5 Mistakes to Avoid in Your Virtual Assistant Business

5 Mistakes to Avoid in Your Virtual Assistant Business

Are you feeling unprepared to start your VA business? If so, you are not the only one.

We all started the same way. With no real knowledge of how it worked, and how we were supposed to get started. I did, too!

How you proceed with your Virtual Assistant business will determine whether you can succeed or whether you will fail.

There are many things that you need to consider when you are getting started or are growing, and you will make mistakes.

Identifying mistakes that can be easily fixed, or avoided all together, is what will help you get past the tough times and on the road to success.

Here are 5 mistakes that you should try to avoid (or fix!) in your Virtual Assistant business:

Learning New Skills to Get Started

Finding clients is hard enough when you first start out. Don't make it harder on yourself by spending money on something that you don't even know you can do or sell. You will need to get comfortable selling yourself to clients, which can be very difficult - and this will be made more challenging when you are trying to sell them something that you have no experience doing for clients yet. Training is great, when it is timed right. But you should never start your business trying to market and sell a brand new service or skill. You have admin experience. Start with what you know.

Charging Rates That Are Too Low

Recognizing our value is always a challenge as Virtual Assistants. We feel like what we do is not as valuable as what other people do. We struggle with selling our value to clients. And that translates to setting prices that are not high enough to sustain our business. When rates are set with intention (and by doing math!) and you know the value that you are providing the clients, they are probably going to be higher than you thought. But your business will thank you. Don't be afraid to set rates that earn you a profit and reflect your expertise.

Getting Stuck in the Research Phase

There is a lot to learn when you start a VA business. Probably more than you thought there would be. But many VAs get stuck in the research phase - looking for advice or simply Googling things and taking free trainings. I've seen VAs spend weeks on their logo and company name, or more than a year on their website. You need to get out of research phase and make a decision. Your business is a living, breathing thing - and it can (and will!) change. Your business name and logo are decisions. Your website should be simple. It will change. Don't let it hold you up. You need to get started to get clients, and you will never start if you keep researching. 

Never Saying No

Clients will ask you to do whatever they need. It is up to you to say yes to things you want to do. It is also up to you to say no to what you don't want to do. You are a business owner and the client does not get to decide what you do for them. If you have a client contract, it should include a scope of work that you discussed before starting to work together. If the task they request is not on that list, you can say no. Saying no is your right, and you need to exercise it so that you stay happy in your business. Your clients will be happy when you are clear, and you can always help them find someone else to do the tasks you don't want to do.

Not Setting Boundaries

Boundaries are a very big part of being a business owner and yet they are grossly overlooked, especially by Virtual Assistants. We are helpers by our nature as support professionals, and so saying no and setting boundaries can be difficult for us. But setting things like business hours or work time helps everyone know when you are working and when you are not - so that you can balance everything in your life. Just because you are at home doesn't mean you are available to everyone all the time. Set boundaries and be sure you follow them yourself. Again, clarity is the key, and it keeps everyone happy.

Are you currently doing any of these things?

Avoid these mistakes or fix them if they are part of your business right now.

I challenge you to identify what you are doing that could use a change.

Get help with something if you are having making the change yourself.

It's your business - and your health, and your life. Setting yourself up for long term success helps everyone around you. But especially you. You are worth it!

For more tips on how to take action and get moving, watch this free video: Take Action and Stop Making Excuses on my YouTube channel. There are more than 40 free training videos for VAs there!

How to Get More Virtual Assistant Clients through Networking

Improve Your In-Person Networking To Make Better Connections

Attending networking events is fun, and can be very rewarding, but are you making the most of your efforts each time you take time to go to one?

Think about your last five networking events. How many clients have you signed up? How many great connections did you make?

Virtual assistants sometimes avoid in person networking because so many of us are introverts. I always recommend learning to do it well, even if you find it uncomfortable.

Networking in person is one of the best ways to quickly build your VA business.

But when you attend a live event, whether it’s a casual meet up or a bigger event, remember that you are doing it for a reason – to get clients.

Now that doesn’t mean that you will go to an event and come home with 10 clients (wouldn’t that be great?). But you need to meet people who can potentially be your VA clients, and have conversations with them so that they know how you can help them with their business.

How do you do that? You need to have a strategy for every event you decide to attend. It might differ slightly from event to event, but you need to understand why you are attending, and know what you need to come away with.

