The term Virtual Assistant probably doesn’t mean much to you if you’re just getting started making money online. You might not even be able to imagine why someone would need an assistant at this point in your online career. But trust me – this is a fast paced business and once you start making a little money, things really start picking up and the work load becomes almost overwhelming.
Successful Internet marketers generally have more than one website. Sometimes they have hundreds of blogs and sites and dozens of online campaigns running all at the same time. And all the while they’re looking for even more online money-making opportunities. There’s just no way these guys could handle all the day-to-day tasks necessary to keep all those balls in the air. And that’s where virtual assistants come in.
Virtual assistants handle all types of services for their clients, including:
- Article writing
- Blog posting
- Blog commenting
- Forum commenting
- Email marketing
- Link building
- Site design/installation
- Web 2.0 marketing
- Ebay and Amazon marketing
It sounds like these VAs just handle the grunt work, but it’s really a very big business. In fact, one of my personal friends, Diana Barnum of Moving Ahead Communications, has had a VA business for well over ten years now and she’s one of the biggest names in the business. When I asked her why she decided to go into the service end of Internet Marketing, her answer was:
Because the online marketplace is always changing and the methods of marketing have to change to keep pace. But the one thing that never changes is that Internet Marketers will always need service providers. All I have to do is make sure I can provide those basic services.
Maybe you’ve tried Internet marketing and just haven’t had any success, but you still want to be able to develop some type of business you can call your own and have that freedom to work from home and come and go as you please. Or maybe you just like the idea of having that income security that Diana spoke of and you think it might be a good idea to start some type of service-based business. Then a VA business sounds right up your alley.
Here are 5 tips to help you make money online as a VA
- Start Small and Specialize: There are dozens of service-oriented websites out there with millions of VAs competing for business. Pick one area in which to specialize and learn that area upside down and sideways before you think about adding in another service. And then learn that next service upside down and sideways before you think about adding in another. This is not the business to be in if you’re a Jack of All Trades and Master of None!
- Promote Yourself: If you’re creative, then you need to read my blog post about How To Make Money Online With Fiverr. Fiverr.com is a great place for virtual assistants to promote their business. Put together some creative little offer that shows people what you can do and show ’em what you got. A lot of these Fiverr gigs lead to long-term clients.
Elance is another great site for VAs to promote themselves. Elance is a website for anybody who does any kind of freelance work and there are always dozens of listings for VAs. Do a search either for Virtual Assistant or for your specialty – bookmarking, link building, article writing, etc.
Internet Marketing forums are another great place to promote your VA business.
- Watch Your Fees: The one drawback to building a business around providing virtual assistant services is the fees. They’re not great. And there’s a lot of competition, which makes the fees even lower in the end. Which is one reason you need to specialize. It’s like anything else. The more you do it, the faster and more proficient you’ll become. Then, instead of working 3 hours to earn $15, you’ll be making $30 or $45 an hour.
- Be Picky: In the beginning, you’ll be tempted to take whatever gigs you can get, just so you can get your name out there. Be careful! Don’t low-ball the competition just so you can get the gig. If you have to work 24 hours a day, 31 days a month, just to pay the rent, you’re not going to have any time left over to earn the money for your car payment, groceries and you Internet access. Watch your fees!
- Scale It Up: Don’t worry, though. There are so many VAs out there who do a horrible job – or just disappear altogether! – that if you provide a quality service, within just a few short weeks your name will get around and you’ll have more business than you can handle. That’s when it becomes time to scale your business.
How To Really Make Money Online As A Virtual Assistant
The most difficult aspect of making money online as a Virtual Assistant is knowing when and how to scale your business. And to grow your business you’re going to need to hire – a Virtual Assistant! Funny, huh? (Diana Barnum has a VA who does nothing but hire VAs!)
If you’re providing a great service then eventually you’re going to have more business than you can handle alone. But you need to be careful. If you’re going to hire a VA to help you, then you’re going to have to pay them something. And you’re clients generally aren’t going to accept a huge price increase.
This is the point where a lot of VAs fall flat on their face. They have too much business and they know they could make so much more money if they only had help. On the other hand, they can’t raise their prices so how can they afford to pay that help?
The answer is volume. There is more than enough business out there if you’re good at what you do. Once you reach the point that you can’t keep up with all the work, then it’s time to really get out there and promote yourself and start outsourcing some of that work to VAs.
How much should you pay YOUR VAs?
The price you should pay your VAs depends. There are two ways of looking at it:
- If you’re providing a single service: Let’s say you’re a VA and you’ve been building back links for your clients. If that’s all you do, and that’s all you intend to do, then the only way to pay your own VA is to give them a percentage of each order they complete. The going rate is around 75%. Yes, you personally will take a huge cut. But all you’ll need to do is make it up in volume. And with the additional help, you’ll have more time to spend on promoting your service and rounding up that additional business.
- If you provide more than one service: Again, you could just pay your VA a percentage. But, you could also consider paying them 100%. Let’s say you offer to build 100 solid backlinks for $10 and you offer to build a whole link wheel for $100. You could probably turn up a ton of business by offering 100 free backlinks with every $100 link wheel. So give your VA $10 for the backlinks, and you build the wheels. You’re taking a $10 cut but you’ve more than made up for it in volume. Plus, you’re going to get tons of repeat business if you’re doing a great job.
And then you can add on another service, and hire another VA, and build up a bigger client base, and add on another service, and, before you know it, you’re making REAL money online as a Virtual Assistant!