I bet you’ve landed onto my blog because you’ve been thinking to start working from home and your Google observation resulted that being a virtual assistant is one of the easiest steps to start your online career. But you’re totally clueless what, where and how to start, or whether you’ve had the skills needed to be a virtual assistant, moreover if you’ve been out of the job market for years or been stuck in a low-paying boring job that doesn’t feel rewarding and you haven’t gained other skills worth-selling from that job. Then advertisements of virtual-assistant courses started to show on your feed (because of the super smart internet algorithm) like an angel answer to your confusion. But also the prices of the course are not cheap. Here comes the doubt, “Do I have to spend money in order to make money? I haven’t even made a cent yet, and now I have to spend hundreds of dollars for an ONLINE course?? Is it gonna be worth it??”.
Girl, I FEEL YOU. I’ve been there and I’ve paid for courses and 90% of them are in USD, one of them is the virtual assistant course that I took in December 2018 which is not cheap for me as someone who is from a developing country. Just to give you an image, 1 USD can still get me a full meal with drink in Indonesia. So if the price of these courses is expensive for you (if you’re from a developed country), imagine how expensive they really are for me. The price of this 90-day course is more expensive than my 4-year college degree in a public university in my country. But I dared myself to take the leap and here I want to share with you my experience so that you know what to expect.
I spent a while to research credible virtual online courses and compare reviews of various courses, you know nowadays everyone can sell courses, and I don’t want to pay for a scam. I ended up investing in a virtual assistant course by Esther M Inmann, a self-made 6-figure online worker and digital company who started her journey when her life was filled with only chaos (her husband suffered traumatic mental disorder due to his military job, so she needed to start making money fast). So this review is mostly based on my experience in her program (I took other VA courses as well in cheaper place like Udemy just to compare and get more knowledge). I’ll tell you upfront that this post contains affiliate links, which means if you eventually decide to take her course through my links, I’ll get some little commission from her program (yeah one of the great things about her program is the affiliate program). However, it’s not the reason why I write this post, my intention is pure to share because I’ve been there, and this is an honest review, no sugar-coat. Also, I’ve been getting lots of questions about how I started and her course, so I’d rather make this writing to help me not repeating the same things over and over.
When I took Esther’s 90-Day VA course, I was not so new to the online work. I already started making money online by teaching English (to Indonesian company managers) and translation. But I wanted more than just being paid as an Indonesian, I want to make money in dollars and have clients from all over the world. I believe there must be a way to approach good clients who are willing to pay for skills regardless where the workers live. But I didn’t know how to find these people, I had no networks to these people. And I was not sure whether I was really prepared for the game. Even though I consider myself as a tech-savvy person, I was not sure I knew enough of how things should be done properly in the online jobs. I needed a mentor and a supportive environment. Moreover, this time I deal with people from different countries, I might not know what were the things that I didn’t know. I also felt lonely in my journey because no one in my family and friends have taken the path that I choose to take. That is when I decided to have a mentor and started researching online courses for making money online.
At that time I was still doing fashion design for my bridal line. I didn’t started as a graphic designer right away because I still needed to know how online freelancing works. Being a VA is a good start for someone who’s totally new to the online work, because a VA can do many things and can specialize in just a few fields, it’s your choice and that’s what the 90-Day VA course teaches you about. It gives you the idea of the fields and tasks that your clients will want you to do. As per August 2019, these are the topics covered in the course:
- Working online preparation (How to apply, how to write email application, how to network, building your resume, contracts, how to get paid and toolkits you need)
- Content Creation & Repurposing (for blog and social media)
- Social Media (Instagram management, managing groups, Pinterest)
- Email marketing
- Lite web management
- Project management
- PR (how to network, research your audience, research for podcasts, and how to pitch)
Other benefits that you’ll get:
- Being in a very supportive FB group for 6 months (after that you can extend for membership) where you can get your portfolio reviewed, ask your questions without anyone being judgmental, tons of job opportunities that you can apply to and Esther’s team exclusively on shares to this group.
- Monthly group call to talk with Esther and get your portfolio reviewed by her
- Have a chance to work for internship for them or their networks that can turn to paid jobs
- Job opportunities from other VAs that already got too many work and want to pass over jobs to the girls in the group (because we want to help the people we know!)
- Though we only got 1 call in a month, but Esther and her team will be available every day to review your applications and answer your questions (and also cheer you up when you’re feeling down)
- Templates for contracts, social media management, client on boarding checklists, etc (and they keep adding and updating contents!)
- Lifetime access to the course content which they always update!
What I felt after taking the course:
I thought I knew many things already, but after taking the course, now I know what I missed at that time that made employers didn’t want to hire me, even in the way I applied for jobs. These little details but if you follow the steps that she mentions, it’ll help you A LOT! She’s worked for people and hired people, she knows what she’s talking about.
My fave things about the course:
It’s hard to pick one because there are many things I’ve benefited from the course. The community is I think the best as well as the friendship that you get from the course, they’ve been in the same journey as you were. And because I live in Bali like some other girls, we got to meet sometimes and other girls even become travel besties! I met Esther in real life, it was a bit intimidating because she’s so beautiful! And she helped me to get my iPad Pro from the US because the tax in my country is fricking high.
Also what I like is the constructive feedback of our works before we pitch it to potential clients. We can also learn from other girls’ portfolio that’s being reviewed. The team also always update the content inline with what the market needs and trends, and you have a lifetime access to the course.
What I think about the course content, is it in depth?
