This post is for freelancers or Virtual assistants who are thinking of leaving their current day job and concentrate full-time as a freelancer. If you are one of these, your situation is that you are already working and earning as a part-time freelancer or Virtual Assistant while you’re still working as a regular employee on your day job.
Now, you might already thought about it a hundred times or the idea has just popped in your mind last night. To help you in making your decision, here are some points to consider before you make a career-shift. These are based on my experience and I hope it would help you by giving you what to consider or adding these things that you may have missed in your plan.
First of all, before you make that shift in your career, the first thing you must settle is your finance. After all, this is the main reason why you’re working and the unique freedom it provides just comes second. Every move in our career has always financial concerns to it; does the new job pays more? Even if you’re considering other things than the pay, like office distance, you still calculate it with your salary.
Although Virtual Assistant as a career can support your expenses the same as regular day jobs and sometimes even more, freelance career is a very different job than being a regular employee.
Having a day job is a long-time employment and expecting a salary every month. While as a freelancer, your income relies in every project you do, unless you get a regular or full-time gig. So in order for you to continuously receive an income, you must know a few things:
I’m not saying that you must be an expert before you decide to become a full-time Virtual Assistant. But at least you must have an idea what you’re going into. You must be comfortable with this career and confident that you can do it (or survive it). I’m not making it sound scary but like I had mentioned earlier, your income relies on every project that get. It’s not a monthly basis pay. You get paid on every project that you work.
So how you can be comfortable and confident?
You must be at least familiar with the industry. You must know how the industry moves. You must know how and where to get clients. With these things in mind, it is important that you have a network with entrepreneurs and fellow freelancers or Virtual Assistants. And comfortable and confident also means that you’re not easily discouraged by 5 or more rejections. Being rejected in your application doesn’t mean that you’re not good enough. It’s just mean that they don’t need you (for now) or they just preferred another contractor. And with this, you must also learn how to polish your self-marketing.
As a freelancer, or having a business, we know that it is not always that we’ll have lots of projects that will fill our schedule, and pocket. It is either regular clients don’t give tasks to do or we just want to rest and decide not to apply for more projects to have more time for ourselves and our family.
Whatever the reason is, it is always smart to have funds to support you if ever you don’t have projects to do.
Workplace environment/home office
This is important. Lots of people who are planning to do this business thought that you can work literally on any place in your home. Well, you can, if you’re single or married and don’t have kids yet. But it’s still good to have your own work station if you can’t afford to have a home office yet.
For a work station or home office, you must have a silent place to work in. It is very important for you to be able to concentrate on your work. Another reason to have a silent work place is for communicating with clients. I once talked to someone that has lots of noises in her background and it’s irritating, knowing especially that it is a business talk. You don’t want your clients to feel the same. And if this happens, you clients will think that you’re not a professional and just working at your dining table or center table or bed with your laptop. There’s nothing wrong with working at these places in your home. Like I said, you could work in your bathroom if you want, as long as you’re able to work effectively. But I would like to make a note that not all tasks can be done in those places. You can work in those places but you must still have a dedicated place to work in.
Have you already heard about the Laptop Lifestyle? It is making a living with just your laptop. Well who wouldn’t like it? You work at your home and earning with just your laptop. You can travel, either on vacation or permanently moving, without having to worry about your work. But there are some things that we must also consider:
Virtual Assistant business is a home-based business. Meaning, you’re working remotely from the company’s office. You don’t see office-mates around you and you don’t get out more often to drive to your office and get to see other people and places. Running this business will kinda make you stuck in your home for a longer time.
If you’re an outgoing and sociable person, you might need to adjust. But of course, there’s always a way to see the world outside than the social media. You can schedule a walk or a jog every morning or afternoon. This way, you hit two birds in one stone; going out and working out.
Many people thought that working at home is the easiest job you can have. Working at the comfort of your home, working without dressing up, not having to go through road traffic, etc. But the hard part is yet to come: it is when you’re already in front of your computer. There are lots of distractions in the internet that can keep you from working. There are social media, email, chats, games and other entertaining websites. You have to be disciplined enough to keep yourself from these distractions. If you can’t stay away from these distractions while working, then you’ll going to have a problem meeting deadlines – keeping clients – and getting referrals.
Another discipline that you must consider is the discipline to make your mouth shut. Not from speaking but from food. The fridge is just meters away from your work station and it’s much more comfortable to eat when you’re at home. If you’re not going to discipline yourself from eating, then you’re going to have a weight problem, or worse, health problem.
I guess I had discussed the basic things that you must consider before going full time in this business. The main purpose of this post is just one thing: know the water first before you dive. Either it is cold, warm, deep, shallow, strong current, etc. Although we can adjust in every situation (adjust, never give up), it is my goal to make this easier for you.
If you think you are ready, then welcome to the pond.
For those who are experienced and already in this career for years: if you have more ideas that I haven’t discussed, please feel free to share it through the comment to be able to help newbies in this industry.