Getting Started as a Virtual Assistant

4 Big Mistakes Virtual Assistants Make (And How to Fix Them)

Virtual assistants are in demand now more than ever – small business owners need us to help them run their businesses.

Freshbooks states that 66% of small businesses will outsource services to other small businesses.

Naturally this is a good statistic for Virtual Assistants! We know we are in demand. We know that there are many clients out there that want to work with us. And we definitely want to work with those clients.

But because a lot of Virtual Assistants make mistakes when they begin working with clients, far too many of them don’t stay in business long term.

I want to talk about eight of the big mistakes VAs make – in this post I’ll start with 4!

I spend a lot of time talking to (and listening to) Virtual Assistants every day.

There are a lot of new VAs in the conversations, naturally, and there are a lot of ‘newbie’ questions. That’s perfectly normal.

Of course people who are starting out are looking to our VA groups and veterans for the advice they need to start their own VA business.

But, there are also many, many VAs in these groups who would not consider themselves to be newbies, but they are still making mistakes that are easily fixable!

“Clients want to know what you can do for them, and how much it will cost them. So tell them!” – Tracey D’Aviero

I say this often and it’s the truth.

All your clients want to know if how you can help them, and how much they will pay. It’s your job to help them with these two things.

That’s why fixing these mistakes is so important – because it will help you get the clients you so desperately are seeking.

Here are the biggest mistakes I see:

They say yes to every client, no matter what they need help with.

To be an amazing VA, you need to do what you do best. Offer services that clients need that you know how to do. Saying yes to whatever a client needs help with means that you are adopting an employee mentality. Just because a client needs helps with this or that, doesn’t mean that you have to help them.

What to do: Stick with what you know. Seek out clients who need the services that you shine at providing, and wow them!   

They work for free, or they barter.

Confidence is everything when you are trying to find great VA clients. And yet it can be hard to come by if you haven’t had great luck with getting clients yet. VAs who discount their rates, work for free, or barter – often are doing so because of a lack of confidence in their ability to help clients. But you have so much admin experience. You are more than qualified. When a client asks about money, it’s not always because they are looking for a deal – get comfortable with talking about money in your VA business.

What to do: Find the clients who need the services that you know how to provide. Focus on your expertise, and ask them what their budget is. Work within that budget and you don’t have to discount or barter.  

They don’t set their rates properly.

Another big mistake VAs make is not actually setting their rates properly. You can’t pick a number out of thin air, or just charge what others are charging. If you aren’t sure why you are charging what you are, that will come through to your clients – and they may question your expertise. Remember that every minute you work for a client, they are paying for. The client is paying for that.

What to do: Do that math to figure out your rates. When you do that, you will know precisely why you are charging what you are, and you will be much more confident when speaking with clients, and when billing them.

They make the client figure out if they can help them.

Showcasing your expertise is one of the best things you can learn to do as a VA. Having conversations with clients is the next best. Making the client go here or there to figure out if you can help them is another mistake VAs make. Sales conversations make a lot of VAs nervous, so they avoid them. But the more you do them, the easier they get – and they are the fastest way to get new clients!

What to do: Don’t make the client figure it out – book a meeting with them and have a conversation to discuss their needs directly. Ask questions and if you can help, then tell them exactly how.

Next time, we’ll cover the other four big mistakes VAs make!

If you are making any of these mistakes, make a simple shift in what you are doing and you can explode your VA business.

All the Virtual Assistants I know get started with the intention of staying in business long-term, and it’s easier to do so when you look after the little things like these mistakes.

** I’ve come up with 4 more, if you still want some! Find them here.

What you should do next:

Join CAVA: Canadian Association of Virtual Assistants

If you need help with getting your VA business on track, start to talk to the people who really appreciate your value and your expertise … right here in Canada. If you aren’t yet a member of CAVA, join our amazing community today.

We provide community, visibility, resources, connections, training, client opportunities and so much more.

Check out our full list of benefits here:

And if you are a business owner looking for amazing Virtual Assistant support for your business, visit our member directory, reach out to our Featured Members, or post your RFP for me – you can do all of that right here:

About the Author: Tracey D’Aviero is a Virtual Assistant Coach, Trainer, Speaker and Author. After operating a busy VA business of her own since 1996, Tracey began teaching others to run their VA businesses in 2010 through Your VA Mentor. She also owns CAVA VA association and now teaches and coaches VAs exclusively. She has a vast amount of experience working in many different industries which helps her to offer her students and coaching clients a unique perspective and sound advice. She is a proud advocate of the Virtual Assistant industry. Learn more about Tracey’s journey in the VA industry here.

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