellphone. I won’t even say you need high-speed internet, although that helps. My DSL and now the wireless internet has served me just fine. Being a virtual assistant gives you the option to work when and where you choose. As long as you are able to communicate with your client, that’s all you need!
- A major pro for me was the minimal startup costs. As I have grown up, I have become much more fiscally responsible. I like to save as much money as I can when I can. You could even do it cheaper then I did if you want. We already had the computer, phone, and internet so I was set. My Facebook business page was free. I set up my own website using WordPress and Siteground as my hosting. I also signed up for a membership site and I purchased two courses that I’ll mention later in another post.
- You are able to earn while you gain experience! Yes, you read that right. I am coming into my company with 15 years of customer service experience and a bachelors degree in management and marketing. Not everyone starting as a virtual assistant has work experience though, and that’s ok! The key is that you have to want to learn. Find a client who is willing to work with you and even train you while you learn your new skill, it’s a win/win! I am looking forward to honing my new skills while helping my clients grow their businesses. So yes, you are able to make an income while learning your position! How awesome is that?!
- Once you are able to acquire clients and move them to a monthly retainer model, you can begin to predict your monthly income. Predictable income is awesome!! Owning your own freelancing business, you will be able to set your own rates, hours and which services you will provide.
- The opportunity to hold my financial freedom in my own hands. It is giving me the opportunity to have something that was my own. The decisions I make today will determine the direction I head tomorrow. I love that. I have no one telling me what to do, I have full control of my destiny.
Cons of Starting Your Own Virtual Assistant Business
One of the perks of working for a normal 9-5 is they provide you with perks and benefits. Choosing to work as a freelancer you are not afforded the same conveniences. There are so many great benefits to working as a freelancer and starting your own business. However, there are some downsides that you need to be aware of:
- Your clients do not provide your benefits. This means that you do not receive sick or vacation days, no 401(k).
- You will be required to pay both the employer and employee taxes to the IRS. Your clients do not pay any of this.
- Clients do not provide you with any insurance benefits. You will need to either obtain your benefits through a spouse/partner or individually.
- You will need to set up your own investment accounts and pay into them on your own.
- There are no sick days when you are a freelancer. You will still need to complete your client work.
- Working from home can get lonely. For me, I don’t mind it. While I still can have my squirrel moments; working alone and in time blocks forces me to have a plan and focus. If you do get lonely, however, you have the option of changing your location. Working at your local Starbucks or even a local co-office space is a great way to things mix up.
After weighing the pros and cons, I decided that starting my own freelancing business would be the most beneficial for my family.
It had the opportunity for endless growth and income potential. It was also something that would keep me challenged. I often find that once I master a skill, I become complacent and bored. I am positive that this will not be the case.
Business is always changing and you have to move forward and roll with the punches. I love that I can take on tasks as simple as email management and as extensive as running full-blown marketing campaigns.
I love that I am able to work towards the financial goals I have set forth for my family. Finally, I love that I can put my name on this new company and be proud to call it mine.