- Mad Mimi
- Constant Contact
- Help Scout
Use what you know right now to get started and then learn as you go. #vatip Gotta Tweet!
If you’re waiting for the right tool, it doesn’t exist. #vatipGotta Tweet!
You are the right person and the time is now. #vatip Gotta Tweet!
Today’s episode I am talking to the virtual assistant who was Googling how to get started as a virtual assistant, who was Googling virtual assistant training, who did a search in iTunes or on Stitcher or somewhere and stumbled across this podcast.
What’s holding you back from starting?
Are you waiting to learn the right tools? Are you waiting to learn the right skill? Are you waiting for the right time? Can you hear I’m stressing the right, the right, the right, and I want you to know there is no right. There is no right tool. There is no right skill. There is no right time. There are now tools, now skills, now time. Why, because things change.
Tools. When I first started, the tools that I used – I would send out newsletters. Gosh, there was a newsletter system I used. Mad Mimi, Constant Contact, and a client of mine used something that had 123 in it. I don’t even remember the name. It was something with 123. There was even open source code that taught you how to send mass emails that looked like they were coming from an email service that you could do using their code. There was another one that was like a system you could sign up for and do mass email without signing up for something like Constant Contact or whatever. So that was the tool.
Later on it was iContact, GetResponse, AWeber. Then it was MailChimp, 1ShoppingCart, KickStartCart. All of those email systems got you newsletters, you know, you could send out newsletters using those email systems. To this day I use AWeber. I have clients that use AWeber, a few that use MailChimp, a few that use 1ShoppingCart. But AWeber is the main one for most of my clients, if I were to do a chart.
Well, I didn’t know that AWeber was the right tool, and I still don’t know if it’s the right tool. I know it’s the tool that I like. It’s my preferred tool. But when a client comes to me and they want to send their newsletter from 1ShoppingCart, I don’t say, “Oh, you’re using the wrong tool. AWeber is the right tool.” No, the tool that they’re using is the right tool for them. When? Now, because it’s a now tool. All those things could go away.
When I started in 2008, there was no Zendesk or Help Scout. There was email, and you would log into a client’s email system, meaning Gmail, or if they had email through their domain you would go to webmail and answer their emails from inside the actual email system. There was no – I think there’s one called Freshdesk, but most of my clients are using Zendesk. I also use Help Scout, which is like Zendesk on a smaller scale.
So there weren’t ticketing systems that made it easy to answer email support. At that time, the tool was regular email. Whatever it was – Gmail, Outlook, webmail, whatever they were using. Today, the tool is Zendesk or Help Scout. In fact, if a client came to me now and they wanted me to answer emails – that’s not a service that I offer, but let’s say it was or it’s a service that you want to offer. I would tell you to recommend that the client use Zendesk or Help Scout, and then once you recommend it, it comes up, you know, someone has to set that up for them.
It depends on how many tickets they’re getting. If they’re getting a whole lot of tickets, Zendesk would be an option. They’re just getting started; Help Scout would be a good option. But they want to look at it and compare and decide what’s best for them. Anyway, you would definitely not want to log into their Gmail and answer their support email today because there is a different tool that’s good for that. Again, it’s a now tool. Five years from now, it may be something totally different.
Thinking back, let’s see in ’08, what were we doing for social media? Was social media around? Were we using it? The only reason I even got into Facebook was because of an Elance project. You had to have a Facebook account for the project. So before I sent my proposal, I quickly set up a Facebook profile so I could say, “Yes, I have a Facebook profile.” That’s the only reason I got on Facebook. Then, a college friend was like, “Oh, I see you’re on Facebook,” and I was like, “I just was on Facebook for a project. I’m not really there.”
Do you know I deactivated my Facebook profile after that project, and then I ended up having to go back to it for another project and just, you know, kept it open. But it was because of my business that I started a Facebook profile. I don’t know when I would have ever started a Facebook profile on a personal level because that was back then. Now, it’s a totally different thing. What would we do without Facebook? I don’t know. What would we read? Where would we go for news and updates and funny videos and stuff, who knows?
