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It’s not just working from home, but building a business. #vatip Gotta Tweet!
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Hi and welcome to The Business of Being a Virtual Assistant. I’m your host, Tiffany Parson, and this is episode number 97. Today, we’re going to talk about whether or not you’re creating a job for yourself or if you are creating a business for yourself as a virtual assistant. That is the discussion for today.
I have to tell you I am fresh off of vacation. I did a little work. I did some relaxing. I had fun. Did some adventurous things I normally wouldn’t do on vacation, and I am ready to go back to see what else I can do that’s totally outside of the box for me.
During this time, I listened to the book E-Myth Revisited. I have it as an audio on my Kindle, and also I have it in book form. So I have here in front of me, the actual book. But while I was on vacation, I listened to it on the drive. I get car sick, really bad car sick, so even to be on my phone looking at Instagram or Facebook during a long ride, I start to get dizzy. So the best thing for me is to listen to audiobooks.
I was led to read or listen to The E-Myth Revisited. I have had this book since probably 2008, maybe 2009, a long time, y’all. I hate to say it. This is like one of the main books that’s recommended for business owners, and I didn’t read it. I looked at it. I, obviously, bought it, bought the audio, bought the book. I wanted it for my library.
I’ll be honest. The cover makes it look boring, okay. Just be honest with you. The cover makes it look boring, so I never picked it up. I glanced at it. I read the summary, and I didn’t even know what the E in E-Myth meant because it’s not obvious from the cover. It’s not obvious from the summary on the back.
My thing is things come to you when you are ready to receive them. So apparently, I was ready to absorb the message that’s in this book, and it is a really good book. I listened to the whole thing and re-listened to some different areas. You know how with your audio book you can rewind and go back. In fact, I couldn’t wait to go home so I could pull the book off my bookshelf and go to certain chapters that I kept, you know, I was finding myself going back to revisit.
If you have not read this book or listened to this book, I strongly encourage you to do so. You need to have this book.
Here’s why. As virtual assistants, I’m just going to take a guess that you were like me, nine times out of ten you created a job for yourself, and that is okay. This book helps you fix that, and we’re going to discuss it in today’s episode.
What does it look like when you have created a job for yourself in the process of starting your virtual assistant business?
It looks like this: you are the one that does everything. If you aren’t doing it, there’s no money being made. If you’re sick, no money being made. If you’re on vacation, no money being made. For me, when I was on vacation last week, I did do some client work. I didn’t work all the way through a whole day or anything like that, but I did do some client work while I was there. It’s two-fold as to why I do that.
When I first started my business and the first time I ever went on vacation, I didn’t know how to handle client responsibilities along with going on vacation. I messed up and made a mistake and had all these deadlines around the same time as my vacation, and I was miserable. My family didn’t understand why I still had to work. But, yet, we’re on vacation and it was awful.
That was the first time and I learned not to have project deadlines around my vacation. So about a week or two beforehand, I don’t accept any new project. Any projects I am working on, I like to wrap those up before vacation, long before so that I can relax my mind while I’m on vacation.
At the same time, I enjoy what I’m doing. I like to work. So if I’m on vacation, I can have a chill day where my feet are up. We’re you know, hanging out, doing different things as a family together. But there’s always that time of day where everybody is chilling, like either taking a nap or if it’s early in the morning, haven’t totally, you know, waken up yet and, you know, deciding what to do for the day.
Those are perfect moments where I am doing something related to work. Why not? Especially if after, you know, you go for your big lunch and you come back and everybody just wants to chill and zone out. For me, that’s a good time to, you know, do some client work or what have you.
I didn’t do a whole lot. Did a few hours here and there and that was it. Now, if I hadn’t worked my client work, I wouldn’t have gotten paid. So, in essence, that is like a job. There are other things that I do that bring in income passively.
I’m sure if you have been doing research and studying online, you know about passive income. Passive income requires work up front and the passive part comes later. If I sold the 21 Day Upwork Challenge Guide, that’s income. If I sold anything for my direct sales business, that’s income that does not require me to physically be there.
That is the biggest thing for us is that our services require us to be there in order for the income to come.
That’s where we all start at that point. I have mentioned before on the podcast, it’s also the deciding factor where you have to decide what you want to do long-term. What is that going to look like?
What I liked about the book is that it did not say it’s wrong that that’s how things are. But the whole idea is that if you are not able to work in it, could somebody else step in and do it for you?
You want to redesign your setup so that if someone had to step in – let’s say you just had a baby and you need someone to step in for you and take care of your clients. Would they know right away what to do? Would you be able to hand them instructions on what to do? Is there a manual for your business? Is there an operations manual? Is there a statement of work for each client where someone could come in and know exactly what to do for everyone?
That, to me, it didn’t lay it out exactly like that. That’s my translation for virtual assistant businesses. For us to have that…what is the word I’m looking for? For us to have that…it’s not coming fast enough. I’ll just say a backup, for lack of a better word, in case of emergency. Contingency plan. That’s what I’m looking for – contingency plan in place, so that it’s there. It’s already there.
I challenge you to look at how things are set up right now and create those manuals, those guides, those instructions so if someone had to come in, or you wanted somebody to come – not always an emergency situation. But you want to change it up. You want to bring on a team to do the things that you’ve been doing.
Maybe you have your select clients that you work with, but you want to build and work with more. So you have a team of people doing exactly what you do for your select clients. But, now, they do exactly what you do for others and creating that small team.
The concept that the book pulls from is using the example of McDonald’s. We are all familiar with McDonald’s whether we are a frequent customer or not, whether we like their food or not. We all know the concept of McDonald’s. If you go to different McDonald’s in your area, you’re going to get the same thing regardless of where you go.
