Don’t let a full-time job get in the way of building your business. #vatip Gotta Tweet!
It is doable to get started as a virtual assistant while you’re working full-time.
What you need to be a VA is a marketable skill and the ability to do it. #vatip Gotta Tweet!
Hi, you’re listening to episode number 52. We’re going to talk about how do you get started in a virtual assistant business when you have a full-time job. Is that something that can be done? Is that realistic? What should I expect? That’s what we’re going to talk about on today’s show.
So you’re working a job. Let’s say your full-time job, you work from 8:30 to 4:30. It’s important to put the time that you work down on some paper so you can visually see what your hours of availability are. If you’re working 8:30 to 4:30, can you start a virtual assistant business? You absolutely can! You can do this part-time. What you will do is manage your client roster just like anyone else would who was working their VA business full-time.
The key for you is keeping in mind your availability and what is realistic that you can take on and what you cannot take on.
Now, let’s talk about the things that you have to do to market yourself. Where does that time come in? Market yourself meaning to blog, to do social media. If you are looking to get clients in your local area, to actually network or to make calls. When are those things going to happen? (I’m a little stuffy today because of all the crap in the air, but we keep pushing along, right).
So you’re working 8:30 to 4:30. You have time before work, in-between, which would be lunch, and then after. Before I even dive into this, I want to recommend strongly that you read Gary Vee’s new book – The #AskGaryVee show. Let me get the exact name for you. It’s pretty much he is answering the questions from his daily vlog, and I like the audio version because his voice is so animated and it keeps you in tuned and listening. Plus, you can kind of get some other stuff done like chores or whatever you have, or if you do a lot of driving and you can get some time in to listen to it.
Oh, it’s just called #AskGaryVee. Pull out that book and I strongly recommend that you listen to it. A lot of the information that he’s giving is, of course, applicable to us. We are business owners and so that information is really good. It came to me as I’m looking at the schedule about when you’re going to work your business, before work, lunch, after work, and this is to market yourself to get clients.
Now, when I started, this was my schedule: I worked 8:30 to 4:30 full-time and what I would do in the evenings is go onto Elance and search projects. I would submit proposals on Thursdays and Fridays and anticipate having projects to work on over the weekend, and that is how I did my schedule. Now, it eventually got out of hand because I was doing a lot of proposals and figured out how to get it so that I was getting projects awarded on a weekly basis. When it got to the point that my project work was interfering with my full-time work, I knew it was time to make a change. That’s when I gave my 30-day notice at my job and took the leap and decided to give it a full shot all the way.
There’s time before work, lunch, and after work. Everybody’s schedule won’t look the same. I will let you know I, for years, have been working on being a morning person. I can be a morning person as long as I don’t have to go anywhere. I can physically get up and move myself to a different room. But bouncing out of the bed really excited, I’m not a morning person. My juice probably comes later in the day, maybe about 5:00, probably even mid-day too. But anyway, after a while you figure out how to just make it work regardless of what the time is.
I want you to be realistic in what it looks like for your schedule.
When I started, I didn’t have any kids. I wasn’t married. Oh, I still don’t have kids, but I am married. But yeah, when I started, I didn’t have any kids. I wasn’t married. It was just me, so literally I could be working around the clock.
I want to put in these slots to let you know how you can get it done, so before work, lunch, after work. Then I would look at Elance pretty much throughout the week, but Thursdays was my proposal writing day. That’s when I would submit them because a lot of times I found that clients were looking for people to work on projects for the weekend, and so that’s why Thursday became primetime day for me, and I would even submit them on Friday at lunchtime.
As things progressed and I got used to how to do it, I was even able to submit proposals during lunch during the week and that’s how things kind of build up. Because, of course, the more times you put your information out there, the better chance you have of getting a project awarded to you.
Now, Elance has merged itself. It is now Upwork. Anytime you hear me say Elance, I’m so used to saying it, but it’s Elance/Upwork. Think Upwork from now on. That is a good starting point website because people are already there looking for someone to help them out on a certain project. A new VA that talks to me, listens to the podcast, I highly recommend that you do the job board site like Upwork to get you started.