I won’t say that the content will cover it all for all fields. Because this is a VA course, and VAs don’t usually specialize like an expert for fields like web development or programming, or graphic design. Because you’ll need to take special courses for those fields. But they teach you the basics that you need for that and what your clients will generally need you to do. That’s why it’s called ‘lite’ web management and graphic design.
I think their specialties are in the social media things, content creation, email marketing and project management. They’re very good at those and I learn a lot about how to craft emails. Esther’s power is also in networking and marketing, compared to other lecture videos I’ve watched in other courses and Youtube, I think for those fields, they’re still very thorough and on point.
How did I afford the course?
At that time, I didn’t have enough money to buy the course, I just moved back to my parents’ house. I hated my situation so much that I couldn’t wait any longer until my saving to be enough, so I took credit card loan. I won’t say this (taking loan) is the best way to do it, but it worked for me because I knew I had time to spare for study, building portfolio and apply for jobs.
Where am I right now financially?
As per the time I am writing this post (8 months after enrollment) I went from making USD 300 a month to around 1000 – 1100 a month. Maybe for you, if you’re from a developed country, you don’t think that what I make now is high. But in my country, that’s even more than what a bank manager makes. And I know that I can still get more (because to be honest, I havent done all the tips Esther gives us. If I do 95% of her tips in the lessons, I know that I’ll get so much more than this! My target is not to be able to live nicely in Indonesia, but to be able to live in other country and leave my country. If I hadn’t started working online, I wouldn’t have been this close. I am currently taking a break for two months from working in order to evaluate my business and improve my skills.
In January 2019, I set a target to earn USD 1000 by the end of the year. I achieved it in April.
Is the course for everybody?
NO. This course is not for you if you’re still not sure to put in efforts to start working online (to start is the hardest, but after that, I can say that things get easier). Many people think that the price is the problem, actually study is about putting in time. If you dont think your situation right now will allow you to dedicate at least 1-2 hrs a day for the course, then don’t take it now, especially if you need to take a loan to purchase it. Deal with your problems first, if you gotta deal with divorce issues for example, deal with it first. Even cheap courses will still be useless if you don’t have the time to do it. And this is not for you if you already have all the knowledge in the fields mentioned. Also if you already specialize in specific fields and want to grow your business and get higher-paying clients, then better you take her PROPEL program, because the VA course will be too light for you. The VA course is for starting out, not scaling up.
Do I feel it’s worth the money?
But it’s in American dollars, the rate is too high for us to afford in developing countries?
True, but as someone from a developing country, if I want to make money in dollars, then I must understand that I will also have to start investing (spending for courses, toolkits, etc) in USD.
How long after joining the course I got my first client?
Two weeks after joining the program, from other experienced VA in the group that at that time was having too much to handle by herself.
How long after joining the course did I get my ROI?
About a month or a month and a half. But this is different for everybody, some girls even booked jobs after just 5 days and others may take more than three months. Sometimes life can get in a way as well. There’s no guarantee of time coz everyone and everyone’s life is different.
I’ve joined the course when they had only 200 students, fast forward to eight months later, it has grown to almost 600! Does it mean that there wont be enough jobs for everyone? Not true! The more people you know in your network, the more job opportunities, because these girls know and bring clients in their networks, and share more opportunities to the group.
Will I recommend the course to others?
Of course! And if you like my review, please consider applying through this link if you decide to apply, it will help me in some ways. And if you have more questions to ask, I’m just one email away!
UPDATE 11th of JUNE 2020:
I haven’t done any VA work since the date stated in the post, but I keep checking on the course to keep updated with what’s the updates in the work online world. 90day VAI always updates its content and I’m just wowed! The project management, podcast VA and the PR kits are just awesome! They no longer include the portfolio review in the package (you’ll need to purchase it separately), which I think is fair because their price for that quality is still cheap, and they now already have over 2000 graduates, which mean thousands of girls in your networks! And since November 2019, I’ve been having personal problems with my fiance’s having cancer (about 4 weeks ago, his oncologist told us that he’s got only months to live and due to covid-19, I’ve been separated from him (different continents) since February until now). All these journeys have made me more grateful of the choice I made to work online and paid for the course. The flexibility and the financial stability that I have now which I didn’t have in 2017. If only this cancer thing didn’t happen to my life, I believe I could’ve reached my next income target in the end of last year. Because it has made me slowed down and not take many projects as I used to, but still I make much more than enough monthly than majority of people in my country. Many of my friends lost their income due to COVID-19 and until now I’m still not affected financially at all (I believe in the long run we all will, at least I still have room to save and breathe, afford my Bali lifestyle–which is 4 times higher than my expenses back home in Sumatra–, send money to my parents monthly, while many of my friends and relatives are worried every day about how to feed their kids. I may not have the perfect situation with my relationship (due to cancer) at the moment, but at least money is no longer an issue for me. And I know for sure, stress management needs money and TIME (which I won’t get from working 9-5 office job in my country). If I didn’t took the course–meaning I didn’t apply the tricks and tips Esther shares in the course–I wouldn’t have reached the financial stability as fast as I did, because I would’ve just wasted my time doing unnecessary trials-and-errors.
Having worked online for years now I can tell strong portfolio and weak ones easily, I can tell who took courses to accelerate their processes and who don’t. I also live in Bali, where digital nomads and digital nomad wannabes and newbies flock in, from many countries. I’ve met travel influencers in real life, or other content creators. Esther is one of the most genuine creators I’ve met.
If you happen to read until here, please also send a prayer for my fiancé. And btw, today is my birthday 🙂