Let’s go back in time. Way back. To February 2012. I had a three month old baby, a pile of my husband’s student loans and zero friends.
We had moved when our baby was six weeks old so that my husband could take an awesome job and we could be closer to my parents. I was looking for ways to make money and still be able to stay home with my son.
So on that chilly Alabama day I decided to buy a domain name and start a blog. My idea was that I could use my new media skills that I had honed in the work force to create at least a part time income. I had decided I would start a blog to house my resume and show my skills (writing, video editing, simple graphics etc.) and that would be a show piece for potential new clients.
So a couple hours and $13 later I had my very simple blog up and running. (Looking back at it now I am surprised anyone would ever hire me based on that. It was pretty ugly.)
I wrote a couple posts, linked to some articles I had written in the past as a journalist, uploaded a basic resume and called it a day. The next day I headed to a website that matched freelancers with people looking for work. I linked my blog to my profile and bid on a few jobs writing copy. As a huge shock to me, I got one of those jobs.
A quick phone call later to flesh out what the client wanted and I was in business. By Friday I had turned in my work and gotten paid $150. In just one week I had started a business and earned a profit. Now, it wasn’t a huge profit and certainly not going to change anyone’s life, but it gave me the confidence to keep going.
And thus began my life as a work at home mom.
What is a virtual assistant?
When I began to grow and expand this little freelance business. I was what one client called “a virtual assistant.”
I had never heard that phrase before and had no idea what it was. A virtual assistant is someone who remotely helps clients with whatever task they need help with.
I personally helped my clients with social media, copy writing, article writing, video editing, email marketing, workbook design, Power Point presentations. If I didn’t know how to do something I got a book from the library or watched some YouTube videos until I felt confident and then I added that service to my resume.
By September I had four clients and had more than replaced the income I was making as reporter. By the following spring I had doubled it. There are so many opportunities for virtual assistants, whether it’s helping bloggers use Pinterest, scheduling appointments, handling people’s bookkeeping, social media, travel arrangements, medical records. I could go on and on about all the services a virtual assistant could offer.
Here I am seven years later with a thriving business (and employees!), making a consistent full-time income. It wasn’t easy. There was a lot of trial and error and during the first few years I had no idea what I was doing.
But I don’t have the skills to do that.
I hear this a lot. “But you have a new media background. I don’t.” So? I don’t have an education background, but I still taught my child to read. We can learn new skills if we’re motivated.
But also, I guarantee you that you have the skills to get started. If you know how to set up a Facebook page and make a spreadsheet you can be a virtual assistant. The biggest skill you need to have is a willingness to train yourself in new things. (Note: train yourself BEFORE you offer any new services to a potential client.)
And it doesn’t just have to be a virtual assistant
There are endless opportunities out there for people looking to do something from home. I have friends who resell things on Ebay, tutor English to children overseas, transcribe medical reports, teach piano, take wedding photos, provide customer assistance, conduct real-estate closings, drive Uber or Lyft on the weekends (I met a woman at the bank to drives people from the airport to the beach while her kids are in school. She said it’s the best job she’s ever had.)
If you’re willing to do the hard work there are opportunities out there!