Step out there and not worry about what people will say. #vatip Gotta Tweet!
You won’t always feel fully confident every single time. #vatip Gotta Tweet!
Take what you already know and start there. You will be shocked. #vatip Gotta Tweet!
Hi! Welcome to episode number 99. You are listening to and watching The Business of Being a Virtual Assistant. Today’s episode is another listener question, and I know for sure she is not the only one struggling with this topic.
Let me give you her question. She posted it on my Facebook page, and I’m going to read it exactly how she wrote it. This is from Dominique. She says:
Tiffany, I love your podcast and how motivational and anointed you are. Can you maybe speak to us Newbies about “Analysis Paralysis” in your VA business? When you’re getting started, gathering the information is fun and exciting. But if you’re a textbook overthinking introvert like me, it can be hard to take the leap and feel ready and competent.
So I asked her, “What is the hesitation? If she could, you know, narrow it down. Specifically, what is the hesitation? She says:
I’ve been an EA for 7 years (I’m 30 years old). I guess I still have a hard time convincing myself that what I have to offer is valuable. I don’t make websites or know SEO. I can manage calendars, book travel, arrange meetings and transcribe. I don’t know why I’m not feeling confident. Funny. I can get up and praise dance in front of a 500 person congregation. But I can’t put my business out there with the same confidence and conviction. Does that make sense? I appreciate your response.
All right, Dominique. I jotted down a few notes here, things that came to mind. First of all, I just want to tell you we have a lot of in common, some things that she said. I am an extreme introvert. I like to discover the information and research. At times, I can also overthink things. What else? Oh, I also used to praise dance at church. So, Dominique, we have a lot in common.
Here’s the deal in regards to your whole analysis paralysis. That tells me you have done enough research. You have everything you need to know already right there in front of you. One of the things that stands out most to me that you have, that I didn’t have when I got started, is seven years’ experience as an executive assistant. You have seven years’ experience. The fact that you have done this for seven years should boost your confidence. That seven years counts. Just because you weren’t working virtually, does not mean that does not count. It counts.
You gave a list of your skills, so you already know what skills you would offer as a virtual assistant, and I counted them. You have four to get you going: managing calendars, booking travel, arranging meetings, and transcribing. Four core skills that you have that you could get started right now, today.
Who says you have to build websites? Who says you have to know SEO? You do not. There is a website called Upwork and I talk about it all the time. Upwork.com. In your analysis and your research, I am sure you’ve already dug around on that website and you’ve seen some people who are looking for the skills that you have.
Now, how do you take the leap and just go for it and stop overthinking?
All right, so here’s the deal with the whole overthinking. I get that, because I have to talk myself down as well as far as being so far into my head and thinking, thinking, that introvert stuff. I mean, that is how God made us, so we embrace it. But at the same time, sometimes it can get in the way. This is your push to push you off the ledge.
You do not have to quit your job today. You do not have to make all the money you want to make in your VA business today. You want to get it started so you can find the one, the one client to kick it off for you. The one. That one client may refer you to other people. That one person may not even be your ideal client to get you started because really you may not even know what the ideal client is until you get started working with them.
You have the skills. You’ve been an executive assistant for seven years. That means you’ve been doing it since 2010 – a long time. You know your stuff, girl. Go ahead and start right now. You’ve got everything you need. You probably have it written down in a journal or a book or on your phone. Somewhere, you have all your notes and everything.
Here’s the other thing. Your VA business will not look like anyone else’s, so enough with the research. You’re further along than most people when they’re first getting started because you’re doing it. You’re just sitting in an office right now. Just because you’re not at home doesn’t mean, again, that you’re not doing it. You’re already doing it. The same thing you do on your job right now, you can do for somebody from home part-time to get you started. Not looking to quit today. You’re just looking to get started today, so this is your push.
Do you know there are people who need help managing their calendars? There may be a coach and they do one-on-on consultations with all of their coaching members, and they need an executive assistant to manage that, to send out the emails to all the people in the program, to set up their Google Calendar, or maybe they use Calendly or Acuity Scheduling. Whatever their system is that they use for scheduling appointments, they need you to facilitate it.
Maybe they just need you to set up the calendar and put their availability in. But I can guarantee you if it’s a coach and they’re doing one-on-one scheduling, things happen and they need someone to help manage that. Someone cancels, someone needs to reschedule, they need you to help facilitate that because they’re focused on the coaching aspect of their business.