The list goes on in regards to the right tool versus the now tool, and you can fill in the blank for your own tool. If you’re waiting for the right tool, it doesn’t exist. There’s a now tool. If you don’t know any of those tools, use what you know right now to get started and then learn as you go. But don’t let a tool stop you from getting started in your VA business. You can do it part-time. You can do it full-time. You can do it on a project-by-project basis.
Let’s talk about your skills – waiting for the right skill.
Are you waiting for the right skill? What’s the right skill that you’re waiting for? I don’t know. Tell me. What is the right skill? Is it to learn social media? Is it to learn how to do a newsletter in AWeber? Is it to learn how to set up a WordPress website? Is it to learn about doing a blog post? I’m asking this question. I want you to think about that. There may be some right skills that you don’t know that would be helpful for you right now, but it should not stop you.
On the other hand, you have to look at, okay, well, what are my now skills? I might not know AWeber and WordPress and social media and Hootsuite and whatever else. I may not know that right now, but what do I know right now? Well, I know how to put data in a spreadsheet. I know how to search on Google. I know how to respond to email support tickets. I know how to manage a calendar.
What do you know how to do now, and that’s what you start with.
That’s what you start with, and then you build on that. Because starting with what you have now will help you understand other things. It will help you understand blogging. It will help you understand social media because now you’re rounded, because now the ball is rolling. What will happen is projects will come that will cause you to dip into the things that you don’t have to learn it.
The way I learned 1ShoppingCart, a client had 1ShoppingCart. The way I learned WordPress, a client had WordPress. The way I learned AWeber, a client had AWeber. I learned along the way. But had I not started with what I had at the time, I would have never gotten to AWeber because I wouldn’t have known about AWeber. I wouldn’t have gotten to WordPress because I wouldn’t have known about it. I wouldn’t have known about 1ShoppingCart. But a client had it and they were like, well, if you’re willing to figure it out, we need you. We want you. We like you.
It could be something you provide for a client now. Say, you’re doing data entry or bookkeeping or something and they like you. They like your work ethic. You’re a gem. They don’t want to lose you, and they know that you have the ability to learn it. You just may not have been given the opportunity, so they give it to you. But it’s because you showed up with your now skills, so don’t wait for the right skill. If that’s what’s holding you back, scratch that out. That’s eliminated. Start with what you have right now.
The right time – there’s never a right time.
Let’s look at the calendar year. What’s going on in January? Oh, it’s a new year. What’s going on in February? Oh, it’s Valentines. Oh, what’s going on in March? Oh, it’s spring break. I’m also getting ready for taxes. April comes. Oh, it’s spring. I’m doing my taxes. May comes. It’s Mother’s Day. People are graduating. June comes. It’s Father’s Day. Kids are out of school. It’s summer. July, we’re still in summer. It’s Fourth of July, not even thinking about anything. August, oh shucks, it’s back to school. We’re taking out last vacation before school starts and then we’re going back to school. September, oh, it’s Labor Day. We’re just chilling, just winding down, relaxing from a busy summer. You know, still in the school mode, getting started, school supplies, school clothes, whatever. It’s October. Oh, it’s fall festival. We’re focused on that. Halloween is coming. Whatever. November, oh, it’s Thanksgiving. We’re getting ready for Thanksgiving. We’re getting ready for Christmas. December comes. It’s Christmas. Oh, we’re getting ready for Christmas. Oh, wrapping up the end of the new year, the old year going into the new year. Now we’re in the next year. There’s never a right time.
With all of that, that’s just the calendar activity, but then you have life activity, right, ups and downs, ups and downs. That’s just life. That’s just life. If we remain on a high all the time, we’d be exhausted. If we remain on a low all the time, we’d have no energy. So there’s got to be an up with the down. There’s got to be a down with up so we know the difference.
The right time doesn’t exist. It’s just a now time. It’s just now. You just jump. You just go for it. Just go now. Don’t let it pass.
The fact that you’re even thinking about being a virtual assistant – where did that come from? Now, if it was because you saw somebody else doing it and you heard, ooh, you can make six figures being a virtual assistant, then that’s probably not a good start. But if it’s because you heard about virtual assistants and you heard somebody’s doing the same thing you’re doing at your job, but they’re doing it from their house as a business, and you’re like wait a minute. I’ve been wanting to have a business and I would love to have a business at home.
