Isn't it kind of amazing that you can earn an income from home as a Pinterest virtual assistant (PVA)? And that so many real women are making it work for their families?
In Part I of the Pinterest Group Interview Series, three PVAs shared their journeys to becoming online business owners, their thoughts on being a PVA, and a glimpse into the different niches you can serve.
In the following interview, Part II of the series, three more PVAs share their journeys while also answering the question, “How is Pinterest management different from being a VA?”
- Vanessa Shepherd: Vanessa Shephard: She's Got Vision
- Jessica Roop: Jessica Roop: Virtual Solutions for Busy Bloggers
- Deborah Regen: https://www.pinterest.com/ecotourlinq/
The term ‘Pinterest Virtual Assistant’, or even more ’Pinterest VA’, is familiar to many people and completely bewildering to others. Would you mind explaining what a Pinterest VA is and what you do as a Pinterest VA?
Vanessa: A Pinterest VA is a virtual assistant that helps bloggers and business owners to grow their online presence, brick-and-mortar store, or freelance services through the social media platform Pinterest. A Pinterest VA with a little more experience and/or education is called a Pinterest manager.
I’m a Pinterest Manager, and I help business owners and bloggers to create and implement a strategy for their business using Pinterest, so they can reach their business goals. I believe in a collaborative approach, so I work together with my clients to plan ahead for launches, promotional periods, and other times that they want to highlight in their business.
The more VA side of the role includes creating customized pins that match their branding, pinning to their Pinterest profile using a scheduling tool, sharing their content with others, and curating content that will be of value to their audience.
Jessica: In simple terms, a Pinterest VA is someone who helps bloggers and business owners manage their Pinterest presence by scheduling and sometimes designing (via pin design and/or writing pin descriptions) their Pinterest content.
I also (and this may fall more into the Pinterest manager term that Vanessa used above) adapt my pinning strategy based on an analysis of what’s working and not working, make content suggestions, etc. Not all bloggers and business owners know how to make “Pinterest-worthy content,” and I often help them with that process.
Deborah: So far I have found two types of clients – those who understand Pinterest and have done well on this platform so far but have grown to the point where they no longer have the time to stay on top of it – and those who have tried Pinterest but do not understand how best to use it.
So for the first type of client, a Pinterest VA is someone they can trust to outsource pin scheduling and perhaps some other Pinterest tasks and maintain their business account’s following and momentum. For the second type of client, a Pinterest VA may be more like a consultant, analyzing their Pinterest status, making recommendations for improvements, and then implementing those improvements.
Could you give us a little background about yourself and how you ended up becoming a Pinterest VA?
Vanessa: I’d been working as an Executive Assistant for 13 years when I decided I needed a change in my career. So, I went back to school while working full-time and received a Bachelor of Business Administration. While I was attending University I had the opportunity to do some freelancing, which got me started as a VA working from home. I helped businesses and marketing agencies to do a lot of marketing-related tasks, which included social media management and content creation for platforms like Pinterest.
I juggled school, working full-time, and growing my side business for 7 years before I made the switch to work from home full-time. In those 7 years, I got married, finished my BBA, and started on a Master’s degree! I knew everything I did was giving me more experience that would only help me to reach my ultimate goal of working from home, so I could spend more time with my family.
I love social media, and really loved Pinterest, and I wanted to stop doing a little of everything and really focus on doing one thing well. That’s when I decided to take a risk and focus on being a Pinterest VA. When I learned a little more about the difference between a Pinterest VA and a Pinterest Manager, I knew that my experience would help me help others in both types of roles.
Jessica: Prior to becoming a VA, I worked in market research for about 12 years. Although I liked the idea of the market research field, I never found the right job. I actually spent a good chunk of that time working on little online projects here and there — website design, SEO, blogging. I made a little money on and off but didn’t think I could turn those passions into a career.
I stumbled onto Gina Horkey’s 30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistant Success course in late 2016 and was blown away by the idea that I could turn my passion for the online world into a legitimate work-at-home career. (Working from home was always a dream of mine.)
Not too long after I started down the VA path, I heard about the Become a Pinterest VA TODAY! course. While waiting for the course to open again, I fell down the rabbit hole of Pinterest and ended up head over heels with the platform! As soon as the course opened up again, I quickly gained my first Pinterest VA client. With VA and PVA work, I was able to quit my job.
Deborah: I have worked for some 30 years in educational media and marketing, and in 2015 I launched a blog and search directory site on the topic of eco-travel (sustainable tours). It takes time to build up a blog and a following enough to start earning an income from affiliate marketing links and sponsored posts.
