When I was in the very early stages of starting my business, I did a lot of thinking -- and not just thinking, but I would doodle, scribble, and make lists pertaining to all of the crazy self talk that was going on in my head. I'll be honest with you-- I was all over the place.
"What in the world were you thinking about, Christine?"
I know, right! I was mostly asking myself questions that I didn't know the answers to yet: Will this be successful? What services will I offer my "clients"? Where will I find my first "clients"? (I say "clients" because, at the time, they were these funny, fictional characters in this book that didn't even have its first written chapter.) What will my logo and brand look like? What should I include on my website?
The ideas and brainstorming went on and on, but I never took the time to step back and do what I offer my clients all the time. I needed to reel in those thoughts, write them down in an organized way, and develop a business plan. If I had taken the time to do this from the start, I would already be struttin' down the path of entrepreneurship with real clients and real services. I simply needed to make better use of my time.
So, enough about me-- here's what you should do as soon as the mood strikes you:
Step 1: Complete a brainstorming worksheet.
Once you download this worksheet, you will see a handful of sections, along with directions with some tips to guide you. Each of these sections is devoted to a vital part of your business that is worthy of serious consideration. Take a bit of time to think about each section, but don't over analyze either. Write down your first thoughts, your gut feelings, and get all of your daydreams down on paper. Doodle and scribble all over this worksheet. Like this new business--it's yours.
Snag the freebie worksheet here.
Step 2: Ask yourself some important questions.
Are you relatively tech savvy?
When thinking about your answer to this initial question, we aren't talking about starting a career in Information Technology or diving headfirst into programs you've never seen before. However, be honest with yourself here. Can you type and find your way around on the internet? Are you able easily navigate basic computer programs? Can you create a doc on Microsoft Word? Are you comfortable organizing information on an Excel spreadsheet? If you find yourself in a bind with a new program, do you Google the issue, contact their support team, or somehow find a solution? If all of these answers are yes, congratulations! You're tech savvy enough for a virtual biz.
Are your organizational skills top notch?
As an entrepreneur, you must have at least a solid -- if not strong -- mastery of basic organizational skills. Running your own business, balancing clients’ needs, and ensuring work gets done on time requires a fair amount of organizational acumen, especially when there is no one else to keep you accountable. If you are a type A person who is super on top of things (I see you with your color-coded planner!), then great! You are probably well-suited to this type of work.
Are you a team player and A+ communicator?
In a VA business, where you hardly (if ever) see your clients face-to-face, communication is everything. Because intent can easily be misunderstood when communicating virtually – especially using e-mail or text that doesn’t allow you to hear tone of voice – it’s critical that you establish open lines of honest, transparent communication from day one, and that you’re willing to work to keep that communication consistent throughout the relationship. So, some things to consider here: Are you comfortable chatting on the phone or via video conference? Will you ask questions when you need clarification? Are you willing to implement tools and programs to serve as aides in communicating with your client? Oh--you said "yes" to all of these?! Super!
Are you intrinsically motivated?
Real talk-- as an entrepreneur, your business is not going to run itself. You will need to have the motivation and drive required to get your VA business off the ground, and you won't find that anywhere else, but inside of you. If you are a “self-starter” by nature, fabulous. If this doesn't sound like you, take some time to do some deep introspection to ensure you have the motivation, energy, and commitment required to build, grow, and sustain a successful business. Entrepreneurship is not for everyone. Building a business from the ground up has been one of the most rewarding accomplishments of my life, but it has also been one of the most challenging.
If you stay with me through future blog posts, we will cover some of those things I thought about while daydreaming-- and all of those things will all come in time. You'll get there. Just take this one step at a time. I promise that if you are truly passionate about your business and have some of the foundational skills to support your clients and grow as an entrepreneur, you can make this happen.
(Photo by Kalen Jesse Photography)