How would you like to work from home, in the comfort (or even discomfort) of your own bed? Would you like to get hired as a VA even if you’re chronically ill? Read on for tips to help you land your first client.
Being chronically ill hits your self-worth and self-esteem as hard as it hits your wallet. Just because you spend the majority of your time in bed due to invisible illness or a disability you may think you aren’t valuable. But you are. In fact, you may be even more valuable to someone looking for a VA (Virtual Assistant). Here are some tips on how to get hired as a va even if you’re chronically ill.
Before your diagnosis, you probably used the same skills to work that you can use to help business owners run their business. Were you the go-to woman when it came to email or creating pictures? Did you manage a household and raise kids? As a result of your experience, you probably have skills especially relevant to becoming a VA that you may not think are valuable…but they are.
There are a lot of people who would love a home-based position but don’t know how to go about getting one. Sometimes this is even more true for the chronically ill. Our ableist society sort of writes us off if we aren’t reliably well. They don’t know what they’re missing though, we can be some of the BEST online service providers there are…invisible illness or not. There are some things you need to focus on if you want to get hired as a va even if you’re chronically ill, maybe especially if you’re chronically ill.
Here are some skills you may have that can be imperative in being hired as a VA. Start a list of your skills or take notes on what you feel you can learn easily::
- Writing blog posts along with,
- Uploading posts to WordPress or other CMS’s (Content Management Systems)
- The ability to format posts
- Ability to use Yoast proficiently
- Setting permalinks
- Drafting professional emails
- High standard of work, a must have if you want to get hired as a VA
You have great spelling and grammar so you are great at editing articles. I also use Grammarly for everything I write just in case I miss something
- A unique perspective. You are chronically ill, not everyone has your insight into things
- Attention to detail
- Also, you have an ability to focus while still seeing the big picture yet not get overwhelmed
- Knowing your limits (thanks chronic illness) and will NEVER accept a job you know you can’t complete
- Trustworthy, you will never share ANYTHING about your boss or their site without their express approval and/or permission
- You are a native English speaker, your words flow naturally to native English readers and finally
- You take great pictures and know how to edit them
Why you, as a chronic illness warrior, would be a good fit as a VA and WHY you SHOULD get hired as a VA even if you’re chronically ill:
- You know how to work through things others would never be able to handle, great stuff to have if you want to get hired as a VA
- Now you are just as valuable and useful as you were when you were healthy, just in new and different ways
- You have a unique perspective about working from home
- Furthermore, the challenges you face each day give you experience about how to work when you don’t feel well so,
- You know how to dig deep and get the job done
- You are more grateful for the little things
Some of you have skills that make you great already. If not, there are lots of ways to pick up new tricks AND get hired as a va even if you’re chronically ill. Try doing a Google search for free classes on writing or becoming a social media manager. You might be surprised at how many classes you can find for free.
Here are some of the services you could offer:
- Article writing
- Blog writing
- Email customer service
- Social Media Management
- Creating graphics and logos
- Creating landing pages
- Website design
- IT services
- Getting more traffic to sites
- Site audits and implementing changes
There are probably a zillion more services you could offer but you get the point
Of course, if you don’t have a way for people to find you then you won’t get any work. This is where having a blog comes in. You MUST have a blog even if it is just a few pages. It’s the only way you are going to get your name and what services you have to offer out there. How else are you going to get hired as a VA?
I won’t go into creating a blog, that is a whole other series of posts. I will be sharing posts on how to create a blog in the future. Until then, there is a lot of free information on the web about how to start a blog. Do a Pinterest search, you’ll see what I mean. That’s how I got started.
I am going to assume you have your blog up
Now you need to create a “Hire Me” page and sell yourself and your skills. You can look at my Hire Me page for reference if you like. Try to treat that page like a blog post and use it to influence someone to hire you as a VA. After you have done some work for them, ask for their testimonials and add them to the page over time.
You will need some samples of your work on your blog or references. It would be a good idea to guest post on other blogs too. Some things can’t be “seen” like code or CSS (well, you can see it if you know how) but you could do one page of your blog using a certain code, CSS style or showcasing the differences in several pages.
