I’ve been a mentor to start-up and established VAs for about 8-years, and even more after writing our ‘how to’ book. What I’ve learned from all these relationships is something very simple. Everyone had very good skills, but many of them didn’t have the knowledge or information they needed in order to establish a solid, ethical business.
The one thing they all had in common, at least those who became successful, was what I call an entrepreneurial mindset. They had good self-esteem, and a passion to work hard to build a profitable business. Like me, when they started their adventure, they may not have had these skills or the drive to take the time to learn and develop the mindset, but somewhere along the line, they were inspired, or they inspired themselves to go the extra mile and change their attitudes and ultimately create the mindset that helped them to build successful Virtual Assistance practices. I hope this information will do the same for you.
Number one: Pull the Trigger
So let’s look at what’s holding back your business success.
Before I started my business we were looking for something for my husband to do from home. That year he got laid off yet another restaurant job, and we decided to send him back to school and let him start his own home-based business.
Although he gave it two years and tried really hard, we learned that it was just not for him. He just didn’t have the focus and self-motivation to make a go of it. For him, the biggest challenge was pulling the trigger. He could do all the research, could put together all the details needed to make a decision, but could never make the decision that would move the business forward. He just had too much fear about making a mistake. Ultimately, he let himself get so frustrated; he did make several mistakes that caused him to realize he was not enjoying anything about his business. He transitioned back into the corporate world and is much happier in what he’s doing. It doesn’t mean he’s a failure, it doesn’t mean he can’t be successful, it simply means having his own business, and this particular type of business, was not a good fit for him.
Let me start by saying this is not easy. There’s no immediate success without very hard work. You have to really want this, and want it badly. So many people tell me that they’re going to give this a try, and if it doesn’t work they’ll go back to working in the corporate world.
To me, that’s a pretty good indication that this is not for you. You will have problems being decisive and making good long-term decisions if you’ve got an idea that things may not work and you have an out. You have to be totally committed to doing what’s necessary to make your business work.
Many people are attracted to a home-based business model so they can stay home with children. Understand if this is going to work, you’re going to have to initially make some sacrifices. You may have to miss some dance recitals or hockey practices, and you will need the full support of a spouse or significant other, and hopefully your family and friends.
If you want to be an entrepreneur, if you want to make a good income and eventually have more time for family and fun, you will have to start by making some hard decisions about what you’ll need to do to succeed.
This will be your business and you’ll make all the decisions. If you’re looking for someone to bring you or give you business, or you just aren’t willing to do anything outside your comfort zone, stay in the corporate world.
Having a business means no excuses, and no complaints. Either you have the drive and motivation or you don’t.
So make the decision now to take the steps to start your business with the knowledge that you will need to immerse yourself into making this a top priority, and doing things that may now be ‘outside the box’ for you. I’m not saying you have to do everything day one, but you have to be willing to open your heart and mind to the possibility that there are opportunities available to you, if you only try.
If you’ve been established in your business for a year or more, we can sometimes get complacent and feel that there’s nowhere else for our business to go. Take a step back, talk to other successful VAs and change something to take your business where you may not have considered going. Try a new marketing plan; put together a system to reach past clients as well as prospective clients. Drag yourself away from something that’s taking too much of your time and not producing results, and ‘pull the trigger’ on something new.
Next week, Number Two!