Kayla used to work a full-time job as a credit analyst, earning about $2,000 per month. She was struggling to make ends meet while paying off debt, so she started a side hustle as a virtual assistant.
In our interview, she shows how she was able to grow her business from part-time to full-time and now earns 5 figures per month from the comfort of her own home. She also shares how this is a great way to make money on the side or even as a full-time career, how it’s one of the best online jobs, the most in demand virtual assistant services, and virtual office assistant salary.
Check out the interview below for more information and be sure to check out Kayla’s course $10K VA to learn further about how to become a successful virtual assistant.
Please give us a background on yourself and how you started as a virtual assistant.
Back in December 2013, I started my blog as a hobby. I simply wanted a place to share my thoughts and feelings as I worked my way out of debt.
At the time, I had no idea what a virtual assistant was or that you could make money online from home.
I read a lot of blogs back then for inspiration and so I could learn more about personal finance. Making Sense of Cents was one of the first blogs I started reading. When Michelle started sharing her income reports, I was inspired! They made me realize that I could earn extra money from home as a writer (this was my initial goal!) to help pay off debt. But, I still didn’t know what a VA was.
A few weeks later, I landed my first freelance writing job by simply asking to see if any of my blogger friends knew of any opportunities. One of them actually became my first client!
After a few weeks of working together, I noticed that the posts I was writing hadn’t been published. Since I always want to keep my clients happy, I simply asked if there was something I needed to do differently. That’s when my client mentioned that she was very overwhelmed with lots of other tasks and had gotten behind. She asked me if I was interested in working as her virtual assistant to help her get caught back up. Since I was desperate for money to get out of debt, I said yes.
That first month, I earned $285 and I was ecstatic! (Screenshot of my first income report.)
Can you explain what exactly a virtual assistant is, who they work for, what they do, etc.?
A freelance virtual assistant is someone who works for entrepreneurs or business owners to complete administrative tasks and other behind-the-scenes work to keep the business running smoothly.
It’s kind of like an administrative assistant at an office, but you work virtually and set your own schedule. This means you can do this as a side hustle in the evenings or weekends instead of being tied to working as a VA from 9-5.
As a freelance VA, you can work for as few or as many clients as you want, which makes it better than working for a virtual assistant agency. Plus, as a freelancer you get to keep all of the money you earn. In an agency, they’ll keep a cut of the money you earn and they may dictate you work a certain number of hours per week or work at certain times and days.
The tasks you do a VA can vary widely depending on what you like to do and what you are good at. In fact, there are over 100 services you can offer as VA. I’ve made a free business planner kit, which includes a list of 100 services you can offer and a worksheet to help you narrow down your focus.
How much can a beginner VA expect to make?
When I first started out as a VA, I was earning $15 per hour. In my area, this is about twice as much as I made per hour at a minimum wage job in retail.
Before long, I learned new skills, tools, and took on new tasks, which allowed me to raise my rates significantly. These days $15 hour is on the low-end for a starting VA and I don’t recommend new VAs to take any less than that. In fact, if you have some basic skills already, you should be charging more from day one!
Since you can work as much or as little as you want, the sky’s the limit on earning potential. Plus, raising your rates with each new client means you’ll be able to earn more while working less over time.
I’ve had students in my course go from earning a couple hundred dollars on the side to earning enough to be the sole breadwinner for their families.
What do you like about being a virtual assistant?
There are so many great things about being a freelance virtual assistant.
First, you can earn way more money working for yourself as a freelancer than working in many traditional jobs. Most months, I earn 5-6X what I used to make at my day job. For me, this means I’ve been able to pay off debt and build savings so much faster!
You get to set your own hours and work from wherever you want! As long as you meet your deadlines, most clients don’t care when and where you actually do your work. You also don’t have to ask for time off for vacations, appointments, etc.
Virtual assistants also get paid to learn, which is awesome. It means that you can get paid to take training courses and learn new skills and tools. Then, you can use these things to get new clients at higher rates too! It’s a win-win!
The ability to choose who you work with is also a great benefit. I get to work with business owners I admire and whose missions are so inspiring. I love getting to help them make a difference in the world. It’s very fulfilling.
How can a person find their first virtual assistant job?
As I said, I got my first client by just asking around to see if any of my friends knew of anyone looking to hire.
Since then, I’ve grown my business almost entirely from referrals. This means I don’t have to pitch to get new clients and I can choose who I want to work with.
But, when it comes to first getting started, a lot of new VAs want to go to job boards to get their first client. I’m not a fan of job boards at all unless you have absolutely no other options to get your first client.