That’s the other piece that was a huge takeaway is having that consistency in service.
If you are a social media virtual assistant, if you have this manual, this flow of how things work, no matter who’s doing it, then your clients will be served the same way, the same exceptional service every single time, whether it’s you or someone on your team. This is why it’s important for us to – if you need to go back and rewind, remap, revisit, whatever it is, to get that in place so that you could, in essence, think about the concept of McDonald’s, franchise yourself.
Could you create yourself over and over again? Could you create, for me, a Virtual Hired Hand over and over again, and it all look the same no matter who was servicing them? That is where I am moving to in making sure those systems are in place, because right now I don’t have an operations manual.
I have pieces of it in Asana, but nobody knows my Asana password but me. Nobody knows how the projects are listed and the tasks and all that stuff but me, and that is a problem because if right now today I want to just take two months off, what would I give someone? I don’t have it in place and I bet you don’t either.
That’s the takeaway, the action plan for this episode is having that in place, because now it takes you out of the job situation and it puts your business in a place where someone could easily step in and do exactly what you do. Maybe you’ve become like the project manager and you just work with the clients and you distribute the work, however you want it to look. Either way, you want the plans in place so that if that were a possibility today, you could do it. You could make it like McDonald’s.
If you, again, do not have this book or if you’re like me and you have it and it’s been collecting dust or the pages have turned yellow, time to crack it open, time to press play and listen to it.
Now, if you’re a brand-new VA, hey, that’s where we start. That’s the starting point, you only, because you’ve got to figure out what is it. What’s going to be my specialty? What’s going to be my thing? Once you identify what your thing is, you could totally rock it, build your system, and now have everything in place. But if you wanted to bring even two VAs or three or five or whatever your number would be for people to take on responsibilities and serve clients like you, it’s all there.
It’s time for us to step up our game. We don’t want to be in a job. It’s not just working from home.
You know, that was my plan when I first left my corporate job is I want to work from home. My objective was not to – I had work in the word “work” from home. I didn’t have I want to have my own business at home. That’s the other thing is switching our mindset to business. It’s also part of the reason why this podcast is called The Business of Being a Virtual Assistant because we have been told to do, do, do the work. But, yet, we don’t always do, do, do the things necessary for our business to build it as a business.
Now, right now, I’ve got a social media virtual assistant, a transcriptionist. They are ready to go. They know if we have more transcription assignments, they know the flow. They know how I like the work. When we get social media clients, they know the flow. They know how I like to work in regards to that.
However, it’s like it’s written, but again, in pieces and we’re the only ones that know. A new person would – they would have to train the new person or I would train the new person. But from what? From our minds, from what’s in different lists in different places in Asana where all of the instructions are and things like that, but nothing formal.
I’m excited and looking forward to creating something formal like that for my business and I encourage you to do the same. Even if you’ve been a VA for a month, six months, go ahead and start it. Build it as you go. It’s not one of those things that you can sit down and finish it in a day if you’re brand new. Build it as you go along.
What is the first step? What happens when someone first inquires about your service? What are the steps? What do people do? What happens with they agree? They say, “Yes, I want to work with you.” What are the next steps? What happens? What do you want them to do?
You may find that you’re doing different things with different clients because you’re trying to figure out yourself, especially if you’re brand new. Once you know what the system is, update your operations manual. Update it so you know exactly how it will work.
If you’ve been, like me, you’ve been a VA – it’s going on – it’s 2017. I started in 2008. It is May. May, May, May, May. May 2008, I always end up doing this on the podcast and my dates. I don’t remember what day it is and the connection to the business until I’m doing the podcast. May 2008 is when I got my very first Elance client, and Elance is now Upwork. But May 2008, I don’t remember the exact date in May, but that’s when I got my very first client on Elance.
Wow! It’s been nine years as of this month. Nine years, and then in September it will be nine years since I started my business full-time. I went from May to September of 2008, and then left the corporate world and here we are 2017. Exciting! Oh, I’m so glad I remembered that while it was still in the month of May instead of June and be like, “Oh, last month…” Anyway, that is awesome.
So, yeah, definitely time to get that in place so that you could be able to hand it off to someone or have it on deck in case of emergency or whatever you decide you want to do.
But let’s stop creating jobs for ourselves. We want it to be a business that does not have to function with us.
If you’re like me, I like to be hands-on. I like to do things, but I don’t have to touch everything or everyone. Somebody else can do it, and if I’ve got my plan in place that they know exactly how we provide services as a company, that they’ll provide that same service, then that makes it all the better. Right?
Okay, so if you have any questions, let me know. Post it in the comments. Find me on Facebook. I am on Facebook every single day so you can, you know, find me there. You post there. I’m going to respond to you. Ask me your question right there on the page and I will get to you and answer your question.
Thank you so much for listening, and if you’re watching, thank you so much for watching. I will see you next time.
Thanks so much for tuning in. If you like what you heard, stay tuned. We’ll be back. Tell me what’s going on with you. Come on over the Facebook page: facebook.com/tiffanyparsonbiz, or if you prefer a little shorter message, come on over to Twitter: @tiffanydparson.
See you next time!
Hey! I’ve been listening on and off for the last 6 months. I’ve been looking for a project management software. I’m looking into Asana. Was wondering if you invite your clients as guests to their particular tasks?
Tiffany Parson says
Hi Deborah! Thanks so much for listening and posting your question. I let my client lead in regards to whether or not they want to use Asana or another project management tool since it adds more work for us both. Listen to Episode #98 for the full explanation.