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How I Started

I've recently received questions about how I started my business. The short answer is that I took a risk because I was motivated, had a small capital, and an idea. The brief version omits to describe the small steps and mistakes I made along the way. So the long answer, here we go…

Yes, I did have the capital and the idea, but I wasn't always motivated. I experienced discouragement from both internal and external circumstances, but I was able to overcome it with assistance. I took a break for about three months before I started to cope with various emotions, internal confidence concerns, and external financial issues. Guess what? I needed that break! It was alright because I paid attention to my health and body. To succeed in whatever that means to you, take care of yourself on the inside as well as the outside. For me that meant seeing a business coach, going to the studio, and instructing as many classes as I could. Yes, I am a fitness instructor as well! 

Now, let's return to the topic of this piece, which is how to launch a virtual assistant business. In fact, starting a business doesn't require a lot of resources. You're all set as long as you have a decent computer and an internet connection! I mean, you do need experience with admin tasks but really you need to know what exactly you are good at and what you love to do and find your ideal clients. There is so much work out there in this industry as it continuously grows and changes with technology. My area of expertise is still evolving because I have such a broad background, having worked in nonprofit, mining, and health care (however briefly). I've come to realize that, in contrast to construction or land development corporations, I enjoy working with therapists. I enjoy the variety of work I perform with these clients, and I'm always learning new techniques and applications. I have the basic knowledge needed to be a successful assistant but specializing in what you have experience in and what you are good at will allow you to be the expert in your niche. 

There are many courses out there put on by other VAs and schools, if you look for the right ones and you’re happy with what you have learned you can’t go wrong. You do need to trust your instincts and trust in yourself.  You have the knowledge inside you. I went to a traditional school and received a diploma in Business Management - Executive Assistant because I wanted a more in depth learning experience and because that is how I started years ago. What I actually needed was confidence in my ability to aid people and in my desire to do so. Will I get more education? Absolutely, as I said before, this industry is growing and changing and you need to keep up with how it’s changing. Various programs and resources are available to assist with writing, scheduling, and work management. There is so much to learn and you should always keep on top of your personal and professional development. 

I joined some social media groups to seek out guidance from other VAs that have been in this business a lot longer. I also joined an association, which helped me get the majority of my clientele. Assistance is welcome and welcomed. As a community and in business, we should start encouraging one another rather than worrying that someone else will swoop in and take your clients away if you share some of your knowledge. That simply isn't true. There is so much work available, all you have to do is draw in the correct kind of clientele. If you don’t have the same expertise or experience as another person that’s 100% okay, that just means that your niche is going to be different and you need to look for clients that need the kind of expertise you can provide.


In relation to choosing the right clientele, I'm learning to let go of the negative connotations associated with price, it has nothing to do with me. Not if, but when you find the right client, they will pay what you are asking because they recognize the worth of both you and your services. 

Honestly, I started my business about 7 months ago and I have a full client list or close to full.  Let’s be honest, I love working with the clients I have now and I’m sure depending on the project and what new clients may need in terms of hours, I would probably agree to take them on. So 7 months in business, a full client list and a few more on the horizon. Great right! Now you need to decide how much you want to charge and how many hours you actually want to work.  Notice I say want not need? That was on purpose. I have a spouse that has a great job and we don’t have children so my job is a secondary source of income. I know a lot of individuals that start these kinds of enterprises are either prospective parents or do have a spouse. The idea behind this business is to provide you the freedom to choose your own hours so you may live your life as you see fit. I chose to travel the world, teach group exercise, as well as spend time with my spouse in order to enjoy life. I’m living the life I want to live, are you? If not, how would you describe that? Just give that some thought for a moment.

Please get in touch with me if you need someone to bounce ideas off of; I'd be happy to talk.

Signing off as the Travelling VA/EA

~Written by Ashlee Hyde 

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