Getting Started as a Virtual Assistant

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

Last time we talked about 4 big mistakes that VAs make when they are getting started or trying to get clients.

I have 4 more for you!

When I started the list, I realized that there was too much for just one sitting, so I broke it up to make it more manageable for you.

And honestly, there are probably even more mistakes I could list but as much as I want to help you correct these mistakes, I prefer to balance the negative slant that a lot of people take when teaching or coaching.

I hope you find the next four mistakes (and their fixes) helpful:

Finding a client, then setting up their VA business

This is super common and it’s a big mistake. We want to make a good impression on our clients from the start – so it’s really smart to have everything you need ready to go before you agree to work with anyone.

But yet I see lots of posts in the VA groups ‘I got my first client! Who’s got a contract I can use?’ or ‘A client wants me to do their social media. How do I charge properly for that?’. You aren’t ready to work with clients if you don’t have these things in place already.

What to do: Preparing your paperwork, your rates, your service offerings and your work flows is the best way to get your business off to the right start. Yes, there may be a client come along faster than you think, but that’s precisely why you have to focus on the setup part before you even start having conversations with clients (especially your rates!!!). The good news is you can do this part very quickly, and come off as much more professional than a VA who doesn’t.

Learning on the client’s dime

Most VAs I know are voracious learners, myself included! Many of us thrive when we are learning, and it can be hard to pass up a training. We also don’t very often want to say no to a client when they ask us to do something, even if we don’t know how to do it – I can learn that!

But this can land you in a tough spot when you spend a lot of time learning something – or troubleshooting it when things don’t go easily. And then the inevitable question arises – should I charge the client to learn this? The short answer is yes, if your client needs you to learn it, it is billable to them. But the longer conversation is, you don’t need to do whatever the client asks you to do – and yet so many VAs do.

What to do: It’s your VA business. You need to focus on what you know how to do best. If you don’t offer a service the client needs,you don’t need to do it. Especially if it’s something that you have to spend time learning. This is even more important if you are just getting started as a VA. Offering services that you are an expert in is the best way to build a VA business where you are in demand for what you love to do.

Subbing out to other VAs too soon

Another topic I hear come up often is subcontracting. When a client or a prospect needs tasks done that you don’t do, some VAs move right into finding a ‘sub’ to do them. This is all kinds of wrong, especially when you are just getting started with your VA business.

It’s perfectly okay to tell a client that you don’t offer the services they need. You should be connecting with clients who need YOU – you don’t need to be helping clients who don’t need your services by finding others to do them. Listen, subcontractors are great – but there is a right way (and a right time) to do this – if you want lots more information about subcontracting, be sure to check out my podcast episode.

What to do: Plan to bring in subs when your business is booked out, and not a minute before. Bringing team members into your business needs to be well thought out and planned. You need to have enough revenue to support others in your VA business. Your clients need to be informed. Your rates have to be set properly. You should have processes in place for work to be done. And more. Subcontracting can be great when you are prepared, but it’s never great on the fly.

Thinking they are a VA, but they are not (yet)

This probably sounds harsh, but I have so many conversations with VAs who tell me they are a VA but they have been looking for clients for (insert length of time here). Often it is months, or even a year, that they have been trying to get clients, but still haven’t got one. Unfortunately I hate to say it, but until you actually get a client, you aren’t a VA. You are only ‘in’ business when you have revenue. But the great news is that you can get a client soooo easily! If you haven’t yet, you just need to change where you are looking.

What to do: Sit down and really come up with a strategy to find clients. If you don’t have any clients yet, I’m guessing you don’t have a strategy – or at least not one that works for you. Figure out what you are doing wrong. Get support and advice if you don’t know what that is – then quickly implement the strategy. I can guarantee you that you can get a client this month if you just change your tactics!

Okay that’s enough about mistakes, right?

Like I said, I hate to ever be negative, because I don’t think it’s always helpful – but it is really important to highlight some of the things we might not even know we are doing wrong, so that we can offer advice on how to fix them.

My goal is to help you get great clients – to run an amazing VA business that you love and that provides you with the lifestyle that you want to live. How does THAT sound?

It starts with just fixing a few things that you may be doing wrong.

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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