I’ll do another podcast as to why I think that and to get into that in detail. Maybe that’ll be episode 53 to talk about that a little more. But that’s where people are already looking for you and so it’s a great place to just go ahead and jump in and get your feet wet to see what it’s like.
When you’re working full-time, look at your schedule. Look at the days that you have other things to do after work to where it wouldn’t be possible. If you got a project and you had to start working on it on a Tuesday night, is that a time that you’re available, or do you have meetings on Tuesday nights? Block off the times that you have other obligations, then that will show you what your availability is.
You have to be willing to work weekends. You have to be willing to work evenings.
I’m not saying every weekend. I’m not saying every evening. But if you’re working full-time, that is your free time, so you have to be willing to do that. If you’re already thinking, oh gosh, I don’t want to do weekends; I don’t want to do evenings, then it’s not going to be possible for you to start your virtual assistant business while you’re working full-time because what other time do you have outside of your full-time job?
Here’s the other thing: a lot of times we’re starting and we’re looking to – for me, I was looking to work from home full-time. So you think, okay, I’m working a full-time job. I get paid X amount. I’m starting a VA business. I want to be paid X amount so that I can come home. One thing to realize is that once you come home a lot of expenses from your job no longer exist.
For example, I would eat out for lunch every single day with coworkers. Well, once you come home, there are no coworkers and you can manage better your lunchtime meals. So that would be taken out. If you’re required to be professionally dressed at your full-time and you have dry cleaning bills or clothing bills, that will be taken out of the equation because you’re working from home. There is no dress code.
When you go to a networking event, if you choose to do that, you will have already acquired the professional clothes you need and you probably could just get away with one outfit every time you do a networking event as long as it’s not the same circle of people. Anyway, clothing bill, drying cleaning bill would be out.
Gas – I don’t know how far your commute is. Gas prices are down now, but how much you put in your car is going to go way down because you wouldn’t be driving every single day. The list goes on and on.
When you’re looking at how much money you need to make, for those of you that are interested in eventually becoming full-time in your VA business and you’re comparing how much do I need to make in relation to how much am I making now in my full-time job, be mindful of the expenses that will go away because now you’re working from home.
That’s a whole other episode. I was just thinking there are other expenses that you would now have to take on, but we can talk about that at a later time, especially if I know for sure people are looking to transition from full-time job to full-time VA, because then we’ve got health insurance. You’re responsible for your own taxes and things like that, but you’ll factor that in with your rate.
Anyway, the point is it is doable to get started while you’re working full-time. In fact, if you’re working full-time, it’s better to start your VA business while you’re working full-time. Here’s why: you won’t be desperate. You won’t feel pressured like I have to be awarded this project because I have to do this or I have to do that.
Your full-time takes care of your bills and things like that, and then your VA business has a way for you to get started. Plus, the full-time job can help you invest in your VA business. If there’s equipment, training, software, different things like that, that you need money for to get going, then you’ve got that. But if you’ve already got the computer, you’ve already got the software, you have a skill that’s marketable right now today, I mean, you could get started. Just start. Just start.
The biggest key is if you’ve got a skill that’s marketable, that people want right now, just start.
Are you entrepreneurial or employable? The difference is that those who are entrepreneurial, they will jump out there and take action and see what happens. They will explore. They will research. They will be willing to take a risk and go for it. They won’t think about what if somebody says no. What if I can’t do it? What if I get overwhelmed? What if I don’t have the time? That’s not something you would think about until it happened. Why, because you’re determined to start your business. You’re determined to have something of your own. It could be that you’re determined to do that something of your own full-time.
Now, are you employable? How do you know? This is how you know: you’re looking for guarantees.
When I first started my business, and I just remember this so clearly, I would share with different people what I was doing, and I remember someone asked me, “Well, how do you guarantee that you get paid?” That was not a question on my list. I hadn’t even thought about how do you guarantee you get paid. Well, by that time working in Corporate America, I had been laid off twice and fired once, and so I already knew there are no guarantees anywhere. But it’s easy to get caught up in the job and think that there’s a guarantee. I’m going to get paid on the 15th; I’m getting paid on the 30th, regardless of how well I do on my job.
