Episode 241: Show Notes
Today on the show we welcome Abbey Ashley, founder of The Virtual Savvy. Abbey is a virtual assistant startup coach who is helping women all over the world start their online businesses and launch and grow their VA businesses to $5,000 per month and beyond! Ashley has been featured on Boss Mom, Smart Passive Income and NBC News – so you can image, this girl knows her sh*t! If you’re someone who can’t stand the 9-5 life, being a VA is a great place to start for anyone who is wanting to get their feet wet in the online world.
For anyone who is stuck, not knowing where or how to even begin tapping into the online VA space, this is literally the episode for you. In this episode, Abbey provides so many fantastic ideas for you to get something off the ground as well as how to pivot, niche and scale your VA business so that you can totally crush it. After listening to this episode, you will be able to start making money this very week! So, take some notes and let’s get started.
The Beginning Phases Of Being A Virtual Assistant
In Abbey’s opinion, virtual assisting is the fastest and easiest way to make money online, because you are offering something of value and most of the time you can start using a skill that you already have. The need for virtual assistance is huge in the online space and outside of the online space. Abbey’s first clients were a massage therapist and an insurance agent. The need for VA’s is so broad, compared to most businesses. To use the skills you already have, the low cost of overhead and the ability to find clients rather quickly is a lot easier with VA work. Again, if you’re not sure where you want to be in the online space, VA work is a really great intro into it and you can always branch off from there.
So, what do you have to offer? When it comes to virtual assisting, the best way to start is to go broad. List all of your services unless you are already connected to an industry. Say you have ten years experience in real estate or copywriting or catering, for example, then hone into your niche skills and connections. But if you don’t quite have a niche or a specific skill set in focus, then go broad. Once you start getting some clients under your belt, you are going to know very quickly what you like doing and what you don’t like doing.
What Companies Need And What You Can Offer Them
Most of us have transferable skills from whatever industry we’ve come from and whatever life experience we have had. A lot of the time, however, we don’t think of these things as transferable skills. A few of the common skills that Abbey sees customers in need of is: answering customer service emails, scheduling social media, inbox management, calendar management and simple graphic creation. These are just a few examples of the types of skills that VA’s offer and that companies need. But the truth is to find out what companies need and what they’re likely to outsource for, ask them. Everybody knows at least one small business owner, right? So go up to them and ask them! A lot of the time people don’t need an expert, they just need someone to soldier through the process and hand whatever it is back to them, on time, in a reliable and efficient fashion. Sometimes people also just need help with odd stuff. For us at TCC, sometimes we just want someone who can book our dentist appointments, our flights, make dinner reservations, write thank you cards and set up our meetings. So the things that you might think sound absolutely ridiculous... someone will pay for that. For very busy people, it is often the little things that get outsourced first.
Buddy The Elf Method: Why You Need To Tell People What You’re Doing
So the two main questions that Abbey gets is: What services could I offer if I were to become a VA? And how in the world would I find clients? For this, Abbey has “The Buddy The Elf Method” (which is a reference to Elf, the movie, go watch it if you haven’t). Part of this method is about just letting people know what it is you are doing and being enthusiastic about it! Word of mouth marketing is and forever will be the most powerful form of marketing. But a lot of the time, people don’t own what it is they are doing. They are scared out of their minds to admit what they are doing. A lot of this has to do with, either they don’t think they’re going to be good at it, they don’t believe they’re a business owner, they are for some reason ashamed and they themselves haven’t fully accepted it yet. So it really comes down to you believing in what it is you are doing and trusting yourself and your value. So be proud of what you are going after and tell people about it confidently, when they ask.
How To Begin Scaling Your Own VA Business
When you’re starting out, have your list of services advertised with a simple hourly rate because in the beginning you just don’t know how long something is going to take you. But the way to begin scaling with your business is to first take a serious look at those rates and start putting together some higher packages. The next phase of scaling would be to try and get some help in the business, maybe start considering a small team of subcontractors. This was how Abbey grew her business. That way, she was able to take on more work. Other people choose to scale by becoming an expert in a particular field. For example, Facebook strategy or Pinterest management. There are so many branching off points and usually people get to that scaling stage within the first two years of virtual assisting. Which is crazy fast!
Tools And Resources To Help You Expand And Grow Your Network
There might be a lot of virtual assistants out there, but Abbey has not seen a lack of jobs. But to help you expand and grow your network, start by joining a bunch of entrepreneurial Facebook groups. When you go inside these groups, you’ll see a search bar on the side and search for words like, “VA,” “Virtual assistant” and “Help” and “Hire.” You will then see job posts start to pop up. Even if you see thirty comments, don’t be intimidated. If you do a really amazing proposal, you’ll have a head start! So take the time to do some research into what people need, research into their business, do a live video of yourself etc. Just go that extra mile in your value proposition.
The number one tip here is to follow their instructions. The number one way we get rid of people is if they don’t follow instructions. And also, don’t just post a link to your website and don’t just DM them. Find their email and email them, it’s just more professional and less tacky. Be a big girl business person! Another great way to expand your network is through the Upwork website where you can post your services and look for jobs. There is also a virtual assistant section on this site. Another helpful networking tip would be to go to a Meetup in your area for entrepreneurs... and to go with business cards!
Who Virtual Assisting Is NOT For
Virtual assisting is not for people who are unable to follow instructions well or who struggle to pay attention to detail. If you know that you struggle to pay attention to detail, then make sure you go over everything a couple of times. If you aren’t willing to do that then it probably is not a good fit for you. Virtual assisting is also, obviously, not for anyone who doesn’t have good access to internet. Invest in a computer, good Wifi and other resources you may need. Virtual assisting is not for anyone who doesn’t like to respond to emails either (eh hem, Emylee). VA work is a quicker way to make money online, but if that’s not for you, if you want to play the longer game then you probably will not enjoy virtual assisting. You have to remember that you are serving a role in your client’s life that they cannot do well. So you have to do those kinds of things well! This takes discipline. If this type of work is for you, then jump into Talk Strategy below and find out how you can start making money this week!
- The Beginning Phases Of Being A Virtual Assistant. [0:03:35.1]
- What Companies Need And What You Can Offer Them. [0:09:00.1]
- Buddy The Elf Method: Why You Need To Tell People What You’re Doing. [0:15:22.1]
- How To Begin Scaling Your Own VA Business. [0:26:22.1]
- Tools And Resources To Help You Expand And Grow Your Network. [0:29:30.1]
- Who Virtual Assisting Is NOT For. [0:36:22.1]
- Come up with your list of services.
- Choose an hourly rate.