So you’ve finally taken the plunge and gotten experience with some jobs as a virtual assistant.
Congratulations! Though the hardest part is already done, there’s now another concern: all your jobs are paying $15-$20 per hour, but you’re ready to take your career to the next level.
I started working online more than eight years ago as a virtual assistant. In that time, I have grown my business doing everything from running courses online, like my 90 Day VA program, to hosting a Work from Anywhere Virtual Summit, which has helped thousands of people achieve their goal of having remote careers.
My income has tripled in just the past two years, and this is something you can do too! You may be thinking, “there’s no way I can do that!“
But trust me, by following just 4 simple tips, you can grow your business and charge what you want (and deserve) to get paid.
1. Transition with a business owner
Now, maybe this isn’t what you want to hear, but one of the best ways to gain experience and upgrade to higher-end niches is to start small with a client.
You have to get your foot in the door and learn about the business! This isn’t just me saying it; many other project managers and online business owners I have interviewed agree.
Start with ground-level work, such as virtual administration, money management, or community management.
As your client grows, you’ll be able to grow with them. Become that VA they can’t live without! Once the client trusts you as their right-hand, they’ll be more willing to mentor you and give you more responsibility as their business grows.
This is also a great way to learn without investing in more skills or courses, as you’ll be training on the job and getting paid to learn.
2. Incrementally raise your rates
One of the best parts of working online is that you get to give yourself raises!
This is a great tip for anyone working with a long-term client: since you’re gaining experience and learning on the job, you’ll be able to let your client know (after about 6 months to a year) that you’re raising your rate from, let’s say, $20 per hour to $25 per hour.
Now, remember, don’t screw over that client who’s been teaching you and helping you grow! When you raise your rates with them, do it incrementally and remember that they’ve put a lot of time and effort into training you.
But if you’re looking for another way to raise your rates by larger amounts, you can do so by taking on new clients and using all the online management skills you’ve learned with previous business owners to bump up your starting rate. That way, you can start fresh with a higher pay rate and don’t have to worry about raising the rates after working with that client for some time.
3. Invest in skills
Just because you’ve already taken an online training program like 90 Day VA or have a degree doesn’t mean you can’t continue to invest in learning new skills that will take your business to the next level. I know this is hard to hear, but you’re not done!
There are tons of courses ranging anywhere from $200 to $2000 that you can invest in to take the skills you currently have into that $40 per hour or more range. You just can’t get a return on investment like that with an expensive college degree!
One of the best parts of being a VA is that you decide how much money you can make.
The question isn’t, how many hours can I work as a VA? The question is, how much can I charge per hour?
By taking classes and increasing your skills, you can charge more per hour and work part-time if you want! You can even make just as much or more than you do now working in your current full-time job. I know, MIND-BLOWING!
Keep in mind though— you have to be strategic about what skills you choose to invest in.
Just because you want to work with a food blogger doesn’t mean you should invest in taking cooking classes. You must increase your skills in areas that have a clear ROI to the client hiring you. The client must be able to see that paying you what you’re asking is an investment for them and that they’ll be able to make their money back (and more) in return.
But it doesn’t always have to do with making your client money!
Getting an Online Business Management or Project Management certification can help you qualify for higher-end jobs and ask for a higher starting rate. Learning coding (as opposed to just basic website management) can also increase your worth; some clients pay upwards of $10K for a great website. Professional branding and graphic design are also extremely important for companies, and a lot of clients are willing to pay good money to make sure they have the right person to help them build their brand.
4. Be professional
If you want to attract and work with higher-end clients, then everything you do needs to look higher-end now.
This tip is so, so important and if you don’t follow this one, none of the steps I mentioned before will even matter! Every proposal, contract, invoice, etc. needs to look and feel like it was sent by a professional businesswoman.
Make sure you have integrated payment systems. Make sure your Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and website are optimized. Take well-lit, high-quality, professional pictures of yourself. Having a thorough process from initial contact to payment is crucial in positioning your VA business as the reliable, professional kind any client would want to work with.
There is no wrong way to do this; just make sure you have a plan that is purposeful and reliable. Don’t be afraid to be fancy!
Taking the next step in your online VA business and earning more money has never been so simple. You can do anything from starting small and scaling up with a client to investing in more education so you can ask for a higher rate right from the start (don’t forget to be professional about it!).
If you’re looking to learn more about increasing your value, you can join my free Work from Anywhere Virtual Summit, where I speak to 15 high-end professionals in their fields about how they got to where they are and how to start.
We go over all of that and MORE over the course of 5 days, and we even include one to two online jobs every single day. If you’re just starting and want an all-inclusive course with more than just the usual skills training, you can check out my 90 Day VA program HERE.
So what are you waiting for? Get out there and make your money!