If time freedom is big for you, don’t provide a service that is time dependent. #vatip Gotta Tweet!
Rethink why you started your virtual assistant business. #vatip Gotta Tweet!
Being a virtual assistant is way more than administrative services. #vatip Gotta Tweet!
Hi and welcome to episode number 95 of The Business of Being a Virtual Assistant. I’m your host, Tiffany Parson, and we are going to go ahead and get started with this episode. You will not believe the twists and turns and all the craziness behind the scenes that has happened between sound, microphone, whatnot, whatnot. Anyway, I am here and we are going to get started.
Today’s episode is about matching the results that you want in your virtual assistant business with the services that you provide. Everything starts with why you started your VA business in the first place.
If you happened to start your virtual assistant business because it was the up and coming industry, we’re going to talk about. If you started your business to have time freedom, flexibility, control, independence, no office politics, be able to select clients you want to work on, so on and so on, we’re going to talk about that as well.
I’ve got my notes here in front of me. My laptop is right here. I should show you for those on the video – notes, laptop, water, everything right here in front of me. If this is your first time listening to the podcast, we are also on YouTube and you can check me out there – TiffanyParson.com/OnYouTube. I think that’s the link.
Okay, my eye is itching. Oh, my goodness. Here’s the crazy thing about doing the podcast on video and audio, all the little things that I would take out, I’m just going to have to leave in. Scratch my eye, whatever. Whatever happens, and I’ll describe it for those of you that are listening.
Okay, so getting to your why’s and matching up your services. Now, this is why it’s important. Think about this. If you started your business to have time freedom, but now you’re feeling trapped because you feel like you have no time at all, that is a problem. That is part of matching the results that you want out of your VA business with your services. They don’t match right now if that’s the case.
If you’re feeling confined, then your results, what you want out of your business and your services are not matching up.
Now, I did a little digging on Google doing some research. I looked on Google, I looked on Medium, I looked on Facebook looking up virtual assistants to see what is being said, what is being talked about. A lot of what is being talked about in our industry is one-sided and it’s from the client’s perspective.
I’m just going to put this plug out there. I need your help. We need more VA business owners speaking out, speaking up, writing, talking, recording about their business to let people know what it’s like to work with us.
That it’s not all about, you know, an imaginary virtual reality virtual assistant. That we are real people, and that we are not all overseas. That there are a lot of us here in the United States, in Canada, and other places. That we are business owners and not, you know, just the help. Not just to do tasks that people don’t want to do. We’re way more than that. But a large part of that is us having a voice in our own industry and speaking out and speaking up and letting people know what it’s like to work with us.
It’s way more than administrative services. I always like to say there are categories for virtual assistants as far as our specialties go, so administrative, creative and technical. Those are three main categories. Any service you provide will fit in those areas, and some actually can fit in all of the areas. Like social media could go under all three areas, but different tasks.
I’m going to go down this great list that I found of services that virtual assistants can provide. You may, if you’re just getting started, you’re just doing your own research, you may be just thinking one-sided and just thinking it’s all administrative.
I am not an administrative virtual assistant. I don’t provide services like that to clients. I am a technical virtual assistant and I’ve never been an administrative assistant in a corporate setting. I came from an IT background, computers and all that good stuff. We all come from different backgrounds. That’s another thing. If we are all speaking out on our websites, on social media, sharing who we are, what we’re all about, then clients will see that there’s a wide variety of type VAs.
Something lately that you may have seen on Facebook is all about Facebook ads. Facebook, I’ve seen so many ads about Facebook ads and providing it as a service. I like to read in the comments to see what people are saying. In one particular ad, there was a little discussion back and forth between someone that felt like it was an ad promoting Facebook ad services for virtual assistants. In other words, teaching virtual assistants how to provide Facebook ads as a service, to add that on in addition to all the other stuff that you provide. Great.
Someone in the comments felt like that wasn’t something that a virtual assistant should be doing. That it shouldn’t go in, you know, be a part of their services. The person that had put the ad out there, of course, thanked them for their comment, but let them know that, yes, she is indeed experienced and this is something that she can help clients on and provide. She started out as a VA providing this, and now she’s been able to grow and expand.
