Whether you are new to virtual assistance or have been in the field for a while, you know, there is a plethora of information out there surrounding “skills” VA’s need. Ordinarily, this would be a great thing, and don’t get me wrong, it can be! However, because there is so much out there and some can often be niche or industry-specific, you have to figure out how to take all that information and confine it into something that’s actually going to move the needle for YOUR business and make you a more effective Virtual Assistant.
Some of the most common things I am asked from new VA’s is “How do I get clients??, “How do I price my packages?”, or “How can I niche down?” It is so easy to get caught up in all of the questions or information out there, that it can quickly turn into delaying getting started because you have so much in front of you that you don’t know where to begin. That’s why today we are going to give you the 5 Skills EVERY VA Needs, and help you outline a roadmap that is unique to you. We’re going to simplify the information and distill it down for you into only 5 must have skills. Once you have information that is pertinent to YOU, you can then compile it all into your roadmap and create your next steps.
Build Your Roadmap
Roadmaps are so vital especially when first starting out as you need some kind of way to navigate the priority items that are really going to make the difference in your business. Developing this “focus-track” mindset is a great quality to have as a virtual assistant, especially when business owners we work with tend to get distracted and need solid support! If we can build our roadmap with key accomplishable goals, we will not only focus better and reach those goals, but we can then implement this process into our work relationships, helping them stay on track as well! Our roadmap that we build today will consist of 3 key areas:
Before we dive into building this roadmap, let’s debunk a few myths and talk about the 5 Skills you NEED as a VA….
MYTH NUMBER ONE: You have to answer all of the big questions (ie services, prices, niche, ideal client, website) before getting started or to start well. And…You have to master a bunch of new tools.
Starting well is subjective and your progress will need to evolve anyways! Starting well means two things: learning and/or making money. If you are doing your best with what you have, then you’re doing good enough – I promise! The “big” questions are great questions, but they are more like ambiguous and intimidating umbrella questions, and underneath these umbrellas are the information you need to answer these bigger questions. Often, we answer these questions through the journey.
And sure, there may be some new tools you learn, but you will always be learning. An easy and reasonable metric is to start with what you know and add to your toolkit a little over time. Look for clients starting out that match your comfort level or that are willing to grow with you. It can be good to challenge yourself, but know your limits and give yourself healthy room to grow, so that you aren’t stressed out trying to learn too many new things at once.
MYTH NUMBER TWO: If I’m doing this right, or meant to do it, it will take off quickly or with ease.
I think a lot of us wonder why we aren’t where we want to be right away and we get frustrated. Some just give up on becoming a VA because they aren’t seeing results. We all get intimidated when we feel like we aren’t seeing results.
Just the other day, I was listening to an interview from someone who built and runs a huge virtual assistance agency and I noticed I began comparing myself with how much she had built. I had to take a step back and remind myself that earlier in the interview she spoke about growth and she said that growth takes time, it happens over time and not overnight.
It takes hard work and effort to get to where you dream to be. It is easy to feel pressure coming into the world of Virtual Assistance and seeing someone who has an amazing social feed, or another person with an amazing website… Please don’t let that discourage you from continuing, don’t let that be a reason why you quit! When you see people doing what you want to do or who have what you want to have one day, just remember they also didn’t get there overnight. It took them time and hard work. They too started with nothing.
MYTH NUMBER THREE: I absolutely need to niche down from the start.
The whole “you NEED to niche down” conversation is prevalent in the VA world. Is identifying, targeting, and working with a specific clientele a good thing? Of course! Is it a good thing when you are first starting out? Not always. Let me explain a bit more on why I feel this way.
You have to get your feet wet sometimes and test out the waters to see what kind of clients you really want to work with, and what you will find fulfilling. If you have never worked with a certain audience, how do you know that is the only audience you want to work with? You won’t always know this or understand it fully until you do it. Why limit yourself, especially when first starting out? Work with different people! Learn what it is you really love! Learn what you fail miserably at! Then niche down.
