This week, I’m very excited to introduce you to Clare, travel lover, successful Virtual Assistant, and a 90 Day VA Star Student.
Before embarking on her online journey, Clare was struggling with finding a way to be location independent enough for her to move and travel consistently. Her lifelong passion for travel and of being location independent were set aside to prioritize a regular school and work routine.
Today, things look a little different for Clare, and we’re so excited to share her story and how her work online adventure unraveled.
So without further ado, here’s how Clare got started working online as a Virtual Assistant, how she ended up making $3K within 2 weeks of starting 90 Day VA and her most important strategies for other hustling virtual assistants!
P.S. If you’d like to watch the video version of this case study, we’ve got that for you at the bottom of this blog post!
Meet Clare, the Travel Aficionado
Clare is actually a classically trained, Julliard-graduated concert pianist. She grew up travelling and had always seen it as a passion and important component of her lifestyle. Her parents instilled a love for travel and exploration at a young age, and her family moved regularly because of school and work obligations.
Fun fact: Clare has lived in Singapore, New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and San Francisco!
Unfortunately, as a regular work and school routine began to settle in place, Clare found it harder and harder to make time to travel and her opportunities for travel began to dwindle. When she graduated in May from her Master’s program, she was stuck at a crossroad trying to figure out her next steps.
Clare realized that if she were to commit to being a full-time pianist, she would be sitting in a studio for eight hours a day rehearsing, and that she would only get to travel for performances. These performance travel trips would be short, fast and there would be no time to explore.
So Clare began doing her research, and that’s when she was introduced to 90 Day VA. Fast forward a few months, Clare is now a successful 90 Day VA student who is currently based in Southern California but is location independent thanks to her new role.
Why Clare Wanted to Work Online
Clare joined 90 Day VA because once again, she found herself in a brand new city, having to start over. In her own words, “The whole reason why I signed up for a 90 day VA was so that I could have something to move around with.
I figured out that in the 27 years of my life so far, moving seemed to be a constant, but my work was not. So I wanted work to be that constant with me, if not more constant than my moving.”
Clare ventured into the online work world, like many of us, to finally land that flexibility to work from anywhere. Whether you’re looking for flexibility so you can travel, so you can follow your spouse around the world for his or her deployment, so you can stay home and watch your two kids, or just to have the flexibility to live your life according to your terms – this is what working online can guarantee you.
Since then, Clare has fully transitioned into working as a Virtual Assistant and does that full-time now. Clare says, “I didn’t realize making a full-time income with this was possible.”
“My ideal outcome from 90 Day VA was that I would work online full-time doing something I loved, like social media. But I didn’t think it was possible at first. I thought maybe at the least I could do is gain some skills that I could then apply to my own business as a travel blogger and marketing myself. So it was a no brainer for me to just sign up for 90 Day VA and see.”
Clare signed up for 90 Day VA at the end of May 2019, and she was fully booked out by the middle of June 2019. She says, “I was booked out, I kid you not, in like 2 weeks. It blew my mind.”
How Clare Got Booked Out as a Virtual Assistant in 2 Weeks
So wait, how did this happen? How did Clare go from fresh college graduate to fully booked out working online in less than 1 month?
Let’s break this down.
Clare says, “After I graduated, I had nothing going for me. I had to move from San Francisco down to Temecula where I am right now. I didn’t have a job lined up. I was staying with my fiance’s parents so I didn’t have to worry about rent.
So the thing that I really buckled down with was just studying, doing the course, taking so many notes and asking all the questions that I had at that time, but also being active within the 90 day VA group, because there’s constant job postings.”
Clare says she was applying to jobs before she was even done with the course. She doesn’t believe in “feeling 100% prepared before you do something good for you.”
And we agree.
We’ve had girls get booked out within weeks of joining 90 Day VA and only having completed 20% or 30% of the program. That’s how fast it can happen if you put in the work, hustle and start applying once you have the key foundations down.
You will never feel 100% prepared for anything in life, and that’s okay.
