How To Not Suck As A Virtual Assistant - Dos & Don'ts

how to not suck as a virtual assistant

I wanted to name this post "why most virtual assistants suck" but I didn't, because well...THAT would be insulting but it would have been appropriate considering the conversation I had a few weeks ago.

That conversation was with a friend of mine who happens to be a former client AND a successful online entrepreneur/podcaster.  She told me this:

"Reese, most virtual assistants don't have the kind of work ethic you do. They suck. They over-promise and under-deliver and what's worse is they charge a lot of money for their shitty services."


Two things went through my head after I heard this.

  1. I felt a sense of pride knowing that the work I did as a virtual assistant was valued and that I am one of "those" VAs, the ones that clients will spend top dollar on.
  2. I took it personally because I'm fiercely protective of the VAs I work with and coach.  I've trained nearly a hundred women (and a few awesome dudes) how to be THAT kind of VA. The ones that rock it. Better than the rest.  The ones that go on to be the VA to some of the most successful entrepreneurs and it makes me cringe when I see VAs screwing it up.  I'm here to put a stop to that. To call every VA out and show them what it means to be remarkable.

Because what's the point of doing something half-ass.


I'm making it my business to ensure that any VA (or aspiring VA) that reads this post or works with me one-on-one will never be THAT virtual assistant that over-promises and under-delivers.

I am here to make sure you never. ever. suck and it all starts with this.

  • Treat your client's business like it's your own.
  • Never accept anything less than excellence
  • Show up. That means if you say you're going to do something, do it. No matter what and if you can't, say so.
  • Be proactive. Think 2 steps ahead. Always.
  • Own up to your mistakes.  We all screw up. We're human. Own it and most importantly LEARN from your mistakes. That's how you grow.
  • Push yourself to learn something new every single day. Don't accept mediocrity and don't get too comfortable.

Here's what I mean in case it wasn't clear enough.

When you're working on your client's stuff, that's their business baby folks. That's one of the most important things in their life. I can't tell you how many VAs I've met that don't check their work before they send it back to their clients.  This is one of the most basic things. You've got to go over your work with a fine-toothed comb before you submit ANYTHING to your clients.

This means reading anything you write on your client's behalf or testing to make sure links work before clicking the publish button.  This means when you communicate with their clients you are professional, thoughtful and you go the extra mile. You get the point.  Pay attention to the details. That's how you treat your client's business - like your own.

Never accept anything less than the best

Let me preface this with no one is perfect.  That also means that no matter how many times we check our work we are bound to miss things sometimes. It happens to all of us. We're human. But this isn't about missing a spelling error after you've reviewed the document 10 times because your eyes just can't see straight anymore.

No, this is about the way in which you approach the work that you do. You approach it with seriousness, with full attention and you take notes. You ask the right questions, you pay attention to what's NOT being said. You get to the bottom of things because you're thorough and you don't accept anything less than excellence.

Excellence doesn't equal perfection. Excellence is about setting a high standard for yourself and focusing on getting as good as you can possibly be.

Show Up

We are what we repeatably do. Therefore, excellence is not an act, but a habit. - Aristotle (enough said).

Be Proactive

This is a hard one to teach because not everyone has the ability to anticipate the needs of others. This is what rock stars are made of. Virtual assistants that can anticipate the needs of their clients will have full client rosters.  It's no wonder why being proactive is considered to be one of the most important habits of the worlds most effective people.

Own your mistakes

I learned how to speak Hebrew by opening up my mouth and making mistakes every single day. It was because of the mistakes that I speak Hebrew at the level I do now.  Had I have been upset by people correcting me or if I would have been too shy to open my mouth, I would  be speaking at a pre-K Hebrew level today. But I'm not.

You've got to be ready to make mistakes but the key here is to own them, learn from them, and move the hell on. Your clients will appreciate you for this. Oh and one thing, if you make a big mistake, something that will cost your client either in time or money, compensate them for this by not charging them.

Show them that you value them and your commitment to excellence.  If you bought something from a clothing store only to find out once you got home that there is a rip you didn't see, you'd return it and expect either an exchange or a refund, right? The same applies to the work you do for your clients. You give them what they asked for and if you can't, refund them.

This also applies to getting the work done according to a deadline. Can't meet the deadline?Tell them and be prepared for how that's going to effect their business.   Remember you're a pro, and pros show up, do the work when they say they will and if they can't, they say so ahead of time, not when everything is on the line, at the last minute.

Learn something new every day

I had a friend that had something like 5 or 6 college degrees. He was a forever student. I'm not suggesting you get a degree in various fields but I am suggesting that you learn new software, learn about sales, learn about marketing, learn about finances, learn about podcasting, learn about how to run teleseminars.  Learn something new and often.

This is the spice of life and this will help you be more attractive to prospects because you have a solid knowledge base.  There are plenty of ways to pick up a new skill. Join a course, read industry articles or check out a book from the library.  The most successful business owners go to seminars, conferences, join courses, read books about their industry, network with other business owners and stay up-to-date.  Should't you?

What do you think about all of this? Let me know in the comments. It's going to be an interesting discussion. I can just feel it.

Rock on,