I'll never forget the first day I came across the words "virtual assistant". It was back in 2008 while I was surfing the web on a local Craigslist type site here in Jerusalem, and came across a job ad for a virtual assistant.
After reading the ad, I thought to myself "who the hell knew that you could work from home as someone's virtual assistant?".
I was brimming with the possibilities of working from home instead of schlepping to and from work.
Let's take my typical day back when I used to work at a fancy-schmancy corporate job.
I worked as an executive administrative assistant to the CFO of an international Fortune 500 company based in New York City. I was commuting 2 hours one way. That was FOUR hours a day just getting to and from work.
Fast forward a few years and I was STILL burning the candle at both ends. This time, I had moved halfway across the globe (I live in Israel), got married and I was working for an international venture capital fund and the hours were brutal.
In 2005, I got pregnant... and then I got pregnant again, and again and again. After popping babies out, I decided that I needed to figure out how to work from home because if I had to drive to work and pump breast milk ONE MORE DAY, I was going to lose it.
I decided to go full time as a VA in 2009 after my 3rd child was born. There was just one small problem. I was depending on the VA staffing firm I was a part of, to find me clients. While I was waiting I got a genius idea.
"Reese, why don't you start your own virtual assistant business and take full control!?"
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That was an invigorating moment. When I decided that I was going to be the pilot of my own ship.
I left Virtual Assistant Israel (the VA Staffing firm I worked for) and within twelve months I had ten clients. I had more work than I could handle so I had to hire another virtual assistant to support me. And then another, and another. Before I knew it I had built a team of 4 virtual assistants.
How did I go from zero to insanely busy and making a damn good living within 12 months?
I learned early on that if you want to have a successful business you've got to learn two things, how to market and how to sell.
You can be the best damn assistant in the history of administrative assistants. Or you can be the best damn project manager in the world. But if you want to start your own business and get clients to pay you, marketing and sales need to become your best friends.
I spent hours every week learning marketing and sales techniques. I knew that I had marketable skills but if I didn't know how to get the word out and explain what I do and who I do it for, then I was screwed.
So to all of you aspiring and new virtual assistants reading this, if I could give you one piece of advice as you get started on your entrepreneurial journey, let it be this.
Stop wasting your time getting your website set up when you still don't have a clue what you're offering.
Stop worrying about setting up your social media profiles.
Don't fret about what to call your business or how much to charge.
Right now, what you need to do is figure out these few things:
What marketable skills will people pay you for?
What market would you be most interested in serving? (news flash - it ain't every small business owner that needs admin support).
How much do you need to make every month if you were to do this full time?
Start there. Stop bumbling around the internet wasting your most precious resource. Your time.
Start doing and don't be afraid to put one foot in front of the other and just make shit happen. This isn't rocket science. You're going to make mistakes.
As a matter of fact, you're going to make so many it will make your head spin.
Mistakes mean you're learning and the last time I checked, that's the only way we grow.
What you need is to find yourself your first client.
From there it's much easier. That's why I created my free course, Your First Client because there is a lot of bad advice out there. My free course will help you figure things out quickly so you can get on with it.
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Ready to start this virtual assistant business of yours?
And if you have questions along the way, leave me a comment below. I read every single comment and I want to hear from you.