When was the last time you invested in yourself?
It’s okay, I’ll give you a little time to think …
No? At a loss?
If you’re anything like the majority of Virtual Assistants out there, you may not have spent any time or money on your own personal development in the last 1, 2, 3+ years.
And let’s not get confused here – when I say you, I don’t mean your business. I mean you.
Your skills. Your knowledge. Your development.
So have you figured out the one common mistake many VA’s make when running their business?
Yep, you got it – not investing in themselves.
It’s a tough one to do though.
Unless you’re already running a 6 figure business, or even a high 5 figure one, it’s normal to feel like you don’t have the cash to spare. That it’s a luxury to spend time and money on self-learning.
And in fact, most of us if we’re honest would rather save for next year’s holiday, Christmas or for those unforeseen circumstances like the boiler packing up just as the coldest winter on record approaches!
But it’s also a vicious cycle.
Without investing in yourself you may not grow your business enough to go on holiday, to buy lots of fab Christmas pressies or for those unexpected emergencies.
It’s important to remember that without you, there is no business.
Every successful business owner understands that the more skills they have, the greater their earning potential.
So with that in mind, here’s a few tips to ensure you don’t make this all-too-common-mistake when it comes to running your VA business:
1. Allocate time each week to self-learning
The lowest physical cost to you is through free self-learning.
By contrast it’s the highest time cost.
But if cash is tight, then this option leaves no excuse not to continually develop your skill set.
The internet is one huge resource. Admittedly it takes time to cut through the rubbish to find information of value, but that’s why it’s important to allocate adequate time each week to doing so.
Think of the skills you’d like to improve. Or think of something new you’d like to offer clients.
Then ‘Google’ it.
(Adding “free” to the beginning of your search will hopefully eliminate most paid-for courses.)
The important thing here is to set time aside to enhance your skills and invest in yourself.
This is also a great way to get out of the trap many of us fall into – where all we’re doing is reactionary client work.
Time to be proactive. Decide the path your business is going down, stay focused and achieve it.
2. Increase your skill set with targeted courses
One step up from free online learning, are paid-for courses.
These are often much more beneficial as you’re more likely to stick with the course.
Because you’re being held more accountable.
It’s easy to hit cancel when a reminder pops up on your screen about spending time browsing online for information relating to a specific topic. But with a paid-for course, it’s not so easy. You’ve physically parted with your hard earned cash, so physiologically you want to get something in return.
And it’s important the course is targeted for two reasons:
1) You’ll know exactly what you can expect to learn by the end.
2) Often it will take less time to complete, making it feel more achievable.
So figure out what it is that you want to learn. What do you want to offer clients? What do you want to feel more comfortable doing? What do you think is a good hook to get new clients?
Then find a course to match.
Check its content. Is it targeted enough? If you’re unsure, contact the provider and ask questions. Make sure you understand exactly what you’ll get out of it and that it fits with what you need to learn.
3. Hire a mentor
Without doubt, one of quickest routes to success is through hiring a mentor.
A mentor will:
- Be impartial
- Provide constructive feedback
- Offer guidance
- Help determine goals
- Hold you accountable
- Help you stay on the right path
They’ll create a personal one-on-one programme designed specifically for you – believe me, it’s worth its weight in gold.
Obviously you’ll want to find a mentor who’s already successful, and can prove it. Shop around to find someone who is a good fit for you.
Ask yourself if it’s a business mentor you need? Or perhaps it’s a mentor within a specific field?
Yes, this is the most expensive investment in yourself, but unlike self-study (free or paid) you can’t duck out of a pre-determined time.
You’ll absolutely want to get your money’s worth.
You’ll get their insights – how they made it. What avenues they used that you haven’t yet explored.
And you might even get access to their contacts, or at the very least, be nudged in the general direction of possible ‘hot’ contacts.
4. Hire associates
This may seem a little counterintuitive, but what is it that us VA’s always say to business owners?
Hire a VA to free up your time, allowing you to focus on growing your business.
Well it’s time to take a leaf out of your own book!
If you can offload some of your workload to a trusted associate in order to concentrate on developing your skills and going after the right clients, do it.
What may cost money in the short term, could prove a massive money-earner in the long term.
5. Constantly re-evaluate
Always remember to check the skills you need, based on your business offering and clients, against your skill level.
Virtual Assistant businesses constantly evolve.
You gain new clients and you have clients who move on. One skill you may have needed in the past, isn’t necessarily a skill you need now.
Adjust your own learning to best represent your business offering, or where you want your business to be positioned.
But whatever you do, don’t stop investing in yourself.
Your business is worth it, your clients (and potential clients) are worth it, you’re worth it and most importantly it will ensure your business longevity and success.