The Most Frequently Asked Questions

Select ‘VA FAQs’ for VA-related questions or select ‘Website FAQs’ for site-related questions.

Business Development

Has anyone switched careers to VA while still working a full time position else where? How did you do it?

It can be difficult to juggle two jobs at once, but if you can build up your client base on the side while still working your full-time position, this will make the financial strain less during the transition. It could be that one particular client can provide enough work and income to make that transition, or you may need to build up to a few clients before cutting over.

Do I need a Facebook business page? What's the difference between a personal page and a business page?

You must have a personal page in order to have a business page on Facebook and the difference is exactly how it sounds. One is for your personal life and the other for your business. Have a link on your personal page (“works at” section of your profile) so that someone can quickly get to your business page. Having a Facebook business page is a wonderful opportunity to promote your business and connect with your potential and current clients.

How do I get a domain?

Your domain name is, in effect, the name of your website You need to register the name you want with an organisation called ICANN through a domain name registrar. There is an annual fee to have your domain name. Some webhosting sites offer to pay for the registration as part of their start up package.

What type of home office set up should I have (do I need a separate room closed off from the rest of the house)?

All you really need is a computer/laptop and Internet service. Just make sure to have privacy when having a discovery call with a prospective client. Also, check your local/national tax regulations for self-employed as it pertains to “home office deductions”.

What type of references/testimonials should I offer if I've never done VA work before?

How about doing some VA work for free for someone you already know and/or do business with (provided it is not competing with your employer)? Someone starting a new business, for example, would welcome the free help as funds are often tight. In exchange, they can write a testimonial or reference for you. Since you have actually done work for them, add them to your resume/LinkedIn.

Does anyone know of any websites or companies who hire persons like myself for small projects or just about anything I can do part time?

There are resources all around you to find part-time work until you get your VA business up and running. Look at local, part-time jobs – some offer great flexibility in hours to suit your schedule and income needs. There are also numerous online, customer service roles that you could check out as well. A word of caution: you may be doing such a great job that the company may want to extend your hours or increase your responsibilities. Think hard as to the effect on your business before you agree.

Client and Customers

How can I find online work????

http://www.valifestyledesign.com/find-online-work/

When doing proactive outreach to get clients, do you use the "contact" section of their website, fb messenger, or ???

Danielle Greason Hey Jasmine, my priority order is email address first if you can find it, then contact form on their site, then FB Messenger. One way to get the email address is to sign up for their email newsletter and then use the address it’s sent from.

When I used to work in sales I had Rapportive installed in my Gmail account. If you know the name of the person you are trying to reach, you can try to guess their email address and when you get it right it shows the LinkedIn profile of the person on the side bar. It’s really cool, I recommend it.Rapportive shows you everything about your contacts right inside your inbox. We combine what you know,… 😊

I have been submitting proposals in upwork but no luck yet. Just wondering if I am bidding too high. I am bidding $18 - $20 per hour. If anyone wants to share I would like to know how much you are bidding + other strategies to land a client from upwork.

1)Started out with my rate at $15 an hour.2)Then I bid ONLY flat rate jobs. I did this because I wasn’t sure what I was doing. I didn’t want to worry that I was taking too long and charging too much. I was mainly going for the experience and 5 star reviews. 3)Got 1st job for $45. Completed it, received a 5 star review. 4)Raised my hourly rate to $20 5)Got 2nd flat rate job. Completed it, received a 5 star review. 6)Got 3rd job at $20 per hour – did it and got a 5 star review. On this job we agreed it wouldn’t take me longer that 5 hours. Although it did, I only counted 5 hours. 7)Got 4th job at $25 an hour – I’m still on this one and have worked about 25 hours. He may turn into a steady client. 8)Got 5th job (from one of my past customers). Raised my rate to $30 an hour but capped job at 2 hours.

What do I say on a consultation call?

As little as possible. Really. The main purpose of that call is to listen to the client to determine their needs and whether you can help. While it’s tempting to rattle off all your skills and accomplishments – believe me, they don’t care what YOU have to say as much as what THEY have to say. Guide the conversation to what their needs are, what benefits they hope to realize by meeting those needs and whether you can help them with those needs.

