Kristina had spent six good years working of her career as a social media executive for a marketing agency. Three years hence, today she runs her own VA business offering VA services to clients from all over.
When asked how she made the transition from a full-time executive to a self-employed woman, her answer was simple “I knew that traditional career path wasn’t for me. I wanted to be able to work when I wanted to with ample time to spend with my family and look after my two-year old without having a boss to answer to!”
Having worked with a marketing agency, setting up her own agency offering her services as a VA seemed like a logical thing to do.
A lot of us probably want to be where Kristina is today but don’t have any idea how to go about it or where to begin!
If this sounds like you, fret not for you’re at the right place. This post covers everything you need to know about becoming a Virtual Assistant like Kristina, okay, a Pinterest Virtual Assistant to be specific but let’s get the basics right first.
Before we begin, let me tell you that becoming a Virtual Assistant does not require any special skill or qualification. Anybody who knows how to use the computer and internet is capable of becoming a VA.
First things first…
Choose your niche
One of the first things you need to think of is what services are you going to offer as a VA? What are your strengths? What is it that you love doing or are an expert at? Kristina had her answers sorted.
Her expertise lay in managing social media. She had experience of working on almost all major social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and was well familiar with how each of the platforms worked.
But of all the platforms she worked what piqued her interest the most was Pinterest and therefore she decided to turn her interest into her profession by becoming a Pinterest Virtual Assistant.
Know who is Pinterest Virtual Assistant
As the name suggests Pinterest VA is someone who helps clients/businesses by managing their Pinterest profile on their behalf.
Now we all know that Pinterest is a visual social networking platform that allows users to create and share posts (known as ‘Pins’) in the form of images and videos. Needless to say, it has huge potential for brand awareness, generating following for your brand, brand promotion etc.
As per Hootsuite almost two thirds of people discover new brands and products on Pinterest and nearly 93% of users admit that Pinterest does influence their purchasing plans.
That’s a whole goldmine of prospects!
You’re probably thinking if its only about creating and sharing images/videos why would anyone need an extra hand to manage Pinterest, right? Wrong!
It is not just enough to share any image on Pinterest. It takes a lot of work to create really attractive pins with just the right amount of text, color, design etc. Of course this can be done with the help of designers too but as a VA you can use your own creativity to design pins with the help of Canva etc.
Once you have the pin ready you need to know which board it goes to. If you don’t already have a board created, you’ll be required to create one. Boards are a way of categorizing your pins so as to increase relevance for the viewers.
Also it is important to note that pins are not mere images, all pins include a link to the supporting text or website and therefore it is a great source of referral traffic too!
All this is a time-consuming task especially for a start-up owner who has just started his business from ground zero. They neither have the time to do it themselves nor have enough financial capacity to hire a full-time employee.
Therefore their best bet is to outsource the task to Pinterest Virtual Assistant.
Know what a Pinterest Virtual Assistant Does
As a Pinterest Virtual Assistant, you’ll have the following tasks on your plate:-
- Creating attractive clickable Pins – It isn’t just enough to design any image and share it on Pinterest. In order for people to like your pins, click it and follow you, they have to be really really good. They need to be the perfect size, just the right amount of text, background, designs etc. Yeah…you got it right! A lot of effort goes into making a pin that has the potential to go viral.
- Create the right Boards – Boards are nothing but a way to categorize your pins into different groups. That requires a thorough understanding of the subject you are pinning about, kind of pins you are creating etc. It is only by pinning pins to the right board can you expect the right audience to click on your pins and follow you.
- Pin Descriptions – Your pins have to have short and crisp descriptions with proper keywords so as to make them rank in Pinterest search results. As a Pinterest VA it would be your job to write attractive descriptions for pins and boards.
- Be a part of group boards – As a Pinterest VA, you will be expected to search for relevant boards for your clients, join them and pin to them as per rules. That’s a surefire way to get your clients some referral traffic!
- Create a Pinning schedule – One of the primary qualities of a Virtual Assistant is to be organized in his task and approach. As a Pinterest VA you can create a pinning schedule. You can even create pins in advance and just share them as and when you want to. This will help you save a lot of precious time.
- Pinterest analytics – Although this may not be your forte at the beginning but as you gain experience of the platform you can learn to interpret Pinterest analytics data and give some valuable insights to your clients. Your client will appreciate the info and you can earn some extra money!
Getting Started as Pinterest VA
Now that you understand who is a Pinterest VA and what he does, it’s time get the ball rolling. Start fishing for clients. Spread the word of mouth, use social media to let the message out.