Here are 5 tips to help Virtual Assistants strategically prepare for better results at live networking events:

1- Set a goal

The first thing you need to do is set a goal. That might be talking to a certain number of people, or finding a certain number of existing contacts and deepening your relationship with someone you already know, or collecting a certain number of business cards for follow up, or reaching out to someone for a partnership or referral. Your goal is personal and it’s up to you. But make sure that it’s very specific. By knowing exactly what you intend to get out of the event, you can better manage your time and activity while you are there.

2- Identify who is attending

You need to be aware of who else is going to the event. If there are no potential VA clients there for you, think twice about even going. Not all local events are good for you. Sometimes you can find out specifically who is attending if there is a Facebook event for it. Have a look at some of the people who are attending. You might even identify a few that you want to make a point of connecting with. Or reach out to them ahead of time and let them know you are looking forward to seeing them at the event.

3- Prepare conversation starters

The talking part is usually the most daunting part for VAs when networking. But it really doesn’t need to be. If this part stresses you out, consider preparing a few questions to ask people – ice breakers or conversation starters. Another idea might be to scan a few industry related blogs before you attend, so you can talk about those. There are so many great ways to begin or continue conversations, but sometimes it take preparing ahead a little bit, and it can be very effective to do so.

4- Know the answers

While you are having a conversation with someone, you will want to seed your expertise. We call it seeding because it is easy to do and is less ‘salesy’ than most VAs like to be. So when someone asks you how working with a VA works (for example) maybe you then ask them to give you an example of something they would outsource, and you can take them through how that might work. It’s relevant to their business and showcases your expertise at the same time.

5- Analyze each event

After the event is over, take a bit of time to analyze every conversation you had. What did you say that worked? What did you say that did not work? Did you get roped into a conversation you could not get out of? What could you do differently next time? Analyzing what happened and what you can change for next time is an important part of mastering your networking.

Networking is a necessary part of building your business. And with a bit of strategy and some preparation, you can make it work better for you, every time.

Take a moment now to look at your calendar. When is your next networking event?

Use the steps above to build a strategy for it. Figure out who is going, what you want to accomplish, and do your pre-work so you are prepared to have memorable conversations with the other attendees.

You’ll be more confident, you’ll make a better impression, and you might even find your next client!

For more great info about networking for your VA business, check out my free networking videos for Virtual Assistants on my Youtube channel.

Success Tips for Virtual Assistants

successful virtual assistantThere is no doubt that being a virtual assistant has many perks – you get to work from home, you do a variety of interesting and challenging work, you have flexibility to set your own hours and to take as much or as little work as you can handle, and you make a nice sum of money in the process.

However, with all those perks means there is also great competition. Luckily, there are some things you can do to stand out from the competition. Here are our top virtual assistant success tips:

#1 – Handle constructive feedback and learn from it.

It’s tough to have anyone scrutinize your work, but in this field you’re just going to have to get used it. Your clients will undoubtedly come back to you at times and want changes. In some cases they may not be happy with the work you have produced.

It’s important that during these times you remain professional – accept the feedback and learn from it. Try not to make the same mistakes twice and see this feedback as a crucial part of growing as a professional in the industry.

#2 – Be reliable.

A reliable VA is like gold dust on the internet. It’s very easy to not meet deadlines or delay answering emails when you work from home, but it’s also extremely damaging to your reputation. Business owners have strict schedules and if they rely on you to meet a deadline, you may put them in a difficult situation if you don’t.

And because you’re both working virtually there is the issue of trust – your client may feel like they can’t fully trust you if you disappear for a few days or constantly don't meet your deadlines.

Avoid this trap by answering all emails in a timely manner. Meet all deadlines – it’s best to give a later date of completion than not meet the earlier deadline. And finally, do what you say you’re going to do.

# 3 – Have a good attitude.

People like positive people. If you’re the type of virtual assistant that communicates with clients in a cheery positive manner and has a “can do” attitude, you’ll go far. Entrepreneurs tend to be self-starters and have the ability to overcome many hurdles. These will be your potential clients, which means they would most likely prefer to work with similar like-minded people.

If you’re given a task that seems mountainous at first, take a few steps back and think it through. It may be that you can do it and it’s not too difficult after all. If you really feel it’s too difficult, then communicate professionally with the client. Be honest without making excuses – remember you are a professional. Perhaps you know another VA who can help them instead. In other words, think like a problem solver and be proactive wherever possible.

Becoming a sought-after virtual assistant isn’t difficult when you regularly show all the traits mentioned in the above article. Being able to handle feedback, being reliable and having a good attitude will pay you back in dividends in this field. It means that you may have more regular work and possibly be able to charge higher rates for your time. Word-of-mouth will also spread quickly about your skills and services – what a fantastic position to be in.