What Are You Inventing For Yourself + Your Business?

What Are You Inventing For Yourself + Your Business?

Necessity is the Mother of All Inventions

What Are You Inventing for Yourself?

I hope you + your family are healthy and safe during these trying times. It’s important to stay connected and thankfully we have the tools + technology to do so.

I once again want to focus on how we can all make the best of the crisis we are currently dealing with and one of my favorite quotes is very relevant right now.

 ‘Necessity is the mother of all inventions.’

It’s become necessary to look at different ways for us to pivot or change our business in order to meet a shifting demand.

Let me start by sharing this… Please don’t assume that your clients or people in general don’t want to buy from you right now.

That’s a money mindset thing which I’ll talk more about in a moment.

And, I know there are a lot of people out of work, and doing their best to survive the storm.

But… there are others that are looking for help and want to invest to keep the economy going and moving forward as we work through this crisis.

The question to you is, how can you reinvent yourself or your services in order to meet the demands and the opportunities that are there?

There are lots of opportunities and different ways for you to serve, either your core audience or an entirely new market. As I mentioned in my previous post, this is a great opportunity for not just the VA industry alone, but the entire online business industry.

The landscape of how people are working, not just online but in the corporate world, is changing and we don’t know what the landscape’s going to look like when this is all said and done.

I believe that more people are going to want to make the transition to not only working from home but working for themselves!

Now, if you’re thinking I can’t possible pitch my services right now – it feels icky or that nobody’s going to buy anything, we’re back to a money mindset issue.

Your mindset governs everything you do in life – especially your business.

I’m a big believer in creating a healthy money mindset.

I’ve seen what it’s done for myself and my own business when I learned to change how I was thinking about money.  The most important lesson for me was to realize I was coming from a place of lack instead of abundance. (I know I used to roll my eyes at this stuff too but it works).

I used to focus on things like “I’m going to run out of money” or “I’m going to run out of clients” or one of my favorites was “no one is going to pay that rate to do X”.

But… then I learned to focus my thoughts on abundance, that there’s always more opportunity, more money, more clients, etc. And it changed my life.

If you’re coming from a lack mindset, it’s very, very hard to get out of it without some kind of help because there’s usually something underneath the surface that is causing it. You need to find out what it is and clear it.

One of the best books that I found is Denise Duffield-Thomas’ book called Get Rich, You Lucky Bitch (sorry but that’s the official title).  It helped me realize my thinking patterns but also helped me uncover all of these self sabotaging behaviors when it came to money.  Things that I was doing without even knowing I was. After reading this book and doing the exercises I cleared all my money demons and everything shifted.

I can’t recommend her, her programs and her resources enough.

If you find yourself having a hard time focusing on opportunity, then you might consider investing in her book. You can get a copy on Amazon, Audible and probably even eBay. Here is her website in case you want to find out more – https://www.denisedt.com/. She has great free resources too!

Ok so back to it.

There are people that are looking for help right now.

People that will buy and invest, in not only themselves but their business as well.

If you’re like, “Okay, well what can I do?”

First of all, don’t work for free or for testimonials.

I don’t advocate working for free.

If you don’t value what you bring to the table, nobody else will. Plus, you get all the freeloaders, no offense, but you get people who are just looking for free stuff. And in my opinion + experience, those people are much more difficult to work with.

Instead of giving something away for free, maybe look at how you can bundle or package what you’re doing or offering. For example, if a client buys a 10 hour retainer, maybe give a bonus hour – buy 10 get 11.

If somebody buys your WordPress website package, throw in a month or two of maintenance for free.

Look at ways that you can provide more value for your clients. Consider doing a two-for (2 for 1). Buy this, get this for free.

Look at ways to bundle or package your services. Give them something additional to give them more bang for their buck.

Here’s a challenge for you – step back and look at your services to see how you can add more value to your retainers or packages.

Ok.. a couple other things real quick.

If you’re finding clients aren’t buying what you’re selling, maybe it’s time to re-invent yourself.

What I mean is that business owners are cutting expenses but NOT assets.

If you’re someone offering mainly admin skills it might be time to invest in learning strategic and techie skills.

Why these?

Clients can do their own admin work but they don’t know how to keep the automations, integrations and techie tools running.

You become an asset to your clients – they need you to keep their business running.

And one more idea… create a simple product to sell to your audience.

The wonderful thing about products is it’s a new revenue stream and once it’s created it keeps making you money!

If you’d like to create a product but are not sure how to get started or what to create, sign up for my free webinar happening on 4/8 @ 10AM PST that will go into all this and more.

You can sign up at https://www.techiementortraining.com/product-workshop

I hope this post has given you some ideas that you can take to re-invent yourself and your services. Or… work on your money mindset.

I’d love to hear what you’re going to do – please share what actions you’re going to take in your business.

Leave a comment below + share! All comments are welcome.

