Can anyone be a Virtual Assistant or an Online Business Manager?
Yes and no. Yes, pretty much anyone can throw together a website and let the world know that they are a virtual assistant or online business manager. But in reality, not everyone is cut out for this. That's why a lot of people start their Virtual Assistant business and then quit, sometimes, sadly, on their clients also without sufficient notice. There are entrepreneurs out there who are hesitant to hire a virtual assistant because they have had some disappear on them before.
Being a Virtual Assistant on your own means you are a small business owner, an entrepreneur. And simply put, not everyone can be one successfully. It doesn’t only have to do with what you already know, but also how well you can run a business. To be a Virtual Assistant on your own, and actually make a decent living, there are some traits you must already have before you even get started:
Driven and passionate
Let’s examine these traits and why they are important one by one.
Want to work from home? Don’t a lot of people? Yet, not too many do or can. Are you disciplined enough to get up, get dressed, and be at your computer and ready to work daily on time? Are you disciplined enough to take lunches as you schedule them and get all of the things on your checklist accomplished? A lot of people, even friends, tell me they want to know how I do this so they can work from home also. The thing is most of the time, the reason why they are asking me is because they have ideas in their head that because I work from home I must spend my day playing on Facebook or watching Netflix in my PJs. Uh…no. Not at all. And if your idea of working from home is slacking off, then you need to look elsewhere because you won’t make a living.
Honestly ask yourself, will you be easily distracted by the freedom of working at home? Is the ability to check your social media, or turn on the t.v., or do other things around the house going to distract you from getting your work done? If so, you won’t make a living doing this.
Clients hand over a lot of their business processes to you. They rely on you to do your part to keep everything running smoothly. Are you the type to say you’re going to do something and then back out? Do you find yourself often making excuses to others about why you didn’t do something you said you were going to do? If so, you may have a hard time being a successful Virtual Assistant.
DRIVEN and PASSIONATE
Do you have goals that you are working towards? But not just general-everybody has them goals…I mean SPECIFIC, measurable goals. Like I am going to have 2 clients within my first quarter in business, or I’m going to make $500 in my first 30 days…those are specific goals that will keep you driven. Setting goals, whether financially or family oriented, whatever the case may be, will help you be successful. You can’t, after all, be successful, if you haven’t decided what that looks like to you.
You have to really be working hard towards something to work the late nights and weekends, and all the long hours it takes to get this type of business off the ground. If you aren’t passionate about being an entrepreneur and about running your own business and all of the responsibility that comes with it, then this may not be the industry for you. You might be able to work for other people doing virtual work, but if you have no drive or passion, starting a small business as a Virtual Assistant or Online Business Manager may not be the best for you.
With any new client you work with, or if you are sub-contracted, there will be a learning curve. You have to be teachable. You need to let others guide you and learn in what ways they like the work to be done, even if you think you know it all. As with any job, the learning curve will depend on the job itself, the skills and knowledge you are starting out with, and how quickly you learn things, as well as how clearly the new information is conveyed to you. However, having a great attitude, being humble, knowing how to and what questions to ask, and seeking information from other sources, are all keys to making sure you will be successful.
You will handle delicate information. Clients provide us with logins and passwords and sometimes even access to financial information, among a ton of other stuff that is very confidential to them. It’s not an easy thing for them to do. Put yourself in their shoes. You must prove that you are trustworthy. You have to be discreet and know how to manage and your client’s information with care and treat it as you would like for your own personal information to be treated. Clients depend on you to help make them successful and don’t need to worry about whether you are going to take actions that will be detrimental to them or their business. Adhering to confidentiality agreements is a must to be successful.
Being that this work is done virtually, maintaining open lines of communication is clearly important. The client needs to know that you are accessible to them and you need to communicate how things are going. They need to know that things are moving along as planned and when there are hiccups, they also need to know about these. The client should never have to wonder if something is done or being done.
You have to work double time. You have to work on your client’s business and on yours. You need to make sure you work hard to provide your clients with superb service and also make time to work on your own business ventures. Especially in the beginning, long hours and extra hard work till you get things figured out will mean you will have to be extra hard working. If you tend to be lazy, this is not the job for you. You will have to also be organized to make the best use of your time and to be productive.
A lot of times clients will have an idea of where they want to be but they have no idea how to get there. Unless you have a specific niche that you know absolutely everything about, you will need to be resourceful to get your hands on tools and information that will prepare you to get the client where they are going. Also, learning how to use free, online resources and social media to your advantage and that of your clients will help you be successful. And you will have to know when it's necessary to spend money on programs and other resources. You have to keep learning what’s new and what changes and learn how to solve problems on your own. You can’t always call people to hold your hand through things. Learn to figure it out on your own. Clients pays us to relieve stress and tension and save time, not waste theirs with things we should have been able to resolve on our own. Before you ask, make sure you don’t already have the answer or access to the answer somewhere else. Learn what resources are at your disposal and use them.
I can’t stress this one enough. It never ceases to amaze me how many people actually don’t have common sense. You have to know how to use common sense to prioritize what’s most important for the client when you are faced with more than one choice and have to make the decision on your own. In your own business you have to know when to use common sense. This is not something that is teachable. Either you have it, or you don’t. It’s that simple. No one can teach you every possible scenario you may encounter and you need to know how to use common sense to ensure a successful outcome.
This one kind of goes hand in hand with being resourceful as well. But basically, it’s much more important to be proactive. You can’t see a fire, have an extinguisher in your hand, and just look at your clock waiting to see if someone else will show up to put it out. If you see something that needs to be done and it’s imperative to keeping your business or your client’s business afloat, then by all means do it. I’m of course not referring to just giving away your services to clients for free all the time. What I’m referring to is, if you see it’s something that is very important, even if it’s something you don’t offer, you at least need to take the appropriate steps and alert your client to what is happening.
Clients very much appreciate it when a person they have hired is vested in their business to the extent of foreseeing challenges and opportunities that they may otherwise not seen. This is one of the traits that stands out most to clients and that will get you referrals for working with others.
These are just some of the things that I’ve noticed in my time as a Virtual Assistant and Online Business Manager as extremely important to being successful. To make a living on your own doing this is not as simple as a lot of people assume. Not everyone has all of these traits, which is why I don’t tell all of my friends or the people that ask that they can do this too.
If you want to learn more just contact me directly and I’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have. If you need an Online Business Manager/Virtual Assistant with these traits then you've come to the right place. Contact me to learn what I can do for your business.