If you write email, share some templates you use. Create images and show some examples on your pages. If you are a photographer, showcase your pics on your site. Make sure there is a way for people to see what you are capable of doing. These tips are some of the best ways to get hired as a VA even if you’re chronically ill.
Things to remember:
- Business owners may understand you are ill but you will still have deadlines and responsibilities to fulfill
- You will need to be honest about your limitations. If you have a flare hit and are unable to finish working on a project, let the owner know ASAP. Most will appreciate your honesty and, if you work is good, they won’t mind.
- You need to be honest about your skills. If you don’t know the first thing about Excel don’t advertise your work on or agree to a project that requires proficiency in Excel. Some owners don’t mind OJT (On the Job Training) but if you lack a skill you should disclose it immediately. Let the owner decide if they want to train you on a specific skill.
Take things slowly at first and see how your body reacts to working again. You don’t want to end up completely bedridden or in the hospital.
- Try to only offer a few services. Spreading yourself too thin may end your career as a home-based VA before it takes off. If you take on too much work, turn in subpar work or don’t finish what you’re hired for, you should rethink your work ethic or change professions.
- Think ahead. When you get more work than you can handle you may need a VA yourself. Start looking for someone at the start of opening for business. Try to remember what you are looking for in someone is the same as what a business owner is looking for in you.
- Keep up with the latest information or advance in the skills you offer, it is a huge plus when everybody else is uninformed about a new technique that you have already mastered
- You will most likely be an independent contractor which means you will be responsible for your taxes. Most businesses will send you a 1099 form for your taxes.
- You will need a Paypal account or some other way of receiving payment
Okay, you have your blog with your “hire me” page set up and pretty. You have listed your services on your page too. Now what?
This is when you start promoting your blog on social media. Ask if people you’ve done work for will share your information with their followers. Your guest posts will bring people to your site so make sure your guest post biography has a link to your site in it. Showcase your work in posts you share. Keep promoting and sharing, once you build trust and have been doing great work you won’t have to promote so much.
Because it is not easy to land a VA position and work from home but it is possible. If you aren’t willing to do what it takes then you won’t make a good VA anyway. I’m not saying that to offend anyone but it has to be said. If this IS something you would like to do, go for it and go HARD!
If you want, you can also try setting up a profile on Upwork or similar sites. These sites usually offer low pay and you may need to stay on your toes so you beat everyone else “applying” to a job. This would never be my first choice but if you want to gain experience or get familiar with what people are looking for then this site may help.
If you are unable to do everything necessary to become a VA, don’t be hard on yourself. You’re a fighter, you fight hard every day. Nobody works as hard as you do and nobody succeeds more than others will ever realize. You got this!
Also, I’m looking for every opportunity out there to help us spoonies create income. I will share them when I find them. Not everyone wants to be a VA. Not everyone has the skills needed. That’s OK!
Over time I may find something else that appeals to you or that suits your specific skill set. All of us have something to offer, something we are good at and passionate about. Some of us may need different ideas to create income and that’s more than OK. Don’t you worry your pretty little heads, I’ll keep researching and you just keep being the fantastic souls you are.
In conclusion, there are many services you can offer your clients, therefore, you should ONLY offer what you do really well. Make a list of things you do really well and start creating your “hire me” page based on those qualities. You will probably find you are capable of much more than you thought.
If you have a hard time writing due to arthritis then my post How To Write With Arthritic Hands Using Google Voice may help you. Where there’s a will there is ALWAYS a way.
Finally, if you want me to research something, in addition to my usual blog posts, or know of an opportunity you think would fit our Chronic Chimera community let me know. I appreciate it 🙂
I love hearing all about how you tackle your struggles with chronic illness!
Do you have other tips you can share with us? Most spoonies have found workarounds for all types of things and I’d love to share your advice. Write a comment below or send me an email.
Kim is a freelance blogger, writer and VA. She loves sharing resources for other “spoonies” to help them create lives they love. Hoarding crochet patterns on Pinterest is her second favorite thing.