If you know someone who might benefit from this information, please share. You can use the share buttons below the post.

HERE ARE A FEW RELATED BLOG POSTS THAT MIGHT BE OF INTEREST:

  1. Ways to Pivot Your Business Now
  2. Ways to Scale Your VA Business

If you’re looking for more details on how to start or scale your VA business including how to specialize by learning in-demand skills, join my FREE VA Training Vault. You’ll get instant access to how-to video training for Virtual Assistants that want to create a successful business.

Thanks for reading – Susan

Don’t forget to leave a comment if you found this information useful – I’d love to hear from you!

Tips On Handling The Current Crisis

Tips On Handling The Current Crisis

Tips On Handling The Current Crisis
+ Tips on Pivoting Your Business

I know that it’s a scary time for everybody. We’re worried about our businesses or jobs plus our mental and physical health.

Let me start off by saying that everything will be OK.

This too shall pass and it won’t be like this forever. As Bob Marley says, “every little thing is going to be all right.”

We all need to work through this massive change together.

Try and remember….

  • Life will be good again.
  • Everything will be okay.

Now, I know it’s easy to say “don’t worry” and much harder to do. But worrying isn’t going to solve anything.

If you find it difficult to stop thinking about what could happen, then maybe stop watching or reading the news because it can spiral you out of control.

Many people are coming from a place of fear, understandably so right now. But I think the longer this goes on, it will become more of a norm and things will start to settle down a bit. We all know fear of the unknown can really overtake our thoughts and our mind.

It’s important to pay attention to your mental health right now.

Find something that helps you cope.

Meditate, go for a walk, play a game with your kids, read a book.

The main thing is not to focus on the fear. Instead focus on finding opportunities to help your clients and your business.

This is what I mean by “pivoting”.

I think it’s important to understand that when there is a crisis, there are still opportunities out there for you as a business owner.

I’m not talking about taking advantage of people or price gouging or hoarding.

I’m talking about ethical opportunities to be of service to your clients.

Believe it or not, this is a huge opportunity for the online business world and the VA industry as a whole. We don’t know what the landscape’s going to look like when this is all over and done with.

More people are working from home now then ever before! And many of those people may realize that they’re tired of the rat race and want to start their own online business!

That’s a win for our industry!

I want to share a few different opportunities that can help you not just survive but thrive during this time of change.

#1 Share your knowledge when it comes to working from home.

As I mentioned there are more people working from home now than ever before. Many people have never worked from home before and they are struggling to make it work. Plus a lot of people were thrown into telecommuting with their kids at home since schools are closed. It can be a very stressful situation – I remember it well.

So, for those of you who have been in the industry awhile and have worked with your children around, you have knowledge that you can share with an entirely new audience that needs what you have.

Show you’re an expert at working online, create an ebook or a series of how to videos and sell it for a low price.

There are people who are online now that don’t know how to schedule their day or what to do with their kids at home. For those of you that have been in this situation before, you have knowledge that can serve these people that really need it.

You can show people how to:

  • keep their kids busy while they work
  • different technology tools that make working from home easier
  • schedule their day
  • be more productive

All of these ideas could be a new revenue stream for you!

#2 Reach out to your current clients to see what they need

See what they need from you at this time.

Reach out and ask them how you can help them.

Offer to be available to:

  • bounce ideas around
  • vent to
  • brainstorm new projects
  • help them get organized
  • automate their business

Show them that you’re available and ready to help them however you can because they’re probably going to need to pivot their business as well.

Plus, you may have clients that have a full time job and are working on building their business on the side. They’re going to need your help now because maybe they realize that they want to take charge of their destiny and their livelihood and really start putting some more energy into building their business.

Don’t be afraid to reach out to them!

#3 Offer to do an audit

Audits are a great way to sell your expertise and help your clients at the same time.

Offer to audit their website or their current systems.

Look for ways to be of value and help your clients make money.

I’ve got a blog post that goes into Audits in more detail. You can find it at – https://www.thetechiementor.com/why-you-need-to-offer-audit-packages/.

#4 Learn a new skill

This is a great time to learn a new skill.

If you think about it, people are going to be coming online and have no idea what types of tools or systems they’re going to need.

For instance, they’ll need a website. So this is where WordPress skills would be very valuable to help people. You could create a 1-page WordPress package to sell for start up businesses or a monthly management package to manage their existing website.

Email marketing is another thing that people are going to need help with or sales funnels.

Really anything that has to do with technology in making an online business run is going to be a great skill for you to have.

So, if you’re an admin it’s a good time to pivot the services you’re offering.

Look at offering higher end + higher paying skills which is anything techie or strategic.

Here are a few examples:

  1. WordPress
  2. Mail Chimp
  3. Lead Pages
  4. Sales Funnels
  5. Email Marketing
  6. Content Creation

Clients are looking to hire people who can help them get results and earn money and that’s what techie + strategic skills do.