You say you book travel, so there may be someone with a speaking business and they need someone to book their travel for them. They need to know what the best hotel is in Cleveland, Ohio because they have a big speaking gig coming up, and they want to know what the best flights are and what’s the preferred hotel. Maybe they’ve never been to the area before, so they’re waiting for you with these wonderful skills that have.
You say you know how to arrange meetings. I’m not sure if that’s virtual, in person. I don’t know how it goes because I’m not familiar with arranging meetings. But guess what? You are. You’ve been doing it for seven years. You already know how to do that. What would that look like to someone who is maybe a real estate agent or an insurance agent? I’m just throwing that out there just to get you to start thinking. I don’t want you to overthink though, but just to, you know, figure out what that would look like.
In a virtual world, maybe that also means setting up conference calls with people. Maybe that’s helping someone who’s a recruiter, setting up interviews. I don’t know exactly what all that looks like. But you’re going to go to Upwork.com, set up your profile, and look for someone who is looking for that.
Transcriptions. I am also – I also mention in some kind of way transcriptions on the podcast. That’s something that’s really big for me. I have a VA that helps with our transcriptions. She does everything that has ever been transcribed ever, ever, ever. Shannon is my girl. She has done it. She knows my voice. She knows when I say “so” too many times, and she knows to take some of that out.
You could be that someone for somebody else. Maybe they’re a podcaster. Maybe they’re a speaker. Maybe they’re that same coach. The coach that needs you to manage their calendar may also be speaking a lot. They’re coaching a lot. They’re training a lot. They need all that stuff transcribed.
Time to stop overthinking it. You’ve got all the skills. You’ve got everything.
Let’s get down to the bottom of this and I’ll tell you what some of my hesitations were and maybe you can relate to this. When it boiled down to it, I was a programmer, so I came from the IT side of things. Where, you come from the administrative side of things. I had all my skills. But what got me stuck at first was what would people say? Then, I had to think about what people? Like I don’t have a lot of people, and at the time, who were my people? My parents where my main people.
Did I really care what my coworkers said? Heck no. I hated my job. I was a contractor at some finance company. Nobody talked to each other. I could be in the office all day eight hours and never say a word to anybody. It was terrible. I didn’t care about those people.
So what people? It was my parents, because I had been trained to, you know, go to college, get a good job, all that good stuff. I did it. I checked that off the list. I don’t know, maybe two or three months into my corporate career, I knew this was not for me. But my mom told me I needed to pay my dues, so 12 years in and I still hated it. I mean, when are the dues up? I didn’t know. But that was the thing. Those were my people. Were they paying my bills? No. Did it matter? No.
In fact, you may have to step out there, not worry about the people so much, but just start it.
One client does not make a full-blown virtual assistant business. It is a way to test it out. This is why I like Upwork so much because it does not hold you to a commitment. It holds you committed to one project.
Now, I don’t know if you’re married or not. But for those of you that are listening that are married, of course, you want your spouse to be on board. Maybe this is something brand new and when you guys got married, you had a job; he had a job. Nobody was doing their own business, and now you want to do your own business, and maybe you’ve never expressed that you wanted your own business. So, you know, that can be a little scary. But let your spouse know, “This is something extra. I want to try it out part-time to see how it goes.” A loving spouse will be on board with you.
I know and realize everybody doesn’t have the full out support. You know, when I started, I was single. I didn’t have any kids. I wasn’t married. Again, my only people was my parents as far as what they would say, and again, they weren’t paying my bills so they couldn’t really say a whole lot.
That may be your hesitation as well. Not just for Dominique, but anyone listening to this episode right now. Does it really matter what the people are saying? They’re not paying your bills, right? So move forward in that. Again, with your spouse, be open with them. Let them know you want to try this out part-time, especially if you are just going to transfer your skills from your corporate job to your VA business, and that’s what I recommend for everybody.
Take what you already know and start there. You will be shocked.
My very first project on Elance, which is now Upwork, was troubleshooting for a PowerPoint presentation. How about that? The wildest project I ever did was reading words of affirmation – recording myself reading words of affirmation that I was given by my client, burning it on a CD, because that’s what we did back then, burned CDs, and send the one CD to him. Ship it to him. $50 project.
