A man teaching the parameters of being a virtual asistant

7 Essentials Virtual Assistant Skills To Help You Grow Your Business

There is no difference in starting any other business to become a virtual assistant. 

You need these marketable skills and you must be willing to learn how to sell to your clients in exchange for fees or payments. 

You can begin with a single service and add another service over time. Or, you can decide to stick to a single specialty and charge a premium for specific expertise. 

The choice is yours.

No matter how specialized your VA services are, you still need to be a generalist when it comes to running your business.  Sales, check. Accounting, check. Customer Service, check. WordPress Knowledge, check. This is the life of being an entrepreneur there’s always something new to learn. 

The truth is there’s so much more to learn, it’s just hard to know where to start. It could be an understatement to find it daunting. 

It’s okay. Just always believe in yourself you will get it. 

To be honest, the process of learning never ends neither stops. I think this is the idea or concept that attracts many people to become a virtual assistant. There is a constant and continues variety-every day is different, the new challenges are just around the corners. 

However, one question that seems to come up over and over again is “Where do I start?”

What Business Skills Do I Need To Develop More And Learn First And Which In The Long Run Will Most Likely Benefit My Business Or Company?  

This is the exact question we will look at today more closely. The responses I have got are the product of two things:

  1. Over the past six years, my personal experience has been gained from working with dozens of small business clients. 
  2. My observation of watching other virtual assistant develop their business-both those effective and seems to be struggling. 

But before we jump up into our list, let me first address another question from time to time. 

“Do I Need To Know Or Can I SubContract These Business Skills?”

Great question, indeed!

Obviously, you can get some of the skills needed to run your business — accounting is a great example. 

Although it’s okay to hire or employ a bookkeeper that will help you file with your year-end statements that will entries to an auditor or accountant, someone else doing doesn’t negate the need for some general accounting information on your part. No matter the circumstances, you should be aware of and understand the numbers behind your business. 

The same applies to sales skills. A salesperson could be hired to send pitches to prospective customers and follow up with phone calls. 

But at some stage, you’ll need to develop your own set of basic sales skills. 

Yes, I know. I can almost hear you arguing with me.  Why spend time learning a part of your business if you can get it contracted out and concentrate on doing what you do best. 

First, no one will have the same interest as you with your business. 

Second, if you don’t know and understand exactly what they are really doing in the first place, it’s hard to know if someone is really on the right track. 

Be aware of what is really happening in your business. Blind faith is the last thing you ever want to do. Trust is sweet, but it’s going to bite you in the ass. 

        7 Business Skills For Virtual Assistant

At first, all these processes of learning and abilities as a virtual assistant may seem daunting, particularly if you are a new VA. Yet, consider your hard work as the equivalent of a strong foundation being established. In years to come, it will fuel your business growth and hold you on the right trajectory. 

  1. The Ability To Plan And Strategize

If you have a driver’s license, when you first learned to drive, you might think back to it. Do you remember being taught how important it is to look out in the distance, not just 10 feet on your bumper?  

When you look ahead, it’s easier to see where you’re headed. You will be able to well predict new opportunities and potential hazards. 

The same concept applies to the business of your VA.

As an entrepreneur, getting caught up in the work before you right now is too easy. It can wait for what could happen tomorrow or next week. That’s what I get. When you feel busy or overwhelmed, putting things on the back burner is the easiest way to reduce stress.

But here’s the thing: If you want to grow your business as a virtual assistant, you’ll need to develop and strategize the skill plan. It’s one of the most important and valued virtual assistant skills that you can develop. 

This means looking down the road for three, six and twelve months and expecting challenges and opportunities that are worthy of your attention. 

  1. Prioritize RevenueGenerating Task

Take it from someone who’s learned the hard way.

If you don’t concentrate on income-generating jobs, the bottom line will suffer tremendously. You can even get out of the business. 

As a virtual assistant and a business owner, there will be always a million things on your to-do list. But all these things do not deserve the same level of coverage. 

Some of them are critical to your business growth (both in the short and long term) and others can be categorized as “making work” or “rainy day” ventures. 

Don’t get me wrong. It is important things like scheduling, social media, redesigning the website and improving it. But they are not directly responsible for revenue generation. 

Work on the job that is primarily focused on generating the cash flow that you need to keep your business going before you do anything else.  

  1. Stop Multitasking And Start Batching

We’re all multitasking guilty. Even me. I felt it was important to improve the management of multiple tasks at the same time for a long time. At one point, I became so terrible, at focusing on a single task that every 5-10 minutes I was doing something different-often going back and forth between the same 2-3 tasks. 

Crazy right?

I felt busy having a head cut off like a chicken running around. But I’ve never done a lot of work. That every little good comes from multitasking is what I found from practice. In addition, it almost always leads to lost productivity and errors that are more severe. 

It’s not easy to give up multitasking. It takes hard work and commitment.

The bomb is trying to concentrate on one thing at a time. It’s actually one of the most useful virtual assistant capabilities that you can create.

It’s not easy to give up multitasking. It takes hard work and commitment.

The bomb is trying to concentrate on one thing at a time. It’s actually one of the most useful virtual assistant capabilities that you can create.

I am now more committed to improving my ability to project a specific vision and this has a positive impact on my productivity level. 

Once you have mastered the art of focusing on a single mission, you can decide that batching is time to consider.

I listened to Pat Flynn the first time I heard about batching. The idea he spoke about was relatively simple: try to complete as many instances of the same task in one sitting instead of moving between different tasks on a macro level.

