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Hi Everybody!

 

I am considering joining the VA world and have many questions before I decide how to best approach the idea. I have listed some of my questions below and would greatly appreciate any comments or suggestions.

 

1/ I envisage that the hardest part of this work is finding clients. As someone completely new to the industry I anticipate that it will take quite a while to build up a client-base and obtain regular income. What would be the best place to advertize my services to clients?

 

 

2/ A quick search of the web has identified the following professional organizations. With limited resources and no guarantee of making a reasonable income I would appreciate any comments on which of the organizations I should join and which I should avoid.

3/ In terms of skills I think I have a varied but also highly specialized skill set. I don't know if I should focus on the specialized skills or try and offer a wide range of services.

 

4/ I have no problem with working for an established VA. Is there a list of VA's that sub-contract work so that I can send my resume to them?

 

5/ I am considering setting up a website to promote my services; are there any resources available for promoting a VA website?

 

6/ Realistically how much can I expect to earn per month as a VA? I realize that this will vary depending upon the skills offered but any ball-park estimate would be greatly appreciated.

 

Thanks in advance for any responses

 

Regards

 

Alan

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Welcome, Alan. It's always great to 'see' new faces on the forum! In response to your questions:

 

What would be the best place to advertize my services to clients?

I have had extremely good luck with a combination of postcards (local), networking both on- and off-line, and word of mouth. I also respond to RFPs (there are some posted both here and on www.virtualassistantforums.com).

 

I would appreciate any comments on which of the organizations I should join and which I should avoid

Having not joined ANY of the above organizations, I can't answer this. :)

 

I don't know if I should focus on the specialized skills or try and offer a wide range of services.

I started out by making a list of my skills then removing the ones I didn't like to do. Because I have been a full-charge bookkeeper for over 15 years, that is my specialty. I also provide general office support services, but only the ones I like doing. :D

 

Is there a list of VA's that sub-contract work so that I can send my resume to them?

Not that I am aware of... And, as a VA, we DON'T USE resumes; we use professional bios. You are a business owner, not a potential employee.

 

Are there any resources available for promoting a VA website?

See my response to "What would be the best place to advertize my services to clients?"

 

 

Realistically how much can I expect to earn per month as a VA?

As you said in your question, that varies depending on skills, billing rate, quantity of clients, etc. I work Goddess part-time and average 35-40 billable hours/month earning approx $1,800/month. Keep in mind that you will need to pay taxes on your earnings and, unfortunately, that can be as high as 42% of your NET income, depending on your State taxing system. You will be paying both Federal and State income taxes and BOTH PORTIONS of the Federal SSI/Medicare tax (listed as 'self-employment taxes by the Feds).

 

Be sure you have a good accounting system in place and a budget. Tooting my own horn (of course!) I recommend you purchase my book "How To Do Your Own Small Business Bookkeeping" from Amazon.com. I have a version that utilizes QuickBooks Simple Start Free Version - which was last offered by Intuit in 2010. If you cannot find the software online, I can provide you a copy (once you buy my book of course :naughty:).

 

Search the forum for the Rates discussions, which will also help you to determine a reasonable rate for your services.

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First of all, welcome to our FREE VA networking forum. You'll find all the resources to get your business up and running right here so good choice visiting us ;)

 

1. I envisage that the hardest part of this work is finding clients. As someone completely new to the industry I anticipate that it will take quite a while to build up a client-base and obtain regular income. What would be the best place to advertize my services to clients?

 

Getting your website ranking high in the search engines for your keywords is important to pick up new clients off the web. That and networking both online and offline is the way most get their clients. I highly suggest joining VA organizations that have high traffic job boards like our VAinsiders Club.

 

 

2/ A quick search of the web has identified the following professional organizations. With limited resources and no guarantee of making a reasonable income I would appreciate any comments on which of the organizations I should join and which I should avoid.

Clayton's Secretary

Canadian Virtual Assistant Network

International Association of Virtual Office Assistants (IAVOA)

International Virtual Assistants Association (IVAA)

International Association of Virtual Assistants

 

IAVOA does not exist anymore since Fred passed away a few years ago. The rest I'm a member of and they are all good to join depending on your budget. Again, the VAinsiders Club is a good organization because it gives you webinar training monthly on various VA topics, has a busy job board and other benefits which you can view here. You may also want to consider getting certified at some point to at VAcertified.com

 

We also have a busy LinkedIN group at http://vanetworking.com/linkedin

 

 

3/ In terms of skills I think I have a varied but also highly specialized skill set. I don't know if I should focus on the specialized skills or try and offer a wide range of services.

 

Start with what you know and build from there as you educate yourself more. You'll naturally find your niche once you start working with clients. You'll find out who you like working for and what services you enjoy doing the most through trial and error.

 

4/ I have no problem with working for an established VA. Is there a list of VA's that sub-contract work so that I can send my resume to them?

 

By hanging around our network here, you'll learn to know who the VAs are that subcontract.

 

5/ I am considering setting up a website to promote my services; are there any resources available for promoting a VA website?

 

Check out of forum on Website Development and Blogging for more detailed info on this topic.

 

6/ Realistically how much can I expect to earn per month as a VA? I realize that this will vary depending upon the skills offered but any ball-park estimate would be greatly appreciated.

 

Most full-time VAs bill out 20-30 hours a week with an hourly rate of anywhere from $25-50 for general VA services.

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Thank you very much for the information provided; it is very useful. I have just recieved what I hope will be the first of many projects from a website called Elance. Once I have made some money from working I will join the VAinsiders club! :)

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