Even in our nervousness, we’re still trusting ourselves. #vatip [tweetthis] Even in our nervousness, we’re still trusting ourselves. #vatip [/tweetthis]
We not only work hard and play hard, but we rest hard as well. #vatip [tweetthis] We not only work hard and play hard, but we rest hard as well. #vatip [/tweetthis]
Go after everything you’re interested and eventually narrow it down. #vatip [tweetthis] Go after everything you’re interested and eventually narrow it down. #vatip [/tweetthis]
Hi and welcome to another episode of The Business of Being a Virtual Assistant. Today, I’m going to share with you five things that I’ve learned over the course of my virtual assistant career, my business. Whatever you want to call it because you might be part-time. You might just be getting started. Maybe you’re still considering yourself a freelancer or you’re a full-blown business owner.
So wherever you fall, I’m going to give you five big lessons that I’ve learned, and I started way back in 2008 when video was not a big deal, social media was not a big deal. We were still doing teleseminars, so the phone was in. It was all about telesummits. So that was the focus way back when I got started.
1) Do Not Try and Predict the Future
You see, back then when social media wasn’t in, we didn’t think about the possibility of Instagram coming or Snapchat coming or Pinterest coming or even Facebook to evolve as much as it has. There was just no way to predict that that was coming. We may have thought that video was on the rise because there was YouTube and so we knew video would be a possibility. But who would have imagined that we would eventually be able to just use our phones as our camera.
The first camera I got was, and I’m talking about a video camera, was a flip cam. Does anybody remember the flip cam? I mean, I may have it still somewhere in a box. But the flip cam, I probably could go find the old video I did with the flip cam. That was what I got first because I used to have a BlackBerry and then I had a flip cam to record my video and that was just for my Facebook page. Oh, my gosh, if I can find that I will link it up in the archive for you to see the original video that was on my Facebook page way back when.
But this is just lesson, a big one, number one, and these aren’t in order of priority or what have you, but just how they came to my mind or how I’m remember them now is that we cannot predict the future. There’s no way for us to know ten years from now what services we’ll be providing or even five years. Barely even three years from now because something may come along between now and then that you get really excited about, really interested in, and want to hone in your skills and provide a service in that particular thing.
For example, right now, I’m really diving into the ClickFunnels system. I’ve been doing funnels for years now, but specifically the software ClickFunnels and getting into the ins and outs, and nuts and bolts, looking under the hood with the code, all that good stuff. That’s something that I couldn’t have predicted two years ago.
So that’s just an example and you may be thinking of something right now. I mean, maybe you participated in a telesummit. When’s the last time you registered to participate in a telesummit? If you’re brand new to being, you know, getting into online business and what people are doing, you may be wondering, well, Tiffany, what the heck is a telesummit?
That is where speakers would prerecord their training session on their phone. They would be interviewed by the host of the summit and they would upload those audios and you would get access to that link and participate in the telesummit. I remember setting up numerous telesummits for clients, but that’s just not a thing now. Now, we have video. So it’s still a summit, but the focus is video. We want to see people now.
2) Trust Yourself
There’s so many things that we have to decide for ourselves and nobody has trained us on it. The reason why is because there isn’t really a cookie cutter system to train you on how to do your business. I can’t tell you how to pick and choose your clients. It’s going to be different for everybody, and some things are just going to require experience. Just require we kind of bump our heads a little bit and figure it out along the way. For me, those are the lessons that stick the most, the things that I learned along the way.
You may have worked with only really good clients. They’re awesome, they’re amazing, and then one day you run into a client that is totally different from all the rest. Then you’ve got to figure out why is this client so different from all the other clients that I’ve been working with? Where did they come from? How did I get them? Most likely, you don’t want any more of them. So you want to think about what was that process to bring that client to me, and stop it as quickly as possible.
You get to choose who you work with. Just like your rates. You get to decide what your rate is. There is no right or wrong. There are so many variables. What it boils down to is how do you feel about the rate you charge? How did you feel at the end of that project if it was a one-off project?
I still haven’t forgotten the $11 check that I got for a project because I was charging hourly not realizing how efficient I was in doing newsletters. You better believe I learned my lesson quickly. I should have taken a picture of that check. But back then, taking pictures with our phones was not a thing, so it didn’t even come to my mind. I didn’t even think about taking a picture of the check. But it’s what got me started in opening up my business account because I had to cash the check, even though it was $11. I could at least get lunch. But I didn’t get any more low checks like that after that experience.
Trust yourself. The content that you want to put out, whether it’s on your blog or in your own newsletter, trust yourself. There isn’t a right or wrong. We only know what we know based on what we’ve tried, based on what we’ve experienced. So get out there. Trust yourself.