I know I have the skills, but where to start?

If you have the skills – your next step is getting some clients. Yes, you will need to set up a Paypal account or something similar to get paid. And yes, you’ll need to find a contract and invoice to submit to your client for payment. However, first, you have to begin the search for your clients. You can set up everything else while you’re searching. See, this is often the tricky part for some VAs. Many clients want VAs with some experience. But you can’t gain experience unless you find a client willing to give you a chance. Tricky indeed. If you’re lucky, you know someone – a friend or relative – who owns a business and will let you do some pro-bono work for them to gain some experience. Otherwise, you’ve got to really search for those opportunities that are in your niche and apply specifically to that opportunity – meaning, no submitting generic cover letters or responses. Or, you can simply search for a position right here at The VA Cafe Online. Or wait for the VACO Hive to open up again. Hmmmmm, decisions, decisions…

Does anyone have suggestions on where to find part time VA work?

Many VAs have found work through sites such as Upwork.com and Freelancer.com, though leads may be difficult to get due to strong competition and low rates offered. There are also various job search boards that list part-time VA positions, i.e. Monster.com, Ziprecruiter.com and VirtualVocations.com. You can join Facebook groups for VAs as they also share known job opportunities. Additionally, it is good to list your VA skills on your LinkedIn profile and connect with recruiters who can then have you on their radar. However, it may also be helpful to reach out (either personally or through LinkedIn) to people you already know and do business with to let them know that you can help them. Sometimes those connections are best because you already have a rapport with them.

When doing proactive outreach to get clients, do you use the "contact" section of their website, fb messenger, or ???

Priority order is email address first if you can find it, then contact form on their site, then FB Messenger. One way to get the email address is to sign up for their email newsletter and then use the address it’s sent from.

Alternative Response: I have Rapportive installed in my Gmail account. If you know the name of the person you are trying to reach, you can try to guess their email address and when you get it right it shows the LinkedIn profile of the person on the sidebar.

Financials

I am wondering what is the advantage of making packages option instead of just charging per hour? Why does one need packages in her VA life?

Packages allow more freedom and flexibility in taking care of your client. When you charge hourly, you need to track and report your time. Not horrible – just tedious. You’re limited in what you can do for the client by what is within that month’s budget – often items are put off until the next month’s invoice is paid. Using a package, your client is assured of a recurring, flat rate. If your client’s needs require additional time this month to complete a project, you can adjust next month’s hours to account for the extra effort. In short,

I have been submitting proposals in upwork but no luck yet. Just wondering if I am bidding too high. I am bidding $18 - $20 per hour. If anyone wants to share I would like to know how much you are bidding + other strategies to land a client from upwork.

1)Started out with my rate at $15 an hour.2)Then I bid ONLY flat rate jobs. I did this because I wasn’t sure what I was doing. I didn’t want to worry that I was taking too long and charging too much. I was mainly going for the experience and 5 star reviews. 3)Got 1st job for $45. Completed it, received a 5 star review. 4)Raised my hourly rate to $20 5)Got 2nd flat rate job. Completed it, received a 5 star review. 6)Got 3rd job at $20 per hour – did it and got a 5 star review. On this job we agreed it wouldn’t take me longer that 5 hours. Although it did, I only counted 5 hours. 7)Got 4th job at $25 an hour – I’m still on this one and have worked about 25 hours. He may turn into a steady client. 8)Got 5th job (from one of my past customers). Raised my rate to $30 an hour but capped job at 2 hours.

Do I need a separate bank account?

Setting up a business bank account and keeping your personal and business finances separate is a good idea. Start with a business savings account and then as you grow clients, add the checking account. Compare banks and their fees for these types of accounts.

Do I require clients to pay upfront for services or after the work is completed?

