What did you aspire to when you first started out as a Virtual Assistant?

Were you hoping to simply cover the bills initially? Then perhaps as your client base grew, you were happy if you had a little spare cash to buy that gorgeous dress you’d seen in John Lewis. And once you’d saved enough to head off to Greece for a week, well you were feeling pretty chuffed with yourself!

But where does it end?

Do you have Associates working with you now? Are you continuing to grow your client base so that you’re now taking on more of a managerial role, overseeing the work your team of VA’s do?

Are you aiming for the dizzying heights of a 6 figure salary, or more?

If so, that’s OK. I wish you the greatest of success.

Truly.

However, I for one am OK staying small.

Having a goal to stay small doesn’t mean you’re not ambitious, lack drive, or have no grand aspirations.

It’s not cowardly and it does not reflect badly on you or your business.

The desire to keep your business small could simply be the right decision for you. Based on lifestyle, family, health, or a hundred other reasons. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Here’s why …

1) You’re able to continue doing the work you love.

Most VA’s that we talk with, started their own business to be able to do something they enjoy, rather than continually being told what to do by an employer.

Making the decision to scale-up your business, could mean you lose the ability to do the work you’re passionate about.

The tasks you must do on a daily basis become more managerial. Strategic.

You may start to lose the Client contact, handing that over to your team of Associates.

Opting to stay small, whilst still earning a comfortable living, allows you to do the tasks you enjoy while outsourcing the rest.

Maintaining complete control over the daily interactions with Clients, and the daily workflow.

Of course you’ll still have a small team of Associates, but they’re manageable – you know what each one is doing, and you can still get involved in all Client communications.

2) You’re able to continue delivering consistently high quality work.

You will have your own high set of standards when it comes to the work you do for each Client.

As you grow and manage a team of Associates, how do you know they have the same high set of standards?

Yes, it’s something you’ll have discussed with them, but can you be sure that each and every piece of work going over to your Clients would pass your quality check?

And that’s not to say the Associates you work with don’t have their own high standards.

But we’re all different.

From the way we sign off our emails, to the format we create our reports in. The little touches you’ve always added for your Clients, may be lost when handing it over to an Associate.

Keeping your business manageably small, means you can continue to quality check all work going to each and every Client.

Ensuring those all-important  high standards aren’t lost as you grow.

3) You have greater flexibility.

Want to change direction with the services you offer? Want to niche into a specific industry?

Staying small allows you the option of making changes to your business model.

Giving you greater flexibility without jeopardising your business.

4) You have greater freedom.

Setting up your own business was supposed to be all about freedom, right?

Freedom from …

  • … the lengthy commute.
  • … the annoying boss.
  • … the boring tasks.
  • … the office politics.
  • … the quarterly nonsensical reviews.

And so much more.

But what if you also lose that freedom as your business grows?

You’re back to square one, huh?

Staying small helps retain that freedom.

If you want to live and work from overseas, you can – with a smaller more manageable business.

If you want to work a four day week, it’s possible with a smaller more manageable business.

5) You have time.

Perhaps the greatest benefit of staying small, is time.

Time, as we all know, passes way too quickly.

If you have children, don’t you feel like you’re missing out on them growing up? They grow up quick enough as it is, without the pressures of a large business to run getting in the way.

Or how about the hobby you wanted to start? The language you wanted to learn? The garden that you wanted to sort out? The long-overdue mini break with your hubbie?

Or, what about that time you want to yourself? Alone. With no-one emailing, phoning, or asking you to do something.

You only live once.

Do you want to be spending all that time working?

I know I certainly don’t!

So there you have my five reasons for staying small, and I didn’t even touch on the stress or health benefits.

But my real point is this, decide what you want from your business.

Big or small. Specialised or generalised.

Don’t let others, or society, dictate that for you.

4 COMMENTS

  1. I agree with every single point above, but there is also one point you have missed – profit margin. The more work you take on means out sourcing more and more which eats into your margin, and therefore you have to maintain a certain level of clients in order continue to maintain the level of profit. By all means have associates as it is essential to have back up when you are on holiday, or sick or some other event which takes your direct focus from your business, but then you maintain and control for a short period of time and you keep your clients happy. After all happy clients mean a happy business!

    • I’m not sure how relevant profit margin is to the article topic Rachel, after all we’re stating it’s okay to stay small. Which means having associates isn’t particularly relevant, if you’re content to carry out the client work yourself.

      Of course, if you want to grow and see the bottom line increase, then yes, scaling up in both clients and associates will be necessary. Managing that is a whole different article altogether!

    • Great additional comments here … VAT for sure and profitability – moving into other areas can seem like a great idea for expansion, but in fact leaves you out of pocket when you do the maths.

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