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Hi, it’s Alicia here at newVAadvice.com and I’m back with another segment in the Getting Started Series. Today, I’m answering the question:
How can I make money quickly in my virtual assistant business?
I’ll be tackling this topic along with ways to save money and cut costs while you’re trying to build a business on a low budget.
Let’s first talk about the question of making money quickly in your VA business. You may not like my answer, but that’s not how this works. Owning your own business is not a get-rich-quick scheme or a solution when you really need money coming in right now.
It takes work and dedication before you start making money. Let’s say, for example, that you decided to open a hair salon. If you had no potential customers lined up and haven’t done any marketing, do you expect to make money quickly the first week or even month that you’re in business? No. You need to establish yourself, figure out who you’re marketing to, what sets you apart from all of the other hair salons, find out where your target market is and get in front of them, get them to know, like and trust you and make that first appointment.
It’s the same thing in your VA business. You need to put in the time and work in the beginning to get set up and market before you see results of clients and cash rolling in. The time it takes to land that first client really varies for everyone. It depends on the services you are providing, the market you’re targeting, the way that you’re marketing and other such things.
In general, I’ve seen many VAs mention that it took them one to two years to start generating a regular income from their VA business. I can tell you that I landed my first client six months after starting my business, but it took about a year before the work became steady and more reliable.
Again, it’s different for everyone. However, there are some other things you can do to bring in money during this crucial time, like find other income streams and ways to save money in other aspects of your life.
(Note: This post includes some affiliate links for products that I recommend. By purchasing through this link, I stand to earn some form of commission. I only recommend products and programs that I trust and you’ll never pay more by clicking through my link.)
I’m going to give you some ideas of things that you can do cut costs and earn some extra income while setting up your business. Most of the things I’m sharing with you come from my personal experience and what helped me when I was starting out.
Let’s go over cutting costs and saving money first.
–>You can sell unwanted stuff on eBay, Craigslist or at consignment shops.
–>Sell your old gold and silver jewelry to a jewelry store or at one of those home parties.
–>Refinance your mortgage.
–>If you have more than one vehicle, maybe you can pay one of them off.
–>Research insurance companies to make sure you’re currently getting the best rate. Switching companies could reduce your monthly or yearly insurance bill. This applies to health, car and home insurance.
–>Cut out extras like eating out a couple of times a week.
–>Meal planning and couponing will help you save on groceries.
I’m not saying that you have to cut everything fun out of your life. You can and should still do things to have fun and relax. Look for free and low-cost things you can do where you live on your own or with the family. I always search the internet and my local paper for things to do.
I’m talking about pruning the extras if your budget is tight right now because you have a bigger end goal in mind. One that ultimately includes getting clients, making money, being able to pay your bills on time, saving some money and being able to afford to do things that you enjoy doing. You may have to sacrifice some things in the short-term to enjoy the fruits of your labor in the long-term.
–>When it comes to saving money in your business, only buy tools and products that you need right now. Shiny Object Syndrome is a real thing and we can be very tempted to buy something if it’s a good deal, even if we’re not going to use it right away. Then you end up with a folder on your computer full of programs and ebooks that you hope to get around to looking at some day, and less money in your bank account.
For more ideas on low-cost and no-cost business strategies, read or listen to the Getting Started Series Part 2 where I covered the cost of starting your VA business.
Let’s move on to other income streams to help support you while building your business.
–>You can get a part-time job. I sold jewelry at home parties to make extra money when I started my VA business. This doesn’t mean that you’re quitting or giving up your dream of having your own business. Sometimes we need a little help to get there before we actually have any clients. So, take the money stress off yourself and add another stream of income to help with things. This article will give you suggestions that I found helpful for side work.
–>This also goes for those of you who currently have a full-time job and are starting up your VA business on the side. As tempting as it is to quit that job that you hate so much right at this moment, it is providing you with an income that will help to build your business. The way I see it, you have a couple of options when you still have a full-time job:
- Keep your full-time job and create your business on the side, saving money where you can until you build up a client base for your business and save at least one or two years’ worth salary. Then you can quit your full-time job and focus on increasing your own business.
- Get loans or some kind of financial backing so that you can quit that full-time job now and use the money to build your VA business.
I can’t tell you which option is right for you. Everyone is in a different situation. You should really sit down and look at all of the numbers before making a decision. I’ll also cover time management in another segment of this series as I know that’s tough when juggling other responsibilities and trying to get your business up and running.
–>Another idea is to look at the skills that you have and create a gig on Fiverr. Check out their website to get an idea of what people are looking for on there.
–>A great option for adding another income stream is to become an affiliate for other people’s programs or products. If you’re not familiar with affiliate marketing, it’s basically like recommending things to people and getting compensated for it if they decide to purchase.
For example, I use Bluehost for my website hosting company. I like them and I’ve had good experiences with them. I recommend them to clients and colleagues using a special affiliate link. If someone decides to sign up for Bluehost through my affiliate link, I earn $65 from Bluehost. Not a bad deal, right? Check out the products and programs that you’re using and see if they have an affiliate program. The commission rates differ for each company.
Amazon.com is a big one for affiliates. Just imagine all of the things you could recommend from their site and earn affiliate commissions for.
It doesn’t have to be a big salesy thing. You’re really just recommending something that you use in your business or personal life that helps you in some way or saves you time or money. You can make recommendations in an email, a newsletter or on social media. There are rules to follow when it comes to disclosing that you’re using an affiliate link, so I suggest you do a little research on that before you get started.
–>Down the road when you do have a client base, you can look at adding things like products or programs of your own to add to your income streams. Think ebooks, how-to webinars or Kindle books.
Let’s recap. Starting a VA business is not a quick and easy way to make some cash, but with dedication, hard work and marketing, you can create a successful business. There are ways that you can save money while building your business as well as creating extra income streams if you’re on a budget when first starting out.
- If you currently have a full-time job, list the pros and cons of staying or leaving while building your VA business. Take into consideration the points brought up in this segment.
- If you’re short on cash, create a list of things that you can sell or investigate the other income streams mentioned in order to help with your cash flow situation. Get things down on paper and then plan your solutions.