- Annalisa Abell started her virtual assistant business in 2019 while working a full-time job.
- Now Abell balances the two and earns six figures in annual revenue from his hustles.
- Abell shared tips for becoming a virtual assistant, from managing your time to finding clients.
Annalisa Abell works 9 to 5 in finance for a health care organization. In her spare time, she works as a virtual assistant, helping small businesses with administrative tasks, creating content and connecting with customers.
Abell took on her first virtual assistant role in 2019, using her skills in social media management and administrative work to meet clients’ needs. Today, Abell operates Elevated Assist, which connects Abell and its six employees with e-commerce brands, lawyers and influencers in need of business assistance. She posted six-figure earnings last year. She has also helped 1,400 aspiring virtual assistants launch their careers through boot camps and webinars.
The virtual assistant industry is ‘booming’, thanks in part to the flexible hours it offers workers and the ability to earn an average of $2,000 to $5,000 a month, according to a recent report from the American Association of Virtual Assistants.
Abell told Insider how she made $1,000 in her first 30 days as a virtual assistant and grew her business while maintaining her full-time job. The interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.
Create opportunities before you even get a follow-up
I’m a big proponent of having multiple streams of income. Even before the pandemic, I was looking for ways to diversify my money and fill my free time with additional business opportunities. I started on social media, where I shared content and had conversations about finances and other aspects of business that I thought would interest my audience.
It was thanks to this work on social networks that my first client found me. They saw that I was organized and well-connected, and they asked me to join them as a virtual assistant. I made $1,000 in my first month with just one client working on their primary admin job. I quickly found other types of work that I loved, like creating social media content and connecting with clients, and started looking for other companies to work with.
When I decided to grow my virtual assistant services, I knew I had to be relentless in marketing myself and my business. I promoted myself on Clubhouse, Instagram and TikTok, sitting in lounge chairs and at social gatherings.
Any way I could get my name out there, I did.
To attract customers, you need to show off. My biggest tip for other virtual assistants is to overcome fear. Too many of us are afraid to promote ourselves; many of my one-on-one coaching calls are about breaking down those barriers and finding your value as an entrepreneur.
Automation and delegation help with time management
I always work 9 to 5 during the week, so time management is really important to growing my side business.
In order to integrate everything, I tell all my clients to send me their to-do list at the beginning of each week. This way I know exactly what I need to complete for them and can fit those responsibilities into my schedule.
Many business owners are looking for people to work after hours and create around-the-clock service for their business, whether that’s through social media or customer interactions. To help achieve these goals, I’ve implemented tools to automate the process, like scheduling social media content in advance.
Lately, my customer base has hit double digits, so I’ve been able to outsource some of my tasks to my agency employees. Delegating tasks to team members has been very helpful to me in managing my time and getting client tasks done quickly and efficiently.
Show potential customers that you will add value
It is really important to prove to the business owner that you will add value to their business. At first, I focused on my email management and customer service skills. I showed business owners exactly how my services could help them free up time and reduce their workload. Once I realized the importance of social media marketing, I looked into marketing this service.
I found clients where they needed help the most and proved to them that I would be an asset.
When contacting potential customers, it’s important to be genuine. Don’t send a generic email to every business on social media. Tell them why you like their product, why you like the brand, and why you think the brand would benefit from your services.