Being a VA can be a lonely business – and if you get isolated it can affect both your business potential and your personal health. Equally you may worry that sharing too much could see you give your competitors an advantage over you.
I have come to learn the crux of resolving this issue is in establishing who your competition really is.
This really boils down to how focused your offering is. If you think you’re competing against everyone then everyone is going to beat you every time. If your offering starts and finishes with being a UK based VA then you will lose out to the Infusionsoft whizz on Monday, the social media expert on Tuesday, the Oil and Gas industry guru on Wednesday and – oh well, you get the idea!
If you are going to succeed you need a focused proposition.
In achieving this you may segment based on your skills, your experience, the things you’re passionate about, the hours you’re available, your personal life and many other things. There’s no absolute right or wrong way to do this – but it is wrong if you don’t try! If you’ve done this properly then you really become unique and then winning contracts is all about finding the right client for you…
Having an ideal client to focus in on can transform a business in so many ways. This mindset shift can help you be more reasonable about how and when to share your powerful stories and expertise.
On a personal level, coming from a financial services background when I began in this world, I was worried about the balance between collaboration and competition and the risk of being accused of collusion. I felt uneasy sharing prices with others for fear of being accused of in some way price fixing and harming the customer. I was unsure about when to share and when to protect my hard earned knowledge.
My starting point was to be private rather than to share.
Over time, and with confidence I have transformed my thinking. I have seen repeatedly the tremendous advantages that come with collaboration between VAs. Whether solving a technical problem, talking through a client issue or “just” being an understanding friend to listen I couldn’t have got this far without the incredible support of many many wonderful VAs.
On the odd occasion where I have got distracted and focused on a competitor rather than a potential client I haven’t won the business – and I don’t think the competitor I was focused on did either! Be yourself, be open, be honest and collaborate until the point you can’t.
And what about those few others who you have decided really are your competition. The others also providing social media packages for later life business start ups in North Wales or the others helping build sales strategies for financial services consultants? How you interact with these people will naturally depend on the crossover, your personality and how you get on with these people.
Even here – it’s time to drill into what you are really, really offering – and how replicable this is. Your personality, your strengths and your weaknesses are all the things that make your offer – and if you are authentic and honest then that will help you many times more than it will hurt you.
I do still have lines – my three big ones are:
- at all times client confidentiality is an absolute essential
- sharing pricing points for specific work is irrelevant and should be avoided (for all the reasons above)
- don’t share anything that would embarrass me if my finger slipped and it was shared with a client or one of my contacts in another profession
At VIP VA collaboration is at the core of what we do. We believe this approach helps build individuals and as a profession. If you’d like to know more contact us today.