The Virtual Assistant mistakes that especially newcomers make is not listening to their gut feeling. Some of the bad advice out there is even taught by so-called experts in their training and coaching programs and they use it in their marketing. So it’s hard to know what to believe or not, just always remember to trust your instincts.
This post is part of The Ultimate VA Success Guide: How To Choose The Right VA Training Course For You. Below you’ll find an overview of all blog posts it includes:
I’ve seen so many pieces of what I call “bad advice” given to new Virtual Assistants; I wanted to write a blog post that covers them all! It’s the good, bad, and ugly things you need to watch out for especially when you’re starting your Virtual Assistant business.
My List Of Virtual Assistant Mistakes You Should Look Out For
#1 – Thinking You Need A Virtual Assitant Certification
There are NO true “Virtual Assistant Certifications”. There is NO Industry-wide approved certification. Now, I know there are a few organizations that offer certifications, just be aware of what they mean by certified.
Ask questions like “What do you need to do to obtain the certification and what do you get from it?“ There’s a big difference between completion and certification.
The bottom line is you don’t need to be certified to be a successful Virtual Assistant and be sure you understand what you’re getting for your investment of both time and money.
If you want to avoid this Virtual Assistant mistake, please read more about it in my blog post, You Don’t Need A Virtual Assistant Certification To Be Successful Or Get More Clients.
#2 – Using Virtual Assistant As Your Title
This is another one of the Virtual Assistant mistakes that can easily be avoided. VA is not a title -it’s an Industry. Like many of us, when we’re first starting out, we become part of the VA industry and we take on the title of Virtual Assistant. Which, is really not a good thing.
You can check out these 2 blog posts to learn more:
- Ditch Your Virtual Assistant Title + Start Communicating How You Help Your Clients Instead!
- Is There An Alternative Title For Virtual Assistant? Yes, Create Your Own – It’s That Simple!
#3 – Believing That VAs Only Do Admin Work
There are many misconceptions about what a VA is and what they are not. One of the biggest Virtual Assistant mistakes I see is that VAs are “admins only“, “employees” or “hourly workers“. You can find out more here: What Is A Virtual Assistant? It’s Not Being An Admin, Employee, Freelancer, EA, Or Secretary!
#4 – Using ‘The Fake It Until You Make Break It’ Strategy
I understand taking an opportunity to learn something new but you need to be honest with your clients. Let them know you’re willing to learn – don’t fake it.
Faking means you’re not really sure what you’re doing. Like saying you know Infusionsoft but you’ve never seen it before. Lack of confidence means you have the skills and know what you’re doing, you’ve just not done it enough to be confident yet.
For example, you’ve taken classes to learn WordPress but you’ve not offered it as a service yet. Do you really want to fake it with your clients? You’re working in their business – their baby. They trust you can do what you say. Remember, it’s your business and reputation on the line.
I’ve written an entire blog post about this one because – unfortunately – some people teach this in their programs. Go to my post Using The ‘Fake It Until You Make It’ Strategy Will Put Your Reputation + Biz On The Line! to deep-dive into this topic.
#5 – Working For Free
Why would you work for free? Your knowledge, skills, and expertise are valuable and you should be paid for them. When you work for free you’re not valuing the work you do or yourself. Not to mention, people who want things for free can turn out to be nightmare clients.
I see lots of people saying work for free for a testimonial, but you’re still giving away your time and knowledge. And they’re worth something, right? Yes, they are! Instead of working for free, offer a discounted rate, a launch special, a flash sale but don’t work for FREE.
Once the work is done ask them for a testimonial. They get a break on the rate and you get paid for your time, expertise, and knowledge. Check out my post Offer A Virtual Assistant Launch Special Instead Of Working For Free Or A Testimonial! to get some ideas and inspiration.
#6 – Thinking It’s Easy + Anyone Can Do It (Being A VA)
Nope, not true. It’s not easy and not everyone is cut out to be a VA. Take the time to really understand what it takes to be successful. Learn all you can about the day in the life of a Virtual Assistant so you can make the right decision for yourself.
