As I reflect back at my decision to fly solo and open my own VA business, I am both humbled and blessed. I have met some interesting clients, both current and past, as well as some great networking colleagues. I have been blessed with a wonderful client whose word of mouth has been nothing but astonishing. I have also been humbled by the knowledge that I don’t know everything and that there will always be someone more talented than I. Out of that knowledge came the realization of where I fit in, in this industry…my niche, so to speak. So for that, I am truly grateful. Along the way there were and still are, a few key points I try to remember:
- Family is first – after all, this was why I started my own business. I wanted to be more accessible for my children. Why did you start yours?
- Be flexible – Yes, you now have clients and deadlines to be responsible for, but you work from home now. There will inevitably be unexpected emergencies both of a professional and personal nature that you just can’t prepare for. All you can do is roll with the punches and know there is always another day. Don’t sweat the small stuff!
- Balance is key – Get out those calendars! How else do you plan on keeping everything straight? You may be able to get away with remembering everything for a little while, but eventually, as your business grows and you obtain more clients, you’ll need one common place to add all deadlines, appointments, etc. You might as well get into the habit now.
- There is always room for improvement – Webinars, trainings, etc. There is an abundance of resources online, self-help books to read or industry knowledge to tap into for your self-improvement. Utilize them all. You need to stay current and knowledgeable in your field if you want to continue to achieve success.
- You can’t be everything to everyone – The sooner you realize this, the clearer your head and schedule will be. Know your limits and focus on your strengths to grow your business and yourself as an individual.
- Ask for help – Again, know your limits. Know when a project is over your head and have the common sense to connect with some of your networking pals in the same industry that may be able to help either to complete the project on your behalf or to give you strategies to completing the project yourself.
- Networking is a good thing – I don’t pretend to know everything there is to know about networking or how to go about doing it. However, I have managed to meet a few good people this way and have made great connections for the future. Just like any physical relationship, you need to nurture these relationships as well. They could be your allies in the near future!
- Be open to suggestions – Who knows where the future will lead your business. The more open-minded you are the more positive energy you draw towards you. Who knows, you may find yourself partnering with other VA’s to broaden each other’s businesses.
- Doing pro-bono work is not necessarily a bad thing – What a great way to keep your skills sharp and get your name out there. By doing a few free projects for a client, and doing them well, you could be solidifying yourself for future work not only from the current client, but others they may suggest your company to.
- Word of mouth is a powerful tool – I wouldn’t be in the position that I am now, if it wasn’t for word of mouth. So, I try to pay it forward whenever I can.
I’m no expert, as I still have much further to go, and I’m certainly not saying to follow my particular key points, but I AM challenging you to come up with your own. See where they take you and see what you have learned. You’ll be pretty amazed!