If you’re a mom who has been thinking about becoming a virtual assistant (or earning a living from home in general), but you’re not sure if you can make it work, this post is for you.
I’m SO delighted to introduce you to Gina Horkey, owner of HorkeyHandbook.com, professional virtual assistant, and freelancer writer extraordinaire. Gina’s story has absolutely inspired me as a work-at-home mom, and I think it’ll inspire you, too!
Gina found success almost immediately when she started working as a virtual assistant in 2014, earning $4,000+ per month after only 6 months as a freelancer — while working full-time AND raising two toddlers. Say what?!
Gina is a WAHM superstar who spends her time running her successful VA business and teaching others how they, too, can obtain the same success using skills they already have in her two popular courses, 30 Days to Virtual Assistant Success and 30 Days to Freelance Writing Success.
Today, I’ve asked Gina to share a little bit about her journey to success as a VA, writer, and WAHM. Let’s get started!
Welcome to MiM, Gina! Thanks for joining us! How long have you been a virtual assistant, and what made you decide to become one?
I’ve been a VA for two years. I started my freelance/online business career on the side of my full-time job in the spring of 2014. Freelance writing was my first foray into this realm, but I knew pretty quickly that I wanted to add in VA work, too.
My previous career was in personal finance; I had a small financial planning practice myself and then supported our office as a whole, doing a lot of VA tasks “in person.” So when it came time to holding myself out as a virtual assistant, I just repurposed those skills or services and offered them to other online entrepreneurs instead of brick and mortar businesses.
Landing my first VA client is actually what gave me the confidence to turn in my notice and leave work behind. The predictability of pay and workload appealed to me and it was a nice compliment to freelance writing.
So what exactly is virtual assisting?
My definition is assisting someone virtually. (i.e., trading your skills for money and working with someone via the internet versus in person.)
Some think of it as someone doing mindless tasks like data entry. In reality, it could be web design, blog management, customer service, and much, much more! (As a part of the course, we’ve actually identified over 125 services you can offer as a VA and get paid for!)
What skills are necessary to succeed as a VA? Does virtual assisting require a degree?
I don’t think so. Like applying for any other “job,” I’m sure a college education helps, but it’s not 100% necessary.
As I mentioned above, you can really repurpose any skills that you have gained from previous careers and life experience. (i.e., a stay-at-home mom might be uber organized, loves to plan ahead, always at Inbox Zero, and used to finding ways to become more efficient and get more done each day.)
I’ve identified the following six traits that I think make for a good VA:
- Type-A. Which really just means organized and on top of things.
- Open to learning. If you don’t like to learn new things, this type of work might not be for you.
- Naturally curious. This will help you to spot new opportunities in your client’s business and continue learning new skills.
- Communicative. Never leave your client hanging, especially if they’re expecting a reply to correspondence!
- Not afraid to take charge. I.e., Once you learn your role, don’t ask permission or questions about every little thing.
- Has a positive attitude. This goes without saying.
Do you feel that virtual assisting is a good work-at-home career for SAHMs? What is your experience working from home as a VA while raising children?
Totally! It’s a great option for SAHM’s looking to bring in a little extra income, have a purpose beyond being “just mom,” and who have a little spare time on their hands.
So my husband is actually the stay-at-home parent in our family. I work from home, but he’s the primary caregiver. We’re very much a team though, which I think is pretty neat. Our kids are both going to be in preschool a couple of days per week this year, so I’m excited to incorporate him more into my business and/or support him as he tries out his own thing.
How much do VA’s typically make?
Like any position or career, it really depends. In my community, I’ve seen anywhere from $10 an hour (which I consider to be too low, especially when you factor in self-employment taxes, lack of benefits, etc.) to $50+/hour. All of my clients are on retainer now, and I consistently make above that. I started working with my first client at $35 per hour for context, though.
How long does it take to complete your program? How long after completion do your students typically start taking paid work?
LOL, it depends. Sorry, but it does!
The title of the course is 30 Days or Less because Version 1 had 30 standalone lessons. I’ve since revamped and expanded the material into 12 modules and 60 lessons (plus enhanced resources). You could totally get through it in 30 days though, providing you had an hour or so each weekday.
What advice can you offer to moms out there who might be interested in pursing freelance work as a virtual assistant?
My best advice? Figure out how much time you could afford to spend on client work each week/month, and at first spend that time learning (through something like my course). Then, use about 90% of that time prospecting until you have clients. Then do client work, but use 90% of the time you have left in the week or month to prospect until your client roster is full. The remaining 10% can be used for stuff like enhancing your website, blogging, etc. (And you’ll always need a little time for admin stuff!)
Some students find results as they’re taking the course or shortly after finishing, while others don’t see results for a few months down the line. It really has to do with effort, though. The more you put in, the more you’ll get out!
Awesome, Gina! Thanks for chatting with us today!
In my personal experience, virtual assisting is by far my favorite way to earn a living from home.
Have you ever considered working from home before? If so, what is keeping you from jumping in the work-at-home world? Leave a comment and let us encourage you! 🙂