3 Things for Virtual Assistants to Consider Before Taking New Training

3 Things for Virtual Assistants to Consider Before Taking New Training

When starting their business, many Virtual Assistants think that taking training for an in-demand service is the first thing they need to do before they can get clients.

But you should always start with what you know first.

Selling yourself to clients is a challenge to a lot of new VAs, and trying to sell a service you actually have no experience in providing to other clients, makes it even more challenging.

Most VAs start their own business because they have administrative experience of some kind. And that’s what you should be starting with.

That doesn’t mean that you should not take new training – it just means there is a good time to do it – and before you start your business usually is not the best time.

Start your business using the skills that you already have – that you have experience providing, either for clients or for a former employer.

Then once you have money coming in, make a plan to shift to a new service offering, or upgrade your current ones.

Professional development is a good idea for any business owner – including VAs.

Putting a plan in place to continuously improve your skills is the best way to go about getting new training.

Here are a few things to consider when thinking about getting new training:

Timing

Timing is one of the most important things to consider when thinking about taking new training.

First, do you have the time to complete the lessons and homework assignments? So many people purchase self study programs and then never complete them. You need to make sure you have the time to complete the course content.

Timing also comes into it when you think about the level of program you are taking. Does it fit with where your business is at the moment? Don’t get ahead of yourself by taking courses that are too far ahead of where you are right now.

Content

What is the content of the program? Whether it’s a paid program or a free webinar, consider whether the content is applicable to your business right now.

While it can be tempting to enroll in a Facebook Ads webinar, if it’s not something you need in your business right now, it’s not a good idea to sign up.

Make sure anything you decide to take part in is a good use of your time in your business. There will always be another social media webinar (and honestly, things change so quickly, that what you learn today will probably change long before you need to use it!)

Implementation

Can you implement what you learn easily? It is very important to implement anything you learn as quickly as you can.

If you don’t, you will lose the momentum and knowledge from the program.

No matter whether you attend a free FB Live or a webinar, find a way to implement at least one thing in your business right away. Or at the very least, get a plan in place to implement it within 30 to 60 days. Otherwise, you are likely wasting your time.

Taking training – free or paid – is a great idea for your VA business.

But you need to be strategic and focused, so that you are using it properly, and managing your time well.

We all have the same amount of time.

Most of your time should be used finding clients, and doing the work they pay you to do.

Of course you want to grow your VA business – and training is one of the best ways you can do that. So use the tips above to make sure you are doing it the smart way!

If you need help with prioritizing training opportunities and other business tips, look no further than your VA community! An annual membership in CAVA is the answer. CAVA is a professional association for Virtual Assistants in Canada. We provide community, visibility, resources, connections, training, client opportunities and so much more. Check out our full list of benefits here: https://canadianava.org/join-cava/

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. In 2016 she purchased the CAVA and GAVA VA associations 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.

How Many People Is Your VA Business Helping?

How many people do you help in your Virtual Assistant business? I’m not talking about how many clients you support. It’s a bigger question than that.

I was recently at a networking event and I spoke with a fellow who is in MLM. I’ll call him Bob, though that wasn’t his actual name.

Bob was a nice enough guy. I don’t buy any MLM stuff at this point in my life so I wasn’t quite sure what we could possibly have to talk about, but he engaged me at my vendor booth so I obliged him.

We talked about what each of us did. Bob told me that the reason he was involved with the company he works with, is that he has philanthropic interests that are very important to him, and that the business he runs helps him to support those interests.

Hmm. That made me think for a moment.

I often talk about working hard at your business because THAT’s the thing you love.

I never really thought of it as using your business to fund something else that you love. Very interesting perspective.

We chatted more.

Bob asked me what my bigger vision was.

I am in a growth period in my business, and my big vision, although coming near, is not established yet.

My mandate in my VA training business has always been that I want to help people to build and grow successful businesses. I don’t have a specific number of people I want to help do that, so that’s where the big vision is not quite in focus, but I do know that I love what I do.

I love having the impact on other’s lives that I am able to have, by teaching them, by helping them to do better with their business.

The impact of that is spiritual of course, but it’s also economic.

You’ve heard the saying, ‘When you buy local, you are helping to support a kid’s piano lessons or dance lessons.’ And other sayings to that effect.

It’s really true.

And this is where my conversation with my friend Bob went – what is the impact that we, as VAs, have on our client’s businesses?

Well, there are many.

