You know, it’s so sad when those in our biz who call themselves virtual assistants have to close their doors because they just couldn’t make enough money.
What strikes me is that there doesn’t seem to be anyone anymore out there (except me) who is trying to help them actually be financially successful as an administrative support business.
It seems that everyone is jumping ship to become something else other than an administrative support biz, or teaching folks everything else EXCEPT how to be financially successful in an administrative support biz.
THAT’S what I find sad… everyone is always trying to dig into their pockets to teach them everything else BUT how to be financially successful as an admin expert.
And then you have all these self-proclaimed industry “experts” who aren’t even VAs telling those in our industry how to be successful. They don’t know the first thing.
Hey, if someone doesn’t want to be in the admin support biz, that’s their prerogative. Everyone should be and do and have the kind of business they love.
But don’t try to pass yourself off as an expert in the admin support biz if that’s not what you actually are.
One of the very first things you have to do to become financially successful is get clear about exactly WHAT you are. Most don’t really know. They just have some vague notion that they “assist” “virtually.” That isn’t a definition of anything.
If you really want to start earning well in the administrative support business, you have to stop being a gopher and an “assistant” and get really clear about what admin support is.
And the reason that’s important is because administrative support comes with a host of unique challenges. We have to battle against unique client mindsets and misconceptions, particularly when it comes to thinking of us as replacement employees. It’s too easy to actually become a substitute employee in this business, which will actually keep you in the working poor. Which is why I’m always, always trying to educate on this topic.
I find it interesting that some of these VA training programs have so many graduates who aren’t actually doing anymore the thing the training program was supposed to help them become successful at because they couldn’t be financially successful doing it. They had to become another kind of business entirely to become financially successful. And that’s because no one taught them how to be financially successful in THIS business.
I’m not saying folks shouldn’t do something else or move onto another business entirely if that’s what their heart wants to do. What I’m sad about is that those who actually love being in the admin support business and really would rather just do that, but are compelled to look elsewhere because they just didn’t get the right guidance to be financially successful in THIS business.
One of the things we have to battle in our industry to our financial detriment is this idea that VAs do anything and everything. That’s not a definition of anything… that’s merely being a gopher. And people don’t view gophers as experts, they view them as lackeys. You simply will not be able to command professional fees if you allow people to view you as merely as gopher/lackey.
The other subsequent thing that happens when you allow people to perceive you as merely a gopher/lackey and because you have no clear-cut expertise (as in Administrative Support as an expertise) is that they have you chasing your tail around all over the place. They think you should be doing this and that and everything else ON TOP of administrative assistance. That’s because you yourself haven’t defined for them exactly what you are in business to do. And because they don’t view you as any kind of professional expert in anything (“I’m a this, that and the other” isn’t an expertise of any kind), they don’t want to pay you for it, at least not well. You become merely a servant, an order-taker, in their eyes.
This is where you frequently hear me saying “why are you asking a plumber to fix your car?” Because we get these clients who are expecting you to not only provide admin support, but to also be a bookkeeper, a website designer, a graphic designer, a this and a that and so on and so forth. And so, so many VAs are giving this stuff away for free when they should be saying, “I’m in the administrative support business. If you want a web designer, you need to hire a web designer.”
That’s why it’s so important to get clear exactly what you are and what you do in your business. And if you are ALSO something else in your business, to clearly differentiate and denote those dividing lines in your business so you can still be considered an expert in those additional areas (and not merely a gopher/flunky/lacky) and charge separately for them. Because web design and admin support are not the same thing. Because bookkeeping and admin support are not the same thing. Because graphic design and admin support are not the same thing. Because completing a project and providing ongoing administrative support are not the same thing.
Don’t understand? Ask me your questions! I really want to help you get clear on what this means.