Avoid These Common Mistakes as a First Time Virtual Assistant

So you just started your VA business and you’re super excited, right?!  After all, you just created the most flexible, high-paying job for yourself to love what you do and work from home. You find yourself jumping at every opportunity for work, but we want to give you a few common mistakes first time VAers can make (we did!) and how to avoid them so you can be successful for the long haul and not burn out.

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Mistake #1: Your Offerings Aren’t Clear

I know when I started out, it was hard to say “no” to jobs when I really didn’t have the skill set. If you tell a client you can do everything, they’ll be overwhelmed (and so will you!).

I think we assume we’ll just “figure it out as we go,” and while we suggest learning as you go, it’s not wise to over promise on your strengths.

To figure out what exactly you can offer, ask yourself these questions:

1. What 5 tasks do you feel you could take on right now for a client?

2. Of the 5 tasks, which ones are common pain points for clients you have talked to?

3. Ask your clients, “What’s the most overwhelming aspect of your day to day business?”

Of those questions, narrow your services down to just a few and be looking to expand in the future. Don’t worry about jobs you aren’t qualified for. More leads will come and those clients will be thankful for your honesty.

Mistake #2: You Charge Too Little

Go back to our intro when you were literally chomping at the bit for a job. Did you say “yes” for an outrageously low price?  It can be hard to figure out your hourly rate before you even begin work, but we suggest asking experts around you for the going rate and set yours competitively. We want your clients to truly value what you do for them, and if you set yourself too low starting out, you’ll likely burn out and quit.

Mistake #3: Terrible Marketing

When you started out, did you just blankly message everyone and their mom that you were starting a business and they should hire you?! That kind of tactic is spammy, weird and inauthentic. It’s clear to those reading that you just want to make money.  

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Instead, let your friends and family know what you’re up to with a genuine email or text (in person is best!) about how you want to help others in their online businesses.  Don’t even mention your rates or services.  Just reach out and get your name out there.

In the VA Training Bootcamp, we even suggest joining some Boss Moms groups in Facebook to offer your value and encouragement to other females.

Don’t worry about making the sale right away. You just started a new business. Take time to nurture your community and provide valuable tips and insights to business owners. Then, they will see you as an asset to their business and you can reach out personally when the time is right.

Mistake #4: Hiring Every Client You Talk To

Just like in any other business, not everyone is meant to work together. You might need to schedule several Zoom calls or do a trial run with a client to make sure the working relationship will actually work.

You don’t have to feel pressure to work for everyone!  In the VA Training Bootcamp we help you write out your ideal client and work to meet the needs of their business. Remember, you will have a long-standing relationship with them so if they are crazy unorganized, demeaning, or last minute on tasks, best to let them pass.

If you find yourself with a terrible client, work hard but seek outside help or find someone else in the VA world who might be perfect for them.

As VAs and business owners ourselves, we have made ALL of these mistakes. And don’t worry, we’re better because of them, but we want you to have the best experience as you start out!

So tell us, if you’re trying to start as a VA, what is holding you back?


Kelli Tobin