Updated: Feb 17
As we continue to adjust to our new ways of working, more people are looking to the VA industry for help. See my Guest Blog written for #missjonespa sharing some top tips for becoming a #VA, particularly at this time.
By Chris Hare | Hare We Are
As so many businesses struggle at this time and may not be able to afford full time members of staff, they will be looking to the VA community for help. Therefore, now is a good time to become a VA with the inevitable surge of demand. As seasoned VA’s, we too have had to adapt to a ‘new normal’ and pivot our way of working.
For aspiring VAs and those VAs shifting their positioning during this time of change, there are some helpful tips below. These are within six key themes, including Well-being since it’s a topic on so many minds at the moment.
Motivation, Resilience & Determination
You are in the driving seat and you need to stay engaged and motivated by your business; grow your business with companies that share the same values as yours. Any aspiring VA should look to find companies they can revel in.
Remain resilient as you are working across a range of activities, both for your various clients and for your own business. To succeed don’t give up - the best VA businesses keep going!
You need determination and a strong mindset to run a support service. New VAs should be prepared to be let down by potential prospects. Just because they say ‘no’, doesn’t mean they don’t like your service (or you), it just means not right now or they genuinely need to think about how they could delegate to you.
Linked to the above, have a positive spirit, don’t panic and appear like you have everything under control. If you stay positive the rest will fall into place.
Become more intentional and strategic - you need a big picture mindset for your business. My advice for aspiring VAs is to identify your strengths and try and focus on those to be great in specific areas - you want to be ‘top of mind’.
Think like a business owner - you are providing a service. You are now working with the company - what solutions can your business offer them?
We need to be increasingly collaborative as VAs by sharing knowledge, helping us all to evolve and adapt. We are also fundamental to helping our clients move forward in achieving their goals. Microsoft OneDrive is great for sharing documents and working collaboratively.
Communication with Your Clients
Listen to your clients and communicate effectively. You need to understand the brief, find out the root cause of their problem and become the ‘problem solver’. This establishes trust and fluidity. Again, your aim is to become the ‘go to’ VA.
Communication is key - for example, motivate and inspire your clients as well as support them. Understand your client’s pain-points, particularly at this time of uncertainty. Bring some fresh ideas and bring some added value to the table - perhaps introduce systems such as Slack for team communication - now that many businesses are wfh this can be a particularly useful tool. Your clients and their teams may not be used to working virtually themselves and so may look to you, as a VA, to navigate this new landscape as they see you already as a pro in this area.
Learning & Training
Strive for progress, not perfection - a typical mindset for VAs who choose the lean start-up route. You will make mistakes along the way but learn from them. If you keep learning you are developing and moving forward therefore mistakes aren’t necessarily all that bad!
The role of the VA is perfect for those of us who love learning and want to stay engaged. At this time, there are so many free online webinars including the fantastic lockdown training schedule by Miss Jones. These have included the amazing Tech Hack Series run by The Officials which has been a great source of social media training. Now is the time to advance your training and skills as many trainers are showcasing what they do - it’s a great time to boost your personal development.
Leading on from this, now is a fantastic time to explore new or update your technical skills to increase competency allowing you to complete tasks more efficiently and productivity.
VAs have adapted to change perhaps quicker than EAs in the corporate world (as the latter are often confined by the systems and structures already in place).
By the pure nature of being a VA we have to flex and adapt more quickly, as we are working with multiple clients across a variety of disciplines/industries. Demonstrating that we are utilising current and relevant tech, makes us and our clients more efficient and effective. Some favourite apps include Microsoft Teams, Slack, Trello, Dropbox. Anything that cuts workload is a good thing and by integrating apps can save time for you and your fee-paying clients. Try and embrace tech - get tech savvy!
Our cup needs to be full so we can offer the best version of ourselves to both our family and our clients. During lockdown we are exposing ourselves to so much news which can lead to feeling overwhelmed, anxious or out of control. Try and limit this by consciously choosing, for example only watch the news once a day instead of the rolling news.
Have routines - keeping active promotes happiness so optimise government recommendation for exercise outdoors; whether it’s a walk, run or cycle, following social distancing guidelines of course. Studies have found people who walk to work are less stressed so I routinely walk around the block before starting my day’s work.
Self-care is particularly important at the moment. We clock up countless hours scouring social media, comparing ourselves to others and their ‘perfect worlds’. Do not compare yourself to other VA businesses as we all have a different niche and are at different places on our VA mission. We are all unique and individual - so too are our brands!