I’ve been half set up as a VA for a little while now - scared to really go for it in case no one wants my services and instead biding my time with some voluntary work but I went part time employed in October but desperately want to leave and go it alone - I’d love to know how others took the plunge and whether they just went for it or did a slowly slowly cautious approach?
Tough question - a lot depends on whether you need the income to survive or not. So personally, when I launched - I had been made redundant (but the funds from that were allocated to a house renovation we were doing) - I had a 2 year old, a baby on the way and a hubby who had left the military and was in a crappy job - I needed to make my VA business successful and earning money for us to live. However, there are others who have a part time job so they get some income in and then start to network / build the business around that. What i would suggest is setting yourself a goal for 12 months from today - what you would like your life to look like, then break that down into 90 segments and what you need to do in each segment to get to the goal that you wish to achieve. This might be the time in which you start networking, or the time you start building a particular social media profile, the point at which you want your clients to come onboard etc - don’t see it as building a business in a day, but the steps in which you need to take to get to the life you want.
@AmandaJohnson is, as usual, spot on. I too was very scared of going solo and have only really just started now.
My solution to my fears, was to first become a SubVA for well established VA company, and in my spare time, learn more about the job. Incidentally, it coincided with my parents moving back to the UK and purchasing a house in North Devon that needed to be completely renovated, so I ended up supporting them a lot over the past year (so it all turned out well in the end).
As I mentioned in a previous post, I know that some VAs think badly of SubVAing, but for me, it was perfect. I have learnt a lot (including being fully warned about the bad bits of the job - like not being paid and having prospective clients waste a lot of your time to then not go ahead with hiring you) but also the great aspects of the job too - and I don’t just mean the flexibility element.
The organisation I work for/with is not looking for any more collaborators at the moment, but if you are interested in trying it out, you might want to look at some MultiVAs listed on the SVA spreadsheet and contact them.
The only thing I would say, however, is to look into how they operate. My MultiVA started by giving me a few overflow tasks she could not complete herself, and later put me forward for a client of my own who she manages only from an administrative perspective. You will obviously earn less if you are completing tasks on the LeadVA’s account, but I found it extremely worthwhile. Not least to learn the types of requests clients make.
My other advice to you, is to find out about a local business networking event and go there not to “sell yourself” but to learn about the business community in your area, what kinds of needs they might have. Be honest about it, say you are starting out and are not quite sure what services to offer so if they had any ideas you would be grateful if they could share them with you. Have some Business Cards printed in case they ask you for one, and just be yourself.
Good luck with it all.
From my perspective, I quit a good job to be a VA and had to pay my mortgage - failure was not an option!!
But then you take calculated risks: I went part-time with work before leaping fully into self employment. I bootstrapped and cashflowed everything to the last penny. Being wholly responsible for the bills, I definitely had to do stuff which was way outside my comfort zone (which was a positive thing as much as it made me squirm at the time!).
What’s the worst that can happen? So you pitch yourself and they don’t want you… you aren’t in any worse position than you are right now. Maybe your ego might be bruised, but realistically they aren’t going to tell you that you are a terrible, worthless person; they are just going to say “Sorry, it’s not for us, but good luck!”
Who is your target? Do you know anyone in the industry who you could go and have a coffee with and get the inside view from? Not from a sales-y point of view, but from a listening and learning and asking questions point of view. Would they use a VA? If not, what would the objections be? Do they have any admin which is a giant pain in the butt or which takes a lot of time?
Very best of luck Davina. I’m in the process of setting up myself and have thought the same many times. Having had bits of chat with Amanda, Caroline and Anna, my way of thinking has certainly been guided by theirs, for the better, and I’m starting to feel more confident in putting into place ideas suggested by them.