141. Becoming a Virtual Expert with Kathy Goughenour

September 17, 2020

“Gen Xers, Boomers, we have skills. We have experience. But what most of us don’t know is how to build a business of our own.”
— Kathy Goughenour

We started a conversation last week around Virtual Assistants. In that episode with Janice Dalager, we looked at Virtual Assistant work as a great career option for someone looking for flexibility and control over their work.

Now, a career that allows for flexible work arrangements may be the main factor for many. However, the other question to consider is whether this is truly a profitable career choice.

Kathy Goughenour joined me recently to help me answer this question. She is the founder of Expert VA® and Virtual Expert® Training where she teaches women how to create their own work-from-home Virtual Assistant businesses. Kathy helps other women build businesses and enjoy the freedom and financial security they desire and deserve.

In this episode, Kathy and I dig into becoming a Virtual Assistant or a Virtual Expert®. We talked about where you start, how to position yourself, how do you price, and how to market and sell your services. In addition, Kathy also shared her career reinvention story and how she made the move away from a long corporate career to business ownership.


Follow Kathy Goughenour on Facebook or on her YouTube channel.
Briefing Notes: 39th, a Longevity Edition
Follow Second Breaks on Instagram
Connect with Lou Blaser on LinkedIn


I went back to my little cubicle and cried. I really tried to wrap my head around how do I change who I am? Luckily, and I don’t know where the courage came from, but I decided I wasn’t going to change. Instead, I was going to figure out something else I could do. It took me six months to create a plan for myself. But I did.

You don’t have to buckle down and be in that job that really isn’t a good fit for you because there are second breaks.

Gen Xers, Boomers, we have skills. We have experience. We don’t need to learn more skills. But what most of us don’t have — what I didn’t have even after 18 years and a Fortune 500 company — is how to build a business of my own.

When people think of a virtual assistant, to them the perception is that person is a general admin.

The average rate for a virtual assistant based in the US, Canada, or any other English-speaking country is $15 to $25 per hour. And it is pretty much capped at $25 per hour because that is the perceived value for a general admin virtual assistant. When you specialize, that is when you can earn more. That’s when you go above that cap of $25 an hour. And you can earn anywhere on the average from $45 an hour and up, depending on the area you’re specializing in and how in-demand it is.

You must be detail-oriented. You must be organized. And you must be interested in working in a chair or standing at a desk behind a computer.

This business attracts introverts because we get to be behind the scenes. We get to be that support person, not that front-facing person. But we still have to sell ourselves and market ourselves. So not only are people afraid of selling, they’re afraid of marketing because they’re afraid of getting out there.

That’s why I don’t call it selling or marketing. I call it finding, getting, and keeping clients. Because how much softer and easier does that sound than marketing and selling?

Most of the people listening to this podcast, they do not need to offer anything for free. They are professionals who have a lot of experience. They already have a lot that they can give.

Get smarter, wiser, and bolder about midlife.