We can help them free up their admin time so that they can go and find more clients to work with. That means more money for them.

We can help them to bring in new processes so that their existing clients can become repeat or long-term clients. That also means more money for them.

But looking past the financial pieces, what else do those things do for them?

It helps them to live a better life. It helps them to sit down at the dinner table with their family or friends and feel less stressed.

They may even be excited to have the details handled so they can free up much-needed brain space to do some planning for their business.

And if they work with their own clients, that also means the work we do also impacts those clients, who might get better energy from our clients. Or maybe better service offerings, or better products.

Sounds a bit like an MLM after all, doesn’t it?

Think about how many people YOU are helping - impacting - by doing good work in your business.

You are affecting your clients – their families and friends – and their clients. And it goes beyond that, in a web effect. It’s quite amazing when you sit and think about it.

And of course, the more work we do for them, the more money we make. And the more money we make, the better it is for our family and friends to be around us, and it’s better for our clients too.

I suggest getting really invested in your clients’ businesses – figuratively, of course – so that the work you do really helps them to grow.

When their business grows, yours does too.

If you ever need to lift your attitude or your outlook on why it is you do what you do, look no further than this quick little synopsis.

You are important, you are valuable, you are impactful. Every single day!

If you need help with getting mindset boosts and shifts like this, look no further than your VA community! An annual membership in CAVA is the answer. CAVA is a professional association for Virtual Assistants in Canada. We provide community, visibility, resources, connections, training, client opportunities and so much more. Check out our full list of benefits here: https://canadianava.org/join-cava/

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. In 2016 she purchased the CAVA and GAVA VA associations 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.

7 Things a Virtual Assistant Should Include In Their Contract

Virtual Assistants should never work with clients without a signed contract. There are important things that must be agreed to before any work begins.

If you are working with clients without a contract, you are not protecting yourself or your VA business.

Now, we are not referring to VA clients you find on Upwork or any of the other job service boards.

When you work with clients through those, there are terms that you each agree to, before you start working together, so you are covered by those. (quick side note – if you are working there, make sure you go over the terms very carefully so you know what you are agreeing to!)

In this article,we are talking about working independently with VA clients - just you and them. It’s essential to have a signed contract in place before you begin working together.

A contract does not have to be complex, and you can put it together yourself with normal everyday language (instead of legalese), but either way, you should have your lawyer look it over before you start using it.

What should your Virtual Assistant contract include?

Client Contact Information

Make sure that you have the right company name, address, phone number and email address on your client contracts. You can leave this for them to fill in, or you can pre-fill it before you send it to them. Of course you also need a signature line for them to sign at the bottom of your contract.

Description of Services / Scope of Work

The main section of the contract is where you detail what you will do for your client. Be sure you get as specific as you can in this area, so that what you will do is clear to both you and the client. You may need to refer to this area time and time again, so clarity is good to achieve now.

Communication

Letting a client know how they should send you work, or contact you regarding their tasks is great to include in your contract. You should also indicate your response times for the various communication methods. Communication is something you will always be managing with your clients, and outlining your expectations here is a good decision.

Payment Terms

Payment terms must be included in any contract. In addition to what you will do for your VA clients, detailing how you will be compensated and when (and what happens if they do not pay) is the next most important thing to include in your contract.

Business Hours/Boundaries

You may want to include some policies around boundaries like when you work. Since the contract is something that the client will be signing and agreeing to, letting them know when you are available is an excellent section in any contract.

Confidentiality

Some clients will provide you with a Confidentiality Agreement of their own to sign, which is usually fine (read it first), but you should also cover this in your own contract. Write a short paragraph that talks about how you hold and manage their work, and how you will ensure confidentiality of their company information, strategies, and so on.

Dissolution

The final section of your contract should indicate how either of you can get out of the agreement. At the very least, include a timeframe for giving notice to stop work (usually 30 days), and you can also even include language about stopping work due to late or non-payment if you want to further protect yourself.

Putting together your contract is an important piece of your Virtual Assistant business set up. You can find many contracts online, and you can adapt one to suit your business, but you should have a lawyer look it over.

Don’t start work with any client that will not sign your contract.

It’s an important piece of protecting both of you before you begin working together.

It should provide a clear outline of what you will do, how you will do it, what the compensation agreement is, and how either of you can get out of it – and that’s all very important stuff when working as a VA.

It will also show the client a level of professionalism that not all Virtual Assistants provide. Get yours in place today, so you will be ready when that next client comes along! A paid membership in CAVA includes access to all kinds of forms and documents, including a contract (and tons of other benefits too!)

