- Avoid These Thoughts & Actions When Starting as a Virtual Assistant
The way you handle glitches or bumps makes you stand out from the rest. #vatip Gotta Tweet!
It’s great to have the freedom of being a virtual assistant, but it’s hard work. #vatip Gotta Tweet!
You have to want it for yourself because there are days we win and days we lose. #vatip Gotta Tweet!
Hi, you’re listening to episode number 69. Today, I’m going to share with you just some of my thoughts as I was writing a guest article. Recently, I had the opportunity to write an article for a virtual assistant website, and by the time this episode is published, the guest article should be live. If it is live, we’ll link it up in the show notes.
I had different topics that I was given. If I’m doing guest articles, I like to be given topics to write about because that person knows their audience. I’m not sure about their audience, so they know the information that would be great for their audience. It gets the ball rolling a lot faster without me having to think of the actual content, so I got a nice list of things to choose from and what to talk about.
One of the topics that I decided not to write about, I think it was like top reasons you should become a virtual assistant, and the top five reasons did not flow quickly. I know why I become a virtual assistant, and this probably applies to you as well – one, several, or all of them. You may have been looking for flexibility, extra money. You wanted to be home. You wanted to work from home. You wanted to be there for your family. You wanted freedom.
You fill in the rest as to why you guys started as a virtual assistant. But to me, it’s deeper than that because those same reasons could be applied to other work from home opportunities. Those reasons aren’t specific to being a virtual assistant.
I’m asking you to dig a little deeper and think about why did you start your virtual assistant business. Besides the things that I’ve already listed, like why was it being a virtual assistant? There are other things that can be done from home that aren’t a virtual assistant business. It’s a very interesting concept, one that I hadn’t even thought about before hopping on and talking with you today. I had written some notes out. But really those reasons could be applied to anything, so why a virtual assistant?
I know when I started I didn’t know the title virtual assistant. I didn’t know that that is what it was called. What I was excited about most was being able to use things that I already had. Like I didn’t have to learn anything new to get started. I could take the same things I was doing in the corporate world and transition them to the online space. That was the exciting part for me.
What about you? When you started, did you take what you were doing corporately and just bring that online?
For those of you that are listening and you’re at the starting point, and maybe you’re trying to figure out, well, what service should I provide, a good place to start is those things that you’re already doing on your job. Maybe because you’ve done it so long, or because it’s in a corporate setting, you haven’t considered that same thing could be done for someone online, especially if you’re already doing things on the computer where most of your job is on the computer.
Maybe you’re doing Excel spreadsheets or PowerPoint. You’re sending emails. You’re checking emails, responding to emails. You’re doing data entry. The list goes on. Maybe it’s just something that you haven’t thought about. The fact that you may not have thought about it, it’s interesting to me.
I have friends that are in the corporate world that are administrative assistants, executive assistants, and I’ve shared that they could do the very same thing online. The answer is always the same. “What?” “Really?” That’s about it. I’ve learned to not to take it further unless the other person is really interested. Then I’ve learned not to take it so-so far because then you land into the coaching world and, hey, there are all the resources on my website, so then I end up sending them there.
But go back to the beginning and think about why it was a virtual assistant, or maybe you came and you knew you were freelancing but you didn’t know it was a virtual assistant. Anyway, just think about that.
I didn’t write the article about why you should become a virtual assistant because my goal is not to convince anyone to become a virtual assistant business owner. I think it’s something that you have to come with already. Even if you’re not sure that that’s what it’s called, it’s something that you have to know already that you want to provide services to other people from the comforts of home, like you have to know that’s what you want to do.
If those services involve a computer, then more than likely it could easily fall under the virtual assistant category.
Being a virtual assistant – this is part of the reason why I’m just not in the convincing business – it’s hard work. Yeah, it’s great to work from home. It’s great to have that flexibility. If you’re working full-time and doing your VA business part-time, it’s great to have that extra money. It’s great to be able to do things with your family and not have to ask anybody for permission. It’s great to have that freedom, but it’s hard work.
Well, what do you mean, Tiffany, it’s hard work, because if you’re doing the work that you love, it won’t feel like work. Well, there are days where you may not be as excited or as motivated as you’d like to be, for whatever reason. It may not have anything to do with your business itself. But that can make it hard, or when you’re in transition and you’ve done something for so long and the excitement has faded. You’re no longer excited about it. But you’ve got some things lingering that you have to do, so that can make it hard.
You have to want it for yourself because there are days we win and there are days we lose.
Just like anybody else in business, we get new clients; we lose clients. It’s part of how business works, and that is not exclusive to being a virtual assistant. It applies to everybody, and it’s in the way we respond to the comings and goings of clients that determine our longevity and how long we stick and stay.
