I hope you’ve been enjoying exploring some different business models. I’ve got one more for you after this one. Today we’re chatting with my friend Dawn Wilkerson; Virtual Assistant.
What are the basic start-up costs?
As far as start up costs, it is fairly simple… you need a computer, internet, and some basic software programs. I like to use Microsoft Office, as many clients use these already so it makes for easy transition. If you choose to set up a website to blog and market yourself then there would be those costs too.
What ongoing costs can I expect?
If using a website then there is monthly hosting and annual domain costs.
I LOVE FreshBooks to keep my invoicing and business side of things organized and that is a monthly charge of $19.95
If you get a large client base, you may look into DropBox (paid version) or BaseCamp.
What skills are required?
Very computer literate and organized… my clients are all internet based businesses so I am pretty well versed in WordPress, Paypal and the inner-workings of it, MS Word, Excel, Google, gmail, Google docs, social media platforms, customer service, Aweber and/or MailChimp, BaseCamp, EverNote
Tell me about the learning curve
If you have run any sort of business yourself, you have many of the basic skills that you need IF you have been a do it yourself. Now if not, then you will need to get into the different programs and learn them. You don’t need to know every little thing that you can do in WordPress but you do need to have some basics down. For example, the business owner (your client) may ask you to upload the blog post that they have written. If you don’t know these basics then you need to learn… honestly I learned most of what I know by getting in there and playing with the different programs.
Unfortunately, there are not many “training programs” out there that show you the How To’s of being a VA. There are plenty that try to show you how to run and set up the business side of a VA business but not how to actually do the work of a VA. ~I am thinking about changing that in the near future
One thing about being a VA is everyone expects different things. You may help keep the calendar for one client but then another it may strictly be upload the blog post into WordPress and Aweber. It is one of the things I LOVE about it, you are never bored and ALWAYS learning new things.
Starting out you would probably be looking at $18-$25 an hour based on the type of work and skill set that is expected. Once you have experience under your belt, you would look at $30-50 an hour as you will be partnering with the business owner and they will not be giving you individual tasks but they will be coming to you for advice to move certain projects forward and once the trust has been established you may be running it from start to finish.
What are the time requirements?(Do you have to work at particular times or is it flexible?)
Flexible based on client. I let my clients know up front, what my work hours are so they are aware. How much you work is based on how much work you accept.
Can you give us a picture of a “typical week”?
I recently have stepped down from full-time work. I am now structured for my “Love My Life” work week. For me that looks like; Monday – Friday 9am – 2pm. What fills up those hours will vary based on what client needs what project completed.
What are the general pros/cons?
I believe becoming a VA is one of the quickest ways to bring in an income. I never thought I would be a VA but one day in a group I was in, someone asked for help putting her newsletter together. I just stared at the computer screen because I was thinking two things; 1. I do that for myself so why not, I can help and 2. why can’t she do it herself, I am confused.
I will tell you, she could have probably done her newsletters but it would have taken her a lot of frustration and time. I have learned that it is not about what they can and cannot do as business owners but are they being smart with their time. Businesses cannot grow until they get the help they need as there are only so many hours in the day. That is where we as VA’s come in. We are usually the first person that a business owner will outsource to. Typically, they don’t know what they need they just know they need help. It is up to us to let them know what we can do to take some of the “busyness” away from them so they can stay in their income making zone of their business AND have a life outside of their business.
Dawn is a Virtual Assistant who takes pride in blessing and inspiring others, especially small business owners. You can find Dawn at www.twitter.com/DawnWilkerson and www.facebook.com/DawnsMemories she would LOVE to connect with you.