As Virtual Assistants, we tend to be really good at creating lists. We create to-do lists for ourselves, our clients, our families, the housekeeper, etc. These lists are created as a method for getting things done. But, how often do you go back and review your lists to see if “what” you’re doing is yielding the right results? In other words, is how you’re spending your time supporting or detracting from the life and business you want to create?
If perhaps you aren’t making the money you want to make, or you’re working with clients who drain your energy, or you find yourself working far more hours than you’d like, it’s time to step back, take an honest, objective look at your VA practice and decide what adjustments need to be made. Just as you would create an action plan for your clients, you need to create one for yourself. The first step is to answer this question, “Are you making these 3 common mistakes?”
- Is my own mindset getting in my way? Have you ever gotten frustrated with how things are going in your business and thought, “I’ll never work with high-quality clients who happily pay my fees,” or “I guess I’m destined to discounting my fees if I want to stay in business?” If you answered yes, then that’s exactly what you’ll get. This element of the Law of Attraction is simple and it applies to EVERYTHING you do. Whatever you tell yourself is ABSOLUTELY true. If you put out negative energy, that is what you’ll get in return. But if you consistently focus on positive, abundant thoughts, you’ll begin seeing ways to create the results you desire—and the opportunities you need will find their way to you. (Not to mention a positive attitude is highly client-attractive!) If your tendency is to have a negative attitude toward your business, stop! Make the decision to change your thinking, starting TODAY. If you consistently attract non-ideal clients, ask yourself, “What can I do to attract my perfect client?” Look into upgrading your services by, taking new courses that expand your knowledge and justify higher rates. Participate in social networks to explore what kind of support your ideal client is looking for—and place yourself directly in front of your target market. Also, be honest about where YOU are standing in your own way. What fears do you have about your business? What limiting beliefs are you holding onto? Put forth the effort to stare your gremlins in the face. Then make the decision to start thinking differently from today forward. All these activities will help you tap into a new group of clients and move you closer to your goals.
- Do you only market or advertise your services when you need more clients? This is one of the biggest mistakes that Virtual Assistants make. And it is an area where they struggle needlessly. Some may feel hesitant about marketing, thinking they have to be pushy and sales-y in their approach. That is certainly not the case. Marketing is simply a matter of sharing solutions with people who were already looking for them. The most effective marketing strategy for Virtual Assistants is to get clear on what you offer, embrace the value you bring to your clients’ lives, get to know your ideal clients REALLY well so you know what their urgent needs and compelling desires are, and then put yourself in front of them as THE solution to their problems. You should be marketing your business every week, bare minimum. (Ideally you should be doing SOMETHING to market yourself every day.) There are countless ways to market your services. Attending networking events and industry events has always been highly effective for me. Blogging about the benefits and results you create for clients is another. Publishing an email newsletter, getting involved in social media, and sending a letter to EACH person in your network explaining your services also yield positive results. The list goes on and on. The goal is to be consistently attracting new leads to your business and keeping your pipeline full. Even if you find yourself at full capacity, when potential clients contact you about your services, you can still have your introductory meeting with them to determine what their needs are. If their needs exceed the support you can provide at that time, just let them know your practice is full. Then, offer them the option of going on a waiting list or refer them to another Virtual Assistant. Either way, you keep the lines of communication going. And, if you have an opening, you now have a “warm market” list to contact. This will keep you out of “feast or famine” mode with your finances.
- Is your business foundation solid? Building a business is like building a house—it needs a solid foundation. If you don’t have an effective bookkeeping method, your office and paperwork are a disorganized mess and you don’t have a marketing plan to follow, you do not have a solid foundation for your business. If you struggle meeting deadlines because you can’t find everything required for a project, it’s time to stop and get organized. Nothing is more important than a solid foundation for your business for it to grow and prosper. This means treating your business like a business, NOT a hobby. Outlining your standards, boundaries and operational guidelines clearly on paper will give you a roadmap to follow to successfully run your business for years to come. Remember, the best compliment a client can give you is to refer your services to a colleague. Make sure you earn that referral by being a competent business owner.
If you are making any or all of these three common mistakes, there is good news! You know now what they are and can take action to make improvements. Spending time assessing, planning and implementing proven solutions will help you to upgrade your business in short order. It will also boost your confidence, decrease your stress and move you that much closer to having the business you dreamed of when you first started.
Action Steps For This Week
- Schedule one hour on your calendar to sit down and honestly assess your business. Make a list of what is working and what is not. Pat yourself on the back for having the courage to stare your business in the face and acknowledge that some improvements need to be made.
- Once you’re clear on where you’re at, it’s time to get clear on where you want to be. Set a few specific, measurable goals for improving your business and assign a deadline to each.
- Break down each goal into a series of projects or action steps. Schedule time on your calendar over the next 2-3 months to work on these projects and get your business affairs in order.
- Reach out for help if you need it! No one who is successful in business has created that success alone. NO one. So, don’t be afraid to ask for help. You and I can work together one-on-one if you like. (Simply email me at Support@EAtoVA.com to schedule an appointment for us to chat.) You can register for a mentoring program (www.SuccessfulVA.com or www.FullPracticeVA.com). Plus you can reach out to other VAs for ideas and support. (Check out my group on LinkedIn.com) Whichever option you choose is fine, but set yourself up with the support and accountability you need to take your business to the next level.
- Stop back by this blog post and let me know how this business overhaul is working out for you! I love hearing about your successes (no matter how “small” you think they are) and celebrating with you!
4 Responses to “Are you making these 3 common mistakes?”