I have many friends who are Virtual Assistants like myself. It’s always fun communicating with them either online or over the phone. Just the other day, I was speaking with a VA friend, and while discussing the challenges of running a VA business, I used a term, “Business Owner Muscles”, and I instantly thought, “Oh, what a great topic for my newsletter/blog!”.
When you start your own business, you most likely encounter many challenges that are quite different from the challenges seen in the corporate jobs. I certainly did. I’m not saying that being in a corporate world is easier than running your own business, but especially when you are just starting out, these challenges can be very overwhelming and may make corporate jobs look easier.
But, the good news is that this is *your* business, and *you* have a better control over how to handle each situation. Here are some things that I always try to remember to keep building strong Business Owner Muscles:
- Do NOT take things personally
This one is big, IMHO. I’ve seen many situations where, for example, a boss asks his/her subordinate for an explanation for something that’s done, and that subordinate quickly decides that he/she is personally accused and becomes so defensive. This is totally unprofessional and unnecessary, don’t you agree? But, something like this can also be seen in a business owner – client relationship, too. This kind of attitude should be completely dropped! Instead, keep an objective view, and always project a professional image. Not only this will help you look more professional, but you will also find that it is a waste of energy to take things personally most of the time. Spend your energy on more productive stuff!
- Don’t cover yourself up, and don’t offer unnecessary explanations
People make mistakes, myself included. Of course, it’s great if you never make mistakes, but if you do, handle it in an utmost mature manner. Most people appreciate it when you are transparent and do your best to fix the situation instead of giving them all kinds of excuses. Maybe your kid’s illness ended up causing you to miss the deadline, and it’s okay to quickly explain that, but you do not need to go into the details like how many times he vomited, etc. just to prove that you had a good reason. That would be totally unnecessary.
- Take actions, don’t wait!
Learning is one thing, and implementing what you learned in your business is another. And I see many people just being scared of that implementing part. You may want to make sure everything is perfect before showing it to the world. Or you may be simply scared of the consequences of your action. Whatever the reason is, remember, nothing will change unless you take actions! Taking action may rock your boat, but it’s a ride that is so worth it. You will grow. You will become more brave. Don’t let that “I want to be perfect” thought stop you from taking actions. Good is good enough. Take action and revise later!
- Find a mentor/coach
Feeling stuck? Ask for help! It’s sometimes very difficult to look at yourself with an objective view, and a little talk with a coach or a mentor could help you see things more clearly. There are so many experts out there who offer help in specific areas as well. The coaches can help you discover what you really want and guide you toward it. In the meantime, they will hold you accountable so that you actually take actions to make your business/life better for you. Many coaches actually have their own coaches; doesn’t it tell you something about having somebody on your side? I was lucky enough to get to know some awesome coaches, so if you are interested, by all means, let me know.
- Keep building your Standards and Boundaries
Your business is not a hobby. You should respect it, take it seriously, and keep building standards and boundaries that suit you and your business. I do not believe in being totally inflexible about my boundaries, and I do think it’s important that you know what you should stick to. Keep revisiting what is truly important in your business and life, and your Standards and Boundaries will naturally emerge. You may occasionally feel that strict boundaries may scare some potential clients away, but if you loosen up your boundaries more than you should for somebody, it’s likely that you will become miserable working with that person.
More tips in the next post…
Mika Howard is a Virtual Assistant and the owner of MTH Virtual Assistance. She works with busy, high-achieving solopreneurs to rescue them from the administrative nightmare by providing them with much needed, dependable administrative and marketing support, allowing them to spend more time to grow their businesses.
You can learn more about Mika and her business at http://www.mthvirtualassistance.com