There’s no right or wrong. There’s just do and do better. #vatip Gotta Tweet!
Forget about trying to do everything right. #vatip Gotta Tweet!
We learn every single time we put forth the effort. #vatip Gotta Tweet!
This is episode number 106, I think. If not, you’ll see the correct number either above or below this video. But the topic is correct. We’re going to talk about shortcuts in your virtual assistant business on today’s episode.
If this is your first time watching or listening, I want to thank you so much for tuning in. I’ve been a virtual assistant for over nine years. My focus is on the technical side of my client’s business, and I recently added strategic planning as a service as well. I got my start on Elance back in 2008. Elance is now Upwork and it’s still the site that I recommend new VAs go to, to get started, to get your feet wet as a virtual assistant.
All right, so what is the topic? I’ve got my notes here and I want to make sure that I don’t leave off anything, so I’m going to refer to my notes today. No short cuts in business.
If you thought you could start a virtual assistant business in between jobs, it’s probably not the business to start.
Let’s say if you recently go laid off, but you’re job hunting and you thought, you know, you stumbled across being a virtual assistant maybe in a Google search, maybe you saw the podcast, maybe you heard of it somewhere, I don’t know, and thought you know what, I’m going to go ahead and do that until I find my job.
Well, it’s not that kind of business. There are no shortcuts, so there’s no guarantee like things are going to kick off in the next 30 days. There’s no guarantee it’s going to kick off in the next 60 days or even 90 days. It depends on a number of things coming together all at one time, and a lot of it depends on what you bring to the table.
Now, we know you need an Internet connection and your laptop and you need the skill that clients are looking for. The other piece is this: figuring out how you’re going to let people know that you’re offering this service. That’s where the whole shortcut thing doesn’t work because you don’t know when that’s going to happen.
You have to be consistent in marketing yourself, whether that is on Upwork or using social media or on a blog or wherever the case may be. But you have to be consistent with it every single week or every single day depending on what your schedule looks like. Everybody’s is going to be different.
But if you’re in between jobs, meaning you recently – whatever. Maybe you quit; you got laid off; you got fired. Whatever the reason is, it doesn’t matter. But you’re also job hunting. Your focus is probably on finding a job versus starting a business. You have to figure out, you know, what makes the most sense for me.
Let’s say you are doing both. You’re looking for a job. You start this VA business, and then you find a client that loves you. You love them, really enjoy working with them, and things take off. They require you – maybe you, you know, need to be available during the daytime as opposed to after work hours.
But you’re also job hunting, so now you find the ideal job. What do you do?
I can guess what most people would do. They would try to work it out. Like I’m going to do ahead and take this job, but then I’ll try to work out the client work as well and do both because I need the job. It’s got benefits. It’s got a salary. But my client is cool and that’s extra money, so let’s do both.
Well, you put your relationship in jeopardy with your client if you do that because they’re used to you being in communication with them during a certain time of the day or week or however, you know, you’ve been responding to their emails or Skype or however it is that you guys work together. They get used to a certain flow, especially if it has happened over the course of, you know, a month or so.
You want to be honest in this. If you’re looking for a job and also starting your VA business, then just make sure that the projects you take on are things that could be done at any time, meaning they’re deadline based and you don’t have to be available during the times you know that once you get your job, you will be focused on your job.
I hope that makes sense. I hope all of that wasn’t, you know, just a bunch of fumbling and mumbling. But I want to make sure that if you’re serious, that you don’t jeopardize relationships with your clients because it only takes that one client to get your business moving, because that one client could refer you to all the people that they know. Also, that one client could be the referral that another client wants or you share it with that new client how you work with the current client. You know, they become your base for any future clients.
You’re going to get out of it whatever you put in. If you’re expecting a quick fix, a quick start and all this stuff, it’s not going to happen. You’ve got to put in the work and that requires time.
Now, when I first started back in 2008 on Elance, I got my first project in two weeks. It seemed like I would get a new project every two weeks. That seems to be the flow. I was also working full-time as well, so I would submit for projects Thursday to Saturday, and the goal was to try to, you know, just get all the projects so I could do things on the weekend and then work my job during the week.
But you can guess that it did not happen perfectly as it sounds because you cannot predict when clients will award you the project, so things end up overlapping. I found myself trying to get things done late at night, overnight. I mean, it just got crazy to where my VA clients and my job were conflicting, so I said peace to the job and hello to full-time virtual assistant business.
