In my first six months I learned some valuable lessons about being a successful Virtual Assistant. Here are my top five:
- Set up a dedicated office space. For the first week or two, I used my dining room as a make-shift office. But I quickly learned what every seasoned VA knows: I needed a dedicated office space. So I set up shop in my sunroom – it has lots of space to spread out, windows to let the sunshine in, a street view to watch passersby, and a door to shut off distractions. So far, it’s the perfect office.
- Be present. A big draw of becoming a VA was the flexibility it offered, so I could have a fulfilling job and still be with my family. But the flip side is that work is always just a step – or email – away. The key, I’ve learned, is to set boundaries, so I can be fully present no matter where I am or what I’m doing. When I’m on the clock, I’m fully-committed to my clients (the dedicated office space helps!). And when I’m off the clock, it’s my time.
- Lean on others for help in a new area of expertise. After four years of being out of a corporate setting, there were a lot of things I didn’t know. Some little, some pretty big. When I was preparing to become a VA, I did my best to educate myself on all the latest tools and programs, but there will always be things I don’t know. When a client asks me to do something that I’m not fully-equipped to carry out, I look to my network for help. I may find an online resource, or lean on a co-worker or friend for assistance. It’s great to learn a new skill!
- Pick the right clients. I’ve been lucky in this area; I have great clients! In looking back, I think that’s because I have a connection with my clients, I respect them and vice versa, and I find their businesses appealing in some way. During interviews with my clients, I learned what they were looking for in a VA, a little bit about their personalities, and received a top line overview of their businesses. I look at each client as being a long-term relationship, so it’s important that we have the right chemistry.
- Enjoy the flexibility! This took some getting used to for me. I didn’t always know when to turn off work or how to determine if a client’s need was urgent or if it could wait. But six months in, I know myself and my clients a lot better. I have a schedule, but it’s fluid, depending on personal obligations and work to-dos. And I’m really enjoying it all!
Have you learned some valuable lessons along the way? I’m still new to all this and would love to hear your advice!
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