As I sat on the front porch watching the kids ride their bikes up and down the sidewalk, I got worried.
Riding full speed, without thinking about the what-ifs or falling, raised my "Mom Radar". They need to be careful, what if they fall.
Then I Stopped.
Wait a minute, they are having fun. Why should they worry about falling? If they do, they will get back up and continue on.
In the words of Gru from Despicable Me, "Light Bulb". Isn't that what we do in business?
I have talked to people interested in seeing what it takes to become a Virtual Assistant and something I’ve heard over and over is, “I am just…” or “I just do…”. This is the wrong approach when brainstorming a business idea.
You are so much more than “just” anything - You are a Master, an Expert.
You have mastery and experience in some service skill - whether it is mailings or letter writing or customer service - you are GREAT at something. Don’t sell yourself short. Be honest about what you have mastered. Being an expert in a service will provide you with the tools necessary to help others and build your service-based business.
Undermining your skills is not an endearing quality revered by others. It comes across as though you lack the confidence it takes to be a success. You want to portray yourself with the confidence to lead others looking for help with your services. You aren’t out to be led but show that you have the capabilities to complete the work and take responsibility for the successful results.
When growing a business, you need to streamline everything from your automated systems to the amount of information you receive from outside sources. When our inbox, news feed, notifications, smartphone, tablet, and computer are littered with unnecessary information and out-of-date apps or programs, it is time to purge.
Do you really need the distractions and time suckers?
Delete those apps you no longer use. They are taking up space in your memory and your mind. By seeing them all the time when you no longer use them, they turn into the same thing as Spam - nothing but garbage. Clean it all up, make it easier to navigate and put them in an order that saves time and energy. If you find you need it later, you can always download it again.
Shifting from working in an office to working from home, remotely, is an adjustment. Some people transition easily while others struggle to find a balance. Can you handle working alone? Do you need interaction from others throughout the day? How will you work when the housework is calling from the other room?
You Do It!
I am proud of the work I do, the skills I have, and how I help others reach their goals.
Getting my business to this point - to where I am comfortable with the skill sets I have and how I can share those with others - has been a journey. It's been self-discovery and confidence building, with technical knowledge and trial and error thrown in for good measure.
As I continue to grow my business and evolve, I further define the work I love to do, that which I can do without, and where my vision and heart live. It's not all about putting in tons and tons of hours each day, but rather fine-tuning my skills to maximize my time and energy. Taking the time for personal development and surrounding myself with like-minded entrepreneurs and soul searchers moves me to work towards new goals and keeps me in the trenches of doing the work.
What is a Virtual Assistant?
Do you know? Can you explain it? If you say it to someone else and they give you the blank stare, can you clarify it for them?
Wikipedia defines Virtual Assistant as:
It is 9 p.m. on a Friday night and you get an alert - it's an urgent message from your highest paying client - they need you ASAP. You aren't home, your date night has been interrupted. Yes, you have your phone on, in case a family emergency arises, not this. They know you have read it - there is no way to disguise this fact. So, now what do you do?
You continue your date night without worry. But, How? Easy - you have established business practices that explain how you handle such issues.
Yes, establishing clear boundaries of your working hours, and after-hours contact is part of running a successful business. There are times where emergencies do come about in business, and you need to have an action plan in place. Just because you work virtually and at non-traditional hours, sometimes, does not mean you are on call.
What time does band practice start? Where is the next basketball game? When is the next baseball practice? Isn't there a meeting tonight? Wait, don't I have a conference call in 5 minutes? The school just called, Snow Day today! Now, where do the kids go?
Keeping up with the daily activities, work schedule and those last minute 2-hour delays and snow days (here in the Northeast US) is a task made easier as an entrepreneur, a Virtual Assistant. Making a schedule that melds to what the day needs was a game changer for me.
Finding your target market isn’t always easy and weeding through the vast array of ways to find them can be arduous. So, what is a budding entrepreneur to do when they don’t have days to spend hunting/researching/lurking to find niche areas? – Get fastidious in presenting expert level ideas and solutions for the issues facing your target market.
Determining how your knowledge and skills can answer the call of your niche is essential in growing your credibility and gaining clients. Start playing BIG and showcase those skills by presenting ideas and solutions to those you can offer guidance and support.
In growing your business, we all know how important each step can be – from blogging to building a portfolio and creating a substantial social media presence. But, what I recently learned from talking to an esteemed colleague, is that not everyone understands that each of those pieces can build upon one another to create an even bigger product or service.
In creating each piece, the creative graphics, the properly worded blog, the catchy caption, do you think about how to use it as a layer to something bigger? More than just “your brand”?
Maybe Not – If Not, You Should