If you make your clients money, then you’re an asset to them and not an expense and less likely to be cut when a recession or crisis hits.

So this is a great time for you to be capitalizing on this unique situation to creating offers and solutions that are going to help people get results because that’s what it’s all about.

Be sure to check out my Techie VA Training Vault – it’s full of techie training and you can try it out for only $1 for 7 days. Go to https://www.technicalvirtualassistant.com/join to find out more.

#5 Pivot your marketing

Many people want to pull the plug on marketing at a time like this because they feel it’s icky to be selling.

Don’t do it!

People still need your help!

Plus you have bills to pay right?

You may have lost clients due to the current crisis and that is understandable. There are several markets that are severly affected by this.

But… there are others that are not.

The online business world is still growing and they still need your help + expertise.

Look at the coaching industry or course creators, their businesses are booming.

So, if you’ve lost clients in one market then pivot your marketing to a business that is still growing.

Like the coaching industry or the fitness industry or course creators.

Show up for yourself and for the people who need your help!

Because we all need to continue to feed our families and there are opportunities for us to do so without being icky or taking advantage of people.

So look at pivoting, not only what you’re offering, but maybe who you’re serving during this time, because the opportunities are there.

Remember, it’s about serving others, being ethical, not taking advantage of people, but taking advantage of opportunities that are there for you.

I wish you health and wellness during this crisis – take care of yourself, your family and your clients!

So how are you going to pivot your business?

I’d love to hear from you.

Feel free to post below and let me know what action you’re going to take.

All comments + questions are welcome.

If you know someone who might benefit from this information, please share. You can use the share buttons below the post.

If you’re looking for more details on how to start or scale your VA business including how to specialize by learning in-demand skills, join my FREE VA Training Vault. You’ll get instant access to how-to video training for Virtual Assistants that want to create a successful business.

Thanks for reading – Susan

Don’t forget to leave a comment if you found this information useful – I’d love to hear from you!

The Things That Keep You Stuck

The Things That Keep You Stuck

The Things That Keep You Stuck

Today’s topic is all about the things that keep us stuck.

I call these stuck points.

A lot of these points are for people who are just starting out in the VA industry. But, they’re also for those of you who’ve been in business for a while, whether it’s been six months or two years.

What can happen is we can come across these same “stuck points” and they become stumbling blocks for us.

Let’s start with what I feel is the most important, and that’s mindset.

Mindset affects every single thing that you do in life. Now, we’re going to focus on it from a business point of view. You have to realize, how you think, and what you think about affects the overall success of your business.

I think one of the biggest things for me is I’m an over thinker. I can overthink anything. It took me a while to figure out that overthinking was causing me to stay stuck because I kept thinking about things instead of doing them.

Now, here’s the thing with overthinking, you’re not going to know if what you’re thinking is going to work until you push it out to the world and see what happens. Failure is not the end of the world, it means you’re trying.

When you’re overthinking, you’re keeping yourself stuck.

Be careful if you have perfectionist tendencies as well – they can stop you in your tracks.

I am a recovering perfectionist-over thinker. So… I have to really step back sometimes and look at, “Okay, am I just being a perfectionist? Am I overthinking this?” I need to remember good is good enough. Get it out there, get started and then you could make tweaks as you go along.

You’re going to learn from pushing something out to the universe, if you will just do it.

Overthinking, perfectionist, procrastination, those three things are usually intertwined. Because you’re overthinking, you’re thinking it’s not good enough, then you procrastinate about actually putting it out. Those things sometimes work together.

Ok… next up is thinking like an employee.

Now this can be a hard one. If you’ve been an employee for most of your life, like I was, it’s very hard to stop thinking like one.

One of the biggest things is you don’t have to ask for permission anymore.

It’s your business, your choice. That’s my motto. You get to make the decisions on who you work with, how much you earn, and so much more.

It really makes a difference when you realize that if you’re waiting for direction it might be time for you to put on your CEO hat and make those decisions yourself.

Watch for your employee behavior and habits because it’s something that’s very easy to fall back into.

Self-worth is up next.

If you have issues with charging what you’re worth or if you’re always undercutting your rates to try to land clients, you might want to look at your self-worth.

If you don’t believe you’re worth it (whatever it might be) then nobody else is going to. This is one of the reasons I say don’t work for free. You’re selling your expertise and your knowledge, don’t start off by giving it away for free. You need to charge for it!

Value yourself and how your knowledge helps clients.

Let’s talk about confidence.

Confidence comes with experience. But, most people start as a VA without experience like myself. You can’t get experience until you do something.

Experience brings confidence.

So… how can you get experience?

Well you can subcontract for another VA to get experience, or you can offer what I call a Launch Special. It’s where you offer a new service for a lower rate to get experience. The client gets a discounted rate while you get experience. It is NOT the same as learning on the job. You’re looking to get experience NOT learn a new skill. A Launch Special can help you get that while building your confidence.

