I’ve been a freelancer for a while now, people are constantly emailing me their questions and worries about becoming a Virtual Assistant, and my trainees also admit their fears about working for themselves. But although I reckon I’ve now heard pretty much every mindset stumbling block under the sun, I’ve still not found one reason why someone shouldn’t set up their own business. Here are the main worries I hear and why they shouldn’t hold you back.
Your worries and fears right back atcha
What if I’m not good enough?
What, to do the things you’ve been doing throughout your entire working career? If you weren’t any good then you wouldn’t have kept on being hired and if you thought you weren’t good enough to help people out with their admin (or whatever it is you’re good at and want to offer) then you wouldn’t be reading this site.
I don’t have any skills
What have you being doing all your working life? Working and using skills that’s what. I have never met a person either through my CV business or my VA training who didn’t have any skills.
You have skills you just don’t realise that they’re valuable or that people will pay for them because they come so easily to you.
A lot of VAs are ex Administrators or PAs who are the gofers/go-to people that everybody asks to do stuff. They’re used to being told what to do and are not used to running things. You will continue to do the same kinds of things as you did before (i.e.: using skills you’ve gained and honed over years) only now you run the show.
It’s just a change in mindset that’s all.
What if I don’t get enough clients?
When I first started out I said the very same thing to my Dad. My wise old Dad, the same man who I thought was going to tell me I was mad for leaving my job and that I’d end up in the poorhouse said to me
“Well there’s enough people in the world to hire you.”
There are more than 10 people on planet Earth so there are plenty of people out there who will hire you – you just need to find them. And once you’ve found one, it’s SO easy to find more of them because you then know what they look like.
You know who they are, what their business goals are, what challenges they face, where they hang out online, what they need doing, what publications they read, what events they go to – you know them so you can now find more of them.
Plus I have a step-by-step guide telling you exactly how to get clients = no excuse.
I don’t have a network of contacts
Unless you live in Antarctica or Holloway then you know people. There is more than one way to skin a cat and you cannot use the lame excuse that you don’t have a large network of contacts to not set up your own business.
You can contact your friends, family, ex colleagues and employers, your email address book, your LinkedIn contacts, and, dare I say it… even strangers.
Plus using your contacts is not the only way of getting work.
What if I don’t earn enough money?
Well that’s down to you and how hard you work to get more clients. As a VA, you’re not different to any other freelancer – we all need to get work. Either don’t leave your job until you’re at tipping point, or work your arse off to get clients if you’ve been made redundant or are on maternity leave etc.
The success of your business is entirely down to you.
There are so many Virtual Assistants out there already
So? I bet there are a ton of coffee shops, hairdressers, plumbers, web developers, architects, dog walkers, copywriters (insert every job title and service-based business in existence) in your area too. We live in a big world…
There are a lot of/no VAs in my area
Your point? The clue is in the name ‘Virtual’.
Why would anyone pay me to do something they can do themselves?
For the same reason people hire cleaners or eat in restaurants. You could clean your house or cook your own dinner – but sometimes you don’t want to, haven’t got time to, or can’t be arsed.
It’s a fact that people hire VAs, so the only potential reasons they won’t hire you is because you haven’t outlined what you can do for them, your website/LinkedIn looks crap and is full of spelling mistakes, you have no evidence that you’ve helped people just like them, you look like a criminal in your photos or they don’t know you even exist.
There are already VAs offering the same services as me – I won’t stand out
People do business with people and you’ll stand out because you’re a different person than anyone else – your USP is you.
You don’t need to convince people to hire you and you’re not a used car salesman. You have skills and services that people find useful and you’re just putting that info in front of them to let them know that you exist and how to contact you if they want some help.
Also, some people (mainly women to be honest) feel they’re bragging if they say they’re good at something. But it’s not boasting – it’s a fact!
If you’re good at something, have spent years doing it and people have even paid you money for that skill then you’ve earned the right to tell people about it frankly.
If you don’t big yourself up then nobody else will. So you can sit in the corner being all modest and humble, or you can state facts on your website and LinkedIn and get hired based on those facts.
My admin skills aren’t 100% and other people are better than me
When I set up I worked in events not admin. My admin skills aren’t brilliant and I don’t claim they are. You don’t need to be the best at what you do, you just need to have the time to help, communicate well, be reliable and do the work.
You could be the best typist on the planet but if you are unreliable, mess your clients about and don’t communicate with them, then your typing skills count for nothing. Clients value and pay good money for these qualities.
I’ve discovered that a lot of VAs think about what people might want and then they try to offer those service.
But it’s the wrong way round.
You need to decide what skills you have, what you want to do and what you like doing – and then find people that need those skills. If you do it this way around then you’ll always have work you enjoy and clients will always be confident and happy that you know what you’re doing.
Everyone’s a winner if you do it like this.
I don’t know anything about new technology or social media
Then don’t offer it as a service! Offer the skills you know you’re good at, like to do and want to keep doing. I don’t know how to wire a house so I don’t offer it as a service.
What if I fail?
What if you do? If you’ve just left your job and jumped straight into it, are lazy, don’t put yourself out there, aren’t good at what you do, haven’t researched freelancing and have no drive or ambition, then you might not succeed.
And it will be your own fault.
But what’s the worst that can happen? You might need to get a part time job for a bit until you get enough clients or you decide that it isn’t for you and you go back to full-time work.
But not doing something you want because you might fail when the rewards are so great isn’t a reason for not doing something. That’s the advice you’d give other people so try and take the same advice for yourself.
It’s not my job to make you decide to become a Virtual Assistant or ‘convince’ you it’s what you should do. But I can tell you 100% that the rewards are great. People work for themselves all the time, and once you do it, you’ll never look back.
I don’t know anything about running a business
Nor did I when I first set out and I also didn’t know how to drive a car until I learned. Millions of people run their own businesses and if they can do it then so can you.
I don’t know what my niche should be, if it’s viable or whether anyone even wants my services
So go and find out. Ask around, ask on LinkedIn groups, ask in the VA Handbookers Facebook group, email people… be resourceful and think around the problem. If you’re not resourceful then you won’t be a successful freelancer.
There’s also no excuse for this one seeing as I have a 3-part video series that shows you exactly how to work out what your niche, services and potential clients are!
I’m too old/young
When you work for yourself nobody cares how old you are – they just care whether you can do the job or not.
The people around me aren’t supportive
Not having the validation, permission or support of other people is not a reason to not do what you want. It’s your life, not theirs and it’s not your problem that you’re out of their comfort zone and they know that you pursuing your dreams highlights their failure to pursue theirs.
I don’t have any confidence
You’re having doubts because you’ve never done this before – because it’s the unknown and the unknown is always scary. But you’re here reading this aren’t you? There must be a part of you that knows you can do this. You just need to prepare as much as you can, take a deep breath and do it.
Life is short – don’t leave it too long.
I’ll do it one day – when the time is right
There’s never a perfect time to do anything. If you think you’d be a good VA then you have nothing to lose by giving it a whirl. Don’t quit your job yet, ask around to see if anyone has some admin/research/whatever work for you and then do the work, invoice them and get paid. That’s how freelancing works – quite simple really.
Now tell the extremely unhelpful and annoying voice in your head to shut up, stop overthinking it and start living life on your terms!
PS: let me know if I’ve missed a worry in the comments section and I will tell you why it’s nonsense and add it to the list.