The 5 Habits of a Highly Effective Virtual Assistant
When I tell people that I'm a Virtual Assistant, I'm often asked two questions.
#1- What's that?
#2- What skills do I need to be successful as a VA?
Well, that second question is a pretty loaded and open ended one. I would first ask- "Who will you be working with? What do you enjoy doing? Who is your ideal client? What work history do you bring to the table?"
However, as I've thought more on question #2, I'm now able to narrow it down to the 5 Habits of a Highly Effective Virtual Assistant. And these will translate no matter what kind of VA you become.
1. Listens First
Most times, you will find, that there are 2 types of clients. Those who know exactly what they need done by a VA and those who are completely overwhelmed and just know that they need help. Now, that first group is easy; they have a list, you get it done...#boom! The second group, on the other hand, is where you really have to work to put on your listening ears and actually hear what your client is trying to say.
If I have a client who comes to me and says "I'm so overwhelmed, I don't even know what I need you to help me with". My first question is usually "What 3 tasks do you dread doing in your business every day?" It's THOSE types of tasks that you want to take off the client's plate. Those are the things that can be delegated to you, the VA, and once you open up that space for the client to work more on what they enjoy doing then it's easier for them to see through all of the clutter and thereby be able to articulate to you their other business needs.
2. Is an Organizing Ninja
So, this one is really hard for me because #1- My Myers-Briggs personality type is ENFP and #2- I have Adult ADD. Whatever you may or may not know about either of them, just know that the combination thereof means that organizing is not a natural forte of mine. But because of that, I've gotten really good at creating systems that keep me focused and on task without feeling complex or overwhelming. And THAT'S a ninja skill that translates really well when working with clients.
I've found that a lot of my clients are not naturally gifted at organizing and that's ok, because I now have the tools and resources to figure out exactly what they need and help them create a system that works well for them.
3. Has an Entrepreneurial Spirit
Moving from working FOR someone to being the boss requires quite a large mindset shift. Not everyone has the entrepreneurial spirit required to run their own business and that's ok. But it's very important that you know that going in and work really hard at cultivating the skills required to be successful.
Understand that you are NOT your client's employee, you are a subcontractor and business owner. There will be times when you'll need to stand up for what's best for you and your business. Learning to stand tall and say "no" or set boundaries can be difficult but it's a skill like any other.
4. Is Constantly Learning
Mailchimp, MailerLite, ConvertKit, Asana, 17Hats, Dubsado, Infusionsoft, Leadpages, Wordpress, Squarespace, Roundspace!! (ok, Roundspace isn't actually a thing)...but you get the point, there are a TON of systems out there and to be a master of all of them...well yeah, it's kinda impossible. But what you CAN do is understand the similarities and differences within these programs and that will do you a world of good when you're dealing with different clients using different platforms.
I would also suggest that, as you grown as a VA and start to figure out the needs of your specific client base, invest in some ongoing training. So far this year I've taken several Pinterest Courses, and courses on ConvertKit, MailerLite, InDesign, Illustrator, Infusionsoft, and Squarespace. I purchase these courses from a variety of places but, Udemy is a great place to start. They often have $10 sales where you can purchase any course on their website for...you guessed it...$10!
5. Recognizes Their Zone of Genius
Recently there was a post in one of the Facebook Groups that I belong to that attracted A LOT of attention (and not so much the positive kind). Someone was looking for a Virtual Assistant and the skills/roles needed included "Project Management, FB Ads Creation, Wordpress Tech, Copywriting, Sales Funnels, Administration...and more!" Wow! That's a lot! That's not a job description asking for just ONE person, that's a job description asking for like 5 people!
But then I thought about when I first started as a VA, I really did think that I had to know everything there was to know about any online everything! But how can I? And how can I be EXCEPTIONAL at all of it? The answer is, I can't, it's impossible.
There was a lot of trial and error involved in figuring out what I was naturally good at and what I was passionate about learning more of. And also a lot of being honest about what I just didn't want to do as a VA. For example, originally, I thought sure I was going to end up selling Facebook Ad Strategy and Implementation as a service. But the more I learned about it, the more there was to learn, and more I realized I didn't want to learn it. LOL! It was as easy as that. Could I learn it? Probably. But was it what I LOVED doing for clients? Nope, not really.
So, how do you help a client who needs a service that you don't provide? You build a great network of virtual assistants, digital marketing strategists, graphic designers etc. who you can refer out those specialized services to. There is absolutely nothing wrong with letting clients know that a certain task is outside of the scope of your skill set or contract. And being honest about that in the short term will save you so much frustration in the long term and lead to happier, more productive outcomes for your clients.
So whether you're a Virtual Assistant or hiring one, use these 5 habits as part of how your determine what you need to focus and work on. No one starts off amazing at everything so it's absolutely fine to be growing and learning. In fact, it's STRONG encouraged!
Comment below and let me know what habit you're working on.