Your First Year In Business As A Virtual Assistant: Member Stories
Your first year in business as a virtual assistant will always be unique to you. However, you can learn from what others did, experienced, learn from them and create just the right business blend for yourself.
Most importantly, you should know you don’t have to go at it alone. The Association of Virtual Assistants is intimately aware of being a new business and celebrating its 1st birthday!
We are thrilled to have this month’s blog series dedicated to the first year in business as a VA and the contributions several of our members have made in sharing their stories. Whether you are thinking about starting a VA business, currently in your first year, or will have to look back and reminisce never forget how powerful your story is to share!
Q. What or who inspired you to become a Virtual Assistant?
Kim Carlisle of A Plus Assistants was an inspiration to herself and started her business this year! – “I have been an executive assistant/coordinator for C-suite executives for over 15 years, 6 working remotely. I am great at what I do and love doing it, so [I] decided why not go in business for myself!
AVA: Never underestimate how inspirational you are. There are a lot of people who wish they had the courage to start their own business.
Bambi Ortiz of Ortiz Virtual Services started her business in 2018 and it was about having all the things she loves. – “Being home with my kids but continuing to do what I love and being able to contribute financially to my family.”
AVA: Being a wife, mother, and breadwinner is something many of our members can relate to. You can be a successful businessperson, and do life on your own terms.
“I wanted to provide quality marketing services to entrepreneurs and nonprofits at an affordable price (that is really hard to find).” – Katie Ehle of Ekklesia Marketing, 2016
AVA: Knowing who you are going to assist from the very beginning makes it easy to remember your “why” and reminds us all our businesses are bigger than us. We are making a real impact!
“Was looking for a new direction in my career. Working from home and having flexibility with my schedule, greatly appealed to me. I was (am) a career Executive Assistant who supported nomad exec’s, so was already a VA in my mind. I decided that taking the leap from corporate America and doing this on my own was very appealing! Thank goodness I had a great support system. THEY inspired me! (my friends, my boss, my husband – not in that order). ;)” – Bonnie Schutz of Tandem Resource Solutions, 2015
AVA: Sometimes it’s about a new challenge. Great things can happen when you leave your comfort zone!
Q. When you started your business were you still working for your employer?
Half of the VAs sharing their story were working for someone else and half were not, which proves there is no right way or wrong way to start. Deciding to leave your job is a very personal decision and one that should be made in your household.
Q. If you had an employer when you first started your VA business what are some of the struggles you faced?
“The inability to do work for clients during normal business hours.” was a struggle Bonnie faced.
Katie’s demanding life and career made it a struggle at times. “Time. I had a very demanding full-time job as a marketing assistant, a family with two small kids, and working/volunteering at my husband’s job (he is a pastor).”
Marissa Fedorow of Marissa Fedorow Virtual Assistant Services, began her VA career in 2018 while still employed and found, “Balancing my time with the big learning curve, in the beginning, was my main challenge.”
AVA: Having an employer does come with the challenge of time. There are sacrifices that will need to be made. However, it’s also a great time to think about the benefits you gain by keeping your employment.
Q. If you had an employer when you first started what do you think the major benefits were?
Bonnie, spoke like a true entrepreneur and noticed the dollar signs right away! “More money than I was currently making!”
For Katie, it was, “Reliable income and health benefits.” which should not be taken lightly in the States where health insurance is expensive.
AVA: Making more money even though you have less time does add up. It’s a best practice to tuck that away and save for when you are ready to take the leap and go out on your own. Also, a reliable income can actually free you up to be less stressed and make more sound business decisions.
Q. If you were not employed when you started your VA business what were some of the struggles you faced?
Kim’s main struggle was fear. “I think the main struggle is always fear. Will I be able to get enough clients to make a living? Do I have enough capital to get everything I need to start my own business? And the big one, what are all the things I need to have in place before I take my first client?”
“Feeling rushed to get clients. I gave myself a deadline and if I didn’t meet that deadline I was going to have to go back to work outside the home.”, Bambi
Asa Tassdal of Virtea, who started her business in 2019 provides an answer that is a question of many people wanting to become VAs. “Financial. It took me four months to reach a turnover I could live off.”
AVA: It’s been said that money isn’t everything, but it’s right up there with breathing. Make sure you have a money plan and budget when you get started.
Q. If you were not employed when you started your VA business what were some of the benefits?
For Kim, Asa, and Bambi, not being employed also provided benefits.They received the benefit of time, freedom, flexibility, and being with children. Benefits that never get old.
AVA: Write down the benefits of starting your VA business or why you already got started. Celebrate them as if it was your birthday every day!
The AVA is here to celebrate all your milestones and birthdays! No matter how long you’ve been in business, if you are in your first year, or thinking about getting started.
We see you. We hear you. We value you.
Join the AVA and become part of a like-minded community.