Knowing these are all myths can help you take the pressure off yourself. Remove the expectations to answer all these questions and master all these skills.
A great rule of thumb is this: If you feel confused or uncertain, avoid it. Move in the direction of confidence! Go with your gut. This cannot be overstated enough. Trust your intuition.
These are the only skills you absolutely MUST HAVE as a VA.
5 Skills Every VA Needs:
Skill # 1
This skill should always be improving, but it’s a core skill that is necessary to do well in any role. It’s proven that VA’s do better when they have this skill. Why? Because as a VA, everything is online. Your written communication, clarity and efficiency with details on a zoom call, or your ability to follow up on tasks in Asana or through email are non-negotiable. Communication is key to set clear expectations and to get the job done well every time. If communication has ever been a challenge for you…check out the deadliest communication style and make sure you avoid it!
Skill # 2
The ability to adapt can be vital to working online, working with people, working with tools, working with schedules, working around life….There is never a time when adaptability isn’t needed. However, because of the nature of online work and the fact that you work from home, this is necessary. You may also have clients change launch dates, or take a new direction with a new course platform. Then you could have everyone’s internet or social media could crash for a day…it’s happened! It’s so important that you be able to adapt, and also be creative or resourceful when adapting means needing some alternative solutions!
Skill # 3
Adaptability and flexibility may seem similar (they are), but there’s also a distinct difference. Adaptability is the willingness or ability to adapt. Flexibility means you can do this easily. We’re not saying that if you struggle with this, you can’t be a VA, but you will really succeed if you can easily be flexible. You can easily change your schedule or move things around, cater to last minute requests on occasion or overhaul launch plans simply because a client has requested it! Sure, there are limits to how much change is reasonable, but those who are flexible will have an easier go of things and perform well under pressure and change. A positive mindset may help with this when you feel frustrated or overwhelmed. It’s also important to remember the importance of letting go, and letting go of the long list of to-do’s.
Skill # 4
You are no longer at an office 9-5 Monday through Friday. Now, you are working your own hours, whenever or wherever. This means you could be up against new distractions and new challenges. You must be disciplined with your own time and schedule. If you cannot manage your time well, you will suffer as a Virtual Assistant! Practice time blocking, get organized with your schedule, to-do’s, etc. Check out this blog for more tips on time management.
Skill # 5
There is maybe nothing quite so valuable as being a self starter when you’re a new Virtual Assistant. In fact, I think only self starters would be starting a virtual assistant business anyways! If you don’t have this skill…I’m surprised you’re here! Lol There are several secrets to being a great virtual assistant but being a self-starter and initiating projects yourself is one of them! Take the lead and help be proactive with your clients. If you want guided training on being proactive with your clients and what that might look like, check out this Proactive Assessment Guide and Video Training!
We set this as a bonus skill because tech-savviness has varying degrees of know-how and skill. A small level of tech-savviness is non-negotiable, because you need to at least understand how to use a computer and troubleshoot tech problems with email or online programs from time to time. We’d like to think that if your role as a VA doesn’t require much tech-know-how, that you will at least do well to troubleshoot on occasion, being the self-starter that you are. We trust that you can be resourceful in a pinch. However, being tech savvy does really come in handy as a VA. If you’re looking to do more advanced work, as a support in email marketing tools or CRM’s, it really does require a little extra tech-savvy magic. But, don’t worry! There are a TON of courses out there (and YouTube videos!) to equip you in just about anything! If you’re looking for some hands-on training as you get started, you should definitely check out our internship program.
We’ve confirmed that you have the MUST HAVE skills to be a VA and we’ve busted some myths that might have been keeping you from getting started…now let’s get on with building our roadmap!
