How Your Mindset + Fears Will Keep You Stuck – Especially While Starting Your VA Business!

Remember, fear is what stops most people from living their dreams and achieving their full potential.It’s about action not perfection.

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.

If you’d rather listen to this than reading it please check out the podcast below.

Let’s start with what I feel is the most important:

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 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.

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 the 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

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.

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.

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 the word 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.

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.

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 and 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 micromanagers 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 market’s attention.

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

Need help with niching down + marketing? Watch my Free Dream Client Masterclass.

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 and automates their business.

Clients want help with systems and 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.

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 to 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 Biz Action Plan Bundle.

That’s it! Thank you for reading.

These are the key stuck points that I see in my Facebook and 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 and questions are welcome.

If you know someone who might benefit from this information.

Enjoy your day – Susan

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Written by Susan Mershon

Susan Mershon started The Techie Mentor™ in 2013 to teach her no-fluff approach to the strategies and skills that Virtual Assistants need to create, build and grow a profitable and sustainable business.

With a strong base in project management, Susan brings her love of systems and teaching to offer in-depth training and mentoring to new and experienced Virtual Assistants.

She’s taught thousands of Virtual Assistants her proven strategies and systems for getting started, getting clients, and charging premium rates that can earn them 4x more than typical admin skills.

To learn more about her, how she’s different, and what she offers, please go to The Techie Mentor website.

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22 Comments
  1. Kathy Peck

    Great video Susan!!!! I’m definitely going to do the success jar and the vision board. I bought my board for the vision board on the 31st. I’m so glad I found you on LI.

    Kathy

    Reply
    • Susan Mershon

      Thank you Kathy, for taking the time to comment, I appreciate it. Glad you’re here!

      Reply
  2. Leslie

    Hi Susan

    Thank you your first vlog I found it very inspiring, Just what I needed as I try to balance work, family and starting my own VA business. Looking forward to seeing more of these.

    Leslie

    Reply
    • SE Mershon

      Thank you Leslie, I’m so glad. Thank you for taking the time to watch it and to comment here.

      Reply
  3. Tracey

    Hi Susan,

    Way to go! I thought your Vlog was very authentic and informative. You are my hero for facing your fear and doing it anyway. The acronym I think you were looking for regarding fear is: False, Evidence, Appearing, Real.

    Keep pushing all of us past our fears.

    Tracey

    Reply
    • SE Mershon

      Thank you Tracey – and yes that is the one. Thank you for helping me remember and for taking time to comment.

      Reply
  4. Crystal

    Hey Susan!!

    Great job, my friend!! Way to overcome your fear, pretty soon you will be able to do these standing on your head (Wow – now you could make some money with that idea!). Seriously, great information – Bravo.

    Reply
    • SE Mershon

      Thank you Crystal – you’re next!

      Reply
  5. Patricia Marcero

    Yay, Susan. I love that you are leading by example. Since leaving the corporate world last year to start my own business, fear has been a struggle. I think, however, that I am winning. You mentioned listening and acting in pieces as something that wasn’t part of the fear tips. I think that definitely has a place here! For example, the goal to ‘learn social media’ can be very scary when you look at the whole picture. Broken down, however, into small pieces such as ‘create a facebook banner’ it is far less scary and do-able. Fear can paralyze us if we let it. One thing I use to fight fear is to ask myself “What is the worst thing that can happen?”. In the grand scheme of things this usually ends up being pretty insignificant. Then ask yourself “What is the best thing that could happen?” Well, that can be pretty darned amazing, right?

    Reply
    • SE Mershon

      Hi Patricia, great advice, thank you for taking the time to comment. I agree – breaking things into small chunks makes things much less scary.

      Reply
  6. Sandra Sims

    Susan,

    I really enjoyed watching your very first video blog and look forward to see more! Yes, we all have fear and just like you said it does keep you from growing your biz. I also have the video fear and mainly because I prefer to be a behind the scenes kind of gal. So maybe after see you do more of these it will help me to get the courage up to someday do one.

    Thanks again Susan!
    Sandra

    Reply
    • SE Mershon

      Hi Sandra, thank you! You can step our from behind the scenes if I can!

      Reply
  7. Kim Pratt

    Great video on fear… i have updated some of my sticky notes already – i hope i can post them here to show you. You are very inspiring. ..thanks for all you do for our community Susan! UGH..Cant upload my pics for you…

    Reply
    • SE Mershon

      Thank you Kim! I still use stick notes – my computer is covered with them LOL. Send me your pics to [email protected] – I’d love to see them.

      Reply
  8. catrina sneva

    awesome job susan! and brava on breaking through your fear!! as i tell my own client who are about to step on stage to speak, own up to the mistakes and glitches (love the dog interruption) and move on. it gives you a chance to take a deep breath and center but it also shows that you are indeed a human. your authenticity and vulnerability made you accessible and people will listen. much success to you susan, thank you!!

    Reply
    • SE Mershon

      Thank you Catrina for your kind words and for taking the time to watch and respond – much appreciated.

      Reply
  9. Rose Bigham

    I love how you are motivating in the video. And it’s all logical it’s just that we’re not use to thinking that way. My fear is not knowing what to do. I know that I want to be the VA but it’s the “what I don’t know” that
    gives me the fear. The knowing how to get all the legalities in order, the not knowing what technology level I need to be at, the not knowing how to keep my books (eg. do I have to hire an accountant). Yikes!

    Reply
    • SE Mershon

      Why thank Rose, I’m glad you found it helpful. Remember, you can learn everything you need to know but you have to take that first step.

      Reply
  10. Hannie

    Hi Susan, well done! See, you can do it. You’ll get over the ackward feeling of being on camera.

    Just one remark: I can squeeze in watching a video of 5 min. almost every time but 15 min. is a bit long. Which is positive because you have a lot to share, so you could make 3 video’s of 5 min. on fear. Don’t give it all away in one shoot.

    Take care, Hannie

    Reply
    • SE Mershon

      Hi Hannie, thank you! I’m a talker so I know I have to limit myself to one topic otherwise I could go on forever. Great tips!

      Reply
  11. Debbie

    Great 1st vlog. I don’t think you said “um” one time. You didn’t even look nervous. Great tips on pushing past fear. I need it so much in my life now. I am going to try the success jar and vision board. I tend to procrastinate on many things in my life but I know I HAVE to stop the pattern. So many questions I ask myself and then I find weeks have gone by with no progress. Thanks Susan for the advice.

    Reply
    • SE Mershon

      Thank Debbie. I worked hard over the years to get rid of my “ums” and “oks”. Great, I’m glad to hear you are going to try both the Vision Board & Success Jar. The Jar really helps you see the progress you are making no matter how small and be sure to celebrate them! I understand all about questioning yourself, I do it too! Just remember to do it anyway.

      Reply
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