You’re going to have to put yourself out there to get experience as a VA, there’s no other way around it.

Another big “stuck point” I see is deciding on a business name.

Don’t overthink this. Just use your name because you are a personal brand.

Your business name doesn’t need to include Virtual Assistant or VA. In fact, I encourage you to stay away from using either one because VA is not a title, it’s an industry. (Here’s a blog post I wrote on why it’s an industry and not a title just in case you’re interested – https://www.thetechiementor.com/virtualassistant-not-title/)

Focus on something that resonates with you or, if this is keeping you stuck and you can’t move forward, then just choose your name.

If your name is not available then use your middle initial in your name, use your maiden name. Come up with something that’s very simple because you can always rebrand.

Don’t let this keep you stuck. Because, at the end of the day, your business name doesn’t tell people what you do. That’s what marketing is all about.

Now… Let’s talk about marketing!

I think some of the biggest “stuck points” have to do with marketing.

You know…

  • target market
  • ideal client
  • how to market,
  • where do I find clients

These all lump together because it’s all about marketing.

First off you need to define WHO you want to work with.

Not everyone is your client. And saying that entrepreneurs or solopreneurs are your target market is way too broad.

You really need to focus on targeting a specific profession or industry. What do I mean by that? For example coaching is an industry. But you can even go further and say, business coach, life coach, health coach, finance or money coach (down to a specific profession).

Defining a target market and an ideal client is what helps you find + get clients.

A target market is simply who you want to work with. So, start by narrowing it down to an industry or profession.

Your ideal client also known as a dream client – these are the people who you love working with. They have the traits that you enjoy working with.

They’re not somebody, for instance, who is a micromanager. I don’t work well with micro managers or what I call a firefighter, which is somebody whose hair is always on fire and everything’s urgent and was supposed to be done yesterday. Those types of clients are not ideal for me because I don’t work well with them.

That’s what an ideal client is. You start with your target market, industry, or profession, and then you define it down into the traits that you’re looking to work with. Because, not everybody in that industry or profession will be right for you.

The big question now is where to find clients.

First remember, marketing is nothing more than sharing. But it’s NOT selling.

Marketing and selling are two different things. Marketing is awareness. Selling is selling.

When it comes to marketing, you want to create great content to get your markets attention.

It’s a great way to show people you actually know what you’re talking about. It’s all about sharing you’re brilliance!

Show them you know what you’re talking about.  Blog, create a checklist to give away as a freebie, share your expertise on social media, or create how-to videos or audios. There are so many different ways to share your expertise – go with what is most comfortable to you.

This is the best way to get your market to Know, Like and Trust you.

They need to get to know you, to like you, and to trust you before they’re going to sign on the dotted line.

Second to last are skills.

First I will say that the VA Industry is changing. Clients want more than admin skills.

They can do their own admin work but they can’t create systems, or use the technology that runs + automates their business.

Clients want help with systems + technology.

Now, I’m not saying that admin skills aren’t important, they’re just not an in-demand skill anymore.

Systems and technology are the tools that clients want and need. Plus they pay on average twice as admin based skills.

To learn in-demand skills and specialize check out my Techie VA Training Vault for 7 days for only $1.00. https://www.technicalvirtualassistant.com/join

Last but not least, is not having a plan.

Many people decide they want to start a VA business but don’t have any idea where to start or what to do.

My advice is create a plan first.

A plan can help keep the overwhelm in check and keep you focused so you can leave your soul sucking job or whatever your dream is.

Start with simply creating a schedule of when you’re going to do your research and stick to it.

If you’re looking for a done for you plan that walks you through all the steps to setting up and launching a VA business be sure to check out my VA Action Plan Workbook. To learn more go to https://www.iwanttobeavirtualassistant.com/sale.

That’s it! Thank you for reading.

These are the key stuck points that I see in my Facebook + LinkedIn groups and I thought I’d just take a moment to share these in case you are someone who is currently stuck. I hope you find it helpful!

I’d love to know if you found this information helpful – please share below as a comment.

All comments + questions are welcome.

If you know someone who might benefit from this information, please share. You can use the share buttons below the post.

If you’re looking for more details on how to start or scale your VA business including how to specialize by learning in-demand skills, join my FREE VA Training Vault. You’ll get instant access to how-to video training for Virtual Assistants that want to create a successful business.

Enjoy your day – Susan

We All Struggled When Starting Our VA Journey

We All Struggled When Starting Our VA Journey

 

You’re Not Alone – We All Struggled When Starting Our Virtual Assistant Journey

There are so many misconceptions on the ways to build a successful Virtual Assistant business!

Lately, I’ve seen several people who are struggling to start their business, juggle their family and business, and maybe even a job.

They’re struggling to get clients or understand marketing + sales.