So I started looking for additional ways of earning money online, and when I learned about this training to become a Pinterest VA it made good sense to me. I already had my own business (blog) related Pinterest account but realized I did not fully understand Pinterest. So I thought if nothing else the training would help me increase traffic referrals to my website. But I also hoped to find and contract with clients to help them and earn additional income.
Do you feel that this line of work would easily fit into the schedule of a work-from-home mom or dad?
Vanessa: This line of work very easily fits into the schedule of a work-from-home mom or dad. Over the last year, I’ve been a work-from-home grandma, babysitting my grandkids on non-school days. I can easily work while the kids play, and they even have fun “helping” me to design pins. When I need to focus, I work on more complex tasks while the kids are in school or after they’ve gone to bed.
Jessica: Absolutely! It’s extremely flexible. I typically only work once a week for each client, but if my schedule is busy, I can just do a little and then do the rest at another time during the week. Other than scheduling new content, Pinterest VA work isn’t very time sensitive.
Deborah: I think this is a great option for many people who need to be at home whether it is to take care of babies and young children or to care for elderly parents. You can decide how many hours per week you wish to work and how many clients you should take on. It is always a balance of how much time you have to give against how much you need to earn.
What do you enjoy and not enjoy about being a Pinterest VA?
Vanessa: As a Pinterest VA I love the schedule flexibility and being able to help others with their social media marketing efforts. There’s a creative side to it and an analytical side, and my brain loves the combination!
The part I enjoy the least about being a Pinterest VA is that I work from home and spend a lot of time home alone. I miss the social aspect that comes with working with others. To make up for that I have to schedule time in for socialization with friends and family so that I’m not isolating myself at home all the time.
Jessica: I’m a marketer at heart, and there is nothing like the feeling of watching a pin take off. It’s so exciting, especially when I played a role in that (designing the pin, suggesting the content, adding it to a Tribe, etc.).
What I don’t like is that I don’t have complete control over Pinterest. There will always be glitches, algorithm changes, and new best practices. But, on the plus side, that’s what can make the field of Pinterest VA work such a lucrative one — we’re paid to worry about that stuff so our clients don’t have to!
Deborah: I agree with the pros and cons that Vanessa and Jessica have stated in their answers. I would add there is nothing quite like the feeling of having a client be impressed by your work and thanking you for helping them achieve their Pinterest goals!
What characteristics have you found to be the most useful for being a sought-after Pinterest VA?
The most useful characteristics for being a sought-after Pinterest VA are:
- Generous: sharing what you discover with your clients to help them understand Pinterest marketing and what types of content they should create when (and why)
- Caring: caring for the Pinterest profiles you work on as much as you care for your own, instead of treating them as a number
- Strategic: understanding marketing strategy, human psychology, and purchase behavior patterns to help your clients navigate a noisy global marketplace and reach their ideal audience
- Creative: think outside the box, understand design, and create unique content for your clients that showcases their brand and tells their story in an authentic way
- A love of the platform: Some VAs see Pinterest as just another social media platform (even though it’s not), so they tack “Pinterest scheduling” onto their Facebook, Instagram, etc. scheduling without being invested in Pinterest. I think you really have to have a genuine love of/interest in the platform to be a great Pinterest VA.
- Curious: If your client just gained a lot of traffic or lost a lot of traffic, they want to know why. You need to want to know why too — a great Pinterest VA will dig into the “why” without being asked.
- Responsive: I’ve had a few clients tell me, “I used to have a Pinterest VA, but they just disappeared/barely responded.” A good Pinterest VA should be available to answer questions (within reason).
- Strategic: Pinning shouldn’t just happen; there should be a purpose behind it. A good Pinterest VA will analyze what’s working and what’s not and react accordingly.
- You do have to be a bit of a “go-getter” in order to pitch potential clients especially when you are first starting out
- You should be very organized, keep good notes and make copies of all agreements and important emails
- Stay courteous and professional even when clients question you; it is often nothing personal, they just want to understand how things work on Pinterest
- Ask clients for testimonials once you have completed some projects successfully for them and add these to your “hire me” page
What was your experience in terms of finding clients for this service (as it is not so well known as of yet)?
Vanessa: I talk to people and help them understand how they could benefit from having a Pinterest VA. I also do a lot of work for other businesses, so I sub-contract to marketing agencies that do not have an in-house Pinterest manager (or specialist). Both approaches have helped me to generate a consistent income as a Pinterest VA.