What’s your reason for starting? I’ve seen many people start because they saw somebody else doing it and thought, ooh, it’s a good way to make money. So and so is making money doing it. I can do it and make money.
Before I started my VA business, I was trying to figure out the route to go. The IT industry seemed to have dried up and, you know, because people weren’t doing new things with their technology, they were maintaining systems, so the IT department was more like maintenance versus building new things. So that meant they wouldn’t be taking on new projects, bringing in new contractors, because they weren’t doing anything new. You run into enough brick walls, it’s time to figure out something. I thought, oh, I’m going to totally change. Forget about the tech world.
I read in the paper or saw on TV somewhere the health industry is the place to be. They will always need doctors and nurses and stuff. Always, because people are going to always be sick. They’re going to always need people. They won’t layoff. So I got the bright idea that I was going to be a nurse, and I had met a couple of nurses at art parties, because I was doing art parties also and direct sales back then. I met some nurses at art parties, and so I decided to talk to them, ask them about it. Even went to an open house at a local nursing school, and I was ready. I got the information. I knew what I needed to do. You had to get your Certified Nursing Assistant certificate first. You had to do that first, and then go through the nursing program. It was a debate as to whether you needed to go to undergrad for it or do it the other route. I mean I was all in. I did my research for it. I was serious about it. I was going to do it.
Well, I’ll never forget this day at church. The ministers are on the stage and one minister – I don’t know what happened. I think he fainted, but he fell flat forward on his face. He fell flat forward on his face. You could see all the health people, people that were in the medical, rushing to the stage. Some people were dressed in their scrubs because that was their ministry, but they were rushing to the stage to go and help him.
Me, I’m in my seat and my first thought is, oh my gosh, I hope he’s not dead. Would you want me to be your nurse with that as my first thought during a medical emergency? Probably not. I took that as a message from God to let me know that being a nurse was not for me because the first thought should have been, you know, let’s get him some air, let’s get him some water. Let’s make sure he’s breathing, you know, it would have been more on an upswing versus I hope he’s not dead, right, or, gosh, I hope they can get to him quick enough, you know, the people who are running to the stage. No, I went all the way on the other flipside.
Needless to say, after that day I threw away all the information I had regarding nursing schools because that was not my area. Yes, it probably still is a booming industry. I don’t know. I don’t look into it anymore. I have no idea. But I haven’t heard about any nurses being laid off or anything in the news, nothing big about that, you know, and you probably haven’t either. There are a lot of people that work in hospitals and doctors’ offices. I mean, they’re everywhere, right. But it doesn’t mean that that was a fit for me.
It’s the same thing with being a VA. If you want to do it because somebody else is doing it, it seems cool, you want to investigate it a little more because there are up days and there are down days. It is part of the cycle of a virtual assistant business. There are weeks where you’ve got lots of projects due and there are weeks where you have no projects due, or it’s right in the middle where it’s nice and comfortable. It’s not too much. It’s not too little. It’s good. It’s smooth. But it doesn’t happen like that all the time because like life, it has to be ups and downs, ups and downs, ups and downs. So we can appreciate the ups and appreciate the downs as well.
I’m saying all that to say if you know that being a VA is a right fit for you or you’re listening to this, hey, I’m listening to this, Tiffany, because I want a business. I want a virtual assistant business. Then forget about the right time. Forget about the right skill. Forget about the right tool. Why, because you are the right person. Don’t worry about time, skill, or tool. Just know you are the right person and the time is now.
You have skills already right now today and there are tools right now that fit that.
If you are not sure how your current skills fit into a virtual assistant world or how they fit with a service, we need to talk. You know where to find me. Facebook, Twitter, the website. The website has a contact form for email. Get the newsletter, the free eBook 15 Known Secrets To Get Started As A Virtual Assistant. Get that from the website. But seriously, let’s talk. Contact me.
As always, I want to thank you so much for your time and for listening today. I am honored that you are here and I love to hear from you.
If you have any other questions, come on over to my Facebook page. You know where to find me.
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!