A year of being a Virtual Assistant, a year of owning my own business and a big year for learning and making mistakes. It’s actually mad. I’ve pulled out my top five learnings from the year.
Being positive is important but easier said than done. A positive mindset means that you have a positive expectation that things will turn out well and that you will succeed at whatever you put your mind to. This doesn’t just happen, you need to work. Especially when shit hits the fan. In the past I’ve found myself falling into a negative mindset, thinking that I’ll lose all my clients, that I can’t do my job and that I have no idea what I’m doing. Having a negative mindset is tiring.
A positive mindset is a skill that takes time to build up. There are a few little things I’ve implemented into my day-to-day to keep my head up and above the waves.
We all know I love a pen and notebook moment (specifically from Muji). Pen to paper opens my mind, makes me feel like a better human being and brings me so much clarity. I was born an overthinker. An overthinker who has a carousel of ideas, decisions, behaviours and mistakes playing on repeat in her mind. It’s important to find an outlet. Before travelling, I liked to find activities that gave me a moment to really think and assess everything that was kicking off in my brain. I turned to water colours, cross stitch and made Pompoms, (it was lockdown!).
The great thing about journaling is that you don’t need much and you can do it anywhere. Grab your notepad and pen, type on your phone, even grab your eyeliner and write on a Boots receipt (I have done this, I would recommend NYX Epic Smoke Liner in Black Smoke). Get it all out, you’ll feel lighter, more positive and it will give you the reassurance that you need, to know that you are on the right track.
When you’re grinding away, you are more than likely so focused on the future that you’re not looking back at the journey and how far you’ve come. It’s important to look back. Review what has happened and give yourself credit. You’ll feel motivated and driven to carry on making moves, as well as feeling proud of yourself. You’ve taken a step back and examined how you got to where you are and you’ve given yourself a well deserved pat on the back. Now, take a look at the bigger picture. Am I going to let a mistake affect my whole day? Am I going to be annoyed that I’ve only gained 2 Twitter followers this week? It didn’t work out with a client, does that mean my business is unsuccessful? No, no and NO. Owning a business is like a 10,000 piece puzzle. Things may not make sense at the moment, but keep fitting those pieces together and it will all become a little bit clearer the more you work at it. Maybe it didn’t work out with that one client because a client who is a better fit is coming your way. It takes time to grow a following, could you work harder on your own content? It’s one mistake, do what you can to fix it and move on. It’s all about the journey, so make sure you’re enjoying it.
When I first started my business, I didn’t want to pay for anything. I would try different platforms and jump from free trial to free trial until there was nothing left - I thought I was being savvy. I wasn’t being Savvy at all, I was wasting my own valuable time. Getting wrapped up in trying to learn new software every few weeks and getting frustrated was on a constant loop, all to save a bit of cash. I finally decided that I needed to start paying for certain platforms to make my life easier and it was one of the best decisions I’ve made. A simple decision that made a world of difference. I now pay $19 for Hypefury (A Twitter scheduling tool) every month. Knowing I pay for something actually gives me the kick I need to use the tool and do something about it. This is a good thing as it forces me to create content for my business which in turn is helping me get the Indie VA name out there. When I was free trialling, I would use a tool for a day, move on and/or get distracted and never end up using it again. Never really being able to achieve what I wanted. Paying for a platform helps keep me accountable.
Of course, being able to pay for a software/platform whatever it may be is a privilege. You don’t have to pay for every platform under the sun. Review what you’re currently using and what your ideal/dream platforms to use would be. Understand the benefits of paying for the platform. What changes would it bring, what would it improve? And then decide if it’s worth it.
YOLO. Send it. Go all in. ‘What’s the worst that could happen?’ is a question I’m trying to ask myself more. When I first started my business I was super conscious of what other people were doing. Constantly comparing my business to others, wondering if it would ever be a success. As time went on and I became more confident, I realised everyone is just trying their best to create something. There’s no one way to do that, we’re all artists in our own right. So, I’m trying to say ‘Fuck it?’ more. I want to put myself and my business out there. Try something new, test it, if it doesn’t work I’ll pivot and figure something else out. I have faith. With that in mind, I’m going to dip my toe into the TikTok pool, so keep your eyes peeled for this. Life is too short to not take the leap of faith. Even if it all goes South - you’ll have a good story.
Every few weeks I have a freak out. Owning your own business is hard. It’s up, it’s down, it’s wild. I recently called my parents (the voices of wisdom and reason), to share a freak out with them and I’m glad I did. In the past, I’ve kept my freak outs inside. Inside my head to fester and stress me out, hello to the negative mindset 👋. Sometimes all you need is someone to say what you already know. Say it back to you in plain English and it feels like you’ve been hit by a bus. Your mind is blown, how have you not been told this before?!
Here’s some of the crackers that the rents came out with:
“Lyd, calm down”
“Don’t get lost in the small stuff, you’re all good”
“Get out of your head and enjoy what you’re doing”
“Look at what you’ve done”
“Don’t worry about the future, you’ll get there. Live in the present”
“Take stress away, don’t recreate it”.
Great quotes for a tattoo right?
Put yourself out there and connect. Reach out to people, shoot your shot. Learn from others and share experiences. People help people, you might be surprised. You don’t have to figure out everything by yourself, we’re all just figuring something out, don’t live in a silo. Talk and share advice, chat and connect, post your learnings, tweet your experiences, ping your compliments, email and lend a hand. Try anything and everything! Do it in whatever way works for you. Take advantage of the great people out there!
It’s been a challenging one but I wouldn’t change it for anything. I’m enjoying the journey and I can’t wait for many more years of mistakes and learnings.
I’d love to hear how you found your first year of business, what were your big lessons?