This is an interview with Abbey Ashley of The Virtual Savvy.
Hey, Abbey. Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do.
My name is Abbey Ashley – I’m the CEO and Founder of The Virtual Savvy – we help aspiring virtual assistants launch, grow, and scale their at-home businesses fro scratch. I’m a mom of two high-energy kiddos and have an incredible husband who now works in the business with me!
What was life like before being self-employed?
I started my own VA business in 2015 while pregnant with my first child. My husband had just got a huge pay cut and we were really hurting financially. I tried out a few different jobs – but they just didn’t work out well for me!
What side hustles have you tried and how did they go?
Before I discovered virtual assistance I had tried everything from selling jeans on eBay to being a nanny. Nothing I tried really led to any substantial income.
How did you get into virtual assistance?
In 2015 I stumbled upon virtual assistance after a friend’s suggestion, and within four short months I was able to replace my full-time income working part-time. The remote work and flexible hours allowed me to stay home with my kiddos – I just fell in love with it.
Read also: From 6-Figures of Debt to a 6-Figure Business: How Kayla Sloan Makes $10K/Month as a VA
How did you grow your client base as a VA and how much did you earn per month?
I had a marketing background and I knew that I would need to have a focus on marketing if I was going to be successful.
I focused largely on in-person networking events in the beginning. I would schedule 1-2 to attend per week and then spend time following up after each event with the individuals I had met. The outcome was insane! Within a few weeks I had sold out my services. At this point I was making about $2400 per month.
What did you do when there was more work than you could handle?
I quickly realized that the demand for my services was going to be greater than my own capacity. Since I was a stay-at-home mom, I only had 20 hours per week I could work between naps and waking up early.
So I decided to hire some of my old college friends to help me out! Once I realized that I could hire my friends to fulfill the services – I was hooked. I realized that my income wasn’t capped by my own time anymore. This is how I was able to scale to 10k months within the first 6 months of working as a VA!
What inspired you to create your course?
I had a DREAM client on my radar. It was a guy who had a successful blog about growing an email list. I had learned so much about digital marketing just from his free content. I decided that I wanted to work for him so I spent a WEEK crafting a pitch just for him. It got his attention – and I became his copywriter!
Working for this dream client was like doing a paid internship! I learned so much about how to launch an online course by working for him. After some time I thought, “I could do this!”.
Tell us about the first pre-sale, its results and how you felt during it.
I knew that if I wanted to create a course, I would need an audience first. So my first step was to start building an email list.
I made a goal to get 1000 email subscribers and started working to slowly build my list. It took me almost a year to build it. Not flashy – but consistent.
Once I had that list of 1000 subscribers I simply asked the list, “What do you want to learn from me?”.
The resounding answer back was, “How did you replace your income with virtual assistance”. So I decided this would be my course topic!
But I still didn’t create the course yet. Instead, I created an outline and a detailed sales page. I knew that I would eventually want my course to be $997 so for this very first sale, I decided to make the course $499.
I pre-sold the course before I created a single lesson. I told my audience that we would create the course together over the next 12 weeks and I told them what the topics of each of the modules would be.
Something incredible happened – within a week I had made 16 sales! This first 8k launch was an incredible success in by book and I knew online courses were for me!
At what point did you stop providing VA services and how did that feel like?
When I launched the course I knew that serving my audience well would take up a lot of my time, so I decided to let go of my agency.
I still did copywriting for my one “dream client” for another year – but other than that I devoted 100% of myself to serving my students. It felt amazing!
How do you grow your audience between launches?
At the time of my first launch I was really into blogging. So, my main traffic source to my website and my freebies was blogging + an organic Pinterest strategy.
I also started a Facebook group. Over time our audience building methods have changed. Our Facebook group is still an incredible lead source (we get about 150 leads per day from it!) But our secondary source has transitioned from Pinterest to YouTube.
At the end of the day our lead strategy is the same no matter what platform we are on. Provide value and direct people to an incredible freebie. It still works!
What are some major things that helped you get better at launching?
1. Don’t reinvent the wheel each time.
At the end of each launch we do a post-launch debrief and discuss:
a. What went well
b. What could be improved
c. Ideas we have for next launch
We use this information to build upon each launch instead of starting completely from scratch each time.
2. Focus on list building between launches and then launch to your list.
We have found that most people buy from us within the first two years of finding us – which is why it important for us to always be list building.
We try to bring in cold leads between launches and then during launch we’re really just launching to our warm audience via email, socials, and a few Facebook ads.