In 2021, I decided to become a work-from-home mom and start my own business as a freelance virtual assistant.
I knew I wanted to spend more time with my son than just weeknights and weekends. But how to do it? I looked into businesses that were hiring remote workers but wasn’t finding the right fit. That’s when I stumbled across some TikTok accounts and discovered the world of freelancing as a virtual assistant. Now, I run my own business as a virtual assistant and love that I get to help entrepreneurs reach their goals by taking tasks off of their plates.
Freelancing is ideal for people who are starting over. Maybe you are ready for a whole new career field or starting your own business in your current field of work.
But is it even possible to start your own business with little to no money? Yes! One of the best parts of starting my business was that I was able to pick and choose where I spent money and where I spent my time. That is the kicker, if you don’t spend money, you probably will have to spend the time on your own to get your business started. Let’s take a deeper look.
Here are the steps I took to launch my business.
You need to be committed to this path if you want your business to be more than just a side hustle. Not that there’s anything wrong with freelancing for extra cash but if you are ready to quit your job, you need to be all in! No amount of courses, reading, or planning will amount to anything if you aren’t committed to your business.
2. Start with what you have
I started my business with a Surface Tablet that we had for a few years and upgraded to a laptop when I could. You can create your own website for practically nothing. Check out Wix, WordPress, Squarespace, and even Canva.
Want completely free? Simply, start with a Facebook Business Page and grow from there. No internet? Go to a coffee shop or your local library. But what about subscriptions and courses? I started with free accounts like Canva and upgraded to Canva Pro when I could afford it.
As far as courses, you can learn the basics from YouTube and blogs (like this one)! Also, content creators are always offering up free information, usually in exchange for opting in for their email subscription. Seriously, start small and grow from there!
3. Need money? Sell something
Remember that laptop I mentioned? I had a car that was totaled but could be fixed up by someone who knew what they were doing (aka not me). I sold that car for $1000 and invested that money in my business. Don’t have a car? Find some stuff that you are willing to part with in order to start your business. Bonus points for decluttering your home! I love selling stuff and having less clutter around my house.
4. Create a portfolio and start pitching
Go to Canva, find a template you like, and insert your information. What you have done up to this point matters. Even if you don’t have direct experience in your new venture, you still have acquired skills that are valuable to mention.
But where can you find job opportunities? I started by signing up for Upwork, I learned a lot about what business owners were looking for, but in the end that platform wasn’t for me. Remember when I mentioned to sign up for people’s freebies? A lot of times, access to private Facebook groups are included. I joined groups that related to small business, virtual assistants, freelancing, and any other keywords I could think of. I keep an eye out for people who are actively looking for a VA and reach out.
I have rough drafts of my email and social media/ DM pitches. I use them as a base with my personal and business information and insert individualized information regarding what they are looking for.
5. Pricing your services
You may also be starting at a lower rate at the beginning and that’s okay! I started pricing out my packages at about a $25/hour rate. After I booked my first few clients, I increased that number to $30. No matter what you are being paid, always put forth your best effort. Also, don’t forget to ask for those testimonials throughout the process and add those to your social media, portfolios, and websites.
6. Invest in your business
Okay, you got your first few clients and have money in your business account. You may be wanting to pocket that money. My advice, don’t! This is the time to upgrade to the Pro account or purchase that course you have saved on your computer. I have not regretted signing up for any of the courses I have purchased. Also, don’t forget to save for the tax man! I recommend 25-30%.
7. Make connections
This was a huge thing for me. Yes, I am an introvert and prefer my time alone, but I do still like interacting with people from time to time. Engaging with people through in-person and virtual networking is so important. I joined a local referral group and attend weekly meetings. I get to chat with other local entrepreneurs and pitch my business to them.
I also joined a group of working moms who meet a few times a month on Zoom. Having these places to connect with others is so important for my mental health and I get to promote my business.
While some group memberships do require payment to join, there are several groups that meet for free. You just have to look for them. One free platform that I really have been loving is Clubhouse. I like to think of it as an interactive podcast where you can chime in.
8. Progress over perfection
Let’s wrap it up with a doozy. As a type-A person, I love to be the best that I can be. While I still value doing a great job and my ambition, I had to give up on the fact that my business needed to be perfect before I launched. I can’t remember if it was a podcast, video, or social media post that I saw but I remember the phrase “progress over perfection” and it really clicked. If I waited for my business to be perfect, I would never launch. As long as I had my business covered legally, an invoicing system, means of communication with my clients, and a marketing plan, I could start and evolve my business along the way.
Starting your own business can be very scary and overwhelming, especially if you don’t have a lot of money to invest into your business. The great thing about working as a virtual freelancer is that you can get started for little to no money and invest what you can as you grow. Find me on Pinterest @radtkevirtualservices to learn more about life as a freelance virtual assistant, work-from-home mom, and small business owner and how you can create a life you love!