When I tell people that I work from home, they’re sort of oddly fascinated. I think that most people (oddly) assume that I sit around and eat bonbons all day (I don’t).
Or they assume that I am hustling some MLM (I’m not, though I have been there, and I do have a side business that I love, but it is NOT my main source of income, not at all).
And then we get to talking. They want to know how I make money. So I tell them what I do…and that’s where I lose most people. See, most people hear that I work from home, and they assume that it’s a scam.
Or they think that I can find them work. I can help, but if you want to be a VA, you need to do some legwork of your own. This is NOT some “get rich quick” thing.
Being a Virtual Assistant is Work
I have to plan my day, every day. Yes, I use a super-cute planner to do so (why wouldn’t you?!), but I plan it. I plan in time for my kids’ homeschool. I plan in meal times, bath times, and hubby time. I plan when I check emails, return phone calls, and schedule conferences. I plan times for chores.
All that planning means that I actually have to DO what I plan.
Your Home Office or Your Kitchen Table…It’s WORK
That means that I have to sit down and answer customer (and client) emails. I have to prepare letters, drafts, and blog posts. I have to spend time away from my kids, either during the day or at night (or *gasp* weekends!) to make sure that I can get my client’s projects done.
I have to schedule client meetings and then apologize for the fact that my kids make a lot of noise, or choose a time when the kids are out of the house.
I also have to plan ahead. For just about everything. Sure, there are days when plans change and I can “just” run to Target. Or the park. Or have coffee with a friend. But most of the time I need to plan at least a week in advance so that I can let my clients know my availability.
I work certain hours of the day. I just do. Then other hours, I spend time being a SAHM. But the time I spend away from my kids, I work hard. I put in my hours, and then I invoice my clients. It’s not quick, it’s not always fun (though I do love my job), and it’s a lot of work. Real work.
There IS Money To Be Made
There is a lot of money out there if you know where to look, and are willing to invest the time into finding clients and creating work product. But the thing about VA work is that no one is going to do it for you.
When I started I had no idea what I was doing, I just knew that I had to be home with my kids. I knew that I couldn’t stomach going back to a 9 to 5 (great hours, I know) office job.
You Can Do This
If you’re willing to put in the work, you will reap the rewards. But earning a full time or part time income is work. Money does not grow on trees, though there are days that I wish it did, believe me.
I learned through my mistakes (which you’ll hear all about soon, I promise), and I’ve grown both as a woman, mother, wife, and business owner. I never thought that by the time I was 30 I would own my own successful business. That I’d need to keep track of expenses, or accounting, or be giving other hopeful VAs advice.
Words of Caution
Being your own boss has immeasurable advantages, but there are drawbacks. You don’t get sick days or vacation days. You don’t get paid time off, period. If you’re not working, you don’t make money. BUT, if you plan, and look ahead, then that won’t be an issue.
Be smart when you start your business and understand that this is not a “get rich quick” scheme. This is a long-term, awesome job that requires you to put your heart and soul into it. Do that, and you’ll go far.