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Why Certification Helps You Land Great Clients

Approved There are many reasons why you might want to become a certified virtual assistant. But the most common reason that a virtual assistant chooses to become certified is so she can get more clients and more lucrative work. Whether you work with solo-preneurs or large corporate executives, becoming certified can open doors for you to grow your business like never before. Here are a few reasons why certification can help you land those great clients.

Certification increases a potential client’s trust.

Thanks to the World Wide Web, anyone can put up a website and claim to be a virtual assistant. These phonies may just be posing as virtual assistants to take advantage of clients that are unfamiliar with the concept of outsourcing. By the time the client realizes he’s been scammed, the phony VA could take down their website and create a new one.

Certification lets potential clients know that you’re not a scammer. Of course, scammers can claim to be certified, too. But a quick Google search can confirm that you really are certified as a virtual assistant. When potential clients see that you are who you claim to be, they’ll be more likely to trust you with their business.

Certification gives you an edge.

When it comes to applying for virtual assistant jobs, you want to make sure you have an advantage over the other applicants. One way to show that you’re more qualified for the job than anyone else is to mention your certification.

A hiring manager will look at your resume and be more likely to hire you because he knows that he doesn’t have to teach you everything before you can begin work. Instead, he can give you a simple introduction to how things are done at his business and pass off a list of tasks to you. This frees him up to focus on tasks that generate revenue.

Certification shows clients that you’re serious.

When you’re certified, you’re sending the message to potential clients that you’re serious about your online business. Clients know that you aren’t just claiming to be a virtual assistant but you really are one and that you’re willing to do the hard tasks that lead to success.

Becoming a certified virtual assistant will allow you to go after bigger clients and increase the trust you already have with your existing clients. It will also help you, too. You’ll be more confident and do a better job of marketing your services once you become certified. I’ve tried out a few courses and training programs personally and have compiled a list of those that impressed me. Check them out and let me know if you choose any of them.

You need skills not experience to work as a VA

Some people think that since they’ve never worked specifically as a virtual assistant that they can’t do it. They think they need to work practically free, if not free, to gain experience. Well, it depends on what you mean by no experience. If you’ve been an office administrator for any length of time, you have experience. If you’ve been a secretary for any time at all, you have experience. Just because it was not in the virtual environment doesn’t mean you don’t have experience.

Consider the fact that you probably received most of your assignments at your job via email, or via a project management system of some kind. Maybe you got your assignments via telephone. Most of the time your supervisor did not come to your desk to tell you what to do. More than likely you were on auto pilot day in and day out with things appearing for you to do either via your computer, the phone, or perhaps items winding up in an inbox of some kind.

Working from home as a Virtual Assistant is not much different.

You will set up a project management system of some sort that works for you, in which your clients can assign tasks for you to accomplish and in which you can upload deliverables. You’ll also need some sort of method to keep track of time, invoicing, and your inflow and outflow. You can use a combination of Outright.org, Freshbooks, and Paypal for this. Everyone of these have a free version that you can start out with and work your way up to the paid version as you make more money and get more clients.

The reasons people start a VA business vary from true entrepreneurial drive to the desire to not just survive in hard times but to thrive. Because, a Virtual Assistant can make a full time living from home. Almost anything that you did in an office can be done online from answering phone calls, to data entry, to bookkeeping, to the more obvious social media management.

If you’re unsure what to do from home you can seek out training from reputable places like VA Classroom. They offer training in a variety of different, in demand tasks that VAs can do to earn money from home. To get started right away you need to become your own best client.

What I mean by that is you need to build your website, decide what services you’ll offer and to whom, and then start marketing your business via social media,  networking events both online and offline, and by putting up regular blogs on your website that teaches your target audience what you will do for them.

What’s holding you back from getting started? Let me know what roadblocks you believe are in your way in the comment section below.

I have a bad back, but as a VA I can still be a bread winner

Recently I took a foray into working at a J.O.B.

It was misguided and not done for any other reason than it was offered and I have a hard time saying no.

I kept doing my VA and Content Writing work while I had the job for about six weeks. During week three my back started hurting worse than normal, by week six I had to resign.

I already know I have a bad back and have had a bad back for many years, since 1994. It’s one of the reasons I started working from home. It’s hard to keep a normal job if you might wake up and not be able to even move.

And it did happen, I had to call in sick, and as you know for a J.O.B. calling in sick that early in the game is a real no-no. I explained to them about my back, and that I could do most of the work they needed right from my home office but they weren’t interested in that so I resigned. It’s three days later and I still cannot walk, but I have to say that even though I wasted their time, I learned tons that I can put back into my business here.

You’re probably wondering why in the world I’d do that knowing that I make more per hour working for myself than at a job.

Well, frankly, sometimes working at home can get lonely and boring. Plus, as you well know, if you live in the USA working from home you can’t get health insurance very easily that covers you very well.It wasn’t even the pay, it was the health insurance. It was the imaginary pressure I felt from others.

What a mistake.

Not only did I waste their time but I wasted my own. To my surprise,  I managed to keep up with all my business clients, and I learned that I have a hell of a lot more time to add more clients than I thought. I literally was able to do all my client work in two 12 hour days. (I took breaks during that time and also cleaned my house, cooked dinner, did laundry, took walks and ate lunch.)

In addition, in those two days I earned more money than I earned all week in the J.O.B.

By week two I realized that I was really making a huge mistake but I felt loyal to them and wanted to do the job I was hired to do before I gave notice.

Then one day I woke up and I could not move. My back was out. The last time that happened this bad was a few years ago, and I’ve lost a lot of weight so I honestly thought I was essentially cured. How wrong I was.