For example, email management is a common task where batching can make a huge difference.

As it arrives in our inbox, most of us respond to email. That might mean opening up Gmail 10-20 times a day just to read and respond to a single email depending on how busy we are. It could also mean that the phone is picked up and checked 20 + times a day. 

Instead, try to set aside 1-2 specific times every day when emails are checked and answered. Maybe once in the morning and once in the afternoon. You might even consider setting up an auto-reply so that people know they are unlikely to receive an instant response.

Here’s a comparison of how a typical day might look before and after batching:

Before batching: 

  • 7 AM – Check and respond to client email
  • 7:45 – Organize your tasks in Trello
  • 8:00 – Client work
  • 9:00 – Check and respond to client emails
  • 10:00 – Social media promotion
  • 10:10 – Check and respond to client email
  • 10:45 – Client work
  • 11:30 – A Client phone call
  • 12:00 – Lunch
  • 12:45 – Check and respond to client emails
  • 1:15 – Client work
  • 2:45 – Post to social media
  • 3:00 – Prepare a proposal
  • 4:00 – Check and respond to client emails
  • 4:30 – Post to social media

After Batching:

  • 7 AM – Client work
  • 9:30 – Check and respond to client emails
  • 10:00 – Post and schedule social media for the next two weeks
  • 11:15 – Schedule two client calls
  • 12:00 – Lunch
  • 12:45 – Client work
  • 4:00 – Check and respond to client emails
  • 4:30 – Prioritize tasks for tomorrow

It may seem like you’re doing the same volume of work at first glance — which you are. Though, what you do differently is to reduce the number of times you move between tasks. While improving concentration and productivity, this saves time. Batching should be relatively easy to implement a strategy for most VAs. If you’re already focused on a particular task, just do more at the same time.

  1. Learn To Communicate Effectively 

 On this point, let’s just cut to the chase right. For any virtual assistant, contact is an essential skill. Personally, I have lost track of how many times I have come to know I need to develop this particular set of skills. In communication, you can never be “good enough.” 

Whether you express your thoughts to a client or discuss terms of compensation, there is room for improvement at all times.

Perhaps the most important thing to remember about improving your communication ability is that listening involves 50% of communication. Listening improves sales, improves conflict resolution, and better serve your customers’ needs.

  1. Develop Your Sales Skills

You’re in the marketing business at the end of the day, no matter how you slice it. Whether you are a VA specialized in real estate, WordPress or social media, it doesn’t matter.

You’re lucky if you can persuade your customers and prospective customers that you’re selling something— a product or service — that will somehow make their life or company easier.

Look, it may seem like a frightening proposition to think of being good at sales, particularly if you hate sales the way I do. But don’t be afraid of this four-letter word.

We don’t talk about going door-to-door. It is much easier to be fantastic at sales than that.

Yes, selling well needs only two essential ingredients:

  1. Be yourself. Your personality and individual characteristics can help you draw your ideal clients a long way. Maybe you’re flamboyant, reserved, compassionate, conscientious, or simply anal-retentive. Whatever you are, consumers will be drawn to your personality. They’re going to be attracted to that part of your personality because they respect it. Give up on the notion that every new prospect will be able to land. No one is that good. 
  1. Communicate your value. You might be an expert in WordPress or a social media maven. Whatever it is, you need to be able to communicate it to your potential customers or clients.  Audio, video or written words are okay. Just always find and have a way for you to function well. And stick with it. 

It’s not that hard, is it? 

Sales are not supposed to be scary, hard or overwhelming. To grow your freelance business, all you need to do is consistently put yourself out there and share your message. Tell people how and then how you can help them. Under-promise and premature growth!

6.  Acquire Basic Accounting Knowledge 

Okay, so I know accounting isn’t the favorite topic for everybody. Often, however, we need to do the stuff that we least enjoy.

Aside from your disdain of numbers, the production of basic accounting skills and the management of records for your VA company has several advantages.

It will help you become more aware of what is going on in your company for one thing. Instead of depending on hunches or memory, you’ll be able to:

  • Determine the most profitable customers and ventures.
  • Know that customers are late paying their bills and which ones are effective.
  • Understand what areas of your VA business produce the most revenue and where the bulk of that revenue comes from.
  • See when the spending gets out of hand or impacts productivity.
  • Measure that customers are due to an increase in the price.

I think you’re going to understand that each thing is relevant on its own. Your greater insight into the numbers behind your company, the greater the chances of success. 

Even if you’re not sure how to read a balance sheet or income statement, learning how to interpret and appreciate the numbers most likely to contribute to your business ‘ growth is a good idea.

7. Commit To Personal And Professional Development

As s Virtual assistant, your business is either moving backward or forward. 

It isn’t static. Time never stands still. 

If you fail to make progress — including minor but tangible progress — you have lost some of your most valuable assets.

There’s a reason I put at the end of the list this “skill”. It’s because a personal and professional development dedication has the potential to more than anything else affect your company.

But what is personal and professional growth, and what is it like?

It is the relentless pursuit of information and the desire to improve constantly.

It is the desire to achieve your craft’s perfection, to become a better salesperson, a better communicator, and to better understand the numbers behind your company. 

It’s working out how to bring more value to your customers and solve problems more effectively.

Commitment to personal and professional development means that today you are a better virtual assistant and company owner than yesterday.

Always improve your Virtual Assistant Skills because it will benefit you and your clients.