I didn’t like the fact that someone felt like a virtual assistant shouldn’t be handling that type task of doing Facebook ads. You know, it ruffled my feather’s a bit. I’m like really? Seriously? I mean, we come from all different backgrounds. Someone could have a marketing background and that be their thing.
You know, Facebook ads hasn’t been around a long time, so to think that a virtual assistant could not provide that as a service, which is ridiculous. Anyway, that is not what the podcast is about. But in my searching, that’s a part of what I found.
One of the number one reasons that people outsource to us is time. They are able to buy time with us.
We allow them to do multiple things at different times – multiple things at the same time. While they are doing their income generating things, we’re behind the scenes making it all click-click and happen.
Let me give you a list of services outside of administrative, and administrative might be on this list. I’m just going to read it and then move forward.
Virtual assistant services:
- website design and maintenance
- calendar scheduling
- blog design and maintenance
- email management and phone message management
- word processing and spreadsheets
- travel arrangements
- PowerPoint presentations
- social media set up and maintenance
- shopping cart administration
- teleclass coordination
- affiliate management
- joint venture coordination
- online business management
On and on and on. Way more than things that fall in the administrative category. A lot of things. Now, I’m going to use a couple of these things as an example to demonstrate why what you want out of your business must match the services that you provide.
Time freedom is a big one. Our clients want time freedom. We want time freedom. Is that why you started your business because you thought, hey, I’ll be free to work from where I want to work, to work when I want, and how I want. Maybe time freedom is a big one for you. Flexibility could go under that as well.
The freedom to be able to spend more time with your family. Maybe in your corporate job, you did a whole lot of overtime work so you were away from home a lot. You want to be freed up and be able to contribute to the household income, while at the same time being able to be there for your family. Maybe that’s why you started your virtual assistant business. If that’s the case, the services have got to match.
I’m going to tell you right now if time freedom, flexibility to work when, wherever and all that good stuff is why you started your virtual assistant business, you don’t want to provide a service that is time dependent.
For example, I’m using my list, email management and phone message management. Those are going to be time dependent. Your client, their office may be open at whatever time they’re open in whatever their time zone is. Most of the time, it’s during the day.
Now, you have to think about what is my time zone? What is my client’s time zone? When do they expect me to do the email management and phone message management? I’ll use Eastern Time Zone. I’m in the Eastern Time Zone. I’ll use that an example.
Let’s say your client’s business is open from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, and that is when they would like for you to check their email and respond to the email. However, you are three hours behind them. That means 7:00 a.m. for you to 1:00 p.m. 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. is when you would need to be doing the email management and phone message management, and maybe not all that time.
Maybe they just want you to do it in the morning, like first thing in the morning. So maybe it’s just from their time from 10:00 to 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time, which is from 7:00 to 11:00 your time if you’re three hours behind them. Does 7:00 a.m. work with your time freedom picture? Does that work?
If you wanted freedom to be able to spend time with your family, do you have children? Do you want to be able to take them to school? If that is the case, that 7:00 a.m. slot may not work for you. If that’s not the case, then maybe that’s perfect because you’ll be done by 1:00, and maybe instead of taking them to school, you want to be able to pick them up from school, and that works great.
Or maybe you’re like me and you don’t have any children at all, so there really isn’t a time constraint in that way. But you want the freedom to be able to sleep in, to start working when you want. If that’s the case, then 7:00 a.m. probably is not a good time if you want to sleep in and work later in the day.
This is an example of what you want out of your virtual assistant business not matching with services.
On the other hand, there’s a bunch of other stuff that would work fine if you have a constraint, like word processing, spreadsheets, travel arrangements, PowerPoint presentations, transcriptions. Again, just looking at our list: social media set up and maintenance, shopping card administration, bookkeeping, and so on and so forth.
Do you understand what I mean by some things that are time restrictive and some things are not? Again, if the end result of your virtual assistant business is to give you time freedom and to be able to spend more time with your family or just be able to kind of float around how you want, then you don’t want time restrictive services. Let’s say – I’ve got a list in front of me here. Another list on the table. I’m just like going back and forth.
Okay, let’s see, independence. You started your business because you want to have some independence. It kind of goes along with freedom, but you want to be independent to be able to choose who you want to work with, how you work, the services you provide, and how much you get paid.
