Playing the Long Game As A Virtual Assistant
Playing the long game as a virtual assistant is very much how it sounds – it means you’re committed to your VA business for the long haul.
Founder & CEO of the AVA, Melissa Smith remembers vividly when she told a friend of hers that she was going to start a VA business but wasn’t long-game-minded.
“He owned a business and was very successful. I was most impressed with him because this was the second successful business he successfully built after going through an extremely rough time in his life. I told him that I was going to give myself a year to create a successful business and if it didn’t work out, I would just go get a job again. He told me, ‘If you’re only in it for a year, don’t bother’. I was stunned and surprised by his response and he could visibly see it on my face. He went on to share that the first year is often just laying the foundation. My second year could be a game changer and it’s when a lot of referrals start coming in. Additionally, what if I ran into problems in my fourth year? Would I close my business then? At that moment, I made the commitment to myself and my business to play the long game as a virtual assistant no matter what”.
There are numerous stories of virtual assistants whose businesses take off right out of the gate. Even those who did not predict such success so quickly could have never imagined their trajectory. Often their long game plan was more about taking the calculated risk and not fearing failure. Rather they feared not trying. Whatever bumps in the road they came across they felt confident they could handle them at the moment. They didn’t let worry hold them back. This in turn has often led to trying big things early on and reaping the rewards.
If you are working to build your business as a VA, what is your long-term game plan?
Recently, Melissa interviewed Dorie Clark on the No Frills VA Podcast about her latest book The Long Game.
The problem many VAs have with their long-term game plan is the details. As in not having all the details. It’s okay to have a game plan and not know the how part of how you’re going to achieve it. You can be successful even if you don’t know how everything will work out. The key is simply trusting and giving yourself enough time to figure it out.
According to Dorie, these are the three critical parts of playing the long game.
1. Make Space for Yourself
As assistants, we’re exceptionally good at creating and setting deadlines for ourselves. Then we rush to fill the space with our Tetris abilities ensuring everything falls right into place nicely and neatly as we’ve planned. But what happens when things don’t fall into place or don’t work out as you have planned?
Starting out by simply making space to explore, be curious, try new things, experiment, and take advantage of opportunities – even when you’re scared – is actually a much better headspace to begin with. When you don’t become married to ideas, how you will get there, and the exact date and time of your arrival you give yourself the opportunity to be pleasantly surprised and spend less time beating yourself up.
2. Focus on What Matters
It’s common for VAs to focus on their goals (usually money and clients) and not necessarily their daily activities. Money is right up there with breathing so it’s a natural focus area. However, you’ll earn money and gain more clients based on your daily focused activities.
Activities could include:
- Reaching out to more potential clients;
- Making more connections with potential clients;
- Having more calls and conversations with potential clients;
- Networking with other VAs and potential clients;
- Learning new skills that will serve your clients and your own business;
When you know which activities best support your goals you can then double down your focus time to increase your results.
3. Feeding Your Faith
Some of your actions will reap exponential results. Some of your actions will seemingly fail. Other actions may take years to learn if it returns as a win, fail, or indifferent. With the only two certain things in life being death and taxes, that means the rest is constantly changing. Where do you put your faith? Yourself.
Look at how far you’ve come in life. Surely it wasn’t always an easy process for you to get where you are today. But here you are with skills, talents, and abilities you uniquely possess. If you devote the same time, attention, and faith in business, your long-game plan will become a reality. It may not be exactly what you had planned – it may be even better than you dreamed it could be!
You can also check out last week’s blog for Gratitude Practices for Virtual Assistants which will support you in playing the long game as a VA.
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