How Much Money Can You Earn as a Virtual Assistant?

Virtual Assistant Desk to accompany How Much Money Can You Earn as a Virtual Assistant post by Aurora Meyer

Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question, “what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written for our readers.

You’ve made up your mind to hand in your two weeks’ notice and escape the 8-to-5 grind that’s virtually taken over your life. You desperately wish to regain control of your life, maintain a healthy work-life, and spend more time with your loved ones. Or, you’re just looking to escape a toxic work environment.

After extensive research, you’re dead-set on becoming a virtual assistant and enjoy the freedom that comes with working from home.

Naturally, you’re concerned about how much money you can make as a virtual assistant as you’re determined to build the life of your dreams.

What’s a Virtual Assistant’s Earning Potential?

A little Googling shows you virtual assistants across the globe earn between $3 and $60 per hour and more. The massive discrepancy in wages only piques your curiosity.

Further research shows that the pay rates vary significantly across the world, but it ultimately boils down to a few crucial factors:

  • Level of expertise. Virtual assistants fall into two broad categories – generalists who hand basic tasks and specialists who have mastered specific crafts. If you’re highly competent and committed to lifelong learning, you’ll scale the heights of success as a VA.
  • Your Experience. Your skills and experience determine the value you offer your clients, and that determines your income. Clients pay higher rates to seasoned experts since they can tap into their vast knowledge to come up with ingenious solutions. Also, because they have mastered the art of working in an unstructured work environment.
  • Target clients. Established companies and high net worth individuals offer higher rates than most small businesses and solopreneurs. Your client’s area of specialization also counts as it determines their ability to generate revenue.
  • Your location or nationality matters because it determines the cost of living. Remote workers in Europe and the USA charge more than their counterparts in Asia and Africa who aren’t as cost-burdened.

As a VA, you’re not entitled to retirement benefits and medical insurance. Therefore, you must factor these costs into your rates to earn a comfortable living.

What Are Some of the Most Lucrative VA Roles?

You don’t have to start at the bottom of the totem pole. Not when you’re a skilled VA with an efficient job search strategy.

You can have your pick from these rewarding VA sectors:

  • Rookies make up to $6/hour, while seasoned experts command as much as $45/hour.
  • E-commerce store administrator. Rookies make up to $25/hour while experts make as much as $70/hour.
  • Graphic designers. Rookies make up to $10/hour while experts make up to $37/hour.

While many factors influence your earnings as a virtual assistant, skills and abilities are the most critical. Honing your skills to an art form lets you snag lucrative contracts and lowers the amount of competition you’re up against.

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Scaling Your Startup: 21 Books Every Entrepreneur Should Read

Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question, “what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written for our readers.

Infographic of IG-Entrepreneurship-and-Startup-Stories by Aurora Meyer

You’re familiar with the saying “knowledge is power.”

Of course, knowledge can be gained just about anywhere these days: a TedTalk, podcast, YouTube video — you name it, the list goes on. But If you want exposure to new ideas, modes of thinking and a compounded aggregate of diverse knowledge, then reading is important, especially if you want to be a successful business person.

Warren Buffett — arguably the most skilled investor of our time — said reading 500 pages a day was the key to success. “That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest,” he explained. He’s not alone in that belief. Other iconic business people incorporate reading in their daily rituals. Take Bill Gates for example. He reads 50 books every year. Mark Zuckerberg is another business icon who’s tackled lofty reading goals like reading a new book every other week — that’s 26 books in one year.

Of course, with millions of entrepreneurship and business books out there, just figuring out where to start can be a challenge in and of itself. Then you have to sift through reviews to discern quality from fluff. Simply put, not all business advice distilled into books is equal, especially when it comes to the volatility of businesses at the startup stage.

To help point you in the right direction, a startup insurance company, Embroker, narrowed down a list of 21 books geared to help entrepreneurs scale their startups and learn from some of the best veteran businessmen and women out there. These are broken into the following categories: growth hacking and scaling, books to read before pitching VCs, and entrepreneurship and startup stories.