And… they’re getting really discouraged when it comes to building a Virtual Assistant business.

I know there’s a lot of stuff out there floating around on the Internet that talks about, hey, you know what, you can start your VA business from your pajamas, using only your phone, in just 30 days!

Sounds too good to be true doesn’t it??

Well, I hate to break it to you, but it is.

First of all, you need more than a phone to be successful. You can certainly do it in your pajamas, but you really need more than 30 days, or a weekend, to set up a successful business.

Sure, you could set up a business in a weekend, but will it be successful?

And… why waste time and energy, if you’re going to build a business, why not do it right?

Why not make it so it’s successful for the long run?

Instead of throwing something together with spit and band-aids over the weekend and then having to go back and duct tape any holes, spend time on building a solid foundation that will support the business + lifestyle you crave.

You really want to make sure that you understand and are clear on what it takes to be successful.

I also want you to know that every one of us, everybody that you see on the Internet, no matter what type of service they’re offering, or what business they’re in, we all started at ZERO.

We all started with NO experience.

A lot of us started with ZERO business experience.

I was an employee my entire life, so I didn’t have any idea how to run a business.

Many of us don’t have a college education.

We don’t have any business skills, or the skills you need to run a business.

Maybe we have skills from being a professional, but we don’t know how to use those skills in a business capacity.

We don’t have experience as a Virtual Assistant. I’d never been a VA before.

This is all NEW to most of us when were starting out.

And then, we have to learn how to juggle everything that’s happening.

I had a full time job with an infant at home. I had to figure out how to juggle my life, and my family, and my job in order to build my business.

It took time – I had to learn how to create a schedule that worked for me.

So my point is, you need to realize this is not a get rich quick scheme. It takes time to build a successful business. It’s hard work. It really is.

But, think of it this way, you’re going to put the most time and effort into that first year of building your business because you want to build a solid foundation for your business to grow and flourish.

You need to put in the time and effort.

It’s not easy to do.

In order to get through the tough times ahead – you really have to focus on WHY you’re doing this.

What’s the reason behind you building a VA business, or whatever type of business you’re building?

For me, if you’ve read any of my blogs, or watched my videos, or listened to my podcast, you know that FREEDOM is my word.

Freedom in every sense of the word.

Even 10 years ago, freedom was what I was trying to achieve – to get out of my soul sucking job. I wanted my freedom!

It’s still my word today!

It’s my WHY.

Because you are going to have a bad day, a bad month, a bad week. And, if you learn how to focus on the dream and not the drama, it’s going to help you succeed.

This is a marathon, not a sprint.

It’s not who can build their business the fastest. It’s not a competition. I could build a business in two hours, but that doesn’t mean it will be successful.

There’s a lot of growth that goes into building a business, a lot of self-growth.

Because you are the business, if you have self-limiting beliefs, you’re going to bump up against them and you’re going to have to fix them. Self-limiting beliefs will STOP you in your tracks.

It is going to take time for you to figure out what services you want to offer.

Who do you want to help? Who is your dream client? What do they look like?

All this stuff takes time.

If you don’t do the work – you’re going to have a tough road.

Some people fly right through this and they know right from the beginning, they’re the exception, not the rule.

It took me a long time and a lot of iterations to really figure out what it was that I wanted to be when I grew up.

Who I wanted to help, how I wanted to help them. This information is key to being successful and it can take time to figure it all out.

Realize your business is not static. It doesn’t stay the same. It’s going to grow and change as you grow and change. Lean into it!

I think the biggest thing is you need to realize that we all started at ground zero, we started with no clients, no experience.

You can learn what you need to be successful.

So if you don’t know your WHY – figure it out. Why do you want to do this?

And then remember, take care of yourself because you are your business. Be kind, be realistic in the journey that you’re on. Understand it takes time.

Regardless of all the noise you see out there on social media, you can’t buy into it because you don’t know what their backstory is. They may be telling you it took them 30 days, but it may have taken them 30 months.

That’s a sales pitch.

That’s a marketing ploy.

There are people that can do that, but they’re the exception, not the rule.

It took me 18 months – 18 months to be able to build a successful + sustainable business to where I could leave my soul-sucking job.

It was NOT an overnight or weekend thing.

The best thing I can tell you if you’re like me if you’re a recovering perfectionist and an over-thinker, is focus on Imperfect Action.

Do something every day to move yourself closer to your dream.

Focus on the dreams, not the drama.

Realize you’re going to make mistakes. It’s how you respond to the mistakes that really makes the difference. Do you get up, dust yourself off and go on? Because you should, mistakes are not death in a business. It means you’re trying.

You’re going to bump up against obstacles. How do you handle that? Some obstacles you can go around or under or over, some you have to go through. Don’t give up.

You need to understand it’s going to be bumpy.

It’s going to be ugly.