Part of working online is your learning journey and it is in this learning journey that you grow and develop as a Virtual Assistant.
But what really got Clare going was the Application Challenge that we run in the VAI Members Club of 90 Day VA. She says, “The Application Challenge really pushed me when we had to send out five applications a day. I wasn’t even just looking for jobs postings on Facebook; it also included looking for the types of clients that you would like to work with and pitching to them.”
For a little context: the Application Challenges is a live challenge we run two times a year as like with all of our community members. It includes how to really make your resume awesome, how to do a great interview and stuff, but it also pushes you to apply or pitch for X amount every single day and you all hold each other accountable. There’s prizes, and it really gets everyone out of their comfort zone.
And again, for emphasis, just because you’re not 100% done with the 90 Day VA program doesn’t mean that you aren’t able to already qualify for jobs. You don’t need to finish the course to be able to all and do stuff. So this Challenge, we’ve found, really helps people that are like, “I’m not ready,” but in reality, they’re ready to go.
Clare said after her intense period of pitching, there was first a little silence because the people that she was pitching were busy business owners and entrepreneurs. And then a week after she sent all her pitches, she got so many emails back that she had more work than she could handle.
Clare says, “That was mind blowing for me.”
What’s more amazing is that these are all clients that Clare loves and adores working with.
Clare mentioned, “One of the clients that I’m working with right now, who I adore, was someone that I actually followed very closely because she’s a huge travel blogger. It’s been so much fun. We’re working really closely together now, and this just wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t joined 90 Day VA. I had an absolute fangirl moment.”
Let’s Talk Numbers. How much can you really make as a VA?
We know the term ‘fully booked’ can be a little vague, so let’s dig deeper into that. What does full-booked really mean?
Clare reveals that, “I was living in San Francisco because of grad school and I had a really great job there as a nanny where I was working I think three hours a day and making about $3,000 every month, which was fine for a student. I was making that amount of money, but to be able to live there, it just wouldn’t add up. I was left kind of panicking after graduating because I went from making so much money per week to absolutely nothing at all.
And for me, my goal was getting up to the point where I was making the same amount of money that I was as a nanny. I worked my butt off, did the course pitch to clients, spent countless hours doing all of that and by mid June I was hitting that $3,000 USD mark.”
Not only that, Clare has been consistent at that $3,000 since, because all her clients are long-term clients.
She comments: “I show up and I do the work, I go above and beyond, and I feel secure because I’m going to deliver to my clients what I can deliver. I am building that trust with them, that if they asked me for something and they know like, “Oh! Clare will get it done quickly and with great quality.” And I know that once I have that in place, I know I’m solid.”
Working online as an online contractor or freelancer with long-term clients actually gives you much more security because you have your eggs in so many baskets. You have multiple clients, that means if a client ever has to, for any reason, reduce your hours or anything – you’re fine!
Clare agrees and mentions that, “I had this talk with some people where they were asking like… “Are you sure this is a real job? You’re working with X amount of clients? What if they leave?”
And I just said – well, the way I think of it is if I lose a client, I’m just plugging up one hole or like filling up a crack. But if you lose your job, you are left completely broken.”
What Kind of Clients Can a VA Have?
Many people don’t actually realize this, but when you work online, you can pick the clients that you work with.
That’s right – because you’re a contractor, you can decide exactly who you want to spend your days working with and who you absolutely do not want to work with.
So for Clare, she chooses to work with travel bloggers, but this was totally by chance, she says. She started working with dentists and dental speakers but slowly fell into the travel industry based on her personal background running her travel blog and her personal interests of following and loving travel influencers and bloggers.
Now, she explains: “I want to be the support system for a female-led company. That’s something that’s very important for me that we empower and lift each other up, because then, we’re unstoppable.” Clare is now niching down to supporting female-led brands, businesses and companies!
What Can a VA Do for Their Clients?
Clare primarily does social media work for her clients, including creating content, repurposing content and sharing it on Instagram, Linkedin, and Facebook. She does social media management and content creation on that side as well.
