7 Things About Being A Virtual Assistant They Don't Tell You
Sep 23, 2018
If you see Virtual Assistants as smart, savvy people who often get to work from home, have client testimonials that make them seem like rock stars, are always busy with work, and who basically appear to be living the dream...
Well, you might be right!
But before you jump to too many conclusions, here are seven things that the Virtual Assistant you know might have failed to mention.
1. Being a Virtual Assistant is hard work.
If you’re not a naturally ambitious or motivated person, you might struggle.
It is not the kind of job where you can afford to slack off (even if you’re working from home with no one watching you!). Word can get around quickly about how good or not good you are as a VA.
You can’t simply choose when you want to work and hope that clients will fit in with you. There will be deadlines you'll need to meet, times when a client will want to call you, and times of the month where you'll need to be available to undertake a specific task such as invoicing.
A Virtual Assistant needs to work both smarter AND harder if they are looking to build a successful VA business and lifestyle.
2. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: You will have to become a salesperson.
Like it or not when you start your own business, selling yourself, your services, and your business is a huge part of the job.
Oh, and there is a fine art to selling well.
You don’t want to come across as a carnival announcer (“Step right up, folks!”), it needs to be done in a natural way that shows you are listening to your clients’ needs and building a personalised service plan that solves their unique business support needs.
See my winning sales process guide here.
I guess what I’m saying is that it’s no good just being great at the actual tasks, you need to sell first and foremost.
Selling to people and converting them to clients isn't easy for everyone, so building and drawing on a solid network of people that know and trust you, is worth more than gold for your business.
3. As a Virtual Assistant, it is normal to charge by the hour and deliver a service before receiving payment.
Unfortunately, this opens the door wide for people to take advantage of you; with the potential for clients who pay late or just don't pay at all. (They ghost you!)
I can’t stress enough, the importance of developing a robust billing process that includes detailed terms of trade, information on setting up direct debits, offering clients the option of upfront payments for certain service plans, and developing a comprehensive step-by-step debtor management plan you can follow to elicit payment from any reluctant payers.
4. A solo VA is their business.
That means they are the manager personally responsible for ALL departments; marketing, sales, finance, IT, and admin.
If you know you don't have a good working knowledge of some of these areas, you'll need a plan to help you manage them.
Your plan will likely consist of paying someone to help you with these critical areas.
5. Following on from point four, all Virtual Assistants need to be tech-savvy.
Whether you like it or not, your clients will call on you for IT and tech help, asking you all sorts of questions.
It's just the nature of being their ‘go to’ person.
As a VA, you need to be all over the tech, this means upskilling to keep up to date with the latest tools and squirrelling away knowledge that covers common business support apps and programmes such as LastPass, Trello, Slack, Dropbox, Office 365, G Suite (across both Mac and PC), iPhone and Android.
Eek! Are you ready for that?
If not, you need to prioritise learning the basics in this area, because there are plenty of tech-savvy VAs out there that your clients could switch to, to ensure they are getting the most bang for their buck!
Plus clients will be looking to you to show them how to get set up with working with a VA. You'll need to be the expert in how to collaborate remotely and access what you need to undertake the array of tasks.
6. If you want to be a successful Virtual Assistant, your communication better be stellar!
Remember, you’re virtual!
You are not in the next office like a traditional support employee is with their manager.
A Virtual Assistant is remote and works over the internet, so the communication tools they use are absolutely vital.
Sending email after email to your client each day when they don't answer isn't helpful (or going to do your client's inbox management any favours) so you'll need to get super savvy about how you get answers from your clients.
You'll also need to work hard to build trust, rapport, and confidence without necessarily being able to meet them face-to-face.
7. Your organisation skills must be the next level.
If you aren't diligent with how you set up your computer, company files, client files, or with saving information into a cheat sheet, and managing passwords carefully from the start, well, I’m here to tell you that you'll find yourself struggling.
You'll likely have multiple clients, so if you don't have yourself and the way you work with different clients set up in an organised way - cross contamination will ensue!
There is almost nothing worse than accidentally sending an email from the wrong client inbox, or when you say you are from the wrong company when calling someone on your client’s behalf.
This faux pas is best avoided at all costs!
As you can see, it’s not all happy days and easy money.
Being a quality Virtual Assistant isn’t as simple as it might appear on the surface.
Time helps, but you also need to be committed to self-improvement and be willing and able to recover from mistakes and setbacks with grace.
I want to help you be the best VA you can be, which is why I have worked hard to develop a huge range of free resources and the Savvy Virtual Assistant Academy right here on the web.
Get in touch with me at [email protected] to find out more and let's work together to empower you on your Virtual Assistant business journey.
As the founder of New Zealand's leading virtual assistant company, I'm an expert on how to run an efficient and high performing business. As a creator at heart, I love sharing my knowledge with others. Brought up on a dairy farm and attending boarding school from a young age, I am fiercely independent and a confident risk taker. With a love of snowboarding in winter and wakeboarding in summer, the outdoors is where I find joy, but nothing beats running around with my boys of 6 and 5 and have an immensely supportive partner who is also my best friend.