Instead, I always recommend to new VAs that they start with their existing network of friends, family, business owners, and bloggers. This will help you land a client with less competition, which means more pay. Plus, if your first client is someone you already know, it may be easier to get started with less training. It also gives you the opportunity to work with clients you admire and work you believe it, which is always more fun!
What if you’re not sure being a virtual assistant is a good fit?
Well, the good thing is it doesn’t take much to get started. You do need a computer and a good internet connection. Other than that, you can bootstrap your business to get it off the ground. I was actually able to start working as a VA without spending any money at all since I already had a computer and internet at my house.
So, I’d say try it out! Especially if you don’t have to spend more than a couple hundred dollars to get started, what do you have to lose? You can more than make up for your small startup costs in a month or two after landing your first client!
What steps does a person need to take to make money as a virtual assistant?
You can get started on your own by marketing your business on social media, and with a website or blog.
You don’t need any formal education to work as a VA. However, taking a course or hiring a coach who’s been there and done that, so to speak, can help you grow your business much faster than you could do it on your own.
Michelle’s quick note: I recommend taking my free How To Start a Blog course.
What do you love about being able to make money as a virtual assistant? What has it helped you accomplish?
Being a virtual assistant has helped me craft a career I enjoy instead of being stuck at an 8-5 job wondering if there’s more to life.
I love that I can work from home in my yoga pants, from coffee shops, or anywhere with an internet connection. It’s awesome that I can work whatever hours I want. If I get done early, I don’t have to sit there and twiddle my thumbs waiting for 5 pm so I can go home from work.
I earn 5X what I used to make at my day job and I have better work-life balance than ever before.
I’ve also been able to do some incredible things like being quoted in national magazines and publications like Glamour, Entrepreneur Magazine, Time Magazine, and more.
I never thought these are things I’d be doing!
Are there any other tips that you have for someone who wants to become a virtual assistant?
Having a few skills will help you stand out from the competition and become a super successful VA. They sound easy and simple (and they are!) but it’s still worth mentioning because many VAs lack these skills that will set you apart.
The things you need to be a successful VA are:
Reliability – You MUST meet your deadlines! A shocking number of VAs don’t do this!
Good Communication Skills – Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Over communicating is better than under communicating.
Integrity – Never, never, never take advantage of your client, their business information, etc. As a VA you will be privy to a lot of behind-the-scenes information that should NEVER be shared.
Time Management Skills – You’ll have to juggle multiple clients, projects, and a deadlines. You need to be able to prioritize your work and make the best use of your time.
Problem Solving and Resourcefulness – Although asking questions of your clients is a good thing, do you best to be a problem solver too. I try to present options to my clients when I go back to them with a question. This saves them time, which is the whole reason they hire a VA!
Ability to Add Value – Can you think of ways to save them more time, money, etc.? Are there ways they can earn more money?
Following Up – As silly as it sounds, being willing and able to follow up on things to make sure they are fully completed is one of the biggest things I do as a VA.
Being a virtual assistant is NOT a get rich quick scheme. It definitely takes work, but it’s a great way to earn a living.
What can a person learn from your course? Can you tell us about some of the people who have successfully taken your course?
As I mentioned, taking a course like mine, or working with a coach that’s actually worked (and is working) as a virtual assistant, will help you avoid a lot of mistakes and get your business started on the right foot to grow super fast!
It took me a year to earn $2k/month and quit my day job, and another 14 months to hit the $10K/month mark. I know I could have saved a lot of time growing my business if I would have had someone to go to with questions. It would have saved me from many, many mistakes as I grew my business.
In my course, I teach you everything I’ve learned the hard way during my almost 4 years of working as a virtual assistant.
Here’s what my past coaching and course students said:
“Working with Kayla was one of the best decisions I could have made when it comes to my business. My first month of being a solopreneur, I only made $283. Now, I make double what my husband and I used to make in a month!I’m actually on track to earn $10,000/month by the end of the year.” – Kim Studdard, The Entrepremomer
“Kayla’s coaching gave me something extra that an e-course or article couldn’t. The coaching calls with Kayla gave me confidence and insight into leveling up my freelancing work.” – Colin Ashby, Rebel with a Plan
“I have been growing Burke Does for a couple of months and have really loved it. I met Kayla at FinCon and could tell she was definitely someone to connect with. I found the ability to talk through the things I was thinking with Kayla. Highly recommend.” – Emily Burke, Burke Does
“After four years of the same pay rate, Kayla’s “Raise Your Rates” lesson and template were just the kick in the butt I needed to say “enough is enough!” I was granted a 20% raise today!” – Laura P.
Are you interested in working as a virtual assistant?