My Experience as a Virtual Assistant

I was on an extended (16 month) leave of absence after my last child was born, and I knew I wanted to try to make some money from home to supplement my husband’s salary so I wouldn’t need to go back to work full-time.  I began looking for work in January, without much luck.  I considered signing up for writing jobs on Elance or oDesk, but I was discouraged by the low pay offered.  One job I saw only offered $2 per 500 word post!  Instead, I gathered more experience by writing guest posts on several big blogs.  I had not planned on doing virtual assistant work, just writing, but the virtual assistant work fell into my lap, and I am very glad that it did.

In February, a blogger put out a call on Yakezie for someone to submit his posts to weekly carnivals.  I did so, and he very generously mentioned me to all of his blogger friends, some of whom then hired me to do the same work for them.  I typically can submit four bloggers’ posts to carnivals in one hour.  This business has grown, and it now takes me about four hours a week to submit posts to carnivals for the bloggers who have hired me. 

Another one of the bloggers who I submit to carnivals for expanded my role and hired me to do his weekly link round up and his weekly newsletter.  As of now, that is the extent of my virtual assistant work.  It takes me about 5 hours a week, and the work brings in enough money to pay for my son’s private school education.

I was lucky in that the first blogger who hired me (hi, Evan!) frequently recommended me to his friends.  Through his word of mouth referral, several other bloggers hired me.  Then some of them told their blogging friends, who then hired me. 

I came to virtual assistant work through a non-traditional manner, but once I obtained my first job, it became fairly easy to find more work.  You may find your first virtual assistant job through an assignment site like Elance or oDesk, or you may find the job through a friend.  Honestly, I don’t think the method of finding a job really matters.  What matters is that once you have the job, you do your best work possible.  If that client is satisfied, she may refer you to her friends and business associates, who may then hire you.  After you are hired by a few people, you will find the jobs coming to you much more rapidly.

I enjoy my work as a virtual assistant, and when my youngest child goes to preschool in a year and a half, I intend to expand the work I do.  However, right now the workload is comfortable, and I can schedule the work around my children’s naps and after they are asleep for the night.

If you are looking into becoming a virtual assistant, you will want to come back here and visit again next week as I will have an interview with a virtual assistant and a giveaway for those of you interested in becoming a virtual assistant.  (I know I promised the interview and giveaway this week, but what can I say, the VA has to put her clients’ work first, and I completely understand.  🙂 )

Comments

  1. Thanks for the brief, behind the scenes look at being a VA. It opened my eyes, for sure, to see that work done submitting posts to carnivals can pay for a child’s private school tuition! That’s pretty cool!

    Personally, I’ve been thinking about getting more help with blog-related stuff. Just not sure exactly what that entails just yet, as I do like all aspects of running the blog myself now:) Free time will be getting crunched though, so I’ll be thinking about this more. Maybe at FinCon11 I’ll get more ideas… 🙂

  2. Your experience can be a metaphor for getting a job. Don’t be afraid to take a lower paid position because you can show your skills and get promoted quickly.

    • Exactly. I used to get so frustrated with someone I knew who refused to “take a job below her salary requirements.” I wish she could see how many doors she was closing with that mentality.

  3. Melissa, do they give you the description and the list of carnivals or do you write the relevant description and choose the relevant carnivals?

    • For the majority I write the description (though often I use a sentence or two from the actual post that best summarizes the article), and I choose the carnivals. Some bloggers do give me input as to the carnivals they would like to submit too most often.

  4. When I first hosted yakezie carnivals I was not aware of blogging VA thing, if you remember, I asked you why are you submitting for others. Now I am using VA as well for my blog to help me improve on my biggest bottleneck to a better blog building. I am thankful that Andrea @ so over debt (Highly recommend her for proof reading) is doing such a good job correcting my writeups and re phrasing few things here and there. I know you write staff posts as well. You are doing really good.

  5. Melissa, this is so cool. I love these little cottage industries that bloggers are creating by doing work for other bloggers. Very creative.

  6. I am looking forward to the interview post! VA sounds like a great fit for my stage of life.

  7. How cool is your new career!! Since my recent unemployment, I am going to look into this as an option. Can’t wait to read more about it.

  8. Melissa works for me for my carnival submissions and she does in awesome job. I would recommend her to anyone needing help with different projects.

  9. I am amazed that you are able to pay for private school working 5 hours a week! Thanks for giving us a look at how you got started.

    • Yes, I should say 5 to 7 hours depending on the week, and I am very grateful to be able to pay for his parochial education that way; otherwise it may be out of reach for us right now.

  10. How can you submit 4 bloggers work to carnivals in an hour? That sounds really fast. How many carnivals per blogger is it?

    • 15 minutes per each is an average. I submit to 5 carnivals; some bloggers only have one post to submit to all 5 carnivals, so those generally go faster. Others have 5 different posts to submit, a separate one to each carnival, so those take longer. However, I have been doing this for numerous bloggers for 6 months, so I have learned how to do it fairly quickly. 🙂

  11. Melissa is doing a good job staff writing for Everything Finance.

    Highly recommend her!

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