3 Challenges Of Being A VA- And How To Overcome Them!
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What are the challenges of working as a virtual assistant?

From setting your own hours and choosing your jobs to working from home, the freedom of being a VA can’t be beaten.

That freedom, however, can come with problems. If you’re a self-employed VA, you have to deal with any obstacles that come up by yourself. Your challenges as a VA are your own responsibility.

Below you’ll find some of the common challenges faced by virtual assistants – and some solutions to help you overcome them! Whether you’re new to working as a VA or a seasoned expert, knowing how to deal with any upcoming challenges will help you to move forward with confidence.

Getting to set your own working hours is great. However, one of the downsides is that you are accountable for your own time management.

Poor time management can lead to you procrastinating all morning and then rushing to get everything done in the afternoon. If you don’t manage your time effectively, you could end up burning the candle at both ends.

Don’t forget, you don’t just have your clients’ work to complete, but the work that comes with running your own business such as invoicing and emails. You also need to have some work-life balance too!

It’s important to be efficient – Working smart means you don’t have to work as hard.

Streamlining your work process means you end up getting more done in smaller amounts of time. For example, it’s more efficient to do certain tasks in batches, such as replying to emails. If you get distracted each time you get a new email, then you end up disrupting your workflow and never really getting into ‘the zone’.

Try prioritizing your to do list. Make the list only about 3 items long – that way, you’ll prioritize what’s really important to do right now. You can always add more tasks if you finish early.

You can eliminate distractions (or at least give yourself more of a chance to resist them) by using apps that block you from leaving a certain page. Silencing social media notifications on your phone can also be a good way of making sure that you don’t fall into the trap of endless scrolling.

Set rough working hours that you know you are likely to stick to and don’t set yourself up for failure – there’s no point setting your work hours to start at 7am on the dot if you’re more of a night owl.

One of the biggest challenges you’ll face as a VA is finding your own clients. The problem isn’t just finding a client in the first place – its finding one who will provide you with ongoing income.

Some VAs find their first clients by teaming up with an agency or a group of other VAs. Working with an agency also means you don’t have to spend time chasing down rogue clients for payments!

As a new VA, you might come across clients that you aren’t working well with. Remember, you don’t have to love every client or job you work on. Honor your commitment, do your best work, and then end the contract when your work is complete. You never know, that troublesome client may end up leading to newer and better things!

It’s also a good idea to have good client systems and procedures in place to make sure the interactions you have with your clients are as positive as possible. If they have a good experience working with you, then they are more likely to give you testimonials and potentially refer you to other clients.

Cash flow can be a real issue when you first get started as a VA because jobs might be slightly sporadic at first.

Anyone who is self-employed will tell you that it’s usually feast or famine: you’ll have no jobs for a while and then suddenly be swamped. There will be times when work is slow and times when you wish it would slow down.

Create a savings account and be strict with yourself about filling it. Make sure that when you do get a job you deposit a sensible amount into your savings. When you have the safety net of a healthy savings account, you won’t have to stress when the jobs aren’t as abundant as you’d like.

There are also certain things you can do to encourage a consistent cash flow.

Consider setting up a system where clients pay monthly with an automatic billing system for an agreed number of hours. You could offer a discounted price for those who sign up on a rolling contract, giving them work at a lower rate in return for a consistent income.

It’s wise to also have a supplemental stream of income when you are getting started just to prepare for the worst. If you have another stream of income (e.g. reselling online, selling advertising space on your website or selling an eBook) you won’t have to worry as much if you don’t have many clients at first.

Preparation is the key to success. It’s better to know these challenges from the offset when becoming a VA. Once you know the pitfalls (and how to avoid them!) you’ll be ready to throw yourself in headfirst!

If you’re new to being a VA, you might also need to know what you need to get started, click here to read our blog on what equipment you’ll need!

I always knew I wanted to be my own boss one day, but the right time never seemed to present itself.

On a camping weekend, I hurt my ankle badly and I simply couldn’t drive, the mega Corp I worked for as an Executive Assistant were surprisingly sympathetic and rather than just be off work sick, they arranged remote access to work from home, happy days, no commuting. Eureka!! I could do this on a permanent basis if I took “The Risk.”

I handed in my notice and started building my business, sourcing associate work to tide me over until I had my own clients.

One unremarkable day I had a query from a potential client who literally changed my life, she explained that she was Neurodivergent, (something that I’d had a little bit of experience with within my former corporate life) and could really do with a VA that could cope with her particular way of working. I finally realised it wasn’t just the commuting I struggled with, it was the whole corporate world that I didn’t want to engage with, my passion has always been to try and help/assist wherever I can.

Neurodivergent clients are simply the best, no one client is the same as the next and the feeling of accomplishment when I know I’ve actually made a positive difference can’t be beaten.

So if you’re a Neurodivergent business owner, take that “risk”, arrange a call with me, join my Facebook group or take out a membership and see how me and my marvellous team could give any assistance needed.

Taking a risk could mean leaving that job you’ve hated for years. Maybe you’re dreaming of starting your own business or thinking about going back to school because the degree you got the first time just wasn’t the right fit. Or perhaps, it’s about finally saying NO MORE to always trying to make everyone else happy.

To really grow—both personally and in business—you’ve got to step out of your comfort zone and try something new.

Do you have the courage to take a risk?

What’s holding you back?

Are you stuck in the “what ifs”?

Are you just surviving or feeling stuck in your comfort zone, struggling to break free?

If you’ve been thinking about making a change but fear of failure is stopping you, it’s time to ask yourself: What part of myself am I losing because I’m afraid to take a risk?

Only you know what needs to shift for you to move forward.

When I started my own business in 2018, I had those same doubts and fears. Leaving a secure, full-time job with no clients lined up was a huge risk. But looking back, I have no regrets. It was the right move for me, and it’s paid off in ways I couldn’t have imagined.

Now, I wouldn’t tell everyone to just quit their job. It was a decision that took a lot of planning and careful consideration. I was lucky to have a backup plan and the support of my husband. Without that, I couldn’t have made the leap.

Back then, I was stretched thin, working over 70 hours a week at a demanding full-time job. I realised I couldn’t give my all to both my job and my personal aspirations. The thought of continuing on that path, neglecting my own dreams, was fast becoming a non-option.

Leaving a steady salary behind was scary, especially with no clients lined up. But staying in my comfort zone wouldn’t bring the fulfilment and success I wanted. So, I decided to take the risk.

My boss thought I was crazy and even offered to let me stay on part-time, working 20 hours a week. For some, that might have been a good compromise. But for me, it wasn’t just about the money. I pride myself on giving 100% to whatever I do, and I knew that splitting my time would mean I couldn’t give my best to either role.

So, despite the uncertainty and scepticism from others, I chose to just DO IT and take my own path. By no means was it an easy decision and on my last day at work I felt physically sick!  As I walked out of the office for the last time and got in my car, for the 1000th time, that day I had doubts and what if’s running through my head!  What the bloody hell had I done?  And more importantly, now I was on my own, where do I start?  There was no one to tell me what to do and I was seriously thinking of going back and asking for my job back!

Now 5 years on, I can confidently say it was the right decision. It hasn’t been easy, and there have been moments of doubt, but the freedom to pursue my passion has been worth every challenge and sacrifice.

I love what I’m doing!

Taking risks can be inspiring, enjoyable, and help you grow in so many ways. Embrace it!

What are the potential rewards of taking risks in life?

Sense of Accomplishment: Taking risks is scary, but it leads to self-discovery. Many people I know had no idea where their journey would take them, but the sense of accomplishment and pride they feel is incredible.

They feel alive for the first time, I know I did!

Personal Freedom: Imagine working with people you like and doing what you really enjoy – this is your path to personal freedom.

Letting Go of the Past: Challenging old routines and assumptions can be rewarding. By taking risks, you can disprove old beliefs and free yourself from negative thoughts and “what ifs”.

Self-Discovery: This is a biggie; risks help you learn about yourself, your values, and what drives you. With new experiences, you can find what truly makes you happy. My journey from being an employee to running my own business has been a profound experience of self-discovery.

Increased Confidence: Each risk you take builds your confidence and makes you more flexible and a better decision-maker.

New Opportunities: Stepping out of your comfort zone can lead to new opportunities, both professionally and personally and it’s so exciting when this happens and I LOVE meeting new people and learning. No more stuck in that 9 to 5 waiting for someone to leave before you get the opportunity to get promoted.

Resilience: Risks teach you how to handle setbacks, building resilience and the ability to navigate challenges like a pro.

No Regrets: If the risk works out, fantastic! If not, it’s a valuable lesson that makes you wiser. We learn from our mistakes.

 

For those who are neurodivergent, taking risks can feel daunting, but it can also lead to incredible personal development and success. Using a Virtual Assistant can be a game-changer, providing essential support and helping to navigate uncertainties.

Starting to take risks can be scary, but that’s okay. It’s natural to want to stay safe. Trust me, taking risks can be fun too. There’s a whole world out there with endless possibilities. To figure out which risks are right for you, just go with your gut. Don’t be afraid to try new things. Even if something doesn’t go as planned, you’ll learn from it and grow.

Curious about how Virtual Assistant support can change your risk-taking journey with a business that understands what it’s like to run a successful business. Schedule a FREE consultation with me—no risk here, I promise!

 

Ps. Yes, that’s me jumping out of a plane for charity!

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