Virtual assistant Rebecca Morassutti thought she was too experienced to be someone’s assistant. But now she earns six figures. CSA Images/Getty Images
Rebecca Morassutti went from burnout at work to becoming a successful virtual assistant.
By introducing a fee-based model, Morassutti was able to increase her income and make her working hours more flexible.
She made six figures last year and uses the skills she learned from her clients to start her own business.
This is a machine translation of an article from our US colleagues at Business Insider. It was automatically translated and checked by a real editor.
This is a testimonial from Rebecca Morassutti, a virtual assistant. Morassutti’s income was verified by Business Insider. The following text has been edited for clarity and length.
I rose from intern to deputy director in a large multinational company within a few years. In 2011, my friends and family thought I was living the dream – I had a nice car, a good salary and a growing savings account.
But inside I was stressed and burned out from doing three different people’s jobs. I couldn’t live like that for the next 50 years. I wanted to work remotely and have flexibility in my hours, so I thought about starting an online business.
I earn four times as much as my husband – he was jealous and had to go to therapy
At first I turned up my nose at the virtual assistance
When I googled online businesses for digital nomads, I came across virtual assistant (VA) work. This is the name given to personal assistants who work virtually with their customers. At first I turned my nose up at it. I felt like I was too experienced to be someone’s assistant and was worried people would say I had taken a step back. It took me until 2014 to overcome my fear of optics.
The crux of the matter was that I was denied a two percent raise. Once I was back at my desk, I started looking for a virtual assistant job to take on. Within 24 hours, I landed my first client on the freelance platform Upwork by submitting a project proposal. Almost ten years later, I still work with her.
I was responsible for the business operations and customer management of this customer. I woke up early to do her work and worked on VA tasks on my lunch break. Anything I couldn’t do during the day, I did when I got home.
A month after I started working with her, I resigned with three months’ notice. I had a general idea of the minimum income to cover my expenses. It took four months as a VA to work towards this. Luckily, my long notice period meant I was able to find more clients through Upwork and networking on LinkedIn while still making extra income.
At the end of my first year, I had earned about $65,000 working as a VA.
I accidentally created another job for myself
In the early years of my VA business, I was happy that I could take on any client. I quickly realized that some clients didn’t understand the role of a virtual assistant. They expected me to work specific hours and be available. I still felt like an employee even though I was supposed to be self-employed.
In 2016 I burned out again. I felt like I had been lied to. Every post online talked about working as a VA being the path to a poolside job and a flexible schedule.
Going from an hourly wage to a permanent position increased my income as a VA
In 2017, I considered returning to my 9-to-5 job. I wanted to give up entrepreneurship completely. I stuck with it because I knew I was adding value to my clients’ businesses and even taking on leadership roles for some clients. I wasn’t being paid to take on this responsibility, and I knew I had to change my compensation model.
After further research online, I realized that I should no longer trade my time for money.
I used to get punished when I became more efficient at a task. For example, it took me 30 minutes to schedule an email the first time, but after a month it only took 15 minutes. At an hourly rate, I would have had to find another task to fill my time without additional pay.
With my new pricing model, I was no longer paid on an hourly basis, but on an advance basis. This removed me from the exchange of time for money.
I analyzed the value I brought to my clients’ businesses and presented them with a pricing structure based on this research. I used sales evidence from emails and campaigns I had run. The greater my influence on sales, the higher my fee.
I lost some customers, but those who stayed were willing to pay more. With this new structure, I no longer had to track my hours because I was working on a retainer basis, so I could take time off without being paid less.
I work with fewer clients on much longer fixed-price contracts
Now I only work with three or four clients at a time. On average, I work with a client for five years. When I worked with my first client almost ten years ago, she paid me $1,500 per month, and now she pays me over $6,000 per month. Every year I increase my fee. Last year I earned $144,000 from my VA work.
I’ve even had clients offer to increase my fee without me asking. In all of these cases, this happened after we had worked together for about a year. They wanted to make sure I was paid well and would stick around for a long time.
My clients have treated me to all sorts of experiences
As I have worked with most of my clients for a long time, our relationships have evolved from getting things done to becoming strategic partners in their business. This allows me to look at a client’s business holistically and see where I can help.
A client flew me across the country to help her run retreats. Another client enrolled me in a sales and marketing mastermind program. This client wasn’t having much success with her newsletters, and I told her I wanted to get better at writing newsletters. I found a program I wanted to participate in and was willing to pay for it. She said, “No! I’ll pay if it helps me.”
Everything I learn for clients also helps me build my own business. Getting paid to learn is my favorite part of being a virtual assistant.
I’m transforming my business to help other aspiring virtual assistants achieve the same success I did. The skills I have learned from my clients are invaluable in this process. Thanks to them, I learned how to create effective courses, conduct effective coaching sessions and build an online audience.
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