Today’s topic comes from one of our readers that sent in a question that I really have not been able to shake all week. The over lining theme is overwhelm. We’re going to talk about it today.
Let me read to you the email question that came in this week in regards to overwhelm. It says, “I don’t really know where to begin. I feel like I am all over the place. I’ve never had my own business before.”
How many of you have felt this way or are feeling this way?
If this is you, I want you to just stop and take a deep breath. It sounds like you may be trying to look at the big picture too soon. Let’s pull back some and start at the beginning.
Take some time out and write everything down on paper that’s in your head. You want to get it all out. Just get it all down on paper.
It doesn’t matter whether it’s something people will buy or not buy. If it’s just in your head in relation to your business, get it down on paper. That’s the goal.
This exercise alone will free you from any feelings of being all over the place, feeling overwhelmed, and not knowing where to get started, because now it’s all on the paper.
It’s important to know that at the start of your virtual assistant business, even in the middle of your virtual assistant business, and as you continue on, you will not have all the answers. You won’t even know what questions to ask to know what you need answers for.
Don’t beat yourself up. Don’t even think that you can’t do this because you can. Start at the very beginning, getting it all down on paper.
Now that you’ve got it down on paper, read over what you have, but not in the same sitting. Give it some time. Let it sit; let it take a break. Feel the relief of getting it down on paper and getting it out of your head so you’re not playing it over and over and over again.
If you listen to episode #9, and I probably mentioned this previously in other episodes, but when I first started working as a virtual assistant, I did everything. I didn’t know what specific skills to use or what projects I enjoy more.
I was really more focused on the excitement of getting projects and seeing what I could do. It was like a game seeing what all I could be awarded. They were all projects that I completed to the best of my ability, but I ran into a couple of clients that weren’t a good fit and used that to my advantage in learning how to identify my ideal client.
But again, I was all over the place in regards to the services that I provided. When you’re overwhelmed, just know you’re not the only one. You’re not the only one.
I’ve been there and some days I do feel overwhelmed as well and I pull out my paper and write down all the different things that I need to get done.
Once you’ve let your list breathe and you’ve let your mind rest, then you can come back to it to see what you wrote down and you might surprise yourself with some of the things that you wrote down.
I’m pretty sure your list will contain a mixture of things, meaning some things related to your virtual assistant business and some other things or goals that may not even be related to a virtual assistant business, and that’s great! There are plenty of people that have multiple businesses, but you start at one.
Starting at the beginning includes asking yourself, why do you want a virtual assistant business?
Why do you want your own business at all?
Is it for flexibility, to be able to stay at home with your kids, to be able to manage your own schedule, have some freedom, or be able to take vacations when you want? Does it include the ability to serve other business owners and help them grow?
What is your why? Why do you want your own business? Once you know that and have some clarity on that, then you can proceed to what.
What are you going to offer as a service to clients?
You don’t have to know at the very beginning of the exercise what they’re looking for. What can you offer right now based on the job you’ve been working?
We’ve all learned different skills in our corporate experience. Even if you’ve been working from home doing something else, there are skills that you have that you can use in your virtual assistant business. Dig deep and get those down. What are they? Once you know that it gives you a starting point.
If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that I push job boards like Elance and the reason why is that it gives you an opportunity to experience what it’s like to work virtually.
If you’ve always worked in an office, you don’t know what it’s like to be responsible for a project where you can’t see your client. All you know is there’s a start time and an end time. Can you manage that? How would you manage that?
Taking jobs on job boards like Elance gives you a chance to experience all of that.
I won’t go into complete detail in regards to job boards and how that works. There’s lots of information on the website and I’ll direct you to that as well because I really want you to go through these steps.
At the very top of the website here is a short eBook I wrote that gives you 15 Known Secrets to Getting Started as a Virtual Assistant.
That’s going to help you with the overwhelm because it’s like having me sitting beside you and stepping you through what you’ll need to get started. Aside from the why, you bring that to the table—why you want to be a virtual assistant.
The book doesn’t look at it from the standpoint of you already being a virtual assistant. It’s taking you from the very beginning.
The goal is for you to get your feet wet and to get out there and start.
Give it a shot and find out! That’s the only way you’ll know. It’s one project at a time, one skill at a time, one client at a time, and it grows from there.
If you’re like me, sometimes I do want to know all the answers. I want to make sure I’ve got everything lined up. But, I had to quickly realize when you’re working in an online business, you’re working virtually, even when you’re just getting started as a freelancer (it’s not a full-blown business yet), you have to allow room for the unknown.
There’s going to be a lot of unknowns and that’s fine. Take it one step at a time.
Okay, you’ve taken your first step. You know why you want to be a VA. You know what your first skill is. You’re going to try Elance.
Create your profile. Don’t be intimated by all the questions or the different things to include. It’s all about you. Have fun with it! There’s no right or wrong. It’s not like school where you turn in your paper and you get it back and it’s all marked-up in red. There’s no right or wrong.
Put your best foot forward because you do want to shine when people are looking at your profile.
You’ll be sending proposals specific to those projects and they’ll be looking at your profile just to see who you are, what you’re all about, and what you’re experienced in.
Just be comfortable in knowing there is no grade. There is no grade.
Let’s say you’ve done that and maybe your overwhelm isn’t even at the point of the beginning. You’re there and maybe you’re saying, “Tiffany, I created my profile. I’m all set up, but when I go in and I look at all those projects, it’s too much.”
Pick one category to focus on. Start with the Admin category. The Admin category usually includes a mixture of things like data entry, web research, and word processing. It might even have some blogging stuff and different things. Start with the Admin category and let that be your focus for the next 30 days.
Decide how many projects you’re going to submit every day. If you’re working full-time, you do that in the evening when you come home.
Make it your goal, okay, I’m going to look for five projects. If you don’t find five, it’s okay, so you find three. Your goal is five, which means you’re going to look through all of them in search of your five and if the five aren’t there, it’s okay.
You do your three, and then the next day comes—same thing, and then the next day comes—same thing, until you’ve made it part of your daily routine for your business, because marketing is huge, it’s important.
This is the start, because again, you’re testing the waters to see if this is something you want to do.
There’s been a lot of people that I’ve talked to that have used different materials that I’ve got on the website. They go through it and decide, you know, this really isn’t for me.
Or, they go through it and identify the one, two, three skills, whatever, that they want to provide and they just fall in love with working online and helping clients get their business going and being partners in that. But, you won’t know until you start.
Take overwhelm out of your vocabulary. Go through the exercises we talked about today and go through those steps. This is your life, you get one chance, and I am passionate about seeing you succeed.
The thing that you enjoy the most, if it’s learning new tools so that you can serve others, do that! Whatever it is. This is the first step to getting you to your why—freedom, flexibility, mobility, continued learning opportunities, growth.
Lots of things happen as a result of having your own business.
I wouldn’t have it any other way than being able to work from home. It’s just an amazing feeling knowing you can plan a trip and if you need to take something with you because you’re in the middle of closing out a project, you can. Or, taking some extra hours beforehand, you know, staying up a little late so it’s done ahead of time and you’re free and clear.
Nothing can replace being able to go on vacation without asking for permission. Or, not feeling well and being able to take care of yourself without asking for permission.
Identify why you’re even reading this today. You know I’m all about being a virtual assistant and having your own business and doing things from home. Find out your why.
Clear the clutter in your mind. Take the overwhelm and put it on paper so you can get moving forward with what you want to do.