Growth Hacking Books

If you’re like most founders, scaling your business is top of mind. In other words, mastering marketing, product development, sales, and other areas are crucial in growth hacking. Books like Explosive Growth by Cliff Lerner offer a personal narrative to give you a behind-the-scenes look inside a fast-growing startup that created the first online dating app and grew to 100 million users.

Smartcuts by Shane Snow analyzes how some highly successful startups go from zero to billions in a matter of months. Additionally, this book shows how innovators and icons make strides by working smarter, not harder.

Books to Read Before Pitching VCs

If you’re at the stage of where you need to raise capital (beyond what you’ve bootstrapped), then knowing how to pitch venture capitalists is a crucial component of moving the needle for your business.

Books like Bargaining for Advantage offer a road map for how to survive and thrive in the sometimes rough-and-tumble world of business negotiation. Venture Deals is an exhaustive guide that covers everything founders need to know about achieving successful funding, including how to understand venture capital deal structures and strategies.

Entrepreneurship and Startup Stories

Success and the path to get there looks different for everyone. Books like Business Model Generation highlight factors that determine the success and failure of business today.

Startupland is Mikkel Svane and Carlye Adler’s unconventional story of founding Zendesk in a Copenhagen loft, how they left secure jobs to start something of their own, and the company’s journey to launching on the NYSE. It’s a relatable story of risking it all and going for broke.

To learn more about the full list check out their guide on startup books.

 

 

The Best Jobs You Can Do Online

Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question, “what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers.

Are you in need of a job fast, but don’t want to leave your house or aren’t able to? It’s a myth that you need to wake up at 5 a.m. and embark on a 2-hour commute each way just to have a successful career.

Here are some of the best jobs you can do online, from the comfort of your own home. 

Freelance writer/web designer/programmer
The rise of freelancing means there are tons of jobs you can do online. If you’ve got a skill that you can sell, chances are that someone will want to hire you on a freelance or part-time basis to do it for them. 

Freelance writing is a very common endeavor to do online, either on special online platforms or just independently, from your own website. You can even write e-books to self-publish, via Amazon.

Web-related jobs are also extremely popular, with high demand for web designers and programmers. Especially with every new business needing a website or their own app, the stream of jobs for people skilled in these departments is growing. 

Online teaching or instructing
The internet didn’t just change the creative job market, it also changed education. You see, online classes are more and more common, and the internet is more essential to learning than ever before.

What that means is that you can make a living as an online teacher or instructor. Foreign language teachers and English teachers are especially in-demand for this kind of educational avenue. (For example, VIPKid is an easy way to break into online teaching!) 

The set-up is simple – you just need a computer with a working webcam, a reliable internet connection, and a quiet room. Then, you can teach lessons to children (and adults!) from all over the world. 

This is not only a great money-making venture, particularly for students, but it also helps with the democratization of education. Not everyone has access to a traditional tutor, either because of money or geographical constraints. By choosing online teaching, you are helping these students enrich their knowledge. 

 

Blogging
If it seems like everyone’s a blogger or an influencer these days, it’s because they are. However, they’re not all successful, and they’re definitely not all making money. But the important part is that it’s possible to make it a lucrative job opportunity. 

 

You just need to do it the right way. Engagement is an extremely important part of the job, but it’s thankfully also something you can do online, even on your phone. Liking and commenting isn’t difficult, but it’s going to boost your following. 

 

Online shop
Working online can also mean selling products. You don’t need a physical, brick-and-mortar store. If you create hand-made products, such as jewelry, knits, cards, glassware, clothes, artwork, etc. you may wish to sell them via your own e-store.

 

That also goes for other products you may not be manufacturing yourself but purchasing to sell. Your webshop only requires online supervision and management, which you can do from anywhere. Plus, there are no overhead costs, which makes it much more profitable. 

It’s not too late to start
It’s entirely possible to make a living without ever leaving your home – just find an online job. Whether you’re looking to become a blogger, freelance web designer, or online tutor, you can be comfortable and make money at the same time.

How do you know when to expand your business?

If you’re thinking about opening another location, then congratulations!  You’re probably seeing strong sales, a steady flow of customers (maybe even customers complaining that they have to wait too long), and healthy profits. But just because you’re doing well doesn’t mean that it’s time to expand.

