Let’s get real today. Have you daydreamed about working from your laptop on the beach, living your best life?
Being a Virtual Assistant is an amazing career that can help you work from ANYWHERE. But today I’m going to get into the nitty-gritty and not so pretty parts of my virtual assistant journey.
It is SCARY being vulnerable.
Yes, it is true that I’ve created a million-dollar business, traveled the world, and helped thousands of people work online.
BUT… that’s not the whole story.
I want to let you in on some of my biggest failures to help you not make some of the silly, and serious, mistakes I did.
Everyone’s Virtual Assistant path will be different; some of you are moms, military spouses, travel lovers, or just tired of your soul-sucking corporate job. While our motivations may be different, there are some major roadblocks we all face, so let’s get through them together.
I want to share this to let you see that NOBODY, not me or anyone who is successful, is perfect.
The real goal here is to help you to keep pushing even when things get tough.
You WILL make mistakes, but it’s about learning from them and moving forward instead of giving up.
We will talk about education, finances, self-doubt, and more. So let’s go on a ride through my mishaps over the years.
These are the 7 major mistakes I made in my life and my Virtual Assistant career.
1. Believing how you did in school will define your success
Have you ever thought, “I sucked in school, so I’m never going to make a lot of money or have a great job.”
We all have those early childhood struggles that shape the way we learn and grow. So let’s face them head-on and start from the beginning. For me, the first failure I faced was math in 4th grade.
Of course, it didn’t stop there. I cried my way through every math class from that first day in 4th grade to the last day I graduated college.
To thrive we have to acknowledge how these early struggles, big or small, can hold us back through our entire lives.
So this example is for all of you who may have struggled in school and developed the mindset that you aren’t smart enough to try that new thing. But this is soooo NOT true, the farthest from it.
You don’t have to be good at everything to succeed.
I still suck at math and my business is worth over a million dollars. I didn’t need math to get where I am.
So find your passion and recognize what you excel in. Play to those strengths and make your dreams a reality.
I figured out how to succeed despite my failures, and SO CAN YOU!
2. Thinking you have to go to college to excel
Okay guys, we’re going to talk about attending college and university…
I’m sure some of you are asking, “How can this be a mistake if you graduated?”
This idea might not jive with everyone. So, let me explain why this can make its way onto your list of regrets like it did mine.
On paper, my 4-year degree with a minor in liberal studies, a minor in visual and performing arts, and my teaching credentials might make me look pretty accomplished.
Some of you are still thinking, “You’re crazy! How could this be one of your failures? This is what success looks like.“
Truth is, it wasn’t worth it, I was miserable, and it took me a lot longer than most people.
When I finally finished my degree, the amount of money I was making in comparison to the amount it cost me to go to school was embarrassing. So for me, college wasn’t a win. It was a waste of time and money.
This is NOT to say that everyone who goes to college got scammed. For some people, their career paths and lives benefit massively from a degree.
However, it is sooo overrated. You don’t have to do it!
If you didn’t have the opportunity to attend, or it just wasn’t a good fit and you didn’t graduate, you are NOT doomed to a miserable low-salary career.
You can reach your goals and achieve success in other ways.
My course, 90 Day VA, will prepare you to start your Virtual Assistant career off right. Work remotely without the pitfalls of low pay, scams, and call centers. Why not have a career you love, with the flexibility to live your life?
YOU DESERVE IT.
3. Forgetting to save for emergencies
Thinking ahead matters, especially when it comes to money. I have never been the best saver, but I learned the hard way why it’s sooo important to have financial planning.
I had been working online as a Virtual Assistant for about 2-3 years when my ex-husband left the military and wasn’t able to work.
The mistake started long before this; we had NOT lived below our means or saved for the future.
We were skating right on the edge, so when our income was cut by 50% we had no emergency funds and no buffer for unexpected expenses. Which screwed us BIG time.
We got a 30-day eviction notice and had to move out of our home, my car was repossessed, and I had to ask friends for money to pay our bills.
This was the lowest point of my life. We were sleeping in the living room of a one-bedroom apartment with our child and my whole world fell apart.
Sometimes it can be hard to think ahead, especially when life is in full swing. All the little things can take up so much mental real estate that you feel like all you can do is make it through today.
TRUST ME when I say I relate, this was me to a tee. So don’t get down on yourself!
You can make saving and financial planning sooo EASY. Set up some automatic saving or investing accounts. This will make it manageable for your budget, you can start with as low as $10 (you won’t even notice it is gone).
Spend wisely! You can still enjoy life, but make thoughtful choices with your money. Before you know it, the future will be looking a lot less scary, but please learn from me and DON’T WAIT UNTIL IT’S TOO LATE.
4. Not following your gut
Sometimes when you are in a desperate financial state you lose track of what is best for your career, and you will do anything to get the money flowing in.
That is exactly what I did at the beginning of my Virtual Assistant career. I took on any client, even if it didn’t feel right.
So no surprise things weren’t turning out great, I was constantly in tears while my clients were unhappy and angry.
