This is an interview with Julie from JMF VA Services who works as a Virtual Assistant.
Read on for her full story and bio below
I am a Virtual Assistant who provides a range of highly-skilled administrative, technical and creative business support services allowing small business owners and solo-preneurs to become more efficient and spend more time scaling/growing their business.
I love to travel and in fact just came back to Minnesota after living in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico for the last 12 months.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS JOB– HOW DID YOU GET STARTED?
I knew I wanted to start doing some slow-travel and my current job/career wouldn’t allow for that, so I had to get creative about how to support myself while on the road.
After learning about all the services I could offer, I realized I could just offer the services I loved doing, choose my clients AND do it all online from anywhere in the world. Win-win-win!
WHAT SERVICES DO YOU PROVIDE?
I’m sort of a Jill of all trades. I currently provide email & calendar management, project management, bookkeeping, social media management – mainly writing posts and scheduling, research and basic WordPress maintenance.
Plus pretty much anything my clients ask me to figure out. I was a librarian in my previous career (digital asset librarian) and I can usually find a solution or two, for any issue that arises.
HOW CAN PEOPLE FIND VIRTUAL ASSISTANT JOBS?
Anywhere & everywhere. I started on a freelance marketplace, but you can post your services on social media, pitch bloggers you follow or people you do business with who you notice are struggling to keep up.
I also belong to a private Facebook Group through Horkey Handbook where they post leads from people looking for VAs.
HOW MUCH DOES A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT GET PAID?
It can be a big range, I think the last I saw was $15 – $100 an hour depending on your expertise and services. The majority probably fall into the $25-$50 an hour range.
You don’t have to charge by the hour either, you can offer packages to your clients and/or work off a retainer model. It just depends on how you want to set up your business.
I will say people posting jobs on marketplaces tend to want the cheapest price and we have to be careful not to charge too little. It’s a very delicate balancing act, but it’s where I got my start, so it’s definitely an option.
There are tons of marketplaces out there too – Upwork, Cloudpeeps, etc.
WHAT ARE THE HOURS OF WORK?
I am located in the Central time zone and I have clients in all 4 time zones in the US, but I try to stick to the normal 8-5, but I am averaging only 20 hours a week right now, so I’m not working the whole 8-5.
That can mean I run errands during the day or meet a friend for lunch if my day is slower or I work later in the evening.
The best part of this job is that I get to choose when I work, how long I work, etc. I want my clients to be happy, so I will work on the weekend for special projects, but I tend to stay away from clients who expect 24/7 on-call service. It’s not sustainable for the long term and that’s what I intentionally got out of with my corporate job.
If I travel (I went to Barcelona last February), I worked outside of those hours to take client calls at our regularly scheduled times, but it worked out great. They all knew where I was and what I was doing.
In fact, I took a cruise around the Mediterranean and I even worked a little on the ship – they had wi-fi!
WHAT ARE THE PROS & CONS OF WORKING AS A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT?
- Choose what you want services to offer – you don’t have to work on things you don’t want to do.
- I’m my own boss and I get to decide who I want to work with. I get really picky and need to have a connection or I know it won’t work well.
- Freedom. Plain, good old fashion freedom to plan my day and live the life I want to live.
- You have to go out and get the work, it doesn’t come to you – usually 😉
- Taxes – you are responsible for saving and paying ALL of your taxes
- Income isn’t as predictable as a full-time job BUT I will never lay myself off so there is that!
ANY FINAL ADVICE FOR SOMEONE WANTING TO WORK AS A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT?
Yes, GO FOR IT! Life is too short. Yes, it was scary. Yes, I am an introvert and don’t like promoting myself BUT I have a much better quality of life now.
Less stress (or maybe different stress that is more motivating than stressful), better health and a sense of satisfaction I didn’t have before.
You don’t have to go back to college and get a degree, but if you aren’t sure of where to start, I highly recommend investing in yourself and your business and take a class on how to set up your VA business.
Julie is a Digital Librarian turned Digital Nomad (originally from Minnesota – Go Vikes!!!) who provides Virtual Assistant services to micro/small business owners.
Services include email and calendar management, project management, research, digital file management, bookkeeping and general business management.
Previously, she has worked for multiple Fortune 500 companies as a digital asset librarian, managing global databases of images & videos and providing training & technical troubleshooting.
She recently spent 12 months living in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico and is based out of Minneapolis, MN.