Launching a new business is scary.
Like really scary. You’re excited sure, but you’re also probably wondering if it’s really possible to succeed?
I get it. I’ve totally been there too. In fact, it was just three years ago that I was going through this very same thing. And I had a lot on the line.
Because I didn’t love my 9-5. And I was the breadwinner of our little family of four (both of our kiddos were under three at the time).
Pure craziness when I look back on it. 😉
But I’m SO glad I did it. Took the plunge, learned what I needed to and put myself out there to succeed or fail hard.
Because that’s what you have to do. If you’re really serious about making a career change and starting a new virtual assistance business from scratch, you have to go all in and put it all on the line.
So that’s my story (and I’m sticking to it). Today though, I want to help those of you that are sitting on the fence, wondering if you can really succeed mentally prepare to launch your virtual assistance business.
Ready? Cool – let’s go!
Make a Commitment to Yourself
As I talk about in 30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistance Success, you really need to give yourself at least two years to get a new business off of the ground.
I get that sounds like an eternity in today’s fast-paced, instant gratification society. But it’s the truth.
You can’t try really hard for 30, 60 or 90 days and expect to have a business that will sustain you until the end of time. That’s just crazy talk.
Can you find success before two years? Heck yeah! I did – I was earning $4,000 per month from freelance writing and virtual assistance work within six months of starting my business. And that was ON THE SIDE of my full-time job, family obligations, etc.
Give It All You Have
Now I’m not telling you to ignore your family and only focus on this new enterprise of yours.
But you DO need to consistently carve out time to work on growing your business. Again, hustling really hard for one week and then not doing anything for the next three isn’t really going to cut it.
Instead, look at your calendar and figure out first how many hours per week you can dedicate to working on your new VA business. Then actually block off that time. And lastly, follow through on that appointment with yourself!
How much time do you need? I would say a minimum of five hours per week. That’s it. You can find five hours a week can’t you? And if can find more, all the better!
Do you know an easy way to find five extra hours? Wake up an hour (or an hour and a half if it takes you a bit to get going) early, Monday through Friday. This works especially well if you have a young family and can get up to work in peace before the rest of the crew.
Side note: I have to be SO quiet when I wake up early. My son is just ITCHING to get up and be with me and would love nothing more than to wake up at five o’clock each morning too. If you have a light sleeper like me, plan ahead so you can make as little noise as possible on your secret mission!
Expect to Fail
Here’s something most people won’t tell you: Rejection is a GOOD THING!
Again, you’re probably thinking I’m speaking crazy talk. But it’s totally true!
You know why? Because you are NOT going to bat 1,000 when you’re putting yourself out there for new clients. Especially in the beginning. And that’s totally okay (I tend to believe it all happens for a reason).
So the best way to “deal with rejection,” is to expect it. Plan for it. Pursue it.
One of the ways I did this early on in my online business career, was to send out a certain number of pitches each week no matter what. I knew that my activity level would be the biggest predictor of my success.
And I was right.
I didn’t concentrate on getting every single gig I applied for. Instead, I concentrated on getting that specific number of quality pitches out the door come hell or high water.
Again, you can’t pitch for one week and then take the next three off. I mean, you can. But you’re not going to be as successful.
Instead, I’d suggest batching all of your pitching and front-loading the week by getting it off your plate sooner than later. Because if you don’t (and you’re scared of rejection), it’ll likely get pushed to the bottom of the pile and maybe even be left completely undone by the end of the week.
Put Prospecting First
Another thing that people are often surprised to hear, is that your number one job before you have any clients is to prospect and pitch clients to hire you.
So if it’s your number one job, you should be spending the majority of your time doing it. How much? I like 90%.
I get it, it seems a bit extreme, right? Not if you want to get this new virtual assistant business off the ground fast.
Not only should prospecting take up the majority of those five (or more) hours per week, but it should be the first thing you do as you sit down to work each day. Because again, it’s too easy not to do it or to put it off. And if you don’t do it…
You probably won’t have any clients.
And then when you do have clients, you can lay off the prospecting a bit. Not completely mind you, because you should ALWAYS be marketing your business and trying to level-up, but you can replace some of your prospecting efforts with the actual work that you’re getting paid to do.
Are you picking up what I’m laying down?
Learn, But Then DO!
Obviously learning is important.
But you can’t spend all of your time learning (remember, you should spend the majority of it pitching). In the very beginning, it’s totally okay to take a course, lay the foundation first and study enough to be confident in what you’re trying to do.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret though… learning is only effective if you put into practice what you’ve been taught. I.e. Just because your head knows something, doesn’t mean that you’re proficient at it. You need to APPLY it to receive the full benefit.
Another secret is that you’ll learn the fastest from actually doing something. Not researching, reading more blog posts or taking more online courses on the topic. But that’s the vicious cycle that most people find themselves in.
They don’t feel confident (i.e. they’re scared), so they think continuing to ingest content on the subject will make them less so. But often it ends up being the exact opposite. The more they learn, the less confident they feel. Sometimes to the point of defeat.
Don’t let this be you. Commit to learning what you need to know, but then apply it and figure it out by DOING IT. Trust me, it works wonders!!
How can you do this? Try applying whatever you’re learning to your own business or someone else’s that you know. You could work for free for that person or charge them half price (my vote is the latter) to teach yourself how to do something on a real business.
Be upfront with that person that this is something you know how to do, but you don’t have a track record yet. And then offer to do it for a reduced fee, but only for a certain period of time (i.e. 30 days).
So let’s say you want to break into the Pinterest VA game. You already love Pinterest and know how to use it for yourself. You take a course and start applying what you’ve learned to your own Pinterest presence.
And now you’re ready to take on your first client. But you’re a little unsure about your lack of track record. So you find someone in your sphere that has a business (online or brick and mortar) that either doesn’t currently have a Pinterest presence (but should) or that has one that they’re not doing much with.
You let them know that you’re in the Pinterest Management game and pitch them on helping them setup their Pinterest account, starting a pinning schedule and everything else you’ll learn in the course or improving upon their current platform. And since you’re brand new to this, you’ll charge them half price for the first 30 days.
At that time, you can reevaluate your relationship. Were they pleased with your results? Does the plan you came up with and put in place show promise (these things can take more than 30 days to unfold)? If so, let them know that if they’d like to continue working together, your full rate is $X.
Oh and make sure they give you a testimonial!
You got this!
So while starting a new VA business can be scary, it’s not impossible.
Frankly, it’s not the hardest thing you’ll ever do. To mentally prepare yourself as much as possible though, make a commitment to yourself of how long you’ll give it a go, give it all you have by predetermining the number of hours you can work and then working them, expect to fail and get comfortable with rejection, put prospecting first and make sure it eats up the majority of your time until you have clients and lastly, take action and do more than you learn.
Easy peasy, right?