From the start of my virtual assistant business, there’s a rap sheet filled with “things I wish I would have known”. Had I known and accepted the things listed below from the beginning things would have been much easier for me as a virtual assistant. Hopefully, this list will help you get your business in order so you don’t make the same mistakes I did.
1. Learn how to say no. When I was just getting my virtual assistant business started, I didn't feel I could say no to a prospect. There are several reasons to say no to a prospect. It may not feel right to you or you’re at full capacity and by taking on more work you’ll do a shit job. Another reason to say no is the budget just isn’t right. If a prospect wants to pay you less than you’re worth say no! Say no to the wrong prospects so you can make room for the right prospects!
2. You’re not a secretary. You’re a business owner! Start treating your virtual assistant business like one from day 1 because sooner, or later you wish you had.
3. Your target market is not “every small-business owner”. You don’t “do” everything. Pick a list of services by honing in on what you’re really good at. If you really think that every single small business needs you, you’re wrong. You need to stand out, niche down and find your target market. By figuring what your skills are you can figure who your ideal clients are and you’ll have an easier time closing the deal with a prospect.
4. You don’t put in face time. If your client expects you to sit in front of your computer and answer their email immediately as it comes in, then it’s time to get your act in order! Have a well laid-out business plan that states exactly what you do, when you do it, and how you’ll do it. Period.
5. Bartering is bad business. You cannot and should not trade your services for another service. If you’re trying to build your business it’s better to work for less in the beginning and slowly raise your rates than give your services away for something unequal in value.
6. Focus on your strengths and hire your weaknesses. Stop trying to do everything. I get that you don’t have a budget to create your website but let’s face it unless you know WordPress inside and out, or you know how to code websites you’re going to need to hire a web designer. If you don’t it’s going to take you months to get your site even close to where you think you need it. This is time you’re spending away from building your business and brand. Time is money baby.
7. Your time is worth a lot! Put a time limit on your prospective client conference calls. I allot 30 minutes for introductory conference calls. This makes both parties cut the social niceties and get straight to business discussing the important stuff. If I choose to speak longer, that’s totally up to me but I let my prospects know ahead of time that they have me for a set amount of time. If a prospect is serious about working together they’ll move forward with you and pay you for the next call.
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So what are some of the things you would have done differently had you known when you first got started as a virtual assistant? What can you teach our community of readers so they don't make the same mistakes as you? Please leave a comment below and let us learn from one another!