Your business is based on how well you do, how well you market yourself, how well you can share with someone what you do and convey to them how you have what they’re looking for, on a regular basis. It’s all up to you. Entrepreneurial, it’s all up to you. Employable, you’re depending on someone else to bring it to you and then you can do it. It doesn’t matter which one you are because both are needed. It doesn’t matter which one you are. It’s just a matter of being aware of which one you are so that you’re not beating yourself up if you haven’t started something yet, so you’re not beating yourself up if you’re getting discouraged or afraid, and it works on both sides. It’s not like one side has fear, other side doesn’t. There are fears on both.
There are places for virtual assistants in both. Entrepreneurial virtual assistant has their own business, and employable virtual assistant maybe works with an agency or works with another VA who owns the company. It’s all how you want it to be.
Something I said before I got into that is kind of what led me into that. I get email questions from different people about what’s required to get started. Do you need a certification?
You don’t need a certification to be a virtual assistant. What you need more than anything is that marketable skill and the ability to do it.
Because once you do it one time for your client, guess what? They’re coming back, and guess what? When they come back, if they have a peer, a friend, or a coworker or team member or whatever that needs the same thing that you’re providing for them, guess what? They’re going to bring you referrals. They’re going to give people your name and contact information because you’re doing such an awesome job.
When it’s yours you’re not waiting for someone to tell you, “Oh, I’ve got another project for you,” or “I’m going to increase the rate for you,” or whatever. When it’s your own, you determine it. You determine how much, how far you want to go. You determine if you want to take on one project or ten.
Not too long ago we were on vacation and so I scaled way back on marketing and sending out proposals and stuff, scaled way back, because I knew we were gong to be on vacation. I know for me, I need the week before kind of wrapping up existing projects. Being away, I wasn’t going to take on any new projects. Then the week after I came back, no new projects because my mind – I could handle the things that I had already been doing, you know, that I know I don’t have to think as much. I got that. But for new projects, working with new clients, getting them all set up could not happen around vacation time because I’m partly on vacation.
You know how it is, especially the week after you come back and you’re like trying to figure out, okay, let me get back in tune with my schedule, and it takes a while. Then, once you get back in, you’re back in. But those are things to think about. If that’s not you, if you want to take on things while you’re on vacation, it’s totally up to you. When it’s yours, you do it how you want to do it.
The whole point of this podcast today is to let you know that if you’re working full-time, you’re in the best position because you can get started. You have your needs taken care of as far as bills and stuff like that, and you can focus on what you really want and that is to get started as a virtual assistant.
Since you’re listening to a podcast called The Business of Being a Virtual Assistant, I’m going to also say you’re in a great position to start your VA business. Now, it may be starting with one project at a time, two projects at a time, but it builds. It builds and you form relationships and ongoing clients, or however you want it to look like.
Whatever you want your business to look like, that is what it could be, and don’t let having a full-time job get in the way of that.
It will limit the types of projects that you can take on. But it’s pretty obvious you wouldn’t be able to take on projects that require you to do a certain thing in a certain time. For example, if someone wanted email support, if that email couldn’t be answered at any time, you wouldn’t be able to do it. If it had to be answered first thing in the morning or mid-day or late afternoon, if that interferes with your full-time schedule that’s not something that you would be able to do. If you do phone calling, follow-up calls, cold calls, whatever, again, if it has to be done between 8:30 and 4:30 that’s not something that you would be able to do.
You can take on all the other projects that don’t require a time. All projects have a date deadline, but some have a timeframe. So the ones that have times, just skip those. Focus on the ones that have date deadlines.
Well, I want to thank you so much for listening today. You know where to find me.
If you have any other questions, come on over to my Facebook page. You know where to find me.
Thanks so much for tuning in. If you like what you heard, stay tuned. We’ll be back. Tell me what’s going on with you. Come on over the Facebook page: facebook.com/tiffanyparsonbiz, or if you prefer a little shorter message, come on over to Twitter: @tiffanydparson.
See you next time!