Melissa Smith, CEO, of The PVA (The Personal Virtual Assistant), is a virtual assistant matchmaker, consultant, and trainer. She is the bestselling author of, Hire the Right Virtual Assistant and Become A Successful Virtual Assistant, and the creator of the virtual course, Admin To VA Summit Course. Melissa has been quoted by Woman’s World, CareerBuilder, and Business Management Daily, and she was an expert for WAHS Virtual Summit in 2018.
1) How did you get started working from home?
I started working for my employer from home. At the time I was an executive assistant for a private independent school in California. I had been there about a year and absolutely loved my job, but my family was still recovering from the passing of my husband and I needed to move back to Georgia. My employer said he didn’t want to lose me and asked how they could keep me. I told him I didn’t need to be in the office. I could do much of my job virtually. He said, “Okay, let’s do that.” That was the beginning of my work from home career.
2) How did you choose the work-at-home career you do?
Becoming a virtual assistant after being an executive assistant for so many years seemed like a natural transition. Being an assistant is all I ever wanted to be and can’t imagine doing anything else.
3) How did you get started (basic initial steps)?
I bought a book, joined a Facebook group, and told everyone I knew I started a business. There were, of course, things like creating a website, getting a tax ID, and setting up a payment system. None of that was fun for me though. I was concentrated on working and having clients.
4) How did you get your first client or customer or job?
After the school, my first client was a past employer. I find that most virtual assistants already know their first client. The biggest mistake VAs have is thinking that others know what you do or how you can help them. Talk to people you know and someone will hire you.
5) How do you market your business?
Marketing your business is really about going where your clients are. Wherever they hangout in person or online that is where you need to be. My business exists on referrals and I’ve spent almost nothing on marketing because if you position yourself right, your potential clients will know exactly how to find you. If you’ve already been where they are, the hard work has been done. They will know, like, and trust you immediately if you’ve been providing value in your group.
6) What does your usual day look like?
After traveling the world in 2017, my usual day has changed quite a bit. I use the morning as “me time”. Whether it’s exercise, reading, writing, grocery shopping, or all of it I don’t generally start taking calls until the afternoon. Friday is blocked off day, but I will make myself available in the morning if needed. I still do a good bit of travel in the States. The Delta Sky Club is also my office away from home.
7) What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started?
How to make money. It seems basic, but it’s not. Earning a paycheck and securing recurring income from clients is not at all the same. It’s a very common mistake and often one where we are trading our time for money. You can’t get ahead using that business model and will actually penalize yourself for getting faster at what you do. Now I have a business model where I earn income from several sources and that supports my lifestyle.
8) What advice would you give someone who wants to work from home?
It’s better than you think! Seriously, I have ruined myself for ever working in an office again. When I first started out I just wanted more freedom and flexibility, to spend time with my family. Now I’m location independent. I could have never imagined this would be my life when I started. I don’t know how long I’ll be traveling and location independent, but the important part is that I get to choose.
Find Melissa Online:
Website: The PVA
Facebook: The Personal Virtual Assistant
Amazon Author Page: Melissa Smith
Be sure to check out Melissa’s Admin To VA Summit Course, where she’ll teach you how to get your own virtual assistant business started and making a profit!
Leslie Truex is an ideaphoric writer, speaker, entrepreneur, social worker and mom trying to do it all from the comfort of her home. Since 1998, she's been helping others create careers they love by providing work-at-home information and resources through Work-At-Home Success.
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