What does it take to be a Freelance Virtual Assistant

Being a Freelance Virtual Assistant Is Not for Everyone

As wonderful as being a freelance virtual assistant is and may appear to others, it really isn’t for everyone. There are those who are really cut out for freelance work and all that it entails. While others simply are not suited to the freelance lifestyle.

When I tell people that I am a virtual assistant, I estimate that 75% say “Oh, I’d love to do that. How do I go about setting up my own VA business?”

I’m always happy to give those who ask advice, and have mentored countless. Some of which are still working and enjoying their businesses, while making a profitable living. Others however haven’t taken to it. For some, if not all of the reasons I’ve detailed below.

Freelancing requires a great deal of self-discipline and structure in one’s life. If you lack these things, the chances of succeeding at working as a freelance virtual assistant are slim.

You must possess organisational skills, so that you do not quickly become disorganised and overwhelmed. In some cases clients will come to you because they are disorganised and want you to implement organisational structure into their business life. If your life is disorganised and chaotic it will soon become a mess!

Working from home can be lonely:

I should write a book on the isolation of the small business owner who works from home. Some people do not do well in such an environment. If you are one of those people who craves contact with other people during your work day, on a daily basis, freelancing most likely will not make you very happy. This was one of the most difficult things for me to adjust to. After a few months of working alone in my home office. I realised that one of the most enjoyable things about ‘going’ to work, was the people I worked alongside. I’ve since learnt how to combat the isolation of being a lone worker with networking or simply meeting up for a cuppa and a catch-up with clients’ or friends during the working day.

Freelancing means that you have to make good decisions on a daily basis:

Most, if not all of those decisions affect your life in the financial sense. At a traditional job, there is always someone else to call all of the shots. You get paid regardless of whether or not they made a good decision. When you are freelancing, if you make a bad decision you may not get paid, or worse still you could lose money. Thankfully, if you can’t make a decision for love nor money there is a fantastic and helpful forum on The Society of Virtual Assistants website. There you’ll find an abundance of VAs willing to help or offer advice.

Being a freelance virtual assistant requires time and quiet to get your work done:

Pay no attention to the magazine articles aimed at stay at home mums; where the accompanying image shows a woman sitting at her kitchen table working on her laptop with a baby on her lap and older children playing at her feet. If you have a hectic household it is not be a suitable work environment. If you want to make more than ‘pin’ money. You really will have to take extra measures. Which allow a conducive working environment. Such as, sending your child to a Child Minder or working during the evenings when you can concentrate.

Even if like me, you have no children demanding your time, there will be numerous distractions and interruptions to deal with when you work from home, which could prevent you from getting anything done. A lot of self-discipline comes into play again here. Freelancers who do not have self-discipline often find themselves doing everything but their work.

My advice to anyone thinking of quitting their job to work as a Virtual Assistant:

Before you leave your traditional job to start freelancing, make sure that you have fully thought it through. Talk to other freelance virtual assistants who have been doing it for a while to get a feel of what their lives are really like. You will never know until you try for yourself, so, start freelancing while you are on holiday from your traditional job, or maybe lower your hours and go part-time instead of leaving your job cold.

Please feel free to get in touch if you need further help or advice.

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Karina Bailey

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Written by Karina Bailey

Karina is the real person behind the Virtual Assistant. I support local small business owners, helping to relieve their admin stress and concentrate on their core business. When not at my desk working I can be found in graveyards, researching my family history. Dancing the Salsa and listening to local bands.