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I’m a 6-figure virtual assistant. Here’s how I found my first clients and monetized my skill set.

headshot of Erin BoothErin Booth.

Courtesy of Erin Booth

  • Erin Booth is a virtual assistant who coaches others, sells courses, and runs a YouTube channel.
  • She got started after transitioning out of the film industry and now earns six figures a year.
  • Her advice for getting started as a virtual assistant is to reach out to past colleagues for work.

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Erin Booth, a virtual-assistant coach based in New Orleans, Louisiana, about getting started as a virtual assistant. Insider has verified her income with documentation. The following has been edited for length and clarity.

I started virtual assisting in 2012 after transitioning out of the film industry, where I was beyond burned out from working 80- to 100-hour weeks. I was newly engaged, and my priorities started to change. While I was looking for a transition, my now-spouse helped me figure out that I had transferable skills from the film industry that I didn’t see at the time.

I’d been working as a production coordinator, so I was the person running the office behind the scenes. I realized that those skills could be transferred to start my own in-person concierge business for people in film. I asked my friends in the film industry if they were in need of services like picking up groceries and doing laundry — basically all of the things I didn’t have time for when I was in film. Everyone said yes.

But when I officially launched my assisting business, which I called Crescent City Concierge, very few people hired me. I struggled to make a good income, covering my rent at the bare minimum. My lightbulb moment occurred when I was working on clearing clutter out of a producer’s home and she said to me, “You know, you would probably make a killing if you did this virtually.”

She was absolutely right. She ended up being my first virtual assistant client, and she hired me to do a few easy personal tasks for her, like organizing her Google Drive. I realized I had a knack for it, and I liked to do it. After building my business from there, I now earn six figures a year from virtual assisting, coaching, and YouTube ad revenue.

Over the last six months, I’ve sold 300 courses through my website, and I have 35,000 active students through Udemy. Most of my students find me through my YouTube channel, which I’ve gotten more serious about in the last two years to help aspiring virtual assistants get started for free. I see an average of $450 a month in ad revenue from my 15,000 subscribers on YouTube.

I very quickly learned what elements of my day I liked and what wasn’t working well

This usually took the form of setting boundaries. For example, instead of rushing to my laptop in the morning, I preferred reserving early morning hours for coffee or time in the gym.

I worked with my first client until I got comfortable enough with the work to feel like I could take on another client. I was open with my first client about my desire to take on someone else at the same time. She was very receptive and even introduced me to my second client. From there, I grew my business mostly through referrals.

I can do almost anything that doesn’t require my physical presence. Virtual assistance is such a wide umbrella term, as there are a variety of skills you can offer. Most virtual assistants start out as general-administrative assistants, meaning they offer services that you’d typically expect of an executive assistant, like making travel arrangements, managing calendars, or clearing out inboxes. I have clients who ask me to do things like book travel and order food, but I’ve also taken over social media for clients or done specialized tasks like video editing. There are so many creative aspects to this job that you can do without meeting in person.

I fell into coaching in 2018, when a fellow remote worker introduced me to the edtech platform, Udemy

I was intrigued by the sheer reach of the platform, which has millions of students located around the world. The very first course I launched was about how to manage a client’s calendar. I asked myself “What kind of skills or training did I wish I had when I first started as a virtual assistant?”

I’ve since created 23 courses that cost around $15 each, and I plan to make more. After launching courses, I recognized that some people wanted a more hands-on approach. While online courses can be somewhat passive, students would occasionally email me with specific questions related to the course or specific to their business. I started charging for one-on-one time where I could deep dive into a student’s business and help create strategies for them based on their goals and expected outcomes.

In addition to Udemy, I have a larger course, the “VA Academy,” that I sell on my own website. The “VA Academy” and my Udemy courses have some major overlap, but the main difference is that on Udemy I sell short skill-specific courses, while the “VA Academy” is one giant course that takes virtual assistants from point A to Z.

I still have 2 of my own clients, whom I’ve worked with for 6 years, mostly to keep my skills sharp

For general admin, which includes things like calendar management and travel booking, I charge $35 an hour. If a client hires me for 20 hours a month of general admin, I charge them a flat fee of $700 each month.

For niche skills, like social-media management, I charge $100 an hour. Anything that requires me to create custom content, grow an engaged audience, or understand paid ad campaigns and analytics gets a higher rate.

Someone who wants to start virtual assisting should reach out to their immediate network, including past bosses and coworkers

This can be through social media, a phone call, or telling people in person. Just telling people what you’re doing can be immensely helpful because it’s your immediate network that wants you to succeed. Adding something like, “If you know of anyone looking for my services, please share my details with them” can lead to a first client.

I can’t tell you how many students I’ve had whom I’ve told to reach out to their former coworkers and have gotten work right away as a result. But even if they don’t, reaching out helps plant the seed for the future.

Also make sure you have six months of funds in savings, which I did, before quitting your current job. In some cases, students of mine find clients right away, but for others, it can be months before they land their first client.

Are you a virtual assistant who wants to share your story? Email Lauryn Haas at

Read the original article on Business Insider