You’re going to have bad days, bad months.

How do you deal with it?

You have to know WHY you want to do this and understand that it’s all part of the journey. Nobody has it easy, regardless of what they may tell you, because they probably had plenty of bumps along the road.

So remember, take care of yourself, be realistic.

Get a plan together. How are you going to do this?

Most of us, when we started, had no idea how we were going to build a business. I know I didn’t. I kind of formulated a plan over time.

That’s why I came up with my Getting Started System, and my Action Plan, that actually goes through step by step, every step that you need to do to build a successful + sustainable business on your own time, on your own schedule. It’s basically a long to-do list, that’s why it’s called an Action Plan.

Have a plan of how you’re going to do this and then get started.

Be realistic in the goals that you set and you will get there.

But most of all, be kind to yourself.

Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint, and we all started at level zero when we started our VA business.

You’ve got this!

Focus on the dream NOT the drama!

So… what are you going to do next, I’d love to know!

All comments + questions are welcome.

I’d love to hear from you.

If you prefer to watch instead of read here’s the link to the YouTube video – https://youtu.be/JhdJ2vcxRhs

If you know someone who might benefit from this information, please share. You can use the share buttons below the post.

HERE ARE A FEW RELATED BLOG POSTS THAT MIGHT BE OF INTEREST:

  1. Skills To Be a Professionsl Virtual Assistant
  2. 4 Ways to Scale Your Virtual Assistant Business
  3. Fake It Until You Make It Strategy

If you’re looking for more details on how to start or scale your VA business including how to specialize by learning in-demand skills, join my FREE VA Training Vault. You’ll get instant access to how-to video training for Virtual Assistants that want to create a successful business.

Don’t forget to leave a comment if you found this information useful – I’d love to hear from you!

How I Started My VA Business Working a Full Time Job

How I Started My VA Business Working a Full Time Job

I’m sharing my story on how I started my VA business on the side while working full time with an infant at home!

If I can do it – so can you!

I wanted to share a little bit of my backstory for those of you who may not be familiar with me or don’t know my story.

Like many of you, I started my business while I was working full-time in Corporate America.

The catalyst of change for me was when I had a late in life baby who was very unexpected but a blessing all rolled up into one.

I worked as an IT Project Manager for a large fortune 500 company and was lucky enough to have 90 days off when Sam was born.

Now before I left on leave, I handed over the project that I had been working on for the past year – one that I had resurrected from near death. The project was flourshing when I handed it off to a very capable colleague to manage while I was gone.

Fast forward 90 days when I was back at work.

It took about a week to get settled back into my old routine before I was ready to take back my project.

So, I reached out to my manager and asked “When can we have a turnover meeting so I can get my project back?”

At first, I didn’t get a straight answer or was delayed in getting any answer at all.

After another week of delays + excuses I finally said, “Well, what’s the deal? Am I going to get the project back or not?”

I was finally told I would not be getting it back and didn’t get a reason as to why.

I asked why they came to this decision but it was ignored.

I did hear through the rumor mill that it was because I had a newborn at home and the powers that be figured I wouldn’t be as available or invested as I was before.

I thought, well, that’s crap.

I’d always been available.

I had worked long and hard to fix this project that was given to me broken and I brought it back to life.

What do they mean I wouldn’t be available or invested???

This wasn’t my first child.

I had always done great work for them before and the more I thought about this situation, the madder I got.

In fact, I got really angry.

I had busted my butt for this company and this was the thanks I got.

Seriously?

I didn’t get my project back and they decided that I would not be as available as I was before because I had a newborn at home.

That was really the straw that broke the camels back so to speak.

At that point I thought, you know what? I’m going to take my talents elsewhere.

As a project manager, I had worked for other companies from home in the past. Companies like Discover Card and American Express. But I realized, I didn’t want to do that anymore. I didn’t want to work for anybody else ever again.

I didn’t want to deal with this crap.  The gossip, the backstabbing, the politics, the commute all of the “stuff” that goes with being an employee. I just wanted to be rid of all of it!

I got tired of always having to ask permission for everything.

It had come to the point where my job became “soul sucking“.

Can you relate?

With a job, you’re kind of boxed in.

Most of the time you don’t know what your true talents are because you’re doing the same stuff day to day.

You’re told what to do, when to do it, how to do it… blah blah blah.

It’s like you’re being robbed of your creativity!

On top of that you may feel unappreciated, unheard and at times taken advantage of – like I was.

That’s no way to live a life – especially since we spend up to 40 hours per week at WORK!

No thank you – no more.

I wanted my freedom.

I wanted freedom in every sense of the word.

In fact my word is Freedom. It was back then and it still is today.

I was so tired of making somebody else money. I wanted to make money for ME without all the crap that comes with the job.

Plus, I wanted the flexibility to be home for my children.

I hated it to call in sick because my son was sick.

