Over the last few months, you’ve been thinking of switching careers and becoming a Virtual Assistant. Friends who made the transition at the start of 2016 are now enjoying flourishing careers. They’re making more money and more importantly, they’re happier.
You’ve done your fair share of research and noted how an economic powerhouse like the United States and the United Kingdom have been allocating almost 50% of their work forces to virtual assistants. Job market analysts forecast the proportion may hit 65% by 2020. It seems that it should be fairly easy to land the first client and build your career from there.
Before you jump ship and swim over to the virtual world, you need a dose of reality. A career as a Virtual Assistant certainly has a huge upside given that the demand for the profession is expected to remain high over the next few years. But there are risks and challenges to becoming a Virtual Assistant.
You should ask your friends who made the successful transition as virtual assistants. They probably had different experiences and took divergent paths to success. They will give you an in-depth perspective of what it’s like to change careers and the challenges you will face as a Virtual Assistant.
Here are the current realities you need to understand if plan to become a Virtual Assistant in 2017:
How Much Investment Do I Need to Start Out? As a Virtual Assistant, you are starting your own business which means you need to capitalize your enterprise. Here are a few things to consider:
- Register your business; if you want clients to take you seriously, register as an entity that is allowed to transact business.
- Invest in good, reliable equipment.
- Institute improvements in your designated work area to make sure it is conducive to productive work.
What Do I Need to Do to Find Clients? The first thing you should do is to create an online profile. If you don’t have experience in virtual assistance work, highlight your career accomplishments and strong points.
Identify a niche in virtual assistance work that you plan to explore. List down your skills, trainings and certifications you’ve received the last few years that are related to this niche.
How Soon Before I Land My First Client? Remember, you probably aren’t the only one thinking of a career transition. And that is exactly why you should not expect things to get easier; the level of competition will be very high.
Some VA’s are able to land a client in their first month while some have gone for a year without landing one. You should go full-blast in networking straight out of the gate:
- Sign up to at least online job sites such as Elance, Freelancer or Guru.
- Apply to a minimum of 2 posted jobs every day; Sundays included.
- Use social media; join focus groups or connect with key people in the industry.
- Attend networking events; distribute your calling cards and marketing portfolio.
As a Virtual Assistant, your level of income will depend on how much time you want to allocate per day to working. But keep in mind that if you’re starting out, you may not get the pay you want. As a first-timer, pricing will be a key differentiator. Clients may sign you up only if you give them a lower rate than the competition.
If you don’t have experience as a Virtual Assistant, do not prioritize your earnings. You need to prove yourself first; focus on building your portfolio and gaining experience. Consider discounts on your fees as the currency for experience or the tuition you pay to become a better Virtual Assistant.
If you can accept these current realities then you are on your way to becoming a successful Virtual Assistant in 2017.