3) Things Change
Now, you’re trusting yourself on your rate, picking your clients, your services, your content, all that good stuff. Now, things change. You change, because as you’re growing in your business, there will be decisions that you will make because now you know better. So you’ll change some things in all of those different areas.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve changed my website because I look at it and I’m like, oh, it needs to be changed. What’s missing? What needs to be taken away? It’s got too much. Because as the time changes, what you get used to looking at, things change. Maybe at one point we would put all this stuff on our websites. Then it got more minimal and we pulled back some things. It’s still there, but maybe not as visible.
Or now that you’re more experienced, it’s time for those rates to go up. You go from charging by the hour to providing packages and retainers and flat rates. You get to decide, and even though things have changed, we continue to trust ourselves. Now, those are the three. I’m going to peek at my notes for number four.
4) Nerves Don’t Go Away
Nerves don’t go away. Every single week, I record a new podcast for you. Some days, some weeks I’m more nervous than others. Sometimes it’s related to the content I’m talking about. Sometimes I can’t get the camera angle exactly right or maybe I’ve struggled in deciding about the shirt or this or that. Nerves don’t go away.
It’s been however long. I started out doing podcasts, I think it was 2011, on BlogTalkRadio. I know some of you are listening on iTunes or Stitcher. Where is BlogTalkRadio? It’s still around, but things have changed. I added video on to my podcast because I know sometimes we want to see and then sometimes we want to listen, so you get a little bit of both.
When you’re talking to a brand new client, it doesn’t matter whether this is the first time you’ve talked to a client or you’re in your fifth year of business and this is your first time talking to that particular client. It’s still the first time with that person, right? So your nerves don’t go away. They’ll always be there.
So if you’re waiting until you’re less nervous or waiting until you feel more comfortable, you’ll be waiting, so don’t do that. Remember, we’re trusting ourselves. Even in our nervousness, we’re still trusting ourselves. That probably should be number one. The number one lesson, trust yourself.
5) The More You Try, The Less You’ll Want to Do
What does that mean? The more you try, the less you’ll want to do. If you’re brand new as a virtual assistant, you may have two skills, but you want to try all these different things, and I recommend you do. Try everything: data entry, website research, email management, sending out newsletters, setting up blog posts, scheduling social media, creating social media graphics. The list could go on and on and on and on.
Such a hodgepodge of services, and if you’re utilizing Upwork, it makes it easy to have a hodgepodge. That’s where I started. It was on Elance then. It was called Elance and it was a hodgepodge. I was doing everything. Everything that I could figure out or everything that I already knew, I was doing.
The more you try, the less you’ll want to do. So now you’ve tried everything. Imagine a buffet. You’ve tried everything, a little bit of this, a little bit of that, not full yet. So now you know what you want more of. If you think about it like a buffet in regards to your services, you’ve tried a little bit of this, a little bit of that…what was really good? What got you excited? What did you look forward to the most? That’s what you go back for. That’s what becomes your specialty.
I am loving that buffet analogy. I just came up with that just sitting here talking to you just now. But it gives a clear visual. It makes it very clear about the more you try, the less you’ll want to do. You’ll get really focused on a set few.
Those of you that are at your starting point, enjoy, eat up. Go after everything that you’re interested in because you will eventually narrow it down. Those of you that have already narrowed it down, maybe you’re tired of eating that particular thing and now you want to try something else. Because you’ve already experienced the buffet, you know what else you liked and want to try, but still doing less.
Another way to look at this is that if you’re just getting started working from home for the very first time, you may think that you’re going to be able to do all these different things now because, ooh, I’m working from home. I’ll be able to go on errands and do this and do that. You realize very quickly how much you can’t do because now you’re working from home. You’re focused on your business.
Even though you may have more time as you figured out your rhythm, those of you that are more seasoned in your business, you have a nice rhythm going and so maybe you do have more time. But the thought of even adding all these extra things on during your work period, you just think, okay, that would be crazy, or you realize the importance of reserving your energy and keeping a nice balance. Where, we not only work hard and play hard, but we rest hard as well.
So these are five things that I have learned over the course of my virtual assistant business. I’d love to hear what you have learned and where you are in your business. Are you at the first year, the eighth year, the tenth year like myself? Let me know where you are.
If you watched last week’s episode, you know we’re still working on being more social. So comment below if you’re on YouTube and just say, “Hey.” Let me know where you are in your business and what lesson resonated with you that I shared on today’s podcast, or swing by on my Facebook page. Post your question or comment. I’m there every single day.
Like always, if you’re riding, I don’t want you to be texting me. So when you get to a safe spot, shoot me a message on Twitter or come to the blog post or wherever you are online. I’d love to hear from you. To everybody that reached out this week, I am so glad that you’re listening and I appreciate you. I’m pretty – I did comment with everybody so I’m feeling good about my socialness for this week.
Anyway, have a wonderful and fantastic day.