Jessica: Honestly, I was really lucky. My first Pinterest VA client (who was a VA client) referred me to a bunch of his friends in his niche. I also have a Pinterest VA page on my website that receives a lot of organic traffic, so I’ve received a lot of inquiries that way.
Deborah: In my previous career I had a lot of experience cold pitching so I definitely put this skill to work when I started looking for clients! I would look at a lot of Pinterest business accounts and pay attention to those that revealed certain problems or issues. I then would contact the business owner or marketing manager by email to see if they would be open to outsourcing Pinterest tasks to a specialist such as myself.
Sometimes you hear nothing back, but just as often you may get a response with what I call “nibbles.” Not all “nibblers” turn into clients, but as long as one or two do, then you can move forward. Even with just one or two clients, it becomes much easier to build your portfolio and earnings. I personally like to offer a small “trial” project first so that a new client can get to know me better and not spend a lot of money; if that works out, they are usually happy to work with you on a larger agreement for many more tasks for a larger sum of money.
Do you feel that becoming a Pinterest VA can really provide financial freedom?
Vanessa: I think that in time, yes, a Pinterest VA can provide financial freedom. Just like any business, or skill, it takes time to develop and cultivate and grow. Over time you get better at what you do and in reaching new clients, so your income grows alongside your experience.
Jessica: Yes! I think it is for someone who is committed to continually learning about the platform. Start with the basics of Pinterest VA work and increase your knowledge level from there, which will allow you to charge more and acquire larger clients.
Deborah: Definitely, but don’t expect overnight success! That will only leave you frustrated. Be open to the journey and give yourself reasonable time – probably at least a year – to see if this type of work makes sense for you to continue. Reach out to other Pinterest VAs to gain their support and offer your support in return.
Vanessa: I absolutely agree, Deborah – just like our clients shouldn’t expect overnight success from Pinterest, a Pinterest VA should expect to be patient and grow their business over time too.
What were your goals in becoming a Pinterest VA? How close have you come to achieving them?
Vanessa: My goals in becoming a Pinterest VA were to help me shift my career from EA to a marketing-focused career. I also wanted to be able to work a flexible schedule from home where I could be creative and strategic in the work I did. And my big scary goal was to grow a marketing agency where I could grow a team of talented people to help bloggers and business owners with Pinterest, other social media platforms, and their marketing efforts.
In terms of completing my goals, I’ve shifted my career, established a business that is growing steadily, and I’m working from home with a flexible schedule. Have I replaced my former corporate income? Not yet, but that’s part of my big scary goal. If I have to take on a side job to supplement my income, I’m totally okay with doing that too as I work toward my ultimate goal of growing a team that has a passion for helping others.
Jessica: My goal was to add Pinterest VA work to my VA service offerings and begin to charge more as I gained more knowledge. While Pinterest VA work can be lucrative, I wanted to offer a few different services to make sure my days didn’t consist of all the same type of work.
I’m pretty much there! I’m happy with my client load and am fairly pleased with my pricing structure. I’m hoping to shift my pricing a bit over time, but as of now, I’m happy with where I’m at.
Deborah: My first goal was to gain a better understanding of Pinterest overall for my own business account. Through the training and lots of practice and experimenting around, I do feel I have achieved this goal. My pins never looked better and they are being shared and the links clicked through more often. Pinterest has become my no. 1 source of online referral traffic to my website.
My second goal was to earn a nice side income that might not be enough to fully replace a full-time job with benefits but that would be perhaps 75% of the way. I am still working on this goal, but then I have only been a Pinterest VA for about 6 months. I have worked with 4 clients to date, some only needed one-time tasks while others need recurring monthly work like pin scheduling.
So I am still out there pitching for more new clients as I would like to have 6 or 7 who need help on an ongoing basis. I have been lucky in that all my clients so far have been wonderful to work with and I have really enjoyed getting to know them and their blogs or products better and helping them to grow their Pinterest presence.
Vanessa: It’s so awesome to get to know your clients and help them to improve their blogs or business marketing, and to be able to help grow their Pinterest presence. That’s one of my favorite things too!
Thank you, Vanessa, Jessica, and Deborah!
So there you have it – the answer to the question, “How is Pinterest management different from being a VA?” and so much more. Do you think you might want to get started as Pinterest VA and work your way up to Pinterest management?
Interested in taking a closer look at training to become a Pinterest VA or manager?
Interested in more stories from Pinterest VAs? Check out Part I of the Pinterest VA group interview series.
Have questions? Leave them below…