Build Your Story
The first part of your roadmap begins with you and your story. Where you have come from is extremely valuable in more than one way. You have a uniqueness about you that is vital to your future clients. Not only that, your experience is being sought out right now by your future client! The online workplace is now more diverse than EVER before. I meet VA’s who have experience from so many different industries. Engineers, dentistry techs, teachers, photographers, HR, and so many more backgrounds of expertise. Whether you are looking to continue serving some of these same industries, or completely switch gears, the experience you have and how your story will collide with your new endeavors to support your future clients is perfect! Don’t underestimate where you have come from and the relevance of your story. Who you are matters, and eventually, your “ideal clients” will be so glad they found you. Be confident in where you came from, because it does benefit and impact where you’re going.
Build Your Toolkit
One way to help you take steps toward answering all the big questions you have when starting out is by building a great toolkit. Again, don’t become overwhelmed by building your toolkit. Start with two things: what you know already and what you’re interested in.
One of the first and best tools I can recommend to you is Canva! I used to work in pages when I first started doing graphics and when I discovered Canva it opened up my eyes to this whole new world! There are just endless possibilities and not many limits to what can be created in Canva, so I definitely recommend you getting Canva in your toolbox as a Virtual Assistant. You will NOT regret it!
Some sort of time tracking app will also be extremely helpful to have in your toolkit! You need something to track how much you are working for the client so you don’t end up working over the hours you have been paid for. Toggle is great as a stand-alone time tracker and ClickUp is really great if you are looking to track time on the task and customer together at once. (My affiliate clickup link gets me credits if you sign up!)
Another highly valuable tool in the world of Virtual Assistance would be simple networking! Network network network! You can network anywhere. Anywhere! With our digital world, there are opportunities everywhere. Start with Facebook groups, LinkedIn and personal networks.
Build Your Core
What is your core?
Your core is the absolute center of who you are. Your character, your personality, your work behaviors and styles – it’s what attracts people to you and it’s everything about yourself that you must continue to nurture and grow. When people talk about self-care, this is one area where it becomes really important. How you show up with integrity in your business, how you handle the hard times when you personal life is crumbling to pieces, and how you persevere to develop a dependable business all come from your CORE. Your core should be developed. Continue the investment into yourself by improving skills like communication, or proactivity. Don’t forget that your business won’t thrive if you don’t thrive. There is nothing more valuable than qualities like integrity, honesty, loyalty or reliability. I say this because you can have all the tools and skills you could ever dream of but if you are lacking that element of character, then those skills and tools aren’t going to mean as much to potential clients and those you work with.
There’s a brand new roadmap guide and training where we teach you how to build your own VA roadmap to success. Get yours NOW! It’s on sale ($5) for a limited time.
Remember You’re Only Getting Started…The Best Is Yet To Come
Once you know that you have these 5 Skills and you’ve built your roadmap, you are on your way to success as a Virtual Assistant.
Now that we have these five skills (and your roadmap which identifies YOUR areas of focus), you can expand into subcategories and outline where you want to go next.
So in communication, for example, you could do some self-reflection and ask yourself, “Where do I need to grow in my communication?” or “Where have there been problems with me and my communication in the past?” This is so important because a lot of times we get in cycles where we’ll have communication breakdown, and we often want to blame the other person, but then it happens over and over again. So we have to pause and go, “Oh, maybe there’s a reason that this is happening over and over again. Maybe it’s me?”
Here’s what I’d recommend:
Make a really, really short list. Choose maybe two or three tools or core qualities you want to develop or grow. For example, if you are a project manager and want to expand your knowledge of ClickUp or if you struggle with flexibility and want to work on your mindset. Choose those two or three things that YOU want to grow in and take the steps each week to grow yourself. This simple practice is more important than any “tool” or “skill” you will ever learn.
Taking this time to build your roadmap and do some self-observation, while shutting out all the noise for all of the other things that you think are supposed to matter when becoming a Virtual Assistant, will really get you moving forward.
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This roadmap goes beyond affirming your confidence for your brand new VA business, it puts you on a clear trajectory for better self awareness and more sustainable long-term goals. The roadmap that you build comes from 3 key areas:
The roadmap training will renew your confidence and the overall sense of purpose for your new direction.