Although most virtual assistants I know spend most of their time virtually, it was great to meet face-to-face with fellow virtual assistants in Gauteng last Friday.

Cathy Brondani had the initiative to get together virtual assistants in one room for a morning so that we could share our knowledge and experience with each other. She asked me to present answers to frequently asked questions at the event.

I then asked Bronwyn Hubbard, who is a real go-getter and had her first two large retainer clients within two weeks after I mentored her, to talk about mistakes to avoid when starting out.

Other topics we covered:

  • The focus model – which gave virtual assistants a tool to make sure that they were focusing on the right things in their business to ensure success
  • Know yourself (and tools to help measure your personality online)
  • Your WHY – and action steps to determine what motivates and drives you
  • What you need to start a VA business
  • Financial compliance in South Africa
  • Virtual assistant services out there
  • How to determine your niche
  • How to identify your ideal client (with practical exercises)
  • Where to find clients
  • How to submit a successful proposal
  • Handling the initial call with your client with confidence
  • How to determine your rates
  • Online tools to collaborate effectively

One of our delegates mentioned that she had done so many courses and research but still was not ready to get going. A reason for this is that there is no cookie cutter solution for starting out your virtual assistant business. Every business owner and every business differs and you need to develop your own methods and systems that are unique to you. There is nothing wrong with learning from the experience and examples of others, but a lot of courses and templates are sold online with the promise of solving your emotional need to get ahead and then turn out to be disappointing because they are not unique to your business.

Delegates shared their motivations and reasons behind being virtual assistants and it was very insightful and encouraging to hear of other people’s experiences.

What was very clear was that in order to make the most of our time together, we should make use of each other’s expertise and find mentors and accountability partners to help us stay focused and on track. If you’re a new virtual assistant, I challenge you to find an accountability partner or mentor to fast-track your success.

Great initiative, Cathy, and I hope that we can all meet again soon!

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