I take my hat off to side hustlers. Not only are they working a full-time job, but they're running a business on the side. Pretty impressive! In this edition of the Side Hustle Blog series, we're going to get to know Regina Felty.
Hey, Regina! Welcome to the blog series. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? Tell us about your business niche.
My name is Regina and I am still working full time until I can take on my VA business full time. So, I like to tell people that I am an Educational Sign Language Interpreter by day and Virtual Assistant by night. I love all things creative, but especially enjoying playing with language and helping others to improve their writing and give life to their written “voice”. My niche is mainly in working with teachers who create their own resources, bloggers, and writers.
What has been the most challenging aspect of building your business?
Time! Wow, it takes a lot of energy and time to learn the ropes of the VA world and get all of your documents and systems all set up. Then comes the work of getting out there and marketing yourself and finding your “niche”. At first, I felt like I was all over the place - and, I was - just trying to find out where I wanted to fit in and what services I wanted to narrow myself down to. It’s still a daily work in progress.
So how do you handle the time issue?
I handle my challenges and workload by keeping myself ultra-organized and being realistic about my limitations. Let’s face it, I still work full time. I cannot take on more than I can handle and expect to do an efficient job for my clients. My Google Calendar and project management programs have become by closest companions.
Managing a business and a full-time job can be tough. What’s a typical day schedule for you? How many hours a week do you work?
I come home from my day job and allow myself some “down” time to recharge and have dinner before I begin my evening work. I limit myself to 3-4 hours in the evenings. I also have certain holidays set aside for “no work” days and I make it a policy not to work on Sundays. That is my family and church time.
It sounds like we have the same schedule. Same schedule, same name! How do you manage your projects?
I manage through prioritizing, keeping an organized calendar, and utilizing two project management programs (Asana and Trello). I only work on things I enjoy so I do not find myself daydreaming and wasting precious work time!
I can't say enough good things about Trello. What did you have to let go of or sacrifice in order to allow your business to blossom?
Thankfully, my children are all grown and no longer need me to do homework with them or play dolls or push toy cars around on the carpet (sniff…). I have had to sacrifice my reading time and sitting on the back porch with the hubby, but I try to still throw those things in when I can. They are still important to me.
When do you know you need a break from your business?
I stayed in tune with how I am feeling and know when I am taking on too much and need to step back and take a break. I know it’s time for a break when I feel overwhelmed, get grumpy, or stop enjoying my work.
I'm seeing lots of new VA's come on the scene. What advice would you give to individuals just starting out?
Don’t try to take on the world! Follow your instincts. Search for a niche in your natural interests scope. Do your homework but don’t feel you need to sign up for every expensive workshop, buy every VA app available, or have a ton of experience before you begin. Start in the areas you know and are comfortable in.
Some folks just starting out struggle with landing their first client. What did you do first to build your clientele/customer base?
I actually went into a Facebook group I belong to (VA related) and asked for someone to mentor me in exchange for free work. My mentor was a great resource for me and ended up referring some of her overflow work to me. We still work together and have a great working relationship. After that, it was mainly referrals that produced my clientele.
What was your strategy to charge what you deserve in your business?
I researched a lot of other VA’s websites to get a feel for what others in my niche were charging. I asked questions in my Facebook groups. I went with the low-end price to start off because I did not want to charge clients too much for areas I was still learning about. I felt it wasn’t fair to “practice” my new skills on them while they paid me, so I started at $20/hour. That felt like a fair beginning charge. (I quoted projects separately based on the work.)
How were you able to get your spouse on board with your vision?
My hubby is always my biggest fan when it comes to crazy new ideas I come up with. He has always supported (emotionally and financially) my dreams and I treasure him for that.
What’s next for your business? Are you working towards going full-time? Anything else you’d like to share?
I hope to go full time in May of this year when the school year ends. I just take it a day at a time. I need to do some rebranding for my business and give my website a total makeover. My services need to be adjusted. I want to eliminate services I do not enjoy doing and work on improving the skills I do love. My goal is to be an “expert” in my niche rather than a “Jack-of-all-trades”.
Regina, thank you so much for sharing with us. You are on fire and I'm wishing you all the best!
If you want to learn more about Regina, visit her website.
I'd love to feature other side hustlers so reach out and contact me.
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