There are a number of questions you should ask yourself before expanding. Most importantly, you should have a compelling reason to expand.

Are You Ready To Hand Over the Reins? 
Your business is your baby! You probably do most (or all) of the work. Are you comfortable with walking away for a couple of months as you open another location? Is there someone you trust to take over the day-to-day operations?

Are You Ready Financially? 
One of the biggest mistakes that small business owners make when opening another location is borrowing too much money from their original location. The last thing you want to do is allow another location to cannibalize the original one.

A good rule of thumb here is to treat your expansion project like you would a brand new business. Hold off on moving ahead unless you can draw from an outside bank account or find a source of funding that is distinct from your original location.

Are There Customers (and Employees) Waiting For You? 
Only expand to another location if you can open yourself up to new markets. Think about who your current customers are. Do they travel long distances to get to you? Are they centered in your neighborhood? Are there new customers that will want to try your product if you expand to another location?

Also, consider your hiring potential. Maybe you’ve already exhausted your current employee market and would like to move to a new location to attract diverse talent.

Can You Recreate Your Brand?
Don’t expand to another location unless you can keep your unique brand voice intact. Huge brands, like Target and Starbucks, have tried to expand into new markets and failed miserably. Make sure you can maintain whatever it is that makes your business unique.

Check out this flowchart created by Fundera that guides you through a number of questions to decide if you should open a new location.

Use this flowchart to determine if your business should open a new location.

How To Improve Your Business Through Tech

Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question, “what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers.

We live in a modern world today, and that means that when running a business, everything is focused around the kind of technology you use which tends to be based around the internet. People don’t really read newspapers anymore, they look online for their daily updates. So when owning a business, you need to make sure that you are current and on trend so that your target audience can see you and learn about you. The way you plan on doing that is your choice, but the more options you leave open for yourself – the more chance you have of making your business a successful one.

Understand and implement new strategies
You should always be looking at new ways to upgrade your performance and get as much traffic as you can to your website, but if you’re not too sure on new ways of doing this, you will find it extremely hard to stand out and be different to your competition. This is why seeking out help from professionals like WGroup IT Management consulting can make such a big difference. They will be able to find the right route for you so you can get everything you want and more. You will also want to think about the little things, like the presentation on your site.

A lot of business owners tend to think the more, the better, as pages will look full of information and life that way, but this is in fact how a lot of people fail. There is no room for your pages to breathe, and it can end up looking messy, chaotic and overwhelming for your customers. So don’t be afraid of blank spaces. They will open up your design and be a lot clearer to indulge in.

Review your social media account
Social media is a brilliant way to market yourself as a business because it is not only the biggest source of news and entertainment but only usually costs time at the initial startup. There are millions and millions of individuals who all have their own personal accounts, so do some research and choose the platform your target customers frequent the most. It’s important that you manage your social media account and ensure that you are posting regularly, otherwise, people will lose interest quickly. You need to put out content that properly represents who you are as an overall brand and business, as well as what you do and what you can offer people. Then you need to think about the appropriate hashtags and captions to combine it all together. This is important as depending on your hashtags will determine the kind of people that see your content. If you need help with this, let us know! We love helping businesses of all sizes establish a social voice. 

Analyze your data and learn from it
You collect data for a reason, so never neglect the information that you’re able to receive. Data is an astounding way that you are able to really read into what you’re doing, whether it’s working, how you can improve and what you need to change. It allows you to have an insight into every single area of your business. Data can help you answer any questions that you may have along the way. But this can only work if you pay attention and learn from what it’s able to tell you. For example, data can have the ability to tell you exactly how much traffic your website has had, as specific as how many views an hour, to how many views in that week or month. This tells you a lot, especially if and when you make various changes because you will know whether traffic has then dropped as a result, or doubled. With a trial and error process of testing new things, you can then figure out what was successful, and what was a failure.

Technology is such an important thing within a business, and new advances are happening at a rapid pace. Just look at how far we’ve come in the last five years – let alone the last decade. Start small with just a website and one social media account. Give those two things the attention they deserve and see how it affects your business.