If you’re working with a freelance company, they will handle all of the billing and payment schedules. However, when running your own VA business, you really get to decide your own billing schedule. You may want to use a retainer or bill in advance, bill 50% upon contract signing with the balance due upon completion or you can bill solely upon completion of the project or task. To protect yourself and your client, we recommend 50% down and the balance due upon completion – it’s fair to both parties. Whatever method you choose, be sure to be upfront with the client and work out the arrangement together.

Office Productivity

What type of computer should I have - Windows or Mac?

Either system will work just fine – it’s mainly a matter of personal preference. If you’re just starting out, it may be best to stick with the system you know – the one you’re most comfortable with – as you’ll be learning so much, now may not be the time to switch. It IS important to have some type of desktop/laptop system – and not depend solely on your cell phone – as many sites really are different when viewed via desktop computer vs. cellphone.

Should I use WordPress?

The platform you choose to create your website is as personal as the computer system you use to run your business. Depending on the complexity of your website needs, these can run the gamut from one-page site builders to complex, custom-built sites. If you’re just beginning your VA career, it’s best to stick with the simple but very effective one-page website builders.

Do I list my number on my website?

Only if you love speaking to telemarketers. All day. Every day. Otherwise, save your phone number for your clients that request it and only if you are usually available to answer it. After all, you’ll need to manage your client’s expectations as to when you are available and when they can expect a return call, email, etc.

How do I balance work and life?

Absolutely no idea. Seriously. Look, the work/life balance is different for everyone. Each of us has differing needs and are at different points in our lives. The first step in balancing work/life is to determine what your ideal life looks like. And while we all might like to be millionaires with staff taking care of our every need, that’s not realistic. If you have small children, your ‘life’ aspect may require a bit more time and your work will receive a bit less. As your children grow and spend more time with friends and less at home, perhaps you may find yourself spending more time working and less time ‘playing’. Or maybe you’ll find a new activity like golf or tennis. Either way, it’s really up to you how you want to spend your time. That’s one of the many benefits of being a VA – the freedom to choose.

Do I need a website?

Depends. If you’re just starting out, you probably don’t need a complex website. A one-page website builder like Strikingly works great and has many templates. If you’re a bit more advanced in your VA journey and are ready for a more robust presence, there’s WordPress, Wix, Squarespace, Weebly and so many more. It’s really a matter of preference as to which builder you use. Take the time to do your research, maybe build a page in each to get a ‘feel’ or, better yet, hire a VA to build your site!

Along the lines of balancing work and life, how do I manage my work time with little ones at home?

This is always a challenge! There is, of course, the treasured naptime where you can hopefully get in two hours of uninterrupted work. Or, depending on your body’s clock, you may choose the early morning before everyone wakes or the evening after they’ve gone down. But if you have children, then you know they do not always follow our schedules. The barter system is often helpful if you can ask someone (a friend or family member) to trade off time with you. While you get in a few hours of work, they watch your children and then when they need the time, you watch theirs. It is important to tell your clients your specific work schedule and whether or not it is flexible.

What do I do about my work load when I'm going on vacation?

Perhaps you work remotely already and your location is not a factor in your ability to get the job done. However, sometimes vacations require you to be offline – whether you’re in transit on a plane, without Internet connectivity, or simply need to spend time with family. Communication is key! Being upfront about your work schedule with a client will allow you to work out a plan. Discuss their expectations for the job and advise them of your schedule. It may be that all they need is to know how and when they can reach you and when to expect the work to be completed. Or you may need to adjust your schedule to fit the work time in.

Can I take a work free vacation?

Working as a VA does allow you to work from anywhere: home, library, cafe, park bench, beach, etc., and for some the nomad lifestyle means literally working anywhere around the world. However, it is advisable to schedule a work-free holiday for your own mental health. Always be upfront with your clients by communicating if you will not be reachable during a specific period of time and discuss how you will manage the existing work load so no deadlines are missed.

How to keep track of client's information?