The moral of the story is to trust your gut, don’t doubt yourself, and follow that brilliant intuition you have.
In my attempt to help our less-than-ideal finances at home, I made some big financial errors in my business. These mistakes resulted in some serious monetary losses that never had to happen.
I allowed my clients to pay late or not at all before work had started. I would get blown off, but I was too SCARED to stand up for myself and ask for what I was owed.
This is a HUGE business failure that every single one of you should learn from. Know your worth, and don’t be afraid to ask for it.
5. Ignoring your credit and finances
This failure is a DOOZIE, again not making smart or responsible financial decisions. You’ll notice a lot of my business mistakes can be traced back to not knowing the money side of things.
When I left my ex-husband and moved to Asia I had no money (this isn’t the failure, it’s a huge risk that paid off). But I had a new phone number, a new address, and no one could get a hold of me…
At which time I thought it was okay to stop paying my student loans. YIKES!
Instead of calling and working with the loan agency, I let it go to collection for like, years, you guys. So needless to say, my credit was in complete shambles.
I was able to rebuild my credit and pay my debt, which is possible, so don’t be in despair if this is you. But it ABSOLUTELY didn’t have to come to that.
So the takeaway is not to be crazy guarded and overly conservative with your money. You have to live your life, take risks, and not live off ramen until your debt is paid. BUT you do have to be smart, don’t ignore debt, and think everything will sort itself out on its own.
6. Taking the BIG risks without doing any research
Now let’s talk about investments.
RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH.
If you know me, you’re probably asking how this applies to me– “You’re the queen of meticulous planning and researching!”
Well, this was when we first moved to Bali.
My ex-husband was attempting to repair our relationship and wanted to make a grand gesture. He found a villa in Bali that he wanted to fix up for me and then later rent out or sell. I got caught up in the moment and I was all in.
In some financial decisions, it’s best to lead with your head, not your heart. Do not ignore your intuition or doubt yourself. But also don’t run into a big decision on emotions only.
We purchased the villa and invested about 20 grand into repairs, but since we didn’t do enough research, we only later found out that it was beyond repair and essentially condemnable, so we basically shouldn’t have put a single dollar into it.
Meanwhile, we were still paying rent on the house we were living in, so lots of money was unwisely spent, but lessons were learned.
While investing in real estate can be complicated, investing in yourself is not. Investing in yourself is the smartest investment you can make, it is NEVER a bad idea. I invested HUGE amounts into mentors, classes upping my skills, and bettering my business and it always paid off.
Fun fact: NOTHING IS FREE.
You have to spend money to make money, the key is doing it wisely with things that will boost your success. If starting a Virtual Assistant career has been on your mind, I have worked my butt off to make 90 Day VA a great investment into your future.
7. Throwing in the towel when something doesn’t work out
Are you guilty of giving up all hope on a new project when your first attempt fails?
Get out of that mindset when having a virtual career. Sure, it’s okay to be disappointed, but take time to regroup and get back out there.
My first attempt to launch a class was a TOTAL FAIL. I had a goal in mind to get 10 people to join, at $1K a piece. So the goal was $10K total.
Guys… I got 3 people. That is it.
So all that hard work and big goals, and it was a total flop. I was crushed, heartbroken, and embarrassed, but guess what? I didn’t give up, I made changes and tweaks. Now I’ve had THOUSANDS of people join my program to help them work online.
So never forget that for every success you see, there is almost guaranteed to be some failures leading up to it.
So let’s sum it all up: not everything is sunshine and rainbows.
Don’t look at these “successful” business people and think, “Oh my god, I’ll never get there. They are so perfect. They went to college, they make a lot of money, their business is thriving, they are so confident”.
NO, you just don’t see all the countless failures and setbacks that happened before they got there.
So if you’re just getting started and feel overwhelmed and scared, thinking that you will make mistakes or fail… YOU WILL.
That’s 100% okay– set different goals, just keep going, and make tweaks until you reach those new goals you want.
Life is freaking HARD, guys. Sometimes you’re going to be on the highs of your successes, and sometimes you’re gonna be way down low in your failures. But stick through it, the lows won’t last forever and if you just keep going you will make it back on top.
Learn from your mistakes, acknowledge what you did wrong, make changes, move on, and make it better. Invest in yourself to make the future you want. YOU CAN DO THIS!
Are you ready to jump-start your path to working online? DON’T WAIT! Click here to check out my FREE masterclass to learn more about beginning a Virtual Assistant career.
In 90 Day VA, Esther teaches her students how to research and repurpose current content into blogs for the VAI website. Shaylyn is the student we’ve chosen this week to feature what she’s learned in the course. Get to know her:
As a virtual assistant, Shaylyn loves helping people create the most efficient and successful business they possibly can. She works to help small business owners save time and money managing their company. When she is not working she spends all of her with her fur babies and outdoors hiking, camping, snowboarding, and paddleboarding. She is a member of 90 Day VA and assists with email and calendar management, social media management, and blog writing. To see how she can help make all of your business dreams a reality, check out her Instagram.