Are you interested in being a VA (virtual assistant) to earn a bit of money on the side?
There are so many side business ideas out there, but being a VA is one of the most versatile ideas out there. You can literally work anywhere, you just need an internet connection a laptop for most tasks. In fact, if you play your cards right, you can earn a healthy side income from it.
I invited Kayla Sloan from the blog Shoeaholic No More to talk about her experience being a VA. What initially started as a side hustle turned into a full time job and she earns 6 figures a month from! She talks about some of the mindset shifts she’s had to make including overcoming a scarcity mindset and how she turned that around. She’s seriously so inspiring and I hope you get a lot out of this interview.
Read Kayla’s interview below then check out the video to see some insights and tips I have for you. Also, don’t forget to download the make money quick start guide where I have more tips and some tools and websites where you can get started making money on the side.
Sarah: What were the side business ideas you pursued and why did you start it?
Kayla: I started freelance writing in July 2015. I got my first client by simply emailing a few of my blogger friends who I knew were freelancers to ask about how they got started and if they knew of anyone looking to hire freelancers. By doing this, I got two clients almost immediately because two of the bloggers I emailed were looking to subcontract out some of their work. Within a couple of weeks, one of them noticed that organization and deadlines are a very strong suite of mine and asked me if I’d ever thought about being a Virtual Assistant. At the time, I didn’t even know what that was! But I told her I was up for anything to make some extra money. My budget was extremely tight and I was barely making ends meet before I started freelancing. Little did I know, saying yes to being her first VA was what helped my business take off. Now I’m fully self-employed and I earn about 65% of my income from VA and project management work and only about 25-30% from freelance writing. I also earn a little bit from my own websites via advertising, coaching, etc.
Sarah:Why did you choose that side hustle over the countless ones out there?
Kayla: As I said, it kind of fell in my lap to begin with, but since then I’ve realized being a VA is a great side hustle because it doesn’t really take a lot of prior knowledge or skills to get started. But you do have to very detail oriented. I think it’s a great side hustle because you can do you work anywhere and anytime, as long as you are able to meet the deadlines assigned to you.
Sarah: What were your initial struggles with your side hustle? In other words, what was your mindset at the time when you started it?
Kayla: I had a lack mindset when I first started. I had almost no extra money in my budget and I was only paying the minimum payments on all of my debt each month. I barely had any money for fun or entertainment. I carried that lack mindset over into my business too – I said to every single opportunity and while it lead to me making a great income, it was so hard at times. I was working all the time at my full-time job, part-time job, and side hustle and barely had time for myself. Now I try to be more balanced, but it’s still hard for me!
Sarah: What were some obstacles you had when you started? What did you do to get over your limiting mindsets about that?
Kayla: At first I felt jealous when I heard of other freelancers getting work that I had wanted, but I’ve really learned that there’s always plenty of work for everyone. I built my business off of referrals from friends and current clients passing my name on to others. Now that I have plenty of work, I try to do the same thing. I really believe in good business karma, so I try to be as giving as I can when it comes to recommending others and passing names on when I can’t take on more work or if I don’t think I’d be a good fit for a particular client or job.
Sarah: How long until your side hustle became successful? As in, how much did you make, and how long did that take?
Kayla: My first month side hustling I made $285 freelance writing and offering VA services. Within 12 months, in July 2016, I was making just over $2,000 each month and was able to quit my job to run my business full-time. Now I make right around $10,000 each month before expenses.
Sarah: Was there anything you had to to do pivot your side hustle? What was the mindset/decision making process that lead up to that pivot?
Kayla: Yes! As I said, I started out with the goal to be a freelance writer, but by shifting and being willing to accept other types of work, I was able to grow my business much faster. I think pivots are a natural part of business and life. I’ve pivoted a few times with my business and blog. In fact, I’m working on another pivot right now.
Sarah: What were some limiting beliefs you had about your side hustle? How did you get over it?
Kayla: One thing that I thought would be a struggle is how much you can charge as a VA. There are lots of VA services outside of the US that enable people to get basic VA services for very little money. So, I was concerned that I might lose out on clients because I was not willing to work for such a small amount (per hour), but I haven’t ever really run into that issue. Most people know that a good VA is worth her weight in gold and are willing to pay for good work. If they aren’t, I don’t worry about it! I know there are plenty of other clients and jobs out there that will pay what I’m worth.
Sarah: What were the biggest lessons learned about your side hustle?
Kayla: Don’t compromise your values – ethically or financially. Don’t do work you don’t believe it and don’t accept less pay than you know you are worth.
Sarah: What were some tools that helped you be successful in your side hustle?
Kayla: My network of other bloggers and freelancers is the BIGGEST tool I use. I am part of a few Facebook groups that are absolutely amazing for growing a side hustle as a freelance writer or VA. Carrie Smith’s Careful Cents group is the best one!
Sarah: What top 3 tips would you give to someone who wanted to start your side hustle?
- Start TODAY! It’s not hard, but it does take work.
- The easiest way to grow your business is NOT with job boards, but with connections you already have. Plus, they’ll probably pay better.
- Don’t ever stop hustling! Once you grow your side hustle business to the place where you want to be, don’t stop looking for better opportunities. When you stop looking, you’ll stop growing and you might find yourself suddenly needing to hustle again if you lose a client for some reason.
Takeaways from Kayla’s Interview About Her Side Business Ideas
Set a Goal to Get Retainer Clients
A retainer client is someone who has negotiated a deal with you where you do a set tasks per month every month. For example, if you do blog management, a client might ask you to schedule blog posts, create images and even coordinate writers. Find tasks that need to be done on a regular basis (such as social media) and package your services that way.
Doing this right from the start will save you time getting income every month and will help you make more money easier.
Accept Work Then Pare Down as You Go
There’s nothing wrong with saying yes to as many opportunities. Don’t feel like you have to say yes to everything as you scale up. You can be picky once you get referral clients or more people know about your services. You may even want to raise your rates.
Learn the Tools You Need to Use to Do a Great Job
If you use tools that a lot of your clients want, the better! You can highlight these as a skill to command higher rates. Also, clients will be impressed and love knowing that they don’t have to train you to get on board with their systems. It’ll also make you more productive as well.
There are lots of popular tools, all it takes is a quick Google search. Not all of them are free, but the investment you make for them will be returned to you tenfold.
I hope this interview was helpful! Don’t forget to grab the side hustle quick start guide where I have even more tips, as well as websites and tools (some free!) you can use to earn money today.
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