Mindset is probably the biggest culprit causing VA businesses to fail.
It is a bold statement to make. But the change in mindset that MUST take place when you want to have a successful, long-lasting and profitable business is to change it from running your business with an employee orientated mindset to a business orientated mindset.
Let’s think about it: When you work in corporate as an administrative employee for a company, you are not really involved in planning the future of the company you work for. In many cases you are not really allowed to ask too many questions about it. Your employer will most probably not ask you advice on how you think they should grow their company and you are merely there to react to – and follow the orders of your employer.
When you decide to move over from being an employee to becoming a business owner, a lot of changes happen:
- You leave your place of employment and no longer have the protection of your job description;
- You move from a place of safety to a place of unknown;
- Nobody is telling you what to do anymore;
- You have to start thinking about ways to get your own clients and to grow your own business;
- Clients now expect from you to meet them on an equal footing;
- Clients want you to participate in discussions by asking questions and giving ideas and suggestions on how they can do things better in their businesses.
So there is a total rearrangement in the dynamics of how you operate as an employee vs how you operate as a business owner.
Now, a problem I see on a daily basis is that when people move over from a job situation into a self-owned business (like when they become a VA) their initial mindset and how they operate the business is still that of an employee. And this complicates things.
Instead of taking charge of their business, they wait for things to happen. They might have done some of the right things; like setting up a website and having all the right equipment, but the way that they’re thinking and the way they approach their business, getting clients and working with clients is still that of an employee.
You can see the employee mindset in a couple of things: Like for example
- When VAs haven’t changed their mindset yet, they are waiting for clients to come to them and to ask them for help. They start their business, get everything in place, send out a brochure or a few marketing pieces and then…. they wait. They wait for the clients to come. They wonder “where are all the clients, why are they not coming? I mean…. I have all these wonderful skills. I have this beautiful website. I left a couple of brochures at the dentist. My business card is on the bulletin board at Spar – why aren’t the clients coming? I can’t understand that.” Then, when the clients don’t come, they start to doubt their abilities and eventually they reach the point where they feel: This business just does not work for me.
- Another example when VAs haven’t changed their mindset yet, is when they prefer to be delegated to. They wait for the client to take the lead in the relationship and to tell them what to do. They don’t ask their clients questions to get better insight in how to best help them. They don’t make suggestions, because they feel it’s not there place to do so. What ends up happening in a situation like this, is the business owner either takes advantage of the VA and treats them like an employee OR the business owner feels that the VA does not really understand what they need and ends the working relationship. In both cases it is the VA that struggles in the end.
So what I really want you to do right now is to think about the mindset that you operate your business with.
Do you take charge of your business? Do you meet your clients on an equal footing because you know you are the expert in your business? Or do you wait to be delegated to?
Do you take charge of the situation to actively look for clients? Getting out there, speaking to people on a daily basis, building relationships and informing people about what you do and what problems you can solve for them? Or do you sit at home, wondering where all the clients are?
Now, it is often difficult to change your mindset. The good news however, it is possible.
Changing your mindset is a process that becomes easier with time, but it is something that you constantly need to work on. Each time you don’t have clients OR when you talk to a client, think about what a successful business owner will do in that situation and then start taking action to do the same.
It is vital to work on your mindset daily, because changing your mindset from working as an employee to working as a business owner will help you see that:
You are the expert in your business…. even if your client is the expert in theirs.
This will help you gain confidence to go out and get more clients, and then to work with those clients on an equal footing to build a successful and profitable business.