As anyone who’s been in business for sometime would know, setting up a business and building a good client base takes considerable time. It would be rare to make a full-time income in the first year in business, let alone a profit – at least in traditional business. However, even in building a Virtual Assistant business, it still takes time to get sufficient clients to establish a full-time income, even if you show a profit much quicker than traditional business. There’s a lot you need to do, other than setting up your office and establishing an on-line presence. You also need to get known and get out there and network with others. Clients don’t just come to you without any effort on your behalf.
I see a lot of articles about the VA industry – about how to use them, what you should be paying, versus how VAs operate, the fact that they are independent business owners and not employees, and the rates we work with. It’s no wonder that new people entering our industry can get very confused in a short time.
- Can they make a decent income to live on? (the answer is yes, by the way, there are many single parents working as VAs).
- Can they get many clients? (the answer to this one is yes, again – but you need to work at it)
- Can you operate a VA business with just one client? (not really – it’s not sustainable, what if that client moved on? and realistically you could be classed as their employee by your tax department – you need to have more than one client).
Recently one new VA made a comment to me that made me realise she was of the impression she could be making a full-time income within a short time of starting up. Unfortunately the clients she was attracting I wouldn’t really call clients, more scammers, and I steered her away from potential trouble. The comment was that she needed the money right now because of something she needed to do. I advised her to find some temping work or a part-time job as the reality is that it will take her months and even more than a year before she had a reliable income from her VA business.
There are VAs who do pick up great permanent clients very early on in their business, but this doesn’t happen for everyone. Often the clients are ad-hoc, small jobs here and there or only 1 or 2 clients initially – certainly not enough for a full-time income… yet. But spend time getting to know other VAs at the forums, ask questions, become a regular participant and let them get to know you. Many VAs will outsource to other VAs they’ve come to know and trust. And if you need to, get some part-time work, or keep your job, till your VA business has begun to establish itself. You will be grateful for having done so.