The unexpected challenges of running your own Virtual Assistant business.
Your mind needs to be exercised, nourished and rested just like any other muscle in your body. Most of us are familiar with the term “A happy mind is a healthy mind”. Keeping the mind ‘healthy’ can sometimes be more of a challenge than expected and warning signs can sometimes be missed.
When making the decision to become a Virtual Assistant, you are also making the decision to become self-employed. This conscious decision can come with some unconscious and unexpected trials, some more obvious than others.
This post will cover some techniques that can be used on a daily basis to combat three pitfalls of being your own boss that you may not have considered when making the decision to ‘go it alone’.
The three challenges:
- Isolation / loneliness
- Your Ideas
Lets take a look at each of these challenges a little more closely:
Isolation / loneliness
The term ‘going it alone’ really rings out loud here. When you are in the office as an employee with co-workers you are able to bounce ideas off one another, use your peers as a soundboard for ideas, gauge the general direction of your chosen industry by looking to others in the same or a similar roles as you.
Working for yourself out of your home office removes the ability to have those ‘water cooler’ chats, or to find out what your co-workers latest project is whilst waiting for the photocopier. These interactions are more important than you may initially realise when setting yourself up in business from a home office.
We may have a partner or spouse at home that becomes the ‘ear to bend’ but this can present another set of challenges as they may not be familiar with your industry and struggle to give you the feedback, advice or general chatter you are looking for. The end result of which can be an even deeper feeling of isolation or loneliness.
This is where the community is so important and getting involved is easier than you may think. There are numerous online communities including Facebook Groups, Google Communities, Forums as well as social conversations on Twitter and many other places. There are also many off-line community options and these are the networking events, the meetups, and the conferences that are dedicated to our industry. They not only increase our social engagement but will also increase your business contacts.
Isolation and loneliness can impact us without us even realising; stay aware and be part of our community.
Now ‘your ideas’ may sound like a strange topic for being a potential pitfall of being your own boss but they certainly can be.
As you have chosen to be your own boss, you have shown that you have initiative and the drive to build something for yourself. However, you are likely not to want to stop there. As you go about fulfilling your daily tasks you may find your mind wondering and considering the “what if” questions; what if I started offering this additional service, what if I built a new website, what if I wrote that ebook.
These types of questions are not necessarily bad but they can become distractions. We tend to be good at thinking up problems and trying to solve them, sometimes it is easier than dealing with our current issue, other times it’s just nice to consider something different.THE LIMITATIONS IN LIFE DO NOT NECESSARILY LIMIT YOU Click To Tweet
We need to ensure we stay focused on what we enjoy and what is working for our business, our ideas can be an unwanted distraction. Music is an excellent way to ensure we stay focused. Picking a playlist that contains calming music can really help keep us at the top of our game. There are also specialist services such as brain.fm that offer scientifically developed tracks to ensure we are keeping the focus.
A lack of self-confidence can be a huge pitfall for anyone getting started in the Virtual Assistant industry. Having stepped away from the safety net of your salary you are now 100% responsible for attracting the right clients for your services (we can help you with that).
Your confidence can be both improved and knocked by those around you. Ensure you surround yourself with the right people; this comes back to what we were talking about earlier around community.
Your confidence will also be affected by your thoughts; set aside a moment and give yourself permission to stop thinking.
Distracting thoughts are like a shadow, they are only projections that don’t reflect the truth of reality. As such they shouldn’t be given too much attention. At some point you decided that it was useful to consider such thoughts. But when they become burdensome it’s important to recognise this, in order to set them aside.
Right now, if just for a moment, give yourself permission to give up distracting thoughts. It may seem silly but actually give your brain the command “I’m not worried about anything right now. I am the master of my thoughts and confident in what I do.” Repeat if necessary and take a couple of nice deep breaths.
We can all find ourselves in situations that we are not comfortable with, by being aware and mindful of our own thoughts and feelings we can be better prepared for doing well in business. Always be grateful for the times that are good and focus on them when we find ourselves in a situation that may not be as positive as we would like.
Never forget; there is a community of VAs, just like you, out there with thousands of people in very similar situations. You are not alone in this.