Tips for Becoming an Online Entrepreneur: Working as a Virtual Assistant
Today's "I Want to Be" Series features Angie Nelson, a Virtual Assistant from Nebraska, and the founder of ASN Virtual Services. Angie specializes in a variety of specialized online and virtual business services, including blog consulting, PLR, and keyword research.
How long have you been a virtual assistant?
I started my Virtual Assistant business in November 2007.
What led you to start the business?
I had been an Administrative Assistant at the same company for over 10 years. The economy was taking a downturn and that led to much more stress and office politics in the workplace. It wasn’t a healthy or happy environment. I had interviewed for several other jobs and saw the same conditions everywhere I went. It was my husband who pushed me to get out on my own and explore working from home.
Are you full time or part time?
How do you market your business?
At this point, my business operates almost solely on word of mouth from current and former clients and those within my social network. That hasn’t always been the case. During my early days, the majority of my clients came from Request for Proposal (RFP) systems like VAInsiders and Shelancers.
What is your favorite service offering?
As I have been able to move into more passive income streams for my own business, I have developed an obsession for keyword research. The hunt for prime, top paying keywords to be used in search engine marketing is where my passion currently lies.
What one question do you get most from people about your business?
How do I get started?
What one myth or misconception do you want to dispel about your business?
There is always a big misconception that getting started in working from home easy. You wake up one morning, stick up your “I Work from Home” sign and magically clients come knocking down your door. That just is not the case. It is hard work, especially in your startup stage. You have to be ready to keep plugging away through the ups and downs. You have to be prepared for the “no’s” you are going to receive before you finally get a “yes”.
What advice do you have for others who want to get into the virtual assistant business?
The first step is research. There are so many directions you can go with a Virtual Assistant business. Take time to assess your passions and skills.
Next, spend time in Virtual Assistant forums. See where others are struggling, or what they are doing to get their businesses off the ground. Listen to the advice they are given by veteran members.
The single most important piece of advice I can give is to be proactive. The only person that can make your business a success is you. It is hard, but you have to put yourself out there over and over again. There will be times you are discouraged, but you have to keep moving. If you stop working on your business, your business is going to stop working for you.
What websites or books do you recommend for tips?
The best place to go for information on the VA industry is VANetworking.com. They have an active forum full of helpful members. If you find you need to pick up some new skills to compete in the online world, I suggest VAClassroom. They offer high quality courses directed towards Virtual Assistants. For finding clients, I always suggest RFP systems like I mentioned above. These are clients that know what they want and are willing to pay what you are worth. Stay away from applying for jobs on Craigslist.
Want to know more? Check out the official website of ASN Virtual Services, as well as Angie's blog, The Work at Home Wife. Find her on Twitter and Facebook! Thanks, Angie!
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(Photo credit: Valeriana Solaris via Flickr)