The most common struggle I hear from new VAs is that it does take so long to get to an income level that is satisfactory and semi-stable when starting your own VA business. I, myself, as a single mother with no other income for me and my daughter, had the same struggle.
When I first started my VA business full-time, I supplemented my VA biz income in various ways, and I’m going to share those ways with you plus ways of others that I have worked with over the last three years.
- Digital Transcription – There are tons of companies that take on freelance transcriptionists. If you have no experience, you will make considerably less money when you start. But after you have experience under your belt, you can take on higher paying clients. I started out transcribing at $40 per audio hour (about 3-4 hours of work for average audio quality), and now if I did transcription (I still do with a couple of clients), I get $120 per audio hour (now about 2 hours for average quality audios). I can command a higher amount, because my experience gives me faster turn around times, higher accuracy rate, and a better knowledge of what it is my customers actually want in the final product (formatting and feel).
- Pet Sitting – Believe it or not, I also did pet setting for 2-3 hours a day charging $15.00 per 15 minute visit. I found an apartment complex of professionals that permitted small pets. And I asked the manger for permission to pass out my flyers, where we were permitted to walk pets, and the rules on picking up after them. Once I had a good relationship with the manager, he even began referring my services to people who moved in with pets! I targeted working professionals with pets who needed someone to walk their dogs mid-day on weekdays.
- Santa Letters – I still do this, not to make tons of money but because I just enjoy it so much. From 2005-2007, almost all of my Christmas present money came from the earnings I made doing Santa letters from November 15-December 8. The fact that people could customize their letters with me was an added bonus. I placed flyers in hardware stores and other local shops where mostly only adults shopped advertising my services. After printing the letters and including some small gift (a small bag of oatmeal the kids could sprinke out for the reindeer, etc.), I put all the addressed and postaged envelopes into a big envelope and mailed them to North Pole, Alaska to be postmarked North Pole and then be sent to each customer.
- Child Care – One of my first coaching clients supplemented the start of her VA business with after school child care for her neighbors. The benefit of this was, she had to stop working with her VA clients when her kids came home anyway. So she wasn’t making any money during that time. So now she could continue to make money during the afternoon when the kids came home, and she didn’t have to deal with infants or having kids all day. She just watched school-aged children (I believe she even restricted it to 1st grade – 6th grade).
- Part Time Work – For a few months, I even worked just 20 hours a week for a company in the morning hours of each weekday to supplement my VA business income. This provided me with a steady and guaranteed check each month, but still left plenty of time open during weekday hours to connect with VA clients and get projects done before the end of the business day.
Keep moving toward success!
Heather L. McMillan is owner of the Virtual Assistant Resource dedicated to providing administrative assistants and secretaries with the knowledge, realistic view, and proper tools to run a successful virtual assistant business from home.
While Heather is best known for her organizational skills, her clients find her honest but heart-centered advice and approach to running a virtual assistant business helps them survive the natural ups and downs of running a virtual assistant business. Heather believes that you cannot be successful until you realize your virtual assistant business will constantly evolve! She’s been a virtual assistant for 14 years and an administrative professional for 21 years.
Learn more about her products and services and how they can help your virtual assistant business.