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The Rookie Mistake That Could Fail Your Virtual Assistant Business Before It’s Begun

Michelle Dale - Monday, January 17, 2011

Transcription: I Recently posted on the blog about how much my VA company took in during a period of 31 days on invoicing and it sparked quite a bit of interest and I know definitely from comments that a lot of people who are considering becoming a virtual assistant have now actually decided to really go for it and make 2011 their year to actually start their company and start becoming a virtual assistant. This is absolutely fantastic. We need really good dynamic virtual assistants out there. We really absolutely need these and the clients need these too but there is one very, very big kind of rookie mistake that I’m noticing a lot of virtual assistants doing and I really want to bring this to your attention first before you start your business, hopefully, so you don’t actually make this rookie mistake and you can go on and you can instead of sort of starting your business and finding that you’re not really getting anywhere for a long period of time this will actually help you to understand a little bit better what’s going on in your client’s mind. I’m actually going to use the example of racehorses in racing because I think it’s a really, really good example. I think it’s kind of a metaphor but it’ll make sense to you.

First of all, what generally happens is that somebody has been doing something offline. Maybe they don’t like their job and they’re deciding on a career change and they go online and they see various training courses teaching you virtual assistant skills, a real classic one at the moment that is out there is like internet marketing and online business skills, social media marketing and that type of thing, is just one example. There are literally loads of virtual assistant skills that you can go out there and learn and then put into practice and then give to clients. That is generally what happens in the world, isn’t it? We go out, we learn something and then we put it into practice and we sell it because that’s how we make money. We exchange our time, our expertise for money. That’s a job, right? The problem is a lot of virtual assistants are finding that they’re going out there and doing this and they get their little badge or their little certificate and everything’s great because they’ve just taken the course and all of a sudden they’ve learned from a textbook or watching videos exactly how to become a social media expert. They’ve gone to maybe some really good places for training but literally all they’ve done at this stage to get that certificate is maybe have some coaching calls, maybe go to a couple of webinars, watch some videos, read a lot maybe (manuals, e-books and that type of thing) and then they get their certificate and then they want to go and start their business and they want to start straightaway getting clients. This is the “rookie mistake.”

So, meet me back on to the horses. If I say, for example, I’m a gambler and I’m thinking of this in terms of the client being the person who would necessarily be the gambler, so if I was a gambler or a client would I actually put and invest all of my money, my hard-earned money which I want to invest into my business, into a racehorse which has not only never won a race but never actually raced? They may have had all the training. They may have gone around the circuit, done a few laps on their own and maybe done a few laps with another few training horses but they’ve never actually won or participated in a race. They’re completely new horses. The odds are going to be extremely low. So obviously they’re not going to make a great deal of money on them because the odds are really low. They’ve never actually seen the horse perform so it’s highly unlikely that someone is going to invest all of their money and back that horse. 

It works the same with virtual assistants. If you’re fresh out of the VA school or wherever you’ve learned your training and you’ve got your skills, you’ve learned your skills, but you’ve never actually put them into practice and you don’t have any history, you never won any race, you’ve never really done anything with those skills then you really shouldn’t start offering those to clients. You have to respect your clients. You have to understand that it’s like playing with their money. If you’ve never done it yourself you’re gambling on them. So what I want to say to you to do is actually start putting these skills that you’ve learned into practice on your own business. So if you’ve learned social media skills and say, for example, you’re an internet marketing VA and you’re going to be offering advice on generating leads, maybe search engine optimisation, first of all get your website to the front page of Google for a search term, any search term, but not just the front page but the top 3 slots – then you can offer those services to your clients. If you’re a social media expert and you advise people on how to generate leads through social media, generate your own leads through social media first. Work on your own social media accounts and prove that you can actually get that interaction and that you can get people talking to you and communicating with you and then you can call yourself a social media expert, a social media VA. 

Do it yourself before you offer it to your clients because you absolutely need to respect your potential clients and respect their money and know that when they’re putting their money into you and investing in you and your business that you must deliver. You absolutely have to deliver results. Now, when I say that I’m talking more in line of advising people and saying to people, “I’m a VA and I can show you what to do online to develop your business.” It takes a long time to generate these skills but, for example, you can start selling skills like updating Twitter. You don’t have to be an expert in order to do that. It just takes good organisation skills, good admin skills. You need to be on top of things and that type of thing. 

There are certain degrees and certain levels of services that you can offer initially to get people coming to your business but what I’m saying is if you’re fresh out of the VA training classroom or wherever you’ve trained first of all prove it to yourself that you can do it. Trust in yourself that you are able to actually do what you’re selling and do what you say you can do. Believe me if you don’t do that, and clients are coming in to your website and you’re saying “I’m a social media expert” and you’ve only got 50 followers on your Twitter account they’re going to instantly not trust you. It’s going to cost you clients in the long term so be patient and bide your time. Do that little bit of work in the interim after you’ve done the training just so you can actually prove and say, “Right. I can do this. Here’s the proof. This is why I know I can help you because I was able to help myself.”

Okay, so if you’re a rookie, if you’re new to the VA industry and particularly if you’re new to VA skills then this is definitely something to watch out for. Always make sure that you can do it first in your own business and then you’ll be able to offer it to clients and you will have an excellent service and people will recommend you and you will have a continuous thriving VA business!

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Hi I'm Michelle, an entrepreneur specialising in virtual assistance, a digital and real world nomad, and a down-to-earth mother of three.

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