Continuing from last week…

Number Two:  Surround Yourself with Supporters

One of the reasons our men and women in the armed forces work within platoons and brigades, etc., is to become familiar with each other so there is a true dedication to the support of each other.  You don’t want to be sitting in a foxhole with someone who doesn’t have their focus on the team, not just themselves.

When I first started in business 11-years ago, home-based businesses were just coming into light as a viable business model.  Oh, there had been home-based businesses for many years already, but not in the increasing numbers that we’ve enjoyed since the late nineties and the introduction of the Internet.

I wondered how my daughter and husband ever got anything done before I started working from home.  They were quick to provide me with a laundry list of ‘to dos’ that I could help them with since they were at school or work all day, and I was just hanging out at home.

It was pretty nice to be able to more easily set appointments for the plumber, the handyman, or the TV repairman as it was to be able to pick-up the dry cleaning and handle everyone’s banking.  My family and friends thought I would be available at any time to call and chat or drop by for lunch; I mean what was I doing?

As hard as this is for me to say, because I have a very large and close-knit family, you may have to start diminishing the number of times you get together with your family.  Until they actually realize the amount of work you do running a business, and sometimes even a household, they may not be able to support you in a positive way.

Understand that it is detrimental to the health of your business to be in the company of anyone who will encourage you to, ‘get a real job’, or insinuates that your job is less important or not making a contribution to the family finances.  This can really chew away at your resolve and determination to own your own business.  You have to maintain a positive attitude and only like-minded friends, family, and peers will keep you on your game.

It was hard in the beginning for me to get potential clients to wrap their mind around me working from home instead of the traditional office environment.  One of my first clients worked from home, but figured if I wasn’t working from his home office, I could have the time clock on and be sitting at home eating bon-bons and watching the soaps.

So I let several clients run my business for me in the beginning.  I went to work in their homes and offices; I even picked up bathroom fixtures and delivered them to a job site for a general contractor.  In the beginning, I let it be all about bringing in the money, instead of developing a strong and viable business, based on my business model, not what everyone else wanted it to be.

Those clients came and went rather quickly, and for good reason.  They were a part of the learning process for me.  I had to decide if I wanted to have an employee mentality, or an entrepreneur mentality.  I chose the latter, although it did take me longer than I’d hoped.

That’s why making time to continue growing and learning whether by reading, participating in seminars and groups like the Elite VA Insiders are so important to continual business success.

Make the commitment to surround yourself with positive supportive people as you start and grow your business.  Join one or more industry associations and get involved by volunteering or participating regularly in forums.  Join several well-respected social networking groups and set aside a minimal amount of time each day or week that you’ll participate in these forums.  This will increase your network of ‘positive’ support and help you strengthen your resolve to grow a profitable business.

Jeannine Grich, owner of Accurate Business Services, a VA practice, is an author, writer, speaker and VA Business Coach, specializing in providing professional business coaching to established and start-up virtual assistants (VA’s).  Visit:; or contact her at: