3 Challenges of Being A VA - And How To Overcome Them!
Posted on 18th August 2021 at 14:35
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!
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