If you know that every opportunity, every chance to work with a client for whatever time period it is, is a benefit, it’s a chance to learn not only what you’re doing in helping them and solving their problems and providing your services, but also in working with people. That is a new person that you get to learn how to communicate with and develop a relationship with, and that’s something that can’t be taken away, that experience, that knowledge that you gain.
Then there are some clients that you lose and you’re excited about losing them. Others, you may experience a little down moment, like maybe disappointment or you really enjoyed working with them, and the initial response may not feel so good. We all go through that, but knowing that there are highs and lows, and on the other side of it there are more clients coming your way.
Do you understand that you are a problem solver? Do you understand that what you provide is solving a problem for someone?
I have a social media virtual assistant. She schedules things for me. The problem that she solves is not that I can’t schedule social media. I create the content and provide it for her. The problem that she solves for me is consistency. I know how to do all the stuff. I do it for clients. I’m consistent and on schedule for my clients because I have to be. But I’m not consistent and on schedule with myself, with my own business.
You have to put your business on your list of clients, and it can’t be at the bottom of the list. It needs to be at the top of the list because if your business is not thriving and moving and you’re not feeling good about that, your clients suffer. They will suffer.
What you do for yourself allows you to do the same for other clients. You’re like your own guinea pig. You experiment and learn with yourself, and then once you become like, okay, I’ve got it, I’m solid on this, then that trickles down to your client projects.
But the problem that my social media virtual assistant solves is consistency. There’s a weekly deadline and I send her the information by the weekly deadline. If I’m late I feel like, oh, I’m late. Her problem that she solves is not providing social media. It’s providing consistency.
What you will find is the problem you solve for your clients is going to be different for every single one. She may have other social media clients and their problem may be that they don’t know how to schedule their social media, that they need someone to schedule it, or they need someone to create content for them because of time, because of know-how. All of those things, just because that’s their problem, my problem is a little different, doesn’t mean that she couldn’t market herself as solving these particular problems – time, consistency, knowledge on social media.
The way you handle things sets you apart from somebody else.
In addition to the problem that you solve for clients because of the skills that you provide, in addition to that, along the way glitches happen. Some things are out of your control. There may be technical glitches with the software you’re using. There could be a missed deadline where the client missed the deadline. Not you, but your client missed the deadline. There could be some misinformation or miscommunication, or little bumps as you’re getting started. There could be a whole user issue. The way you handle those glitches makes you stand out from the rest.
As a client, I know things happen. But it’s how I get the information that something happened and what else is shared to help correct it. For example, if you schedule social media for your clients in Hootsuite, and Hootsuite is down, Hootsuite is glitchy, it’s not posting, you would not email your client and say, “Hey, Hootsuite it glitchy. It’s down.” Because your client is wondering, okay, well, is it coming back up? Do they know? That’s what your client is thinking on the other side. Does Hootsuite know? Is it coming back up? How long will it be?
Instead of just coming at them with that problem, do some digging. Find out the answers to these questions that they have not asked you yet because you haven’t told them about the problem yet. Think. You know what your questions would be if something is down. You immediately want to know, okay, well, do they know? Are they doing something about it?
Where do you go? Hey, social media – Twitter, Facebook. See if they’ve posted anything regarding this issue. If they haven’t, reach out to their support about the issue. Do a Google search because maybe someone else has said something about this; maybe someone else has experienced it, before you bring that problem to your client. You bring an issue and a solution together, oh, that sets you above the rest.
What you don’t know is you may be in a trial period and they may be seeing who’s going to stand out.
The saying is that the cream rises to the top. Who’s going to stand out? Who’s going to rise to the top? So problem, solution, same time is awesome. It says you’re on top of it. It says you’re handling it. By making them aware, it’s like an FYI versus, help, I don’t know what to do. Because guess what, your client might not know what to do either, and you just added a problem.
Remember, they came to you because they had a problem, and what you provide is an answer to that problem. You have the solution. Then when you bring them another problem, hmm, I outsourced to you to be the solution, but you’re bringing me a problem. You see how that keeps you average.
But when you bring, “Hey, this was an issue, but this is what’s going on. They know about it. They’re working on it. In the meantime, I will live post your tweets,” or whatever your workaround is until it gets resolved. Letting them know, making them aware of it. They’ll love you for life.
Not only does she solve the problem I came to her for, but when other things arise she also has solutions for those as well and she lets me know what the problem is, what the solution is, and what her workaround is and that she’s on top of it.
You want to be the best in what you do, you want to provide exceptional service, do that. Do that for your clients and they’ll hold onto you so tight you won’t have to worry about them letting you go. They won’t want to. They’ll want to know how can we keep you. We don’t want to lose you. And they’ll tell other people about you. They’ll tell other people about you.
A lot to think about in today’s episode, hopefully, this wasn’t too heavy. I want you to enjoy your virtual assistant business. You chose this. Remember why you chose it. Like dig deep. Why did you choose being a virtual assistant business owner?
As always, thank you for listening.
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!