The Sometimes Ugly Truth About Being a Virtual Assistant

I think it’s a fair assumption to make that most people would LOVE to work from home or from anywhere in the world. You physically get the freedom to do what you want whenever you want. Depending on the services you provide, you’ll definitely have the financial freedom you’ve always wanted. Honestly, you can get that with becoming a virtual assistant. Sounds great right? Of course it does because you’re only getting to hear about the good stuff. Well, what about the not so good stuff? What about the things that no one really tells you about? Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy and blessed to be able to work from home and to work with the people that I want to work with. HOWEVER, it isn’t always going to be fully booked out, invoices paid on time and dream clients. That’s okay! It may not feel like it at the time BUT, these are things that you can absolutely overcome. 

Losing clients

This is the one thing I knew could happen, but when it happens, you’re like “what the hell!”. You can lose a client for a number of reasons. One reason could be that the working relationship is not a great fit. It sucks when that happens but it does happen and it’s okay. It’s better off to find out in the beginning instead of causing stress and butting heads with your client the entire time. You could also lose a client if they start to struggle within their own business. Just like you, they’re a business owner and things happen. Whether it’s losing clients themselves or making the wrong decisions, it could lead to them cutting your hours, pausing your contract or terminating everything all together. You can also lose a client if you take on too much work and the quality of your work starts to decline. When someone is paying a premium they expect a certain level of work. If your effort starts to decline, your client may say goodbye. Losing clients cannot only affect your bottom line, but your mental health as well. It can be a blow to your confidence, but it’s only the end of your business if you let it be. Put on your grown up pants and search for more clients! Take the losses as a lesson and learn from them.

Long Hours

Everyone thinks that when you work from home, you’ll have all the time in the world. It can be that way if you work smart. In the beginning, I didn’t have a schedule for myself. I knew weekends were out of the question, but during the week I was working like crazy. There were days that I would be at my desk from 6am to 7pm STILL working. My thought process was if I have 18 hours a week worth of work, I’m gonna do it all Monday and enjoy the rest of my week. Yeah. That was not it. I had to teach myself that everything didn’t have to be done in one damn day! I also needed to give myself a break. Just like all of my other jobs, I would work through lunch, or get up when someone asked for help during lunch. Don’t do this! Just because you’re working from home, it does not mean you don’t get a break! I ended up using Asana to organize myself and get my life together. Every Sunday I’ll sit and figure out what I may need to do for the week and add any last minute tasks that I may receive from clients on Monday. You have to realize that you may not get the task done because your client hasn’t responded all day, or your computer may crash. Shit happens but you’ll figure it out. In the beginning of your VA journey you will definitely put in more hours because you’re running a business too. When you clock out of virtual assistant mode, you may have to clock into entrepreneur mode for another 5 or 6 hours. It’s rough but only you can make your business what you want it to be. If you play your cards right early on, you may not have to work as much or have your own clients anymore once you hire on other VA’s. Time is definitely money and you need to use it wisely!

Figuring out your niche

Okay so you figured out that you want to be a virtual assistant and that’s awesome, but what service do you want to provide? That can be such an overwhelming question for most VA’s and honestly still is for me. Right now, I offer a little bit of everything. Customer service, admin work, social media management and some other odds and ends. This is great because it allows me to bring in different types of customers BUT, having your hand in too many things can overwhelm you. You also can’t really become great at one thing because you’re juggling too many others. If you can, find out what you really love and become a boss at it! When you niche down and start to specialize, the more you can charge eventually. Now that you’ve figured out what you want to offer, the real question is who do you want to offer it to? Hospitals, retail stores, corporate offices…I mean the list can go on and on forever. Just take a deep breath, look at your past positions and see what would be a good fit. Remember that it doesn’t have to be figured out today, but having some kind of solid plan eventually would be better for you, your business and your potential clients.

Making more and working less

It’s not an obstacle when you do it right but it’s definitely a struggle to get there. I always see these posts on Facebook and Instagram, where people say they work like 3 times a month and make 10k. Honestly, sometimes it’s true but they NEVER tell you what it took to get there. They don’t tell you about the extra hours per night that they have to put in. They don’t tell you how much they have to spend on marketing. They definitely don’t tell you about the weekly nervous breakdown you may have when you don’t meet your financial goal. Making more and working less is certainly obtainable but you have to put in the effort. I am coming up on my 1 year anniversary for my business and I’m still not where I’d like to be. Guess what? That’s fine! I’m comfortable but still striving for more. It’s never wrong to want more but it’s wrong to kill yourself over it because you just started five minutes ago and you’re not a full blown agency having million dollar months. IT IS OKAY! Take your time and do things right. You will get there!

These are just a few things that I have struggled with or noticed that other people have had a hard time with. The work from home journey is never going to be perfect. You’re going to have great days, bad days or even bad months, but just know that if you have the perseverance, the drive and the passion then you will be able to overcome all of it in due time. Keep going and don’t let anything deter you from reaching your goals!

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