People are looking for what you have, so jump, jump, jump jump.
Now, it’s not a confidence issue. You do liturgical dance and, hey, most people don’t want to get up in front of a crowd, much less dance in front of a crowd. Then, when your dance is over, and later on after church is over, those same people that saw you dancing, now you’re seeing them up close. That can be really intimidating. So it’s not a confidence issue. You have all the experience. Seven years, again, I stress it. That is a long time. I was never on one job for seven years, ever, ever. [Laughs]
I’m looking at my notes here. What else? What else? Oh, my goodness. Like I said, I know she’s not the only one with this issue. Maybe your hesitation is something else? Is it that you’re afraid that you don’t know how much to charge for your project? It’s okay if you don’t know how much to charge. If you charge wrong, what’s going to happen? Nothing. You get paid a little bit. You kick yourself. You move on and be like, uh, I can’t charge that again. I’ve got to go up on my price. Guess what? You’ll never be afraid to go up on your rate again because you will have experienced that low rate.
For me, my experience was when somebody mailed me a $13 check. $13 y’all. Why? Because I wasn’t charging right. I was doing her newsletter. I think it was monthly or bi-monthly. I can’t remember exactly, but I know that check. I haven’t forgotten that check. It was $13, and at the time, I didn’t even have a checking account for my business yet. I was just working off of PayPal, and she mailed me a $13 check. Yeah, I won’t ever forget it, and I immediately changed my rate structure. That’s when I went from hourly for certain things to a flat rate, and now most projects are flat rate.
Let’s see, what else could be your hesitation besides your rate? Maybe you feel like your rate is too high. Maybe you’re already out there. You’ve been doing it, but you’re not getting any hits. Your rate is too high. If you aren’t getting any hits or if you’re being told no, no, no over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again, and you’ve been out there long enough that you should have gotten a yes, then it might be your rates, so drop it down a little bit. Maybe you add on something, drop it down a little bit. Just play with it until you hit the sweet spot. Eventually, you’re going to go back up anyway on your rates once you get more experience. But for Dominique, she’s got seven years in, so she does not have to go to the bottom in regards to her rate.
All right, let me see, let me see, let me see. What else for Dominique and anyone else hesitating? The confidence level, I will tell you this: You won’t always feel fully confident every single time. Because the first time you manage somebody’s calendar, you’re going to be nervous because this is a new person, a new calendar, and you want to do a great job. That’s natural to be nervous about that.
But what you can be confident in is your experience. You’ve already done it before. You know how it works. Not only that, because of your experience, you can give some tips to your clients in regards to, you know, what you’ve learned about managing calendars. You can give them a few tips. Guess where those tips can go? On your blog [laughs], on your blog. Same for booking travel. I would be nervous about booking someone’s travel. But if I’ve been doing it for seven years, it’s old hat.
I had a call yesterday with a prospective client and they will be doing either webinars once a month or twice a month with a special group, and they need reminders and emails and interaction with speakers and all this good stuff. Well, I’ve done it long enough that I was just able to, you know, just speak right to him, and he’s like, “Wow, you seem to know what you’re talking about. This must be your deal.” I was like, “Yes, this is definitely my deal.”
But then he asked me if I also knew how to do – if I have done any research on in-person meetings and conferences and setting those up and marketing those, and no. When he said that, I could feel on the inside, not only was it a no, but it’s a no like I don’t even want to attempt to do that. That’s not my area. But, hey, that might be your area too, Dominique, since you arrange meetings. I don’t know.
Then, the transcriptions. People need that. Who wants to have to speak and then go back and revisit what they said? Sometimes I listen to my recording. Sometimes I don’t. It’s hard to hear yourself to speak. But people need it. They need someone to go back and transcribe their words.
I hope this encourages you to jump, girl. People need what you have.
If anybody else, you’re listening to this episode, you can relate to Dominique, let us know. Come on over on my Facebook page, or if you have a question, maybe your situation is different from Dominique. Maybe you have no experience. You have no idea what your skills are and you don’t know where to start. I want to hear from you. Post in the comments or come over and see me. I’m there every single day on Facebook.
Thanks so much for hanging out. I appreciate you watching and listening to the podcast. You have a wonderful week and I’ll 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!