I Make Money Online: Virtual Assistant

Over the past few years, we have all received an influx of daily news reports about the dreadful outlook of our economy.  This news was especially troubling for me at about this time last year.  I was just preparing to finish the last few quarters of college before receiving my degree and was not feeling optimistic about the future career that it could provide for me.  After all, there were scores of people with better degrees and more work experience that still couldn’t find a job.  Even worse, my biggest nightmare as a pizza delivery driver had just come true: my car’s transmission suddenly gave out one day on my way to class.  It began to seem as if any hope I had for a bright and successful future was lost.

But then I noticed something interesting about economic trends.  I discovered that employers were still hiring workers, just in a different way.  Rather than spend large sums of money hiring permanent employees, businesses were beginning to build their contingent workforce.  Hiring freelancers and contractors provided substantial savings on payroll expenses.  It also seemed like a lucrative opportunity from the perspective of the freelancer, as they were able to make a little side income from home on their own schedule.  They were also able to save on traveling expenses by not commuting to and from work every day.  Side hustling seemed like a great opportunity for me and I already had a head start with the skills that I was developing in college.  So I decided to dig a little deeper and find out just how much money could be made working online.

First, I knew that I would need to enhance my skills in order to compete with other the many other freelancers out there.  Fortunately, I found plenty of free and low-cost online tutorials that covered some of the essential skills that I would need to develop.  I primarily focused on website development and administrative computer programs (such as word processors, spreadsheet editors, and presentation creation programs), as these skills seemed to offer the best chances of making a side income online.  These tutorials were much easier to follow than I expected and I was ready to begin some side hustling projects in no time.

When I was ready to find work, I noticed that I had to be careful in my search.  There were plenty of scammers attempting to con the unsuspecting and some of their methods were quite clever.  Others wanted to hire freelancers with a portfolio of work and a reputation for producing quality results.  So I decided to begin using an online freelancing service, and chose Upwork as my starting point.  With Upwork, I was able to create a profile that could be easily used to market my skills employers.  I provided a description of my background, the types of projects that I was interested in, and could even complete a few skills assessments to help me land that first project.  Once I began completing projects using Upwork, employers could leave me feedback detailing how pleased they were with my service.  This feedback, if positive, provided me with two benefits.  First, it drew the attention of more employers using the site.  Second, I could display the feedback, skills assessment, and other aspects of my profile to potential clients outside of the system.  Side hustling turned out to be much easier than trying to find a new career and quickly began bringing in about 20% of my normal income (the equivalent of a second part-time job) while still taking classes in college.  Since graduating, freelancing now accounts for nearly 50% of my income.

Of course, it’s not always smooth sailing.  Employers aren’t always great at explaining their requirements, and if you fail to deliver the precise results they are seeking, they will ensure that others are aware of their frustration.  Unfortunately, I had to learn this one the hard way.  I’ve had a few clients that simply would not answer many of the questions that I asked them.  When I delivered the materials, they did not find what they were looking for and left me with terrible feedback.  So before you accept a project, you should always gather as much information as possible.  If a potential client seems unwilling to communicate effectively, you’re better of avoiding them.  Another pitfall of freelancing can occur if you accept more work than you can handle.  Not only will this lead to negative feedback after turning in your work late, it will also have an impact on other aspects of your life.  You may find it difficult to sleep at night, maintain relationships with your family and friends, and become too exhausted to work efficiently.

Editor’s Note: This article was written by Chris P. He has been my ghostwriter for about 2 articles on this site.  You can find lots of people like Chris to hire on Upwork or you can even land a job yourself.  If you need a side hustle or just extra cash, consider being a virtual assistant, ghost writer, programmer, website developer, customer service rep, etc., all online at a company like Upwork.

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21 thoughts on “I Make Money Online: Virtual Assistant

  • Never heard of oDesk till now, useful resource. Thanks for sharing your personal experience and useful tips.

  • I am a freelance for nearly half a year, I want to try oDest.
    I used to be a soft developer, don’t know if I could handle this type of service.
    Hope you can share something more 🙂

  • I started using oDesk when I got laid off from my job and started freelancing. I’m still using it occasionally to find new clients.

    • I might have to get on there myself for a little side hustle money. So far I’ve been hiring people and it has worked out great for me.

  • Great tips, thanks for sharing. You did mention that you found free and low-cost online tutorials, do you mind sharing the links of these please.

    • Thank you for responding. One of the most helpful (and free) tutorial sites that I used was w3schools.com. It teaches nearly every aspect of website development in a manner that anyone can understand, regardless of your prior experience. If you’re interested in learning design but can’t afford Photoshop, I would recommend visiting gimp.org. This free program is very much like Photoshop. The website also offers a comprehensive tutorial of the program. If you would like to learn 3D design and animation, visit http://www.blender.org/. Like gimp.org, it offers a comprehensive program and tutorial. And finally, if you would like to learn any of the .NET programming languages, you can visit http://www.microsoft.com/express. Once you’ve downloaded the programs, a free tutorial can be found on the left side of the welcome page. I hope this helps!

  • Oh wow Sandy this is great! How much per post if you don’t mind me asking?

    I’m going back to full time school, part time work and I have NO idea how I’m going to be able to continue to spend the time I have been spending on my blog…

    would love a referral for your guy! 🙂

      • If Barbara is not interested, allow me to offer my services. In addition to writing, I work as an editor, which means proofreading. Just today, I finished proofreading a 20-page website for a Russian firm. Let me know! 🙂

      • Sorry, but I detest proofreading.

        Transcription? Yes, I’m always looking. Lately all I’ve seen are transcription websites full of mistakes and that makes me run in the opposite direction.

  • Hello Yesiamcheap,
    Cool Post, So I have been wanting for a way to make moolah via internet for some time now. Literally exploring google for ages. There is just so a lot of products on the issue lol. Like are surveys proper? Needs to I consider the whole affiliate factor and showcase a virtual product or service? To be trustworthy I just want to realize some thing exactly where I can make good finances quite quickly.. So any person know of something like that? haha certainly not but well worth a shot lol! 😛
    Good Job!

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