Hailey Thomas was looking for an exciting business idea that wouldn’t take time away from being with her young son. After her first venture floundered, she found project management virtual assistance and hasn’t looked back since. She offers valuable insight into what skills and characteristics will help you succeed as a PMVA, what kind of income and perks you might be able to earn, and how to ask clients the right questions about their goals. The most important details in this text are the advantages of specializing in project management as a virtual assistant (PMVA)
Hailey Thomas will now describe her experiences as a PMVA.
Hailey was searching for an innovative business concept that would not prevent her from spending time with her young son. After her first business venture failed, she turned to virtual project management assistance and hasn’t looked back since.
She took time out of her hectic schedule to discuss getting started as a virtual assistant for project management. In this interview, she provides valuable insight into the skills and traits that will help you flourish as a PMVA, the income and benefits you may be able to earn, and the questions you should ask your clients about their goals!
Read Hailey’s Virtual Project Manager case study if you wish to learn more about how to get started as a virtual assistant for project management.
How I Found Success as a Virtual Assistant After a Failed Business
In 2015, I had been employed by a management and technology consulting firm for four years. While I adored the company and my coworkers, I despised having to spend 8 hours a day at my workstation, the 40-minute commute, and the lack of face time with my newborn.
In December of that year, I quit my employment to launch a juvenile sports-related business. And it was a failure! I am not bashful to admit that initially I had a difficult time placing myself out there.
In 2017, I began a second business (as a virtual assistant) in the hopes of starting over with something I could do from home so I could be with my 18-month-old son.
I began by providing general administrative services because I did not know what individuals required at the time.
I chose to specialize in transferable skills from my day job: project management, human resource support, and inbox/document management. Eventually, I specialized in offering ONLY project management services, as this was the most profitable and fulfilling aspect of my work.
The Benefits of Specializing in Project Management as a Virtual Assistant
As a PMVA, your clients will rely on you to make decisions regarding planning and resources on their behalf (or in collaboration with them). You are expected to lead and direct the effort, performing or delegating tasks as necessary.
The general expectation for a VA is that they work from a predetermined list of tasks. Consequently, I believe there are significant benefits for both parties (the client and the VA).
When you are competent at establishing a framework for clients to complete their projects, you boost their business’ confidence and success. To be able to provide them with confidence and a more prosperous business is a major attraction for a client who envisions themselves in this position.
Niche-ing down as a virtual assistant enables you to position yourself as an expert, take on larger, more complex projects (which expands your capacity and skill set), and charge more for your expertise.
There is also an enormous demand for it. Various forms of project administration are required by businesses of all sizes and configurations!
I believe that a PMVA must have the following in order to be successful:
With deadlines, project complexity, and numerous unknowns, it is essential for a project manager to maintain composure and concentrate on getting the right things done.
Prioritization – tasks have numerous aspects! Requirements and deadlines are constantly changing. The most effective PMVAs are able to recognize a shift in priorities and adjust the top duties accordingly.
This is a corollary of prioritization: the ability to think on your feet. Successful PMVAs are able to evaluate the impact of new information on the project plan and make decisions on the move.
Effective communicator – when working remotely, it is essential that you communicate and receive ideas explicitly on the first try. It is also the responsibility of the PMVA to facilitate communication between others; therefore, this skill is required.
Time/attention management disciplined. There are distractions everywhere for you, the PMVA, and your project. You must be able to state and adhere to ‘no’.
Must-Have Softwares for Remote Project Management
I prefer to be tool-agnostic, which means I am not dependent on any specific software to complete a task. I believe this is essential when you have a diverse clientele. It is advisable to be adaptable, as they will all have varying requirements and utilize a variety of resources. Consequently, here are a few categories of instruments with which a PMVA must be proficient:
Tools for file sharing and collaboration (such as Slack, Google Drive, LastPass, and 1Password)
Tools for project management (such as Basecamp, Asana, Trello, MS Project, and Teamwork)
Automating tools (like Boomerang or Zapier)
Although this list may seem frightening, don’t be concerned! You’re under no need to pick up all of these skills at once! We advise picking 1-2 skills from each area to begin with. As you encounter clients utilizing others, you’ll learn about them.
Certainly, working as a virtual assistant for project management would allow you to support yourself full-time. If you don’t want to, you are not required to provide any more services. When I was solely providing project management services in Q2 of 2018, I made an average of $4785 a month from that one service. For various people, that can be “full-time income” or less. To be fair, I only work three days a week for a total of roughly 25 hours.
For mothers who are adept at planning ahead and running a household, I believe it’s a terrific place to start. You definitely have what it takes to manage a project successfully if you can accomplish that.
Since I did not have to be available to my clients 24/7, I really got into project management. I can frequently work asynchronously with my team, so I may modify my schedule to suit my needs and those of my family.
If you want to start with project management, I’d suggest it’s best to have at least 8–10 hours a week to commit to your business. I advise starting with one customer to see how it will impact your family and schedule before moving on.
The Key to Success as a Virtual Assistant: Just Start
Although I believe it would be beneficial, the most crucial thing at first is to just begin. Since my prior career was in the technology sector, I initially targeted IT firms but subsequently switched to working with smaller web businesses. Both were beneficial to me!
Start anywhere you can score some quick victories and build on that foundation to advance. That makes it easier for you to attract new clients and boosts your self-confidence in your abilities. By putting in the effort and determining what works and what doesn’t, a niche will emerge. Prior to having any clients in that niche, it might be quite difficult to pick a niche because you haven’t yet found success in it.
The Most Enjoyable Part Being a PMVA
I have a two-part response! First, there was the learning component. I adore that at this moment I’ve viewed lots of various firms. From my clients and the work we’ve done together, I’ve learnt a great deal about what works (and what doesn’t). You get to see so much of the inner workings since customers trust you with the plan – it’s like getting an MBA crash course!
Second, I enjoy working on plans and strategies. And it’s a great privilege for me that I get to do it for the majority of my working hours. It motivates me to advance in my work and field of expertise. I can definitely see myself continuing to conduct some kind of this job in the future.
Project management is NOT for whom?
I believe that those who have trouble with organization, concise communication, and follow-through will find it extremely difficult to be a PMVA. That is the entire purpose of this position in the squad! You might want to search elsewhere for a profession if you don’t have have experience with those traits in your personal life.
The truth is, even if you haven’t formally managed a team, you’ve definitely done it occasionally in other areas of your life. If you’re a parent, a non-profit leader, a leader at your children’s school, or a leader in your community, you’ve probably had some experience with the abilities and traits I listed above.
Even if you lack certain experiences, it doesn’t automatically follow that you aren’t capable. Start searching for chances to improve those parts of yourself. You’ll be astonished at how frequently those opportunities arise once you begin begun.
Why PMVAs Are Essential for Small Businesses
The field of project management is known for being challenging. You may enroll in multi-day trainings and get a ton of different certificates. Some people put years of education into getting jobs managing multimillion dollar projects. Some are experts in resolving business, administrative, or technical issues.
The “land of project management” is well down the rabbit hole. It may be frightening and perplexing.
However, I firmly think that a PMVA has a place in the field of project management. We serve entrepreneurs and small enterprises, something that many of these other programs and project managers don’t accomplish. We differ in what we bring to the table, but we are neither better nor worse than the other men. We are all the “right” answer for different clientele.
Whatever title you choose for yourself (virtual project manager, project coordinator, virtual assistant with project management abilities, etc.), you are filling a critical gap in the market. Remember that always!
More information about Hailey and her work:
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