Are you interested in being a VA (virtual assistant) to earn a bit of money on the side?
There are so many side business ideas out there, but being a VA is one of the most versatile ideas out there. You can literally work anywhere, you just need an internet connection a laptop for most tasks. In fact, if you play your cards right, you can earn a healthy side income from it.
I invited Kayla Sloan to talk about her experience being a VA . What initially started as a side hustle turned into a full time job and she earns 6 figures a month from(psst…she has a super affordable course that outlines the EXACT process she used to get to $10,000 a month)! She talks about some of the mindset shifts she’s had to make including overcoming a scarcity mindset and how she turned that around. She’s seriously so inspiring and I hope you get a lot out of this interview.
Don’t forget to check out her course 10K VA and get started earning money as a virtual assistant for less than $200
Sarah: What were the side business ideas you pursued and why did you start it?
Kayla: I started freelance writing in July 2015. I got my first client by simply emailing a few of my blogger friends who I knew were freelancers to ask about how they got started and if they knew of anyone looking to hire freelancers. By doing this, I got two clients almost immediately because two of the bloggers I emailed were looking to subcontract out some of their work. Within a couple of weeks, one of them noticed that organization and deadlines are a strength of mine and asked me if I’d ever thought about being a Virtual Assistant(VA). At the time, I didn’t even know what that was! But I told her I was up for anything to make some extra money. My budget was extremely tight and I was barely making ends meet before I started freelancing. Little did I know, saying yes to being her first VA was what helped my business take off. Now I’m fully self-employed.
Sarah:Why did you choose that side hustle over the countless ones out there?
Kayla: I’ve realized being a VA is a great side hustle because it doesn’t really take a lot of prior knowledge or skills to get started. But you do have to very detail oriented. I think it’s a great side hustle because you can do you work anywhere and anytime, as long as you are able to meet the deadlines assigned to you.
Sarah: What were your initial struggles with your side hustle? In other words, what was your mindset at the time when you started it?
Kayla: I had a lack mindset when I first started. I had almost no extra money in my budget and I was only paying the minimum payments on all of my debt each month. I barely had any money for fun or entertainment and carried that lack mindset over into my business too – I said to every single opportunity and while it lead to me making a great income, it was so hard at times. I was working all the time at my full-time job, part-time job, and side hustle and barely had time for myself. Now I try to be more balanced, but it’s still hard for me!
Sarah: How long until your side hustle became successful? As in, how much did you make, and how long did that take?
Kayla: My first month side hustling I made $285 freelance writing and offering VA services. Within 12 months, in July 2016, I was making just over $2,000 each month and was able to quit my job to run my business full-time. Now I make right around $10,000 each month before expenses.
Sarah: What were some limiting beliefs you had about your virtual assistant business? How did you get over it?
Kayla: One thing that I thought would be a struggle is how much you can charge as a VA. There are lots of VA services outside of the US that enable people to get basic VA services for very little money. So, I was concerned that I might lose out on clients because I was not willing to work for such a small amount (per hour), but I haven’t ever really run into that issue. Most people know that a good VA is worth her weight in gold and are willing to pay for good work. If they aren’t, I don’t worry about it! I know there are plenty of other clients and jobs out there that will pay what I’m worth.
Sarah: What would you say to someone who doesn’t have any experience being a VA? In other words, what qualities does someone need to have to be successful as a VA?
The qualities and skills needed to be a VA are very, very basic. You don’t have to have a specific college degree, or be an “expert” at anything to get started.
The most important things you need to be a successful VA are:
- Reliability – You MUST meet your deadlines! A shocking number of VAs don’t do this!
- Good Communication Skills – Don’t be afraid to ask questions!
- Integrity – Never, never, never take advantage of your client, their business information, etc. As a VA you will be privy to a lot of behind-the-scenes information that should NEVER be shared.
- Time Management Skills – You’ll have to juggle multiple clients, projects, and a deadlines. You need to be able to prioritize your work and make the best use of your time.
- Problem Solving and Resourcefulness – Although asking questions of your clients is a good thing, do you best to be a problem solver too. I try to present options to my clients when I go back to them with a question. This saves them time, which is the whole reason they hire a VA!
- oFollowing Up – As silly as it sounds, being willing and able to follow up on things to make sure they are fully completed is one of the biggest things I do as a VA.
Sarah: Is there a starting rate (hourly or project) that someone can charge?
VAs in the United States will typically earn between $15-$35/hour, but if you have very advanced skills or knowledge in certain areas (like coding, technical knowledge, etc.), you may be able to earn much more. Some of these more specialized VAs can earn up to $60/hour.
Sarah: You said that most people know that a good VA is worth her weight in gold and will pay for good work. How can someone get started looking for good clients?
I always recommend to new VAs that they start with their existing network to find their first client. This will help you land a client with less competition than if you use a job board. Less competition means higher pay. Plus, if they’re someone you already know, it may be easier to get started with less training. It also gives you the opportunity to work with clients you admire and work you believe it, which is always fun to be a part of something bigger than yourself. 🙂 I’m not a fan of job boards at all unless you have absolutely no other options to get your first client.
Sarah: What were the biggest lessons learned from your virtual assistant business?
Kayla: Don’t compromise your values – ethically or financially. Don’t do work you don’t believe it and don’t accept less pay than you know you are worth.
Sarah: What were some tools that helped you be successful in your side hustle?
I use a few tools in my business to help me be more productive. My favorite tool of all time is Asana and I use the free version. For scheduling client meetings I use Calendly and Zoom. For accounting and invoicing I use Freshbooks. I use LastPass for password sharing with most of my clients. Google Drive is a MUST. I’ve started using Zapier to automate certain processes to save me time.
For social media, I’ve used TONS of different tools for various clients. I’ve used Tailwind, Board Booster, Hootsuite, Later, Buffer, Post Planner, and Meet Edgar for various clients and social media platforms.
I also love Facebook groups because they have been absolutely amazing for growing my virtual assistant business. I have one for my course 10K VA because I really believe in the value of such groups.
Sarah: What top 3 tips would you give to someone who wanted to start your side hustle?
- Start TODAY! It’s not hard, but it does take work.
- The easiest way to grow your business is NOT with job boards, but with connections you already have. Plus, they’ll probably pay better.
- Don’t ever stop hustling! Once you grow your side hustle business to the place where you want to be, don’t stop looking for better opportunities. When you stop looking, you’ll stop growing and you might find yourself suddenly needing to hustle again if you lose a client for some reason.
Isn’t Kayla amazing? If you know me I don’t normally suggest anything unless I know it’s the real deal. If you’re looking for a side business idea or hoping it’ll turn into a full-time venture like Kayla did, then definitely check out her course 10K VA. Trust me, the investment is worth it 🙂
Being a badass with your money is as easy as asking yourself what you want.
Download our values-based spending guide and figure out how to revolutionize your financial decisions ASAP.
(psst...we also send you occasional emails on how else to live beyond the dollar. You in?)
Latest posts by Sarah Li Cain (see all)
- How I Accidentally Created a Six Figure Freelance Writing Business - December 6, 2018
- A Nourishing (and Hopefully Painless!) Ritual For Your Finances - October 23, 2018
- Perhaps the Secret Reason Your Job Sucks Is…You? - July 25, 2018