Esther Marie Inman is a 32-year-old remote professional and single mom from California, USA.
She had been a virtual assistant for 5 years when this year she finally gained the courage to become a location independent entrepreneur. Esther is now based in Bali with her son, spending her days working on her own online virtual assistant training program.
So what made her decide to move to the other side of the world… with her 7-year-old travel buddy?
A Great Career is No Replacement for Family Connection
Esther has always been passionate about education and that’s why she became an elementary school teacher right after graduating University. She loved her job, but unfortunately, 3 years later she was let go after the government cut the budget for school.
Then she found herself working in a corporate job for a big software company. However, she soon realized her new job was making her unhappy: “I was traveling, teaching and training software for people. Although it was a great mix of my passions, I was crying in my hotel room every single night because I missed being with my family. I was gone for three weeks at a time, so I said ‘no more’ and quit my job.”
From that point on, Esther decided to design a life that she really wanted. As her (now former) husband was in the military, she wanted to find a job which allowed her to work from home and be more available for her son.
She began researching home-based job opportunities online. That’s when she stumbled upon the world of virtual assistants and began applying for those types of jobs on Craigslist. After a few weeks, a woman who was working at a course creation agency finally responded. Esther had found her first client!
How Being a Virtual Assistant Can Lead to Starting Your Own Business
At first, she was doing the usual admin work for her client. However, she soon realized that she could provide a lot more value if she helped them create better courses by drafting curriculums, researching materials and putting it all together.
As Esther was handling more tasks related to course creation, she wanted to steer away from being a virtual assistant and start her own thing. She noticed many of her fellow military wife friends wanted to make money working from home, but didn’t know how to do it and kept asking Esther for tips and advice.
Eventually, she decided to create a course of her own that would teach her fellow military wives the basics of how to become a virtual assistant.
She started running weekly teaching sessions, where she would explain everything there was to know about being a virtual assistant – finding clients on Craigslist, working with Microsoft Office products, researching various topics on the Internet, and a lot more.
The first session was attended by only 3 military wives. However, 6 months later, when the program finally finished, it had dozens of satisfied attendees. And when Esther asked for some feedback, she received rave reviews. Many even told her that it was a life-changing experience!
Inspired by all this, a year later Esther turned it into a real training program, which has now grown into a 90-day Virtual Assistant Course.
Esther says that she spent $0 on marketing thanks to her niche target market of moms and military wives (which she already has access to). Also, she managed to attract a lot of customers by simply offering free advice on various Facebook groups: “I just want to help people so I try to be super resourceful in Facebook groups. I answer questions related to my work and offer to help whenever I can so that I can become the go-to person for that field in the group.”
How to Become a Successful Virtual Assistant
If you are looking to grow a successful career as a virtual assistant like Esther, here are her tips:
- When you get your first VA job, find out what type of tasks you prefer doing and what you’re good at. Fine tune those skills and become more specialized, so you can charge more by the second year;
- Be proactive and computer literate, especially with Microsoft Office and Google products;
- Research competitors to see what prices they offer, and see how much clients are willing to pay for your services;
- Don’t wait until there’s money to invest in equipment or advertising. Work with what you have and see what you can get out of it;
- Focus on a few skills instead of stretching yourself too thin. Offering more doesn’t mean you will necessarily have more clients.