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Posts tagged with: finding work

Accounting for Service Fees


As you know I am laser focused on building my virtual assistant consulting business. Today I am here with a question for the BAD community about the service fees I incur.

Little Background

When I began twelve years ago, I was able to build my business using to primary methods.

First, I advertised in local business focused magazines and newspapers. My first client found me through a newspaper that came to his wife’s law office. He ended up hiring me as customer service for one company and tech support for another.

Second, I applied for project based jobs on Guru.com. This is how my longest running client found me. I started as a part time marketing assistant and moved up to customer service and product manager over 10 years with them.

guru logo

Now Today

I thought as I began to focus on rebuilding my consulting business that I could go about things in a similar manner. But time has changed things a bit. Virtual Assistant is now a common term. And I am competing with a worldwide workforce.

Tim Ferris’ book Four Hour Work Week brought using an international workforce to the forefront. Highlighting the opportunity to hire a quality, low cost support staff. It made competition in the virtual assistant world fierce.

My Question: Service Fees

As a result of all of this, I am changing direction. Or at least the platform and proposals I am using.

I am now focusing on Upwork.com and taking advantage of their detailed filter options for finding work. I specifically like the option to limit your search results to projects seeking US Based Workers only. This is huge for my particular industry.

upwork logo
In addition to the standard price, time frame and keywords, you can limit search results by skill level sought and number of proposals already submitted and more.

Here’s my question: each of these platforms charges a service fee to the contractor.

The service fee comes out of the contractors pay depending on what level of membership the contractor has. I am charged 8.95% of any pay on Guru and 20% for the first $500 earned per client and 10% up to $10,000 with a client on Upwork.

How do you account for the service fee when it comes to tax time?


Hiring Season is Upon Us!


Hi all! I hope your week is off to a good start!

It’s that time of year…..hiring season is here! Really, I should say application season is here (hiring tends to take place later in the year).

For those in academia, you may be familiar with the process. When universities are hiring a new professor, they often tend to have application deadlines between October-January. Hiring can occur at any time of year, but this tends to be the most concentrated time. The typical process goes as such….

Applications due October 15th (or November 1st, or December 15th, etc.). During the first round, applications get sorted through and some are “rejected” while others are held. The held copies get sorted through and organized by preference. Generally the top 2-3 people are contacted for interviews (often over the phone first, then in person), and the best man or woman wins! ; )

I’ve seen offers made as early as mid-October (for positions starting the following August), and as late as late-May (for a position starting that August).

What this means for me is that I’ll be busy-busy-busy with applications up to my eyeballs soon.

I’m taking a little different approach this year than I did last year. Last year my #1 goal, above all else, was to get back to Austin (where both my husband and I are from and most of our immediate family reside). I was applying for all kinds of jobs that weren’t even close to my area of expertise out of desperation. I thought, “it doesn’t hurt to try!”

Well we all know what good that did for me….a lotta nothin’.

This year I’m taking a different approach.

I remain firm in my decision to be selective about where I apply (instead of applying all over the country). I am open to only 3 areas: my current area (Tucson/Phoenix), the greater Austin area (from Waco down through San Marcos…maybe San Antonio), and the central Utah area. That’s it. (For new readers, I also have family in Utah).

However, instead of just applying indiscriminately for anything and everything, I’m going to be more selective. I spend a lot of time on each application. I research the faculty, their interests, their publications, the department, the culture (as much as is possible from a website), etc. etc. etc. I’m going to reserve my precious time to only apply for those jobs that are actually a good “fit” for me. Of course, it sounds so obvious, but I have applied for so many willy-nilly jobs just out of desperation to get back to Austin that I wasted a lot of time on things that – even if they had been offered to me – I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed and may not have even accepted. Why do this to myself?

So instead of applying to 15-20 places (like I did last hiring season), maybe I’ll apply to 4 or 5. Who knows? It depends what jobs come up. One was just posted with an October 15th deadline that sounds perfect for me, so we’ll see what happens.

I just wanted to give you all a heads up about my job searching situation and also to let you know what was going on in case I’m a bit scarce from time-to-time. These applications take a lot of time and attention (on top of my other work responsibilities and general life stuff). Of course, I love blogging here and checking in with you guys so I’m sure content will remain pretty regular. Just wanted to give you guys a little update.

Have a great work-week!