Clare mentions that the 90 Day VA Content Repurposing module was key in helping her develop this skillset. As a travel blogger, she was familiar with writing content for herself and in her voice, but developing the skill to write for other people was something that she really had to hone and develop.
And as Clare develops and expands her business, her skillset and expertise in the niche that she loves to work in will only grow and develop with her!
The #1 Key Component to Clare’s Success
Aside from the Application Challenge that we hosted in the VAI Members Club, Clare says figuring out a schedule to do course content and set aside time for her work online journey was the key component to her success.
That transition from being told when, where and for how long you had to work to completely dictating your own schedule and time was a transition that she had to really adjust to.
Clare remarks, “Before I had a specific time where I had to be at work and a very specific time when I had to make classes, but when you’re on your own, you make your hours.
And when I knew that I needed to get this done quickly so that I could start getting clients, I was waking up at five, six in the morning, sitting down at my laptop with a cup of tea, coffee, and just working my way through it. I was just sitting there, getting it done.”
And when Clare started landing clients, she did the same once again. “When I started getting clients, I had the same mentality where I was like, I am going to go hard. If I didn’t know something, like Pinterest or Tailwind – I would sit down for five hours just really figuring things out for myself so that I knew that tomorrow would be much easier. Hustling in the beginning so that I could be like, ‘Okay, I’ve got this.’
This really helped me because something that now takes me five minutes to do might have taken me three hours a week ago. And knowing that what I put in the beginning, would even itself later – that really helped me.”
How to Gain the Confidence to Pitch Your Dream Clients
All we’ve talked about above about pitching your ideal clients may sound like it came incredibly easy to Clare, but what helped her get that confidence to reach out and pitch her dream clients?
Clare says that the preparation week of the Application Challenge was incredibly helpful. “The prepping of our application kit, the resume makeover and making sure that everything is in place, interviewing tips, all of these things. Basically everything you need to know before you pitched to someone.
That really gave me the confidence I had because even if I wasn’t feeling 100%, I knew on a screen, what I had looked professional and like I knew what I was doing.
I may not feel that way, and that’s okay. You don’t always feel 100% even though you do have the tools. So making sure that I came off as professional and where my skill set really was detached from my emotions. It was very important. So having that week before to prepare all of that was very crucial.”
Imposter syndrome is real, and all of us can suffer from a little hint of:
- Who am I to be doing this?
- Who am I to offer this as a service?
- Am I good enough?
- I don’t know if I deserve to get paid to do this.
But Clare recommends that “When it comes to working with clients and pitching yourself, that really can’t be a part of the equation. You can’t let your insecurity be known because that’s your problem. That has nothing to do with my client, and that has nothing to do with anyone else. That’s a “me” problem.
Like I can feel that way later tonight when I’m not working and not pitching. Nervous Clare can come out to play later, and we’ll talk to her, but right now she’s not invited.”
“Being able to push that aside and dealing with that later. And not putting it in my work and in front of the client.” That is what’s important.
She also adds, “Don’t forget that clients don’t necessarily expect you to be an expert. What we are taught in 90 Day VA is enough. I feel like a lot of people think they need to be this like expert Pinterest person. But really it’s like the client doesn’t have the time or want to go and research tailwinds and do the five hours that you put in and they’re fine paying you to do that. They just need your help.”
Not only that, social media is so time-consuming to do on a consistent and regular basis, and everyone knows that they need to be on social media but not everyone has the time to do it.
For example – often times, companies know that they need to be on Pinterest and it’s an important strategy for their business. But they simply just don’t have bandwidth on their team for anybody to work on that. So they’re not looking for you to be a Pinterest whiz; they’re just looking for you to do the research, figure out how to do it and do it for them.
Clare recommends: “I’ve started telling new clients now, ‘Hey, I’m not here to do your job. What you do best is what you do best. And I am here to make you focus on that so that you don’t have this think about social media at all. You just told me what you need done, focus on you. I’ll take care of all the Instagram, Pinterest, and everything else.’
Fantastic tip, Clare!