If you are setting up your Virtual Assistant business and want more information about what you need to have in place to do it right, download our free Start Your VA Business checklist here. You will also get a complimentary Community membership in CAVA so you can see what we are all about.

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. In 2016 she purchased the CAVA and GAVA VA associations 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.

What Is Keeping Your VA Business Stuck?

If your VA business is not where you want it to be, what is making you struggle? Figure that out by reading below.

How do you feel when you think about your VA business?

Do you feel like a success? Are you proud to talk about how it’s going?

A lot of Virtual Assistants – no matter what stage of their business they are in –  are not happy. In fact, they are struggling, and they don’t know why.

Or they just fly by the seat of their pants, and then they wonder why they are not successful.

I hear from VAs like that every day. Is that you?

When I ask them how their business is going, I get a lot of the same responses:

  • It’s hard.
  • I don’t know where to find clients.
  • I am not making enough money.
  • I’m stuck on a business name.
  • I can’t start marketing until my website is ready.
  • I’m still working on my logo.
  • I’m no good at networking in person.

Some of these problems are just excuses to not start (that happens very often with new VAs!)

Some of them are simply decisions you have to make – you must learn to be brave!

And some of them are valid issues that you need to get help with, if you can’t move forward yourself.

I often challenge the excuses that VAs use to not start or grow their business.

It’s my job as a coach to help push you through the fear that you have around being a business owner and experiencing success.

I had to have someone push me through my fears and insecurities too. It’s not fun, but it does work.

So I ask these VAs what their plan is. Often they don’t have a plan, and that’s the whole problem.

Are you making excuses? or do you just need a little push?

If any of those protests above sound like you, here is my advice:

It’s hard.

Yep, it is. Being a VA means being a business owner, and that’s not always easy. Usually the reason it’s so hard is that you don’t have a strategy in place to market your business, to find clients, and to manage the work with them. That’s really all you need to do. Treat your VA business like a business, act like a business owner and you will find it much easier.

I don’t know where to find clients.

Who are your clients? If you have not chosen a target market or industry yet, that’s your first step. Once you decide who you are looking for, you can figure out where to find them. Ask your colleagues if you don’t know. Getting clients means getting in front of the people who need your services, so they can see you. Reach out. Connect.

I am not making enough money.

How much money are you making? Where is it coming from? Do you need to raise your rates? Or do you need more clients? Get specific about what the issue is, so you can put the right plan in place to fix it. If you need to raise your rates, figure out how to tell your current clients. And any new clients you bring in, start them at the new rate. If you need to find new clients, make a plan to do that.

I’m stuck on a business name.

You have a name. Your personal name. Don’t let branding or a business name stop you from starting your business. It’s an excuse, and a bad one at that. If you are ready to serve clients – you have your services chosen, your rates set, a contract to have them fill in, and a means for them to pay you, you can get going. Don’t hang yourself up on this. Get moving.

I can’t start marketing until my website is ready.

This is the same as your business name. You don’t need a website to start having conversations with people. Your website will always be a work in progress. You do need an online presence when you get started but not necessarily a website. Update your LinkedIn profile so it’s current and describes what you do. Start a Facebook page for your business. There you go. You’re online and visible.

I’m still working on my logo.

Most clients will never even notice your logo. I know that’s probably upsetting if that’s your main focus right now but it is so true. Clients want to know two things: what you can do for them, and how much it will cost them. Branding is important, sure, but it should not be a stopping point to getting your business off the ground. Bring in some clients and revenue, and then you can brand to your heart’s content!

I’m no good at networking in person.

Many VAs are introverts. It’s part of our nature, being support professionals. But networking is really just about asking questions and assessing whether you can help someone. That’s not as hard as you think. If you really get paralyzed by networking, you might need to seek help to get better at it. If you really can’t connect with people, you will have difficulty getting clients. Maybe being a subcontractor is a better plan for you.

If you are using any of these reasons (excuses!) to stay stuck in your business, start moving through the issue. Check out the links in this article to get more info.

Success takes planning, and consistent efforts to implement those plans. And it’s great when you can crush those excuses!!

If you just need a little help to push you through what you are stuck on, reach out for a complimentary Cut to the Chase call with me. We will talk about where you are now, where you want to go, and I'll give you my best advice for what your next step should be. Book yours here: www.yourvamentor.com/15-min.