If you’re working in a 9-5 that no longer fits around your life, or that doesn’t inspire you any more you might be thinking about going it alone as a Virtual Assistant.
I know I sometimes used to fantasise about storming into my boss’s office and dramatically throwing down my resignation letter on her desk before stropping out and never returning. As tempting and satisfying as that might sound that probably only works out well on TV!
A lot of the women I meet, who are desperately searching for an alternative to a traditional job, are mums who want the FREEDOM to spend more time with their little ones. But with the desire for more control over your hours, also comes the pesky responsibility to provide for your family.
I sometimes used to fantasise about storming into my boss's office and dramatically throwing down my resignation letter
So BEFORE YOU GO ALL IN and demand your P45, you might want to consider setting up a Virtual Assistant side hustle to test the water first and make sure it’s right for you.
Now, I’m all about encouraging women to be courageous, and not letting fear stop you from living the life you really want BUT there’s a fine line between courage and foolishness. Diving head first into freelancing is a big step and it’s not right for everyone.
Even if you’ve been a PA or EA for years there are a few good reasons why it’s sensible to have a Virtual Assistant side hustle BEFORE you commit to going it alone full time:
1) You might miss having company
My hubby and I are polar opposites when it comes to our need for company – I find it draining being around people all the time so I quite enjoy being shut away in my home office with only my thoughts for company. For my hubby, a home office, with no banter from colleagues would be ACTUAL HELL.
You’ll probably already have a pretty good idea of how much you need to be around other people but it’s worth locking yourself away maybe 1 day a week just to make sure you don’t start dreaming of holding the postman hostage just so you have someone to talk to.
2) Do you know how much of a self-starter you are?
For some people it’s not difficult to FIND MOTIVATION to crack on with their work, without the threat of a public dressing down from the boss. For others, there are so many potential distractions (especially in a home office) that they need the powers that be hovering around to keep them in check.
If you’re not sure where you sit on that spectrum, it’s a good idea to spend time working on the side to see how driven you are to work without any kind of oversight, and surrounded by potential procrastination magnets.
There are always ways to avoid losing focus – you might consider hot-desking in a shared workspace if that suits you best, but these are things that you’ll discover while working freelance on the side.
3) You can see how much you enjoy running the back-end of a business
As well as the day to day administrative and support jobs you will be carrying out as a Virtual Assistant, there are loads of OTHER ELEMENTS to being a VA.
Not only will you be doing your day job for clients, you’ll also have to run your own business and manage things like marketing, taxes, invoicing etc.
For some people, the added work is a fun challenge that they thrive on but other people can be really turned off all the extras and prefer to focus completely on the administrative side to the job.
It’s a good idea to have some experience of taking care of RUNNING YOUR OWN BUSINESS before you quit your 9-5 so that you know if it’s going to fire you up, or send you weeping into a corner.
4) You'll see how much you enjoy finding clients
Are you someone who gets a THRILL FROM THE CHASE? Or does the idea of regularly networking, marketing and pitching for business send cold shivers down your spine?
It’s difficult to know how skilled you are at finding new clients until you’ve given it a go. Some people are naturals but, on the other end of the scale, there are those who find it overwhelming and difficult.
Are you somebody who gets a thrill from the chase?
If you think you like the idea of regularly meeting new people to work with, then running a Virtual Assistant side hustle gives you the chance to try it without the pressure of HAVING to find clients straight away.
5) It takes the pressure off bringing in money straight away
Probably the most important reason for running your Virtual Assistant business as a side hustle first is that quitting your job and completely losing your income puts a HELL OF A LOT OF PRESSURE on you right from the start.
Working for yourself isn’t an easy option but it can definitely be the more fun option. That said, if you have the enormous weight of a hungry family sitting on your shoulders, the fun will very soon be sucked right out, and stress and anxiety will kick in instead.
You don’t want your first experience of working for yourself to feel STRESSFUL AND SCARY, so it’s a good idea to establish relationships with a small number of regular paying clients before you commit 100% to becoming a full time Virtual Assistant. That way you’ll have the comfort of knowing you have an income ready to replace some, if not all, of your salary when you are ready to quit your job.
I’m a huge believer in the freedom that comes with being your own boss and the happiness that it brings to the right people.
I also know that working from home and working for yourself isn’t always the best option for everyone.
If you’re sure that becoming a Virtual Assistant is right for you, then you should follow your dreams and make them a reality. But before you run headlong in search of the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, take a bit of time to test out how it will work for you and your family.
With less pressure to earn money straight away it will make the experience of starting your own Virtual Assistant business a much more positive one, and give you the chance to make sure it’s THE BEST OPTION for you.
If you want to learn more about how to shake up your career here are some of my favourite LEARNING RESOURCES to help you build your Virtual Assistant Side Hustle!