Tawnya Sutherland’s entrepreneurial journey started back in 1999. As a divorced mother of three, she needed to find a way to put food on the table, a roof over their heads, and still find time to spend time with her kids.
Read on to see how this single mom was able to defy the odds and become a virtual assistant who now earns six-figures from home!
Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you came up with the idea for VA Networking.
I love traveling, beaches, reading, motorcycle rides, hiking, exploring in the snow, and crochet. My home is located on the Pacific Ocean in beautiful Whiterock, British Columbia, Canada which is the best place in the world to do all these things. I’m also a single mother of three grown children with two cute grandbabies that I love to spoil.
I’ve had my virtual assistant business at Mediamage.com since 1999. In 2003, I decided I was tired of working alone online. I wanted to talk shop with others in my industry, so I created VAnetworking.com which is now the market leader for virtual assistants with more 30,000 registered members for business networking and training resources.
I have a training program to teach you how to start a virtual assistant business and an exclusive member area for VAs. Plus, I host our industry’s online conferences for VAs for years.
- Virtual Assistant Career Training Program
- The VAinsiders exclusive membership club
- #VAVS our VAvirtuosos Online Conference
Do you have any special training?
I’m a Certified Internet Marketing Business Strategist from the University of British Columbia. Additionally, I worked as a legal secretary for 17 years before going into business online as a virtual assistant. Other than that–I learned how to be a VA through the hard knocks of trying to figure it out and not giving up until I did.
What types of tasks do virtual assistants do?
Virtual assistants are highly-skilled, independent professionals who remotely provide administrative, technical, or creative business support services. The types of tasks that virtual assistants can do is only limited to their client’s imagination and their own skill set as almost everything can be done online nowadays.
What kind of individuals make good virtual assistants?
Individuals who have these qualities will stand out from the rest but are not limited to these:
- Great communication skills
- Proactive (can add value to their client’s business)
- Resourceful problem solver (think of McGyver)
- Punctual, reliable, and dependable
- Independent and disciplined
- Confident, motivated, and passionate about what they do
Realistically, how much can someone earn as a virtual assistant?
I make a six-figure income myself, so I’m going to go with that as the high end. Typically generalized VAs can charge $30-$50/hour, specialized VAs even more. A solo entrepreneur can usually bill out 20-30 hours a week dependent upon their passion and drive. If a VA has other VAs working for them, their revenue stream becomes exponential.
What advice would you give to a new or aspiring virtual assistant who wants to break into the field?
My 3 Ps For Success as a Virtual Assistant:
A PERSISTENCE to never give up and keep pushing through your business plan no matter what obstacles stand in your way.
A PASSION and solid desire to reach the vision you have for you and your business.
A POPULACE (networking) with like-minded people in the VA industry (No excuses: Join our free networking forum at VAnetworking.com). Everything you need to know about starting a VA practice can be found here in the archives of 100,000s of posts from other aspiring and successful virtual assistants.
What suggestions do you have for new virtual assistants on how to get their first client.
I recommend hanging with other VAs to learn all the many ways–joining reputable job boards, marketing on social media, networking at trade shows, blogging, etc.–to get their first client.
Here’s an informative post at our FREE #VAforum on this very topic.