4 Mistakes That Rookie Virtual Assistants Make – And How to Avoid Them

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“You have to start somewhere!” A phrase everyone hears and it’s true; but just because you’re new at something, doesn’t mean you have to look like it! Over the years, I’ve seen some VA blunders. So I’m going to share with you the top four mistakes that rookie virtual assistants make and how you can avoid them! 

They Lack Confidence

“Confidence is key” should be a phrase every single one of us lives by. 

There’s a stigma that not having knowledge about something means you should be less confident. That stigma is dead wrong. Your confidence is your key to success. Take your weaknesses and turn them into strengths; you may not know something now, but you sure as heck will figure it out. Clients love problem-solvers. 

The secret to confidence is knowing how to ask the right questions and following through when you find the answers.

 If you’ve ever taken a career seminar class, the number one thing you learn is confidence. Employers want confident workers, not know-it-all’s. You have to know your worth. Your confidence is your key to success.

They Don’t Show Up as the Professional

This is an issue that I could write about, ALL DAY LONG! It has a lot of parts to it, but I will keep it brief for now.

They don’t show up – physically – as a professional.  When you have a client-facing meeting, you show up looking on-point.  That means your hair is done, you have on some makeup — or you’ve at least washed your face and brushed your teeth, and you’re dressed like a professional wherever the camera might capture you.  ALWAYS, and I do mean ALWAYS, be ready for a video call with a client.  They might say “let’s have a call” and you assume a phone call and they are assuming video; be ready for video – every damn time.

Make sure your “office” appears professional.  Test your camera and see what it looks like behind you.  When in doubt, go with a blank wall.  No one wants to see your laundry, your kid’s toys, your dirty dishes – no one, ever.

Confirm and ensure you have a quiet space to have your client calls before they happen.  Get noise-canceling headphones if you need to.  Do what it takes. 

Your Business Profiles Matter. Don’t put ridiculous Snapchat pictures on your personal or business FB profile pictures.  Yes, clients look at Facebook. It’s one of the first places I look for someone when vetting them for a position.  

Sure, do what you want. It’s your private Facebook page after all, but just know that it does matter to some clients…well, more like a lot of clients.  It might be the only first impression you ever get to make.

They are MESSY with Their Work

They make simple, messy mistakes that just shouldn’t happen and can’t be overlooked.  Proofread.  

If you use Gmail, make sure to enable the “undo” feature for sending emails.  That way if you send something, and catch a typo as it’s heading off,  you can still cancel it before it’s too late and you sustain embarrassment!

Use spell-check.  Use it. Use it. Use it. Use Grammarly. Use ProWritingAid. It’s a great resource for one-stop shopping to look over your work. 

Clients notice the little things, and frankly, those little things can turn into big obstacles when looking for a team member. Your clients are counting on you to take your job seriously and put in the work, which includes proofreading and then proofreading again. 

They Under-deliver

Follow ALL of the damn directions.  Don’t shortcut.  ALWAYS over-deliver whenever you can; it will pay you dividends in the long run. Especially as a new virtual assistant, you want to get your name out there and you want to leave lasting positive impressions every step of the way. This doesn’t mean you should work for less than you’re worth, but it’s important to make your work known to keep your business running.  Go above and beyond.  Make lasting impressions that will result in repeat work or referrals. When it comes to your success, there’s no such thing as an overachiever. Go big, every time.

Sometimes, it’s the everyday actions we don’t think about regularly that make all the difference. Take some time and self reflect; do you catch yourself doing these four things? You’re not alone! Others in your same shoes (here in the Uplevel Lounge) have made the effort and shifted out of these negative patterns! 

Put your best foot forward because clients notice effort (or lack thereof.)  Similar to the “look good, feel good” mantra, when you make a conscious effort to do better, you’ll feel better about your work. 


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