I remember the time he had the chickenpox and we couldn’t go to school for a week. He only had 4 little chickenpox but he wasn’t allowed back in school until they were all gone. I had to call in sick for a week. And in the back of my mind I was worried about being fired because I wasn’t at work. I managed to convince them to let me work from home during that time but it as a tough sell!

In what world is it okay to put your job in front of your family?

The time had come for me to quit my soul sucking job… but first I had to figure out what I was going to do to make a living.

So I set out to Google, our friend Google, what can I do from home.

From my Google search I stumbled on the VA Industry and I thought “hey I can do this!

But then I thought… wait a minute I don’t have any experience as a VA or a college education.

I went to work for my dad at 17 and never looked back.

When it came time for college I passed since I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up.

I was lucky and given a lot of opportunity to move up the corporate ladder and make great money as I went along without a college education so I saw no need to get one.

Bottom line is I didn’t have any special education or training.

I just knew that this “VA” thing was my ticket out of the cube farm.

But.. I didn’t even know what a VA did or how to get started.

Then I thought, well how AM I going to do this?

I’ve always been an employee – I have no idea how to be a business owner.

Plus… what do I need to know to become a VA?

I started by researching everything I could find about the VA Industry and being a Virtual Assistant.

Now realize, 10 years ago when I started my business, there was very limited information on all things VA. Not to mention that all the books + training I bought were all focused on being an Admin.

I didn’t want to be an Admin. I hadn’t been an Admin in 20 years.

I knew I had skills that I could use, but not as an admin.

So, that was my first stumbling block. I thought, well, I don’t want to go back and be an admin, no offense to admins, but that’s not what I wanted to do.

As I started to do more research, I realized that it’s just a perception.

The VA industry is NOT admin specific, it’s incredibly diverse.

There are so many different skill sets in this industry!

I quickly realized that I had skills that are transferrable! Woo Hoo!

I have Project Management skills, plus I’m a techie!

And… I can learn!!

One of the benefits of having a job when you’re starting your business is that you have money that you can spend to learn how to setup a business + the skills clients want.

I bought training and I bought books. Some were good – most were crap.

But… once again they were focused on offering administrative services as a VA and that is NOT what I wanted to do.

So, I started to do more research into skills and I realized I don’t have the skills that a lot of clients want, but I had the money to be able to invest in training – if I can find it!

Now I know not everybody has $$ to invest, but you could still dive into YouTube. I did especially for techie stuff.  YouTube became my best friend! I saw requests for help with WordPress, and I’m like, what’s a WordPress? And I’m a techie! I used to build websites with HTML, but I’d never heard of WordPress before. So, I used YouTube as a way to find what I needed.

The more research I did, the more excited I got.

I knew this was my ticket out of my soul sucking job!!

But then the problem was how am I going to do this when I have a 40 plus hour job, plus a two hour commute every day and an infant at home. Not to mention my nine year old son, fur babies and husband.

How am I going to make this work?

How am I going to find the time to build a business when I’m working all the time and spending time with my family?

The answer was obvious –  I knew I’d have to create a schedule. One that I could use to help me learn the skills I needed and setup my business.

I also wanted to focus on offering the types of skills that weren’t going to keep me in front of my computer at specific times of the day. Many of the administrative skills like, email management or customer service, you need to be in front of a computer or your phone certain hours of the day. I knew I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to be able to do the work around my own schedule and focus on delivering it on time.

So… I made the choice to focus on techie skills. The kind of services that didn’t keep me in front of my computer all the time.

That way I didn’t have to talk about “business hours” I could just talk deadlines.

Now the time had come to set up the business!

First off, I noticed a lack of legitimate training around setting up the business side of things. Most of it was just focused on figuring out what services you’re offering then going out and finding clients.

And to be honest… that just didn’t feel right to me.

I’m a systems junkie!

What about all the systems + processes you need?

After all a business is just a bunch of systems that work together.

How could I have a business if I didn’t have any systems?

Skills are not enough to be successful – you need to have a solid business too!

So… I set out to figure out what systems you needed and how to set them up on my own by trial & error.

It’s not a path I recommend because it takes a long time + all the hiccups along the way.

But at the time I really didn’t have a choice.

Ok… back to my schedule. Now I had to figure out when I had the time to do all of this!

I created a simple plan and stuck to it by working when my kids were asleep.

I gave up TV and put my energy into setting up my business.

I would get up 2 hours early every day, and I’m not a morning person… I would get up two hours early in the morning and then work late into the night after my kiddos were in bed. I worked on Saturdays and I took Sundays off because I realized very quickly, if you work all the time you’re going to burn out.

Having a schedule is so, so key to building your business and getting out of your soul sucking job.

It took me 18 months of work before I could escape my soul sucking job.

Why you may be thinking… because I had to replace a 6-figure income FIRST.

It’s possible to do it faster… it all depends on how much you need to make to replace the money you’re making at your JOB.

