You can learn a lot from people who are doing what you want to do. That’s why I created the Behind the Scenes of a Virtual Assistant Business series. I hope these interviews inspire you to create your own successful VA business!
Today I’m interviewing Anita Carter of Fetch a Pro.
I HAD to interview Anita after I heard how quickly she built her business after being furloughed due to the pandemic. Becoming a VA wasn’t on her radar before then, but she decided to make lemonade out of lemons and created her own business to earn some income. To her surprise, she signed 3 clients within a week!
Learn how she got her business up so quickly, what she struggles with, and hear her advice for new VAs.
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MY INTERVIEW WITH ANITA CARTER OF FETCH A PRO
Q: How did you get started as a VA?
Honestly, out of necessity. At the end of March 2020, I was placed on furlough with the intention of being brought back by June. When July rolled around, I was still furloughed. As a “woman of a certain age,” I knew I needed to reinvent myself and use my 20+ years of business acumen to benefit me and earn some income.
In October of 2020, I posted on Facebook that I was starting my own virtual assistant biz, and within one week, I had three clients. I was overwhelmed with gratitude and kicking myself that I hadn’t started sooner!
Q: We’d love to hear more about your niche. What do you specialize in?
Up until last week, I would have said supporting small business owners and entrepreneurs. People who hate the details who are bogged down with “tasks” that keep them from growing their core business. I thrive on the tasks! Checking tasks off my to-do-list is a highlight of my day. Plus, I’ve never met an Excel spreadsheet I didn’t love.
But recently, I’ve been approached by a few colleagues and former clients to specialize in working with authors, specifically to be an author coach with a focus on marketing. When you keep hearing the same suggestion, it’s time to give the idea serious thought. So, I’m building out a business plan and a strategy for author coaching. Maybe I’ll shift gears. Maybe I’ll do both.
Q: How did you prepare to become a VA? Did you take any courses, read any books, use skills from another job, etc.?
To start, I used my previous job skills. I’ve set up a number of small businesses for others and myself as a published author, so I knew the legalities of what I needed to do. I have a lot of experience in marketing and operations, so I knew what was needed there, but that was going to be so much work starting from scratch! And frankly, it was going to take time. So, I hit the internet to learn how to set up my VA business quickly.
For those reading this, I promise this is not a paid advertisement! I spent about two days online researching everything about virtual assistants. Certifications, classes, courses, etc. With all the information available, I found Desire to Done and from there the Introvert VA Club. I became a club member and then immersed myself in the Passion to Profit training. The templates, training, courses, checklist, etc. was invaluable!
What would have taken me months to put together, I finished in FIVE days! Not everyone will have the same results, but everything someone needs to start a VA business Billie has provided. I’d be remiss if I didn’t also share about the Introvert VA Club community. Billie has cultivated a supportive environment for VAs to share best practices, build each other up when we’re struggling, and celebrate each other’s successes. It’s wonderful.
Behind the Scenes of a Virtual Assistant Business: Anita Carter of Fetch a Pro Click To Tweet
Q: In your experience, what’s the best way to find clients?
I am a firm believer that in order to build any business, it’s all about community and relationships! Get involved in a community, engage with others, support them and build authentic relationships. I’m fortunate that I’ve always worked closely with executives, entrepreneurs, and salespeople. Those are what I like to call “connector people.” They know everyone and understand the power of connecting people who can help each other.
I’ve also been a published author for over 10 years. The writing world is small and extremely supportive. They understand the value of sharing information and supporting each other emotionally, but also in word and deed. If you already have these types of communities, work them! Don’t be afraid to tell them what you’re doing and that you’re taking on new clients.
Always, always, always, ask for a referral! All my clients have come from within my network and referrals.
Q: What’s your favorite thing about being a VA?
There are so many things I enjoy about being a VA! Other than being my own boss, I love that I get to set my own schedule, choose what projects I want to work on and work from where I want.
I also love being able to be home with my Yorkie, Sophie. She’s a great co-worker.
Q: What do you struggle with as a VA?
Social media! I know it’s important, but I really do hate coming up with content and posting regularly. I think it’s because I overthink it. That’s one task I won’t do as a VA — social media content. I can tell you what you need to do and the strategy behind it, but I’m really bad at creating your content. (LOL)
Q: What do you wish you knew or did when starting your VA business?
This is probably true of most introverts, but I wish I had believed in myself and my value sooner.
Q: What’s your advice for someone who wants to be a VA?
Just do it, you’ll love it! Okay, in all seriousness:
- Know your goal. What do you want out of your business? Knowing your goal helps you make future decisions.
- Have a business plan. The plan should reflect your goals and objectives. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, but you should have something written down. I believe it’s essential for long-term success. It keeps you on track when the magic happens, and you have more business than you had ever imagined. It reminds you what to do when business slows down and you gotta hustle. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, refer to your plan! That said, don’t feel like you can’t change the plan or your goal. If you thought you were a generalist VA but discovered you really loved managing social media, go with that. Update your business plan to reflect your new objective.
- Find a community. Surround yourself with people who will support you and believe in you. You don’t have to do this alone. Take advantage of the resources available. Besides the amazing support you’ll receive within that community, those same people will sing your praises to others and send you the best clients! I highly recommend the Introvert VA Club. 😊
- Believe in yourself. Being your own boss isn’t easy. You’re going to experience self-doubt when it’s going well and when you’re struggling to find new clients. You can do it! Remember why you started.
Q: What tools or programs could you not live without?
Q: What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Read, listen to podcasts, binge British mystery shows, learn new skills (I’ve signed up for an online class on CSS and HTML. What was I thinking??), and work on my next mystery-suspense! When we’re not in a pandemic, I love to travel with my husband and invite the family over to hang out (we have four kids, one amazing son-in-law, and a fabulous granddaughter).
Q: Where can we find you?
You can find me at the following:
Author website: https://sparkleabbey.com
Thank you so much for sharing your story, Anita!!
Want to start your own VA business? Check out the Introvert VA Club for tutorials, job opps, support, and more!