You get out of it whatever you put into it, so if you’ve got the time and you’re ready to commit, do not expect it to be a short takeoff. It may be longer than what you expect.
It’s also going to take you some time to find your flow. What I mean by that is that you want to identify what your specialty is, and it may take you a little bit to figure that out. It may take you a course over however many projects, however many clients that you work with to really identify the type client you enjoy working with, the exact services that you enjoy providing and, you know, would specialize in, and narrowing that down. It may take six months. It may take a year. It may take 30 days. I don’t know. But the point is we’re talking about shortcuts, and for finding your flow, definitely not a shortcut.
Now, the beauty of having a virtual assistant business, we don’t have to go through the long haul of creating a full out business plan or going to get a bank loan. We just need our main things that I’ve already talked about. You need your skill, your laptop and your Internet connection, and then you can figure out other things along the way as you go.
The last point I want to make, and I really want to stress this. Forget about trying to do everything right. Forget that. There’s no right or wrong. There’s just do and do better.
I’m going to say it again. There’s no right or wrong. There’s just do and do better. Don’t worry about whether you get your price exactly right. Don’t worry about whether you get the exact wording for your proposal or email that you’re sending to a client. We learn every single time we put forth the effort. We learn how to do it better.
The only way I got good at determining my rate was putting something out there and going from there. Not, just off the top of my head, but based on what my skills were, what my experience was, looking at what the going rates were for different things and getting a feel for it from there. What I was comfortable with and also what my clients were willing to pay me, and how I felt when I got paid compared to the work that was done, or vice versa, how I felt getting paid and then doing the work itself.
I can remember I stopped doing hourly rates after I got a check that was like $13. That check, and I’ve mentioned it before on other podcast episodes, that I should have framed that check, but I used it to open up my business account. I didn’t even have a business bank account until I got my first check, and that was the only way I could get my money was to have a business bank account.
Up until that point, it was all PayPal, and I like PayPal. PayPal works. But up until that point, until that $13 check, that’s when I got my business bank account, and it may have taken several weeks to get that because I had to research where I could go to open up a business bank account that I could do it with my $13 [laughs].
But anyway, that’s another example of forgetting, you know, doing it whether it’s right or wrong, you know. There’s no right or wrong to that. You go with it. But that $13 made me mad because I was like, you know, I’m very efficient at what I do. I’m not one to drag out work, or you know, to bump up hours for the sake of it or anything like that. It really is important to me to have integrity in my business and I want to be, you know, I’m totally transparent and honest and all the kind of stuff, and I want to be paid not necessarily for how quickly I’m able to do things, but the knowledge and experience that I bring to something.
In that case, you know, that $13, I was too efficient [laughs] the hourly rate. Instead of slowing down, I just kind of revised my payment structure and went from there, and that was a huge breaking point for me. But if I had never experienced it, I would not know and would not be so strong and so confident and really sticking to what that is for my business, how I like to get paid and things like that.
Anyway, the whole point of this podcast is to let you know there are no shortcuts. The only way you’re going to figure out your flow, figure out what is “right” for your business is to actually do something, to actually put some things into action. I’ve been looking down at my paper the whole time, making sure I don’t miss a thing for you. Expect great things in your business in the next 30 days, 60-90 days and so forth.
Expect great things knowing it is a journey, not shortcuts in getting started with your virtual assistant business.
Thank you so much for taking the time to tune in and to listen to today’s episode. I love to hear from you so come on over to my Facebook page. Those of you that have been dropping by and posting your comments about what you’re learning on the podcast. I appreciate you so much and thank you for, you know, taking time out. You don’t have to do that and I love, love, love when you do share with me and let me know that you’re listening, you’re on the other end of this.
Come on over on Facebook. I’m there every single day. I’m reading your posts. I reply back, all that good stuff. If you’re looking for my class on Upwork, just you’ll find that on my website – TiffanyParson.com. It’s a 21 Day Guide to show you what to do to get started on Upwork. Your first 21 days, even helping you find your flow and identifying what skill to provide to clients. Also, help you determining how to get that bid rate and all that good stuff. Not a right or wrong, but a get started because you don’t want to get stuck on those types of things.
Get moving and having a great time in your business. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
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!