Abbey Ashley Started a Successful Virtual Assistant Business On Maternity Leave

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Abbey Ashley leads an online community of 25,000 virtual assistants. She started offering virtual assistant services in 2013 and was able to leave her full-time-corporate job while on maternity leave. She now teaches others how to start working as a work-from home virtual assistant.

Abbey has appeared in many online publications and podcasts including NBC News, Smart Passive Income, The Side Hustle Nation podcast, and more. She lives in Springfield, Missouri with her husband and two young children.

1) How did you get started working from home? 

In 2013 I was faced with a dilemma. I got pregnant less than 1 year into my marriage (surprise!) and I couldn’t stand the idea of sending my kid to daycare to go to a job that I HATED. I knew I wanted to find a way to work from home and have a flexible schedule, but I had no idea where to begin.

2) How did you choose the work-at-home career you do? 

A friend of mine suggested that I look into becoming a “virtual assistant.” To be honest, I had no idea what a “virtual assistant” even was. That night I scoured the internet and realized that it could be the perfect fit for my situation. It was a flexible job that seemed easy to scale as I had the time. The next day – I had business cards made and started telling people about the new services I was offering!

3) How did you get started (basic initial steps)? 

The first thing I had to do to start my own virtual assistant business was to decide on the services that I wanted to offer. There were a few services I already knew how to do (i.e. answer customer service emails, send invoices, make appointment setting phone calls) and a few that I researched until I felt comfortable offering (create online newsletters, manage social media accounts, etc).

Next, I had to determine what my rate would be. Since I would be self-employed, I knew that I would need to save anywhere from 20-30% of my income for taxes. I decided on an hourly rate for my services and would sell packages of my rates to new clients (i.e. $300 for 30 hours of services per month).

4) How did you get your first client or customer or job? 

Marketing can be one of the scariest parts of starting a business. I knew one business owner. So I started there. All of my friends and family knew at least one business owner too so I asked them for introductions. It’s amazing how big of a network we can have if we just look to those we already know!

5) How do you market your business? 

I eventually went on to find other ways to market my business. I started attending live networking meetings in my city. I joined multiple Facebook and LinkedIn groups for small business owners and reached out to those who said they were overwhelmed or needed help in their business. Eventually, I went on to grow an email list of potential clients so that I could send emails when I had open availability. This list was extremely helpful once I developed my own online course for how to become a virtual assistant as well!

6) What does your usual day look like? 

My days look a lot different than they did when I started my business in 2013. At that time, I would wake up early and work through nap time to attend to client work. I would also carve out space (and get babysitters!) to go to 1-2 in person networking meetings per month.

Now that I’ve developed an online course, I time each day with optimizing my social media strategy, creating course content, delegating tasks to my team, and helping my students achieve their goals through coaching.

7) What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started? 

Don’t wait until everything is “perfect” to start looking for clients. I was so scared to start offering my services because I had never been a virtual assistant. I found that people just need help with their businesses. It didn’t matter if my website was perfect or if I was 100% comfortable with all the tech, if I was honest and a hard worker – my clients were happy!

8) What advice would you give someone who wants to work from home? 

Know it’s really possible. The face of business is changing. Most of our purchases are made online. Most of our learning is done online. Even the majority of our entertainment is online. The opportunities for at-home work are real – it just takes knowing what you can offer to those in need!

Find Abbey Ashley Online: 

Website : The Virtual Savvy

Twitter: @thevirtualsavvy 

Facebook :The Virtual Savvy 

Facebook: (online community) VA Savvies 

Want to learn more about how other people just like you started their work at home careers? Check out other Work-At-Home Success Profiles here.

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