As a VA you have a lot of information to keep organized and accessible – about your clients and for your clients. You may choose to use an Excel spreadsheet with column headings for contact info, contact dates, pricing, specific requirements, and status etc. However, there are several applications you can use, such as Salesforce.com, Nimble.com or Highrisehq.com, which will allow you to track your phone and email contacts with each client as well as set reminders for tasks linked from your calendar. Search for CRM to find the latest and greatest apps out there for your specific needs.

Skills, Classes & Courses

What skills do you need to become a VA?

That depends on what kind of VA you want to become. Do you want to create content for social media, manage a client’s email and calendar, create logos and branding, design websites? There are so many facets to VA work – your best bet is to discover where your passion lies. This will help you discover your niche – that one area where you can work through the night and not realize how late it is. Where you get lost in your work so that it doesn’t really seem like work at all. Contact us for help in finding your niche!

What specific tools/programs should I focus on learning right away? I know there are so many that are useful...but if you had to pick one or two most popular services/tools...what would it be?

Which tools you should learn will depend largely on what type of services you want to offer. For many VAs it is good to know WordPress, Buffer, Canva, and Trello. However, there are always new software applications coming on the scene. I know it can be overwhelming! A good place to compare products is www.Capterra.com. Learning these tools can be done through the trial versions some products offer or through online training centers such as www.Udemy.com, www.Lynda.com or the LinkedIn Learning Library. (Membership or subscriptions required.)

What services are most in demand in this industry right now?

A high demand exists for VAs with technicial skills such as web design/development and graphic design. Equally in demand are social media and blog calendar management, and email management. Though a growing area of need is for administrative services, i.e. proofreading, editing and formatting WordPress posts, as well as calendar management, event planning and customer support. You can focus on a number of these services or choose to hone in and specialize on one.

Social Media

Any of you YouTube Video Experts?

Have you come across www.useloom.com looks really easy to use and it’s free.

Do I need a Facebook business page? What's the difference between a personal page and a business page?

You must have a personal page in order to have a business page on Facebook and the difference is exactly how it sounds. One is for your personal life and the other for your business. Have a link on your personal page (“works at” section of your profile) so that someone can quickly get to your business page. Having a Facebook business page is a wonderful opportunity to promote your business and connect with your potential and current clients.

lets talk PINTEREST: Is it structured like FB in that you have to pay for advertising as a business page vs. personal page? What tips do you have for setting up a small business for visibility and sharing blogs about gardening? Have any of you used the app 'If this then that'?

https://business.pinterest.com/en. Then you can apply to what’s known as rich pins. This adds your website name and blog title to every pin. Better for your ranking…Get your keywords in there that coincide with what your audience is looking up in the search engine…..Melyssa Griffin from http://courses.thenectarcollective.com/ has some good courses that helped a client of mine grow their pinterest following. Hope this helps! PM me if you want my notes. business.pinterest.com

For Pinterest marketing I like to implement strategies learned from Simplepinmedia.com.

I'm an admin for a page in facebook. He has created some ads and would like me to check on them but I can't seem to link in ad manager or power editor. What am I missing? It is time sensitive, eeeek. I can only see my personal profile in the dropdown box and ad account menu.

I may be misunderstanding, but has the client also added you to their ads manager account? You don’t automatically get access to ads account by being an admin on a page.Yeah definitely two different access permissions Ad account and page…

Navigation

How do I find resources on The VA Cafe Online?

The quickest way to locate resources is to click on Categories at the top of the page or type your question or some keywords in the Search bar.

New’bee’ Program

What is the VACO Hive?

The VACO Hive is where all the New’bee’s work together to create all the resources within The VA Cafe Online.

Pricing

Do I have to sign a long-term contract?

Nope. You’ll be charged monthly and you can cancel anytime. If you cancel, you’ll only be charged for the current billing period. You won’t be charged again after that.

How can I upgrade my plan?

To upgrade your plan, simply log into your account, choose your upgrade, and enter your Paypal information or a valid credit or debit card.

What forms of payment do you accept?

We accept Paypal as well as all major credit and debit cards: Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover.

Can’t find your answer?

Try the Search bar on the main page for some ‘infrequently’ asked questions or click ‘Contact Us’ to submit your question.

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