Remember it’s a Business NOT a JOB. It’s a tremendous amount of work to set up a business and learn all you need to know about being a business owner and a Virtual Assistant. But it’s worth it for the freedom and flexibility you get. If it’s not for you – that’s OK. Just realize it’s not easy.
#7 – Believing The Myth That You Can Make $5k In Your First 30 Days
No one can guarantee how much you’ll make in any timeframe – period. There are so many factors that go into being successful as a VA. Is it possible? Sure but it’s the exception NOT the rule.
The potential to make this type of money is there but you have to do the work. This is NOT a get-rich-quick scheme. This is a marketing ploy used to get your attention. Listen or read my post How Much Do Virtual Assistants Make? $5K Within The First Month – Don’t Let Them Fool You! to get more information.
#8 – Getting Your First Client, Then Figuring Out What To Do Next
Not a good way to start a successful business relationship. A business is a system. You need to set up your business systems BEFORE you work with clients.
I’ve seen people who followed this advice and ended up posting for help on what to do next in a Facebook Group and guess what? The client that just hired them was in the group and saw the post.
If you’re looking to build a successful business and give your clients a first-class experience, do yourself and them a favor, don’t follow this bad piece of advice. Take the time to have your business set up before you land your first client, read more about it here How To Start Working With Virtual Assistant Clients Without Feeling Like A Fraud: Be Ready!
#9 – Thinking That You Can Start A VA Business With No Money At All
You can definitely bootstrap starting a Virtual Assistant business BUT you will need some money. I’m not talking about thousands of dollars here, you can probably get by for $500 – $1,000. I know that sounds like a ton of money – especially when you don’t have it, but you don’t have to lay it all out at once.
Create a budget for yourself – do the research to find out how much things cost. It all varies based on where you live and the type of services you are offering. Remember you’re building a business NOT a hobby. And you want it to be successful right? Then you’re going to have to invest $$$ into it. Starting any business – is not free.
#10 – Believing You Can Start A VA Business With No Experience At All
I’m willing to bet that about 99% of all Virtual Assistants started with ZERO experience. I was never a VA before nor was I ever a business owner.
You don’t need experience as a Virtual Assistant to start a VA business. But you need to have some experience working one-on-one with clients. If you don’t, it will be a much harder journey.
#11 – Following The Advice To Charge $25 An Hour, If You Don’t Know What To Charge
One of the worst things that I’ve seen in my opinion is advice around if you are confused or don’t know what to charge an hour, start at 25 bucks. I’m sorry, I have a real problem with this, and I may ruffle some feathers, but I really don’t care because this is bad advice.
How can anybody tell you that $25 is what you should charge if you don’t know? How do they know?? You don’t just pull a number out of a hat and say hey “charge this”. If you do you’ll probably be out of business quickly or realize you need to raise your rates to survive.
First of all, you should know your baseline rate because all of us have a different number that we need to earn to be successful. The last thing you want to do is start your business and then struggle for money. There are clients that will pay you what you want or what you need. You just have to believe that!
So please don’t let somebody dictate what your rate is because if someone would’ve said, “Susan, you need to start at $25 an hour,” I’d have gone out of business because my hourly rate was $50 an hour minimum!
If you want to learn more about Pricing and Packaging please read The Ultimate VA Success Guide: How To Calculate Your Virtual Assistant Rates + Create Packages.
#12 – Treating Your Client As If They Were Your Boss
When you become an entrepreneur and online business owner it requires a change in your mindset. Remember that you are the boss; not the employee. You make the decisions – the decisions are not dictated to you, not even by your clients! So don’t look to your clients for direction. Read more in my blog post Do You Still Have An Employee Mindset? If You Think Of Your Clients As Your Boss You Do!
Whew… ok that’s it for now. I hope you found these tips to help you avoid these common Virtual Assistant mistakes valuable. If you’ve got one to share, please do! All comments and questions are welcome.
Thanks for reading – Susan
P.S. If you're ready to invest in yourself and a professional future, please check out my VA Success Training. It's for people that are serious about running a successful Online Business. It includes everything you need from business set-up, getting clients, client management, a WP website, coaching, a supportive community, and so much more.