Everyone is different – it’s not a one size fits all answer here.

And… realize that the VA Industry is not cookie cutter!

Sorry… I digress

Remember, I had to figure it out as I went along and made lots of mistakes along the way. That is definitely not the fast track for building a business.

Don’t jump ship too early – know how much you need to earn before you quit your job.  Otherwise, you’ll struggle for money and who wants to do that!

Once I was home full time there were still some learning curves since I’d never been my own boss before. I’d always been an employee, which means I was used to being given direction or asking for permission.  It’s a whole different world when you have your own business!

I ran my VA business – Clever Collaborations for four years before I started to get restless.

You see, it was about this time that people were coming to me and asking “How did you do it?”

They wanted to know how I built my business, how I got clients, how I marketed my services and everything else I did to be successful.

This got me thinking that maybe this was my calling – to help others build a successful VA business around the lifestyle they crave.

And that my friends is how The Techie Mentor was born in 2014!

I was a computer trainer in a previous life so teaching is second nature to me and something I love to do. This will date me, but I used to teach DOS, Windows, Lotus and WordPerfect!

So… there you have it my backstory!

If you’re somebody who is interested in escaping the cube farm and starting a VA Business you can do it too!

I’m living proof that someone with ZERO business skills, NO college education and NO experience as an entrepreneur built a successful VA business from scratch!!

What’s stopping you?

Oh… and one more thing. Building a business takes time – it’s not something you can do in 30 days regardless of what other people are selling you.

This is not something you do in a weekend – it takes time + commitment.

Building a business, a successful business, takes time. But if you want to build it once then build it the right way, then you don’t have to worry about it anymore. You can move onto having the freedom and flexibility that you want.

Hopefully sharing my story has given some of you who are wondering if this is for you and if it’s doable, some hope.

Thank you for reading my story!

All comments + questions are welcome.

I’d love to hear from you.

If you prefer, to watch instead of read – click here to check out my YouTube video discussing my story.

If you know someone who might benefit from this information, please share. You can use the share buttons below the post.

HERE ARE A FEW RELATED BLOG POSTS THAT MIGHT BE OF INTEREST:

  1. What Skills Are Needed To Be A Virtual Assistant
  2. Setting Up A Virtual Assistant Business
  3. Your Virtual Assistant Business Plan
  4. Virtual Assistant is NOT a Title

If you’re looking for more details on how to start or scale your VA business including how to specialize by learning in-demand skills, join my FREE VA Training Vault. You’ll get instant access to how-to video training for Virtual Assistants that want to create a successful business.s.

Don’t forget to leave a comment if you found this information useful – I’d love to hear from you!

Stay Focused when Life Gets in the Way

Stay Focused when Life Gets in the Way

Staying Focused

I don’t know about you, but the first quarter of 2018 has been a challenge for me.

Why?

Because life got in the way of my business.

Has this happened to you?

Between a lingering illness and family issues, my first quarter goals went unachieved and are now second-quarter goals.

I have to admit I was angry, disappointed and discouraged… but I know it’s all part of the journey on the path to achieving my dreams.

It’s easy to get discouraged when you look at everything you planned to do and got ZERO accomplished, and you have to keep pushing out your deadlines. Not fun!

But… it’s important to stay the course. Every step forward is a step closer to your dreams.

So, you may have a misstep or even a back step but don’t let it stop you. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get back on the horse. For only you can make your dreams a reality.

Stop letting life get in the way. Try a few of these helpful tips:

  1. Look at how far you’ve already come. You wouldn’t have made it this far if you let life stop you.
  2. If you have a Success Jar, read what you’ve accomplished. If you don’t have one – create one. Here is a blog post all about them.
  3. Stop beating yourself up because you’re not where you “should” be yet.
  4. Don’t compare yourself to others or where they are in their journey. They have their path and you have yours.
  5. Never stop trying. You’re not alone in your struggle – everyone has to deal with distractions.
  6. Your thoughts determine how you feel. If you think you’re overwhelmed, you will feel it. Work on changing your thoughts.
  7. Ask yourself “What’s the alternative?” In other words, what will I do if I stop trying? Will I achieve my dreams? As Jiminy Cricket said, “Let your conscience be your guide.”
  8. Unplug for a day or two. Sometimes getting away from it all is the best cure.
  9. And remember… you’re important; without you, there is no business. Take care of yourself!

How do you handle life’s hiccups?

I’d love to hear your comments. Please take a moment to leave me a comment and share your thoughts.

Please share if you know someone who might benefit from this information. The share buttons are below the post.

If you’re looking for more details on how to start or scale your VA business including how to specialize by learning in-demand skills, join my FREE VA Training Vault. You’ll get instant access to how-to video training for Virtual Assistants that want to create a successful business.

Thanks for reading!

Enjoy your day – Susan

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