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

Do You Have a Success Jar

Do You Have a Success Jar

A Success Jar

We are always so busy looking ahead that we forget to stop and look at how far we have already come. It is easy to lose sight of what you’ve accomplished when you are concentrating on what is left to be done. One of the best ways I’ve found to remind myself of how far I have come in my entrepreneurial journey is to use a Success Jar.

What is a Success Jar?

It is a simple jar that holds all of your successes, accomplishments and celebrations! It is a great method for fighting your fears and removing self doubts!

Here is how to create your Success Jar!

  • Find a glass or plastic jar. It can be a jelly jar or a pickle jar, small or large.
  • Decorate it with ribbons, bows or anything else your heart desires.
  • Every time you accomplish anything – no matter how small – write it down on a sticky note.
  • Fold up the sticky note and add it to your success jar.
  • Once a week, open your Success Jar and read all you have accomplished.
  • Celebrate.
  • Take the previous week’s sticky notes and add them to a plastic zip bag. At the end of the year, read them all and celebrate how far you have come. You will be amazed!

Remember, becoming a Virtual Assistant is a journey, not a destination. Take time to enjoy it, embrace it and celebrate.

What do you think?

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

PS – What is one of your Successes from this week – please share!

How Do You Manage Your Fear?

How Do You Manage Your Fear?

How many of you have a strategy to manage your fear?

Or, does it manage you?

Remember, fear is what stops most people from living their dreams and achieving their full potential.

So…I pushed past my fear and did my first ever video blog on fear. It’s not the best quality and I need better lighting but I’m putting it out there anyway.

It’s about ACTION not PERFECTION.

My goal is to release one a week on Wednesday’s.

Since I can talk all day this will be easier than writing a blog!

What do you think?

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.

Enjoy your day – Susan

Are You Motivated?

Are You Motivated?

Staying Motivated

I remember when I first started on my Virtual Assistant journey, how hard it was to stay motivated when:

  1. things were not moving fast enough
  2. things were not going my way or
  3. I was stuck in “Analysis Paralysis”

I know this can take the wind out of your sails and even have you doubting yourself.

But Remember… “The Beginning is Always the Hardest”.

The beginning of anything is always the hardest, whether it is starting a business or learning to ride a bike. The key is to keep trying & never give up.

Here are 5 simple tips I use to stay motivated:

  1. Take baby steps – take action. Because every step forward, no matter how small, is one step closer to your dreams. I use the mantra “Action NOT Perfection”.  (I’m a recovering perfectionist and find myself not doing something because “it’s not perfect”.)
  2. Take a break. Sometimes it helps to remove yourself from the situation and do something you enjoy. Take a walk, play with your kids, read a book or anything else that takes your mind off your troubles.
  3. Take a look in your Success Jar. Remind yourself just how far you’ve come. We seem to always be fixated on where we have to go and forget how far we’ve already come. Remember…it is a journey. Click here to read more about creating a Success Jar.
  4. Talk to others. Reach out to other Virtual Assistants – it helps just to share your thoughts and feeling with others. Find a local group of Virtual Assistants or join a VA group on social media. We’ve been there and are glad to help.
  5. Remember your “Why”. We all have a reason “why” we are pursuing a VA business. What is yours? Your reason is one of the most powerful tools you can use to help you stay focused & motivated no matter what challenges you face on your journey. I created a Vision Board so I can look at my “Why” when things get tough – it really helps me stay focused and motivated.

These are a few of the things that I do when life is not going my way. Give one or all of them a try!

What do you think?

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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