Don’t get stuck on the fact that you are not an expert. It doesn’t matter that you’re not a social media manager with a professional certificate who went to school for four years for a degree. It just doesn’t matter. You know enough after 90 Day VA. You have a portfolio, you know how to do the different components of it, and you’re smart enough to figure the rest out – you’re ready.
Clare’s Biggest Piece of Advice for Hustling Virtual Assistants
Clare emphasizes: “My biggest advice would be to put in the time because no one else is going to do it for you. If you have an idea of where you want to be in X amount of time, you need to think about what that looks like to get to that point. So for me, it was waking up at 6:00 AM and going to bed at midnight.
I am not saying that everyone should do that because I get people have lives, too. I didn’t at that time.”
Clare is not the only person who’s done that. There’s a couple other girls in the program who took off work for two weeks because they wanted to hustle through the program so they can start applying for jobs and ended up working in their benefit because they were working online in like six weeks or three weeks or whatever. So Clare is not the only one.
And of course, not everybody can do that. But it’s just about making it happen for yourself. Do whatever it takes to reach the dreams and goals that you’ve set up for yourself.
Clare says it’s important to “really invest in it because I see people on the other end thinking, “Oh, this is a lot of money to pay and I don’t have the time, or I don’t have the resources to get there.” You have to invest in these things. I saw it as exactly that and now I’m making way more than that price tag on the 90 Day VA program.”
The ROI on 90 Day VA is high if you actually do the course content and apply for the jobs that we source for you. It’s important to separate buying clothes versus investing in a skills training course and a certification type of program that’s going to help you get a job and that has a clear return on investment.
There’s longevity to it.
Clare’s Advice for People Who Want to Start Working Online
Clare says, “Do it, do it right now. Don’t think about it if that’s on your mind 24/7, or even if it’s on your mind lingering there. Just go ahead and jump into it because there’s so much work for everyone.
I’m constantly swamped right now, and I’m still applying and pitching because I know that I have to keep relevant just in case, so I’m trying to book up my backlog and I’m referring other people now, too.”
That is something people don’t realize because they didn’t have the skills and they couldn’t find jobs and everything was a scam. They don’t realize that’s like, “Oh my gosh, no. Once you are skilled up and know how to look for the work, you’re booked out months in advance.”
Clare says that’s exactly why she started 90 Day VA, and why she got booked out in weeks of starting.
- Invest in yourself and your dreams. Make time for your goals and priorities. Your ambitions matter, and they are so realistic and so within reach if you take steps everyday.
- Sit down, do the work, figure things out and hustle, hustle, hustle. Whatever work and effort you put into it in the beginning will even itself out later. You are doing yourself a service by studying and prepping.
- Apply before you’re ready, and join in on challenges like the 90 Day VA Application Challenge that will push you out of your comfort zone and hold you accountable for pitching and landing clients.
- Don’t get stuck on the fact that you are not an expert. You are not there to be a strategist or to be a know-it-all about a software or tool. You’re there to offer your assistance and help; that’s all a client or business owner needs.
A huge thank you to the amazing Clare who has hopefully shown you that you don’t need to be 100% ready and you don’t need to be an expert to start as a Virtual Assistant.
And Clare, just like the rest of the girls in 90 Day VA, are all ordinary girls. We aren’t special or unique – we are just like you, travel and freedom lovers that sought out this path to design a life that we are passionate about.
If you’re passionate about traveling and exploring the world and want to work online like Clare, we invite you to join us in the online work revolution.
Because if we can all do it. Why not you, too?
If you’re curious, eager, or ready for a life of freedom and travel, our free intro class is the best place to start to learn all about how to work online as a Virtual Assistant making $20 – $40+/hr. You can join the free intro class here!
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Watch this case study in video form here!
Clare Yeo is a travel blogger and virtual assistant. She started her digital nomad lifestyle immediately after joining 90 Day VA in May of 2019, after graduating from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music with her Masters degree. She has been working full-time online as a social media manager, strategist, and virtual assistant, and has been traveling and working remotely ever since. You can find her Instagram HERE and her blog HERE.