If that’s the case, you want to be independent, I don’t blame you. I want to be independent too, so I would not go and apply to work with a virtual assistant firm. I want to be independent. I don’t just want to work from home. I want to be independent, like I want to pick who I want to work with. I want to be able to select them. I want to be able to select what type of projects I do.
If you work with a VA firm, that might not be an option. You may just have to get what they provide. I would imagine, I’ve never worked with a VA firm, but I would imagine it’s pretty much you creating a work at home job versus a work from home business.
Rethink why you started your virtual assistant business. Why did you start it?
Look at the services you provide. Maybe you started out providing everything because you just wanted to get your feet wet. You wanted to get off the ground, and that’s what I recommend. Jump in. Figure out what you like. You don’t know what you like until you’ve tried something, so you have to jump in.
If you’re watching this or listening to this and you’re doing your research to figure out how to get started as a virtual assistant. What do you need to do? How does it all work? Jump in. Go to Upwork.com and jump in.
In fact, I’ve got a 21 day guide to help you get all set up on Upwork and start getting some responses back to your proposals and knowing what to do, all that good stuff. You can find that on my website: TiffanyParson.com and just click on Courses. You’ll see it there.
But you’ve got to jump in. The only way you’ll find out what works for you and what you like is to jump in.
Maybe right now your why is simply you want to have some secondary income coming into the house. If that’s the case, don’t pick any time restrictive projects. Pick projects that are just based on certain deadlines and then you can work around your full-time work schedule.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re working a part-time job, a full-time job, or no job at all right now, you can just jump in and get your feet wet and learn what it’s all about. The only way to learn is just to get in there. Become a practitioner. Get in there and start putting your information out there so people know you’re available and provide the service.
Where do you do that? People are concerned, oh, I’m going to – I may learn skills, but then I don’t know how to market myself. Where do I find clients? Upwork.com. You will not only learn how to market yourself, but you’ll learn how it’s received. You’ll learn how clients communicate. You’ll learn what they’re looking for. I mean, it’s just so much stuff. The list goes on and on.
Have you started your business for personal fulfillment? Because you love helping people and you like the fact that, hey, they don’t know technology; I know technology. Let me help you out, and I get paid to do it too? Even better. With that, you know, the sky is the limit because it is more of a personal thing, the fact that you want help. There’s personal fulfillment there. There are no restraints on you as far as that, or maybe it’s a combination of several different things.
What I do hope is that you didn’t just jump into being a virtual assistant and having a business because it was the new up and coming thing. I’ve seen a lot of people start virtual assistant businesses because of that. It was the hot thing. It looked like people were making money. Oh, my goodness, you can make six figures as a virtual assistant. I’m going to do it. You will fizzle out so fast because there is a lot of work involved.
If you want to be a six figure VA, there’s a lot of time involved. There’s less flexibility if that’s the case. You have to decide, you know, is it all me or will I get a team? How will I build this up? You know, there’s a lot more involved, so it can’t just be because it was an up and coming industry.
It’s still new. Even, you know, there are people that started in the late 90s, early 2000s. I started in 2008. I’m still answering the question about what is a virtual assistant and what does a virtual assistant do, because there’s a vast amount of services and skills that we all have and provide. Really, it should be more so what does the client need and does that fit what you offer?
I think in episode 96, I’ll give you three tips on how to even identify if a client is ready for you because that actually leads into that. One of those things about, you know, if a client is asking you, “What can you do for me?” It’s so much better if they tell you what they’re looking for. That’ll be a whole other episode. I won’t get into that right here. There will be our part two of this one, I guess.
But anyway, it’s very important for what you want the end result to be for business, starting with your why, to match with your services. Otherwise, you’re going to be frustrated, overwhelmed, tired, and ready to let it all go simply because there just needed to be a little tweak in what you’re offering to your clients.
If you have any questions, come on over to my Facebook page. If you’re listening, go to Facebook.com/TiffanyParsonBiz. If I am looking at you right now, you’re watching from YouTube, or maybe you’re on Facebook watching, I don’t know. Post your comments below. I would love to help you the best I can and answer any questions that you have.
Thanks again for listening and watching today’s episode. You have a wonderful and fabulous week.
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!