#VAin30 - Day 2: Would You Be a Good Virtual Assistant?

Earning money from the comfort of your home sounds like the next best thing since sliced bread. But are you really cut out to be a virtual assistant? While no one is perfectly ready to take on a big project like a new business without making a few mistakes along the way, being totally honest about your shortcoming and growth areas can only help you tackle major issues head on before they can derail your plans.

Would You Be a Good Virtual Assistant?

Here are a few questions to ask yourself before you start looking for clients and dreaming of what you’ll purchase with your new business income!

Are you Reliable?

Virtual Assistants must be reliable individuals who do not need to be micromanaged. It is very common for an assignment to be given to you along with the date it is expected to be finished. It isn’t out of the ordinary to not hear back from your boss or client until after the date the project is due. It is up to you to finish the task, without having someone breathing down your neck. If you have a hard time keeping your word, or coming through on promises you have made, the virtual assistant life may not be for you.

Helpful Hint: If you’ve been less than reliable in the past, that doesn’t mean you can’t be a VA. Sometimes, we find that it’s easier to let things slide when working for others. If your new business is a source of pride for you, it may help motivate you to put priorities in the proper order and let your new “reliable” personality shine through!

Are you a Good Communicator?

Keeping your client informed on the progress of the projects they assigned you is crucial. If you leave them in the dark, they are left to wonder whether or not you are finishing the project or if they need to be looking for someone else to do the job. Also, if you are unsure about a portion of the project, you need to feel comfortable communicating that with your client so that they can assist you or find someone who is able to complete the task.

On the flip side, if you see something that a client could be doing differently to improve their business, you need to have the initiative to communicate that to them. Bringing things up in a tactful, but assertive manner is a skill that comes with practice and time. Having confidence in your skills will give you what you need to bring up these suggestions in a way that helps you look like a rock star – not a meddler.

Helpful Hint: Different clients will have their own preferences to how they want to communicate. Some are hard-core email users, while others prefer to chat over the phone. In today’s day of Facebook, some will even insist on friending you so that you can communicate that way! One mark of a good virtual assistant is the ability to determine a client’s preferred method of communication and to stick to that above all else.

Are you a Good Investigator?

Let’s face it, it is impossible to know everything. Many times clients will assign you a task that uses a program or service that you aren’t familiar with. They may also want you to write an article on something that you’ve never dealt with before. Instead of turning the job down or swamping your client with questions, dig in and do a little investigative research. Not only will this give you a chance to complete the job and earn the money, it might give you an opportunity to learn something new that you can later use in your virtual assistant arsenal.

Helpful Hint: Having a go-to list of resources to reference when you need them is vital for any small business owner, not just a VA. And while no one uses encyclopedias, really, there are people who do know just about everything about a given topic. To connect to these people, I recommend getting into professional groups on Facebook (more on that later.) You can also find a wealth of information from the folks at HelpaReporterOut.com. This free site connects reporters and bloggers with topics experts. So writing that article on an obscure trend just got a whole lot easier!

Are you a Good Time Manager?

Virtual assistants must be good at managing their time. A lot of virtual assistant jobs are paid on an hourly basis. If you’ve spent your time multi-tasking or not focusing on your client’s assignment, you will end up costing them additional funds, which will only result in unhappy clients! Additionally, if you’ve over scheduled yourself, you’ll find yourself stressed and strapped to finish a project in the time you’ve allotted. It is important that you have a good understanding of how long each task takes you so you can plan your schedule accordingly.

Special Note: If you are a parent with kids at home, there are some extra special considerations to make. If you work a traditional 9 to 5 job, you are able to focus on work while you're at work. When you work from home, however, this all changes. You may have young children at home with you while you're working. You'll have friends and family who call or stop by. (After all, you're working at home, so you should have the flexibility to take a break and talk to them, right?) You'll face many more distractions at home than you face at work.

Before you become a WAHM, learn when your most productive work time is and take advantage of that time. Determine how many hours you'll spend a week working and how many hours a week you'll spend time with family. Read books and blogs to learn how other moms juggle working from home with child care and other household responsibilities.

Are you a Go-Getter?

Finding virtual assistant jobs isn’t always easy. You might have to search for a few weeks (maybe months) to find a client who is willing to hire you to help them. When they do so, you also have to have the confidence in yourself that you are the person for the job and be able to sell your services and skills to a complete stranger. Be bold and confident in your skills and ability, but don’t oversell yourself just to get a job, as this could only hurt your business in the end.

Are you Trustworthy?

Virtual Assistants are trusted with a lot of private information. Are you able to keep a client’s personal information, marketing strategy, and future plans under wraps? When you make a mistake are you able to admit where you’ve gone wrong and fix it without being told? A trustworthy virtual assistant is a business owner’s key resource, even though acting in an ethical manner may at times be very challenging!

These are all very important questions to ask yourself and consider before you decide to jump into the virtual assistant field with both feet. If you have found yourself unsure about one or more of your answers, give yourself an honest assessment on whether there are areas that you can truly work on, even while starting your VA career. Sometimes, a little personal growth will happen as you go along your journey.

I also highly recommend finding a mentor in the Virtual Assistant industry who has an established at-home business and that has been through all of the growing pains that you will find yourself experiencing at the beginning of your journey. They may be able to offer constructive feedback on how to grow in each of these areas, as well as tips that have worked for them personally!

(Not sure where to find a mentor? Look for our tips for connecting with other VA’s via Facebook groups in later in our 30-day journey.)

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