I have known some people who associate the virtual assistant profession to earning higher income than the average working individual. Likewise, the benefit of earning income from home cannot be underestimated at all. In fact, the reasons why VA converts decided to trade off their regular day job to become virtual assistants were really because of the flexibility and more money to keep. Why not start to save from your VA income in this next coming months and years? In this article, I would like to discuss why VA’s should really pay attention to the “money” in this profession especially this coming 2017.
Higher income but not regular?
This has been the argument of most individuals not yet in the VA profession bandwagon. They fear that the income potential of VAs is just a matter of lucky strike but in most cases not sustainable. My opinion to this is yes and no.
No – in a sense that you decide the amount of success you want to achieve, not just in the VA profession but in everything. And there are a lot of ways where a virtual assistant can successfully grow his or her business even with zero or limited background. I should know, I was this kind of VA.
Yes – sadly, there are still a lot of VAs out there just waiting in the sidelines and not seizing opportunities. They are stuck in the employee mentality just waiting for others (clients or co-VAs) to give them directions. They refuse to learn to be self-starters; and when the going gets tough they regret leaving their comfort zone (traditional workplace). Being a successful VA takes more than just good set of skills; it also takes good attitude and mental fortitude. In my previous blog article, I shared the best strategies any VA must learn in order to have a sustainable VA career.
Mind the money
It is therefore important for the VA to always mind the money, always know the amount that’s coming in to make everything worthwhile. After all, one did not decide to become a virtual assistant just because they wanted to work at home; they did so because of the freedom to earn more with the same amount of time invested for work.
So why do you need to mind the money? Simply because when you have gone through the motions of seriously contemplating leaving your traditional 9-5 job, avoiding the stress of daily commute, office politics, demanding bosses and what have you, the last thing you want to happen is go right back to that. It’s possible that some of your long term co-workers were your devil’s advocate in not leaving your day job but you braved it anyway. Pride would really be a bitter pill to swallow should you go back to the corporate workforce because you failed to grow a VA career. I don’t need to tell you how many VAs I have witnessed that happen. If you know how to mind the money of your VA practice, you have nowhere to go but up.
So how do you do it?
Treat it like a business. This may be something new to the VA who has been a long-time employee and accustomed to receiving salary at month end. By treating your VA work as a business you have to mind every aspect of its practice – from acquiring projects, to costing your services, to monitoring your time and costs to paying yourself.
Separate your business operating costs to your personal household costs. Because utility costs may now increase due to longer working hours or utilizing a small space at home that will consume more electricity and internet connectivity, you need to mind these costs as if it’s independent from your household costs. This way you’ll be fully aware of the additional cost you need to cover as well as make sure your VA income is more than the cost of this additional amount.
Control your living expenses during your first year as a virtual assistant. Live in a simple way. Your income as a VA may not come as regular as you’ve hoped it to be especially during the first year. The income may be quite erratic as you are adjusting to the work style or online market place. Work on a plan to have a VA career that auto pilots itself in 6 months or less, so as not to remain anxious with financial instability for a long period of time.
Invest only in business assets that grow in value. You may be tempted to set up your own home office in order to give you that look and feel of professionalism. That would be a good move but make sure all the physical assets that you set-up would grow in value and not just because you fancy it. Anything that will help provide work efficiency is a good investment like a more powerful laptop, faster internet connection, an ergonomic chair or a standing table. Anything else like a fancy work desk or decorative filing system may also be good to set the right mood as you work, but nevertheless not a priority. Real estate also is the best investment, even you don’t have client online you still have your passive income that will help your family expenses. Don’t invest on something that don’t give passive income. Do not buy on gadgets that you really don’t need. Think 100 times before buying something. Make sure that you know the difference of needs and wants. Invest on the trainings and learn more. The more skills you have the more clients will come to you.
It really takes strict financial discipline to make it work as a VA entrepreneur. It is possible that in times when projects keep coming in you might be tempted to spend on personal stuff than retaining income to grow your business. Avoid this attitude at all cost to make sure you’ll be able to take your business to that level that it needs to be. Spend wisely and keep on saving while young.