How to Grow Your Virtual Assistant Business While Still Working Your 9-5
I’m not gonna lie, starting and growing a business while working a full time job, taking care of house/spouse/family, and maintaining self-care is gonna feel rough sometimes. There will be days that you don’t feel like getting up early, but you’ll do it anyway. Days that clients will try every last nerve you have but you grin through it. And times when you know you didn’t show up as your best self and do your best work, so you vow to be better tomorrow. It will be hard but the more you focus on the why you’re doing all of this- creating additional income, creating location freedom, creating more space in your schedule for your kids- the easier all of this is!
You’ve totally got this and I’m here to give you 4 Tips to Growing Your Virtual Assistant Business While Still Working In Your 9-5.
1 | Talk to Your Significant Other & Anyone Else Important In Your Life
Once you've decided that a VA business is the route you want to go, I'd suggest that you first sit down with your significant other (if you have one) to discuss your expectations of your schedule. You'll be working mornings before work, nights after work, and most likely, weekends too. This may mean less going out or that they're going to have to pick up some more duties with the kids or around the house. Make sure you two are on the same page about that.
I bring this up because I totally failed to do that before I started my VA Business. In fact, I started mine by one day just posting in a Facebook Group about it. I didn't talk to Scott (my husband) or get his input and in hindsight, that was a huge mistake because as Hillary Clinton once said "It takes a village to raise a business!"...wait what? she didn't say that? hmm...oh well, moving on!
2 | Start With A Limited Number of Service Offerings
You have limited time so this is NOT the time to be jack of all trades. Make sure you're ONLY offering services that you are EXCELLENT at and that you ENJOY. These two thing are key. You want to be excellent because the last thing you're going to want to be doing at 11pm at night when you're already exhausted is be googling something like "how to create a leadpage". If you have a skill that isn't a 10 yet but that you really want to learn, that's great, but don’t offer it before learning it. Instead, set aside 1 hour a week for "personal development" and put that skill on the list of "things to learn"
And you want to make sure that you're offering only services that you enjoy because once again, 11pm at night, after working all day at your 9-5 is an awful time to be staying up late to do something you hate...even if it IS bringing in extra income. Suddenly the $20-$35/hr extra doesn't seem to matter nearly as much as a good night's sleep!
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3 | Get Your Calendar Out
Growing a VA Business while maintaining a full time job is possible as long as you stay focused and organized. You CANNOT afford to waste time so a good daily calendar and project management platform is going to be your friend. Before you sign ANY clients, sit down and look at your calendar and decide, realistically, how much time you can commit to working IN and ON your business each week.
Are you naturally an early riser? Then maybe adding in 1-2 hours of work in the morning is right for you. I've always been one to wake up by 6:30 or 7 am without an alarm clock but I'm also VERY ready for bed and good to no one after 8pm each night. So, when I was developing my calendar, I made sure to schedule in work time from 5-6 am each morning, then again from 4-6pm Monday through Thursday evenings, and then Saturday mornings from 8-12 pm. This schedule gave me 17 hours each week for my business while still allowing me time to watch TV with Scott, go out to Sunday brunch (which is a big deal & non negotiable in our house) and to get some chores done.
4 | Be Picky About Your Clients
I know that when you’re first starting your business, you want to say “yes” to every client who walks into your inbox. It’s exciting and you think that by saying “no” to anyone, you’re jeopardizing your future growth and viability. The goal is of course to make this your full time gig as quickly as possible. But I caution you to make sure the clients you choose are actually good fits for you. If they need 2 hour turn around time during standard biz hours and you work from 9-5, that’s probably not a good fit. If they require inbound phone support, probably not a good fit.
You don’t have to tell your clients every detail of your schedule and life but make sure you ARE honest with them about how many hours per week you can handle and what your reasonable turn around time is.
Your journey doesn’t have to look like anyone elses! Don’t believe the hype that you’re a failure if you’re not out of your 9-5 in x-number of months. Do what’s best for your and your family and take as long as you need. Remember, even though this may be a season of busy, you still need to balance it with fun.