For many new VAs, starting your own VA business can be a bit of a shock to your system. If you’re used to working as an employee, it can be an awkward and unsettling period of time, making that switch to a business owner. Not only is there the practical elements of business to consider, but there’s also a mindset switch to make too.
This all starts with you needing to be in business for the right reasons. I covered this in a recent blog entitled ‘Are you in business for the long or short game?’. We also touched on employee versus business owner mindset in Common Mistakes to Avoid When Starting a VA Business.
However, this mindset switch is such an important subject, I wanted to break it down further for you and clarify how you make that essential mindset shift.
Your business your rules
As a business owner, your goals and priorities will change once you work for yourself. For an employee, the main goal is often to simply get paid. As a business owner, your priorities and driving forces are your business – making it a success. This puts you in a different, more creative, innovative headspace.
Part and parcel of a business owner mindset is learning how to run your business by your rules. This includes learning how to manage client expectations and gain high client satisfaction. It’s also about knowing who to listen to and get advice from – and who to avoid!
There’s also the realisation that the responsibility of everything is on your shoulders. As that’s the case, you then need to set up your own set of rules, guidelines, business plan and vision for running your business, your way. Here’s one of our previous blog posts on how to equip your VA business for success – and it helps identify the less obvious things you need in place. And here’s one on how to know when you’re ready to start your VA business.
You need to get out there and make it happen
For many VAs the reason they’re not getting out there and making happen is that they feel like they’re not ready. Impostor syndrome, perfectionism and a need to do everything themselves, hold them back.
No one is going to hand you a business on a plate. Thinking of becoming an Associate for another VA, as an easier way to get started? Newsflash: starting as an Associate isn’t a happy middle ground! You still need to think and act like a business owner.
As an employee other people told you when they thought you were ready for promotion. As a business owner, it’s your job to step up and make it happen. If you want your business to succeed, you need to step up, put in the work and put yourself out there – regardless of whether or not you feel ready.
[If you want some help dealing with imposter syndrome, here’s one of our previous blogs that can help].
Learn to delegate – your time is valuable
As a VA you’re used to other people delegating their tasks to you. And I’ve no doubt it was the same when you were an employee. However, as a business owner, you need to realise your time is valuable, as are your skills. This means it’s now your time to start delegating out tasks.
You can run a business solo, but it’s a lot easier if you don’t. Having support is the fastest way for you to grow as a business owner and as a business. It enables you to free up your time to both enable you to work with more clients, as well as work on the needs of your own business.
Delegating can often mean building and utilising your own team of Associates, but that’s not the only option. Another way you can delegate is to outsource work you’re not comfortable, equipped or able to do. This can include social media management, blogging, website maintenance and video editing.
Get used to being uncomfortable
As a business owner, you’re constantly learning and expanding your comfort zone. At times, that can feel uncomfortable and awkward, but you need to understand that being uncomfortable is normal. It’s a sign of growth and taking leaps forward. It shows that you’re stretching that comfort zone and growing as a business owner. If it helps, relabel it as excitement or nervous energy!
As this article from Entrepreneur Europe, you need to get used to feeling uncomfortable if you want to become an awesome entrepreneur. It may be an old article, but it is still relevant to today’s required mindset shifts: 9 Mindsets you need to switch from employee to entrepreneur.
Surround yourself with the right people
As an employee, we’re used to viewing the people around us as competition. In order for us to stand out, we need to be the best, the most intelligent one. However, as a business owner, we need to surround ourselves with the right people. And this means we need to surround ourselves with people who are going to help and support us on our business journey.
That doesn’t mean that everyone around you needs to bring something business-related to the table. Our support network needs to also have people we can talk to, who won’t judge or criticise us. People we can confide in and trust they’ll be cheering us on. But as this recent Huffington Post article shares, you also have to ensure your network of contacts and support includes people who are smarter than you. That’s why it’s so important to have a mentor or coach as part of this team – you gain access to support and knowledge to help you on your entrepreneurial journey.
Celebrate your successes and review your results
No matter what stage your VA business is at, you also need to learn how to celebrate your wins. The employee mindset is we wait until our manager either notices our good work or carries out a review, so we can voice our successes yourself. As a business owner, you need to be your own best cheerleader. You need to give yourself permission to be proud of what you’re achieving and to celebrate any and all of your successes.
Now you can’t really know what your successes are, without taking the time to review your results. Learn how to track your figures and what ones you need to track – financial, analytical, numerical and timescale-wise!
But also remember that not all successes are figure related, and nor do they have to be huge wins. Trying out a new social media platform, recording your first video, getting a new client, making your next blog post live, ordering your new business cards, these are all successes and wins.
Having the right mindset is key to business success – and the mindset you need is that of a business owner. So as you read the above blog, take the time to work out how you’re going to implement those mindset switches, to ensure you’re going from employee to business owner mindset. And if you’d like more help on your mindset, check out these previous blogs on the subject: How to reset your mindset, when the mind monkeys are already there! and Master your mindset, if you want success in 2019.