I managed to get to my home  office, and I could comfortably sit there and work, but this was not what they signed up for and not what they wanted.

The reason I’m telling you this at all is that I know a lot of you have a outside pressures to get “real” jobs.Pressure from parents, in-laws, spouses, you name it. We who work from home often feel that pressure and if we are women we are probably especially guilty of downplaying what we do all day.

I’m here to tell you that you do have a real job.Do not be swayed and tempted by a good salary,health insurance, and all the trappings of going into a J.O.B. Not if you really want to work at home, work independently, be able to balance your family life and your work life, and actually be free to have a sick day!

If you’re a Virtual Assistant or do any type of work from home, you have a real job! In fact you have a much better job than anyone who has to leave home to work does. Maybe you feel like you need a “real” job because you aren’t earning enough as a VA?

It’s easy to start feeling stuck in a certain income level. You feel like you don’t have enough time to do more than you do right now. But, I bet you can do more, you’ve just gotten comfortable with your pace. If you are a VA who feels like you’re maxed out in time and money, then try limiting your working times (and get off social media) to see how long it really takes you to do your work.

If you’re not regularly testing to see how much you really make in an hour then I challenge you to do so. If you’re not treating your business like a real job, something you need to work at every business day and hour (days and hours your own choice!), then try it for a week and I bet you’ll find that you can be even more productive than you thought.

I was shocked to find that I could easily do all my client work in literally two days, Saturday and Sunday. Before the J.O.B. I felt maxed out. I felt like there was no way I could earn more money. Yes, I outsource (although I admit I’ve had a hard time finding reliable people to outsource writing to so I do that mostly myself), and yes I use automation. I just felt like this was it, this is all I can make. But, I was very wrong. Not only can I make more, I have a LOT more time than I thought. I can literally double my client load, thus my income and still have time with my family and friends.

I can still be a productive member of society and my family even if I can’t walk, or get out of the house due to my back. I’m so very thankful that this is possible for me. I know if I can do it you can do it too.

So, what about you? Do you have pressure to take a job outside the home? Do you feel like you’re already working enough but you’re not making enough money? Do you currently have a job that you’re scared to let go of? Tell me about it in the comments below.

 

What are your Goals for your Virtual Assistant Business this year?

Can you believe that January 2012 is coming to a close already?

I know some of you don’t believe in New Years resolutions but, it is important to establish business goals for the year.

Consider it a kind of “mini business plan” for 2012. You probably discovered during the year things that worked and things that didn’t work. You might make a goal to drop the things that didn’t work and double your efforts on what did work.

  • My goals for this year are:

  • –Write one Kindle book or report each month starting with February

  • –Open Va Mom Coach Membership Site

There are a lot of itty-bitty goals within those goals of course and I have a step by step plan to accomplish each item on it. For instance I want each of my books to have 30 to 100 thousand words depending upon whether it is a report or a book.  I have created a title, and an outline and if for instance the book is 30,000 words then I want to write at  least 2000 words per day for 15 days, then the rest of the month will be to edit, format, and upload to Kindle. 2000 words isn’t really that much to write in a day. It’s only 4 pages of text or less. Since I have an outline I simply write about each topic on the outline and eventually the book or report will be finished.

With the VA coaching site, its a little more difficult because it is a membership site. This requires me to purchase technology, set up (or have set up) the technology, and fill the website with content for the members. My deadline for this project is to have it completely ready to market by the end of the year. From website, to content, to sales page — and I have set goals for each month of the year regarding what to get done each month. As long as I follow my schedule there is no reason why I won’t launch the membership site by the end of the year if not before.

If you have goals for your business, break them down into smaller goals, monthly, weekly and daily — and you’ll have an easier time actually succeeding at anything you put your mind to. Set the goals, be specific about the goals, and the follow through and you’ll be completely successful. If you need help setting goals, and with being accountable to someone I am offering coaching, just use the contact form by clicking right here, and then I’ll send you some information. No need to wait for the membership site to be up to get coaching in your Virtual Assistant Business.

Share your goals in the comment section. Remember, if you do anything from home Virtually you’re welcome here. I don’t care if it’s administrative, graphics, telemarketing, or whatever, we all have a lot in common and the Virtual Assistant keyword can fit.  Maybe you call yourself a service provider or something else entirely… I’d love to hear from you and what your goals are for the year.

Getting started as a Virtual Assistant

Getting started working from home as a remote virtual assistant (VA) can be an exciting and scary time for the new VA. But, if you really think about it, getting started in this business is no harder that getting started working as a secretary for a bricks and mortar business, it’s just different.

To gvirtual assistant et started as a Virtual Assistant you need:

  • Administrative or Secretarial Experience
  • A Niche
  • A Business License
  • A Business Banking Account (or PayPal)
  • A Virtual Assistant Website
  • Knowledge of Interactive Technology
  • Systems Developed to Help you Work Remotely
  • Standard Operating Procedures
  • A Client Contract

Once you have these things in place, you simply market yourself as a virtual assistant both locally, and nationally. You can use sites like Shelancers.com or Guru.com, or Vanetworking.com to help find positions as a Virtual Assistant. You can also answer local ads that want a part time secretary that isn’t responsible for answering telephones.

Make sure you spread the word. You can also offer to do over flow work for other VAs but do not feel like you have to work free unless you feel like you are truly getting something out of it such as good training such as with an internship of some kind.

Just know that, if you have any secretarial skills at all, they can translate to working as a Virtual Assistant from home!

Creative Commons License photo credit: herlitz_pbs