For those who are just starting out, a good place to begin would be freelancing websites like Upwork, Elance, Odesk. All you have to do is simply create a profile mentioning your expertise, skills and the services you offer. Of course the pay may not be quite what you expected but at least you’ll make a start.
Gradually you will be contacted by people looking for those services. Once you have built a portfolio of projects completed you can even create your own website and advertise yourself as an expert consultant offering Pinterest management services.
Freelancing isn’t a bed of roses. You have to be patient and continue to put in efforts. It takes time to build a client base and establish a steady flow of income. As they say ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’.
From small & medium businesses, start-ups, self employed individuals and bloggers, everyone looking to build a solid brand presence and gain some referral traffic. Some of the businesses that swear by the benefits of Pinterest include:-
- Salons & Spa
- Product manufacturers
- Consultants/ Service providers
- Travel companies
- Fashion brands
And the list goes on…
After all, Pinterest is more than just a social media platform. It is a portfolio to showcase one’s products and services.
How much should you charge? his is a question that comes up very often in the minds of Virtual Assistants. Whether you are beginner or an experienced professional this question will come up in your mind every time you have a new client or are about to take a up a new project.
That is because no clients are the same and no two projects are same. Each client is a different person to deal with. Some may be too easy going and not very interfering while the other may be a little tough to deal with. Handling him would require a lot of patience and a lot more effort.
The rates would definitely vary in that case as the client communication time would also need to be taken into consideration. The fact is that there is no definite price that you can charge for your services. You have to exercise your own judgment and wisdom. No wonder they say that pricing is both a science as well as an art.
You have to take into consideration a lot of different factors yet have room for negotiation for sake of building relationship with your clients.
Factors that need to be taken into consideration while deciding on the prices include:-
- Your own experience – The more experienced you are, higher will be the price you command. If you are a beginner, it is always advisable to quote the minimum price that allows you to make just enough profit to survive after all, the competition will be fairly high!
- Services required – What are the tasks that you will be required to perform? If it is just simple tasks like setting up a Pinterest account and sharing pins that will be made available to you, it’s a simple task which does not require any special knowledge or skill and can be something around the minimum depending on how many pins you are required to share.
Similarly if its slightly more complex and requires you to create and manage pins on your own, the price will be higher as it would require some designing too (although you can use online tools like Canva etc for free to create simple graphics)
- Your overhead expenses – When deciding on the prices, do not forget to factor in the overhead expenses as you will be running it as your business and no business can succeed without the overhead expenses being met.
Now I know you’re probably thinking “But I will be working from the comfort of my home with no rented office space, infrastructure etc?’’
Sure, you may not have an office, but if you are an established VA, you most likely have your own website that requires regular upkeep and maintenance.
Also not to forget the taxes, for if you’re in the US you will be required to pay self-employment tax apart from your regular income taxes!
- Your living costs – Now this one’s important! After all, you are doing what you are doing to make a living. Don’t forget to factor in the cost while pricing your services.
Of course if you are a newbie and just starting out, you cannot expect all your expenses to be met from day one, but keep this mind so when you gain a little experience you can meet your costs comfortably and make some profit too!
Our advice is don’t stress over it too much. Initially anything between USD $ 12- $15 is great to start with and you can increase from there once you have some experience under your belt.
There are different pricing models that you can use to charge for your services. Again the matter of choosing the right one is a personal decision and depends entirely on the nature of project, tasks required to be completed and mutual understanding between the client and the VA.
- Hourly Pricing – This is the most common method adopted by Virtual Assistants all over. Simply bill your client for the number of hours that you have worked at a pre-determined rate.
- Project-based – In this case client specifies the deliverables and you are paid a flat free (as agreed upon previously) upon completion of the entire project. For instance, you are entrusted with the responsibility of setting up a Pinterest account and the price for the entire task is determined to be USD $50. You will be paid a flat sum of USD $50 upon completion of the entire task. You can go for this model once you have some idea of the workload and the time required to complete the task.
- Monthly/Weekly Fee – Somewhat similar to project-based pricing, you can decide to be paid a pre-determined sum weekly/monthly upon completion of specified deliverables. The upside is that you know how much you are going to make this week or month.
To wrap it up, do not underestimate yourself or the value of services you are providing. You helping clients get their work done which is a favor and you deserve to be compensated for all the effort and hard work. Set a rate that justifies both the work done and the hours put in and you will be good.
I have tried to cover everything you need to know about becoming a Pinterest VA or any VA for that matter, but if you still have questions that remain unanswered, do let us know in the comments section below and we’ll do our best to help!