Your First Year In Business As A Virtual Assistant: Members Share Advice

Was your first year in business as a virtual assistant challenging or were you a natural business owner right from the start? Last week we asked our members about their inspiration and the benefits of being employed or not being employed when they started their businesses. This week our members are sharing advice and what services they started their businesses with. Something new VAs cannot hear enough about! 

With this month’s blog series dedicated to your first year in business as a VA, it’s been great to see how far we’ve all come. Read all that the Association of Virtual Assistants has accomplished this past year. 

Q. What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started?

Bambi Ortiz of Ortiz Virtual Services started her business in 2018 and said, “I would have stayed at my job until I got my first client.”

AVA: This can be a great strategy. Work out the kinks in your business, know your client, master your pitch and your consultation. If you can get one client you can get more!

Kim Carlisle of A Plus Assistants, “An accurate estimate of start up costs, a list of steps to take to get started and other VA’s I could speak with if I had any questions.”

AVA: This is one of the main reasons the AVA exists! We and our members are in Slack ready to answer your most pressing questions.  

Bonnie Schutz of Tandem Resource Solutions, 2015, “I wish I had had more experience networking and with building relationships outside of my close circles. (friends, coworkers…)”

AVA: It’s no wonder Bonnie is such an active member and always willing to jump in to answer questions and provide support.

“I wish I had considered working with a business mentor.”  Asa Tassdal of Virtea, 2019

Marissa Fedorow of Marissa Fedorow Virtual Assistant Services, who began her VA career in 2018 “First, Opportunities truly do abound!  I thought it would be so hard to find clients, and it has been the reverse.  Second, it was ok that I didn’t have everything about my business figured out when I launched (still don’t)!  I was urged to take the plunge anyway and I’m so glad I went for it! Yes, I made mistakes early on (Still do)…and it turned out ok!  Third, I wish I had known about the AVA sooner as it has been a wealth of inspiration and knowledge to me. It is important to connect with other VAs early on! “ 

AVA: There is definitely a common theme, don’t do it alone! Get involved, network with other VAs, and join the AVA!

Q. What services did you offer when you first started your business?

This is a very popular question. It’s because you can do so much. How do you decide what to do? Here’s what our members had to say. We’ll also learn if they are still offering those services. 

Kim Carlisle’s services: Email Management, Website Management, Calendar Management, Travel Coordination, Event Planning

Kim has added to her services, “I now add email campaigns and social media management.  I found they are things people ask for all the time.”

Bambi Ortiz’s services: Email & calendar management and proofreading

Bambi has added, “I’ve also added travel arrangements, research assistance, bookkeeping, social media management and consulting, and event planning.”

Bonnie Schutz’s services: Virtual Executive Assistance and Administrative Recruiting for in-office roles in my city

In five years, Bonnie’s business has grown quite a bit!. While she does offer the same services there have been changes, “The biggest change was evolving into a VA Agency instead of being a solopreneur VA. I have a team that works for me now. I only support one client as a VEA and my team supports our others.  I am now able to generate more leads, create more partnerships and build my network easier!” 

Marissa Fedorow’s services: Blog writing, proofreading, printable design, social media management, basic WordPress site management.

Many VAs begin with niching. Marissa has taken a bit of an opposite approach. She does offer the same services, but with a developing focus. “. …over time my focus is narrowing a bit. I have found I am asked to do more writing Projects, seem to be more drawn toward Pinterest than other Social Media platforms, and really enjoy designing graphics.” 

Asa Tassdal’s services: All types of administration, except accounting, as well as executive support.

Asa still offers the same services she began with last year.

Katie Ehle, “all things digital marketing”

AVA: What this proves is you can start a business with any number of services, you can add to it, or you can niche down over time. That’s the great thing about owning your VA business – making your own business choices! Don’t be afraid of being boxed in. With the right title, marketing, pitch, or packaging you’ll never feel limited.

Are you beginning to see a pattern throughout this blog series? Anything is possible and you can build a successful business in a way that works for you. Do what you love and surround yourself with people who love it too!

We see you. We hear you. We value you. 

Join the AVA and become part of a like-minded community.