Many VAs, particularly those new to the industry, are so keen to get clients that there are times when they will accept a job only to find they really don’t have the skillset or experience to carry out the role. They then end up in a quandary – do they tell the client or try to find out quickly how to do that particular job?
The questions asked at VA forums often show a tendency for the latter, rather than the former, or perhaps they have already told their client, but are going ahead with the job too.
I encourage VAs not to bite off more than they can chew (rather than bite off too much and chew like hell!) and spend time developing new skills on their own time.
There have been times when clients have asked me to do something for them that I have no experience in – but this is with their knowledge and we already have an existing business relationship. I remind them I know little of the subject but am willing to explore it for them and report back.
Sometimes I will take the job on after having experimented on a project of my own (which is how I got into blogging) but other times I have declined and offered to help them find the right VA for the job (through my own team of VAs).
So, when and how do you hone or develop these new skills? On your own time – not the client’s.
If you think that running a VA business means you can set your own hours and then do nothing business related afterward, you are vastly mistaken. You do set your own hours for client work but there’s a lot of ‘after hours’ work done too. Your own admin, bookkeeping, website maintenance, marketing and promotion are just a few things (if you’re not outsourcing some of these to another VA), that need to be done. But if you also want to keep up with technology and become familiar with the new tools out there (Twitter is a good example) then it’s important you set aside time to learn and ‘play’ to find out how these things work.
If, after a period of time, you find you really enjoy playing with these new tools and you are doing well with them, you now have a new service offering for clients – both existing and future. So exploring and practising is worth the effort – on your own time and without the pressure of time constraints for clients.