Why it’s SO important to move out of the employee mindset as a virtual assistant:
Most of us VAs started our business because we wanted to help our clients, yes, but also because we wanted to work from home and do our own thing. However, especially if we’ve worked for other organizations and businesses for most of our lives, it can be easy to forget that and fall into an employee role with our clients.
If you don’t move away from this way of thinking, you’ll always let clients dictate the direction of your business. Without your leadership and direction as a business owner, the urgent will always be a priority over the important, stifling your growth and making you feel like you’re treading water.
You ARE a business owner. If you don’t start thinking like one, each client will begin to feel like another boss. You’ll wind up with 3 or 4 bosses instead of being your own!
Your clients haven’t hired you as an employee, which means you are responsible for many things, including taxes, etc.
There are benefits to your clients over hiring an IC vs an employee, but there are also important legal differences and the person hiring needs to understand and respect this.
As a business owner yourself, it is your job to (gently but with confidence) educate new clients about these differences.
Legal Definition of Independent Contractors Vs. Employees – What can a client legally require of you and what can’t they?
Certain factors will define a worker as an independent contractor in every case: not relying on the business as the sole source of income, working at his or her pace as defined by an agreement, being ineligible for employer provided benefits and retaining a degree of control and independence.”
A few of the differences that the IRS or state agencies investigating whether or not someone should be considered an employee instead of an independent contractor:
- Do they set their own hours (within the parameters of an agreement made with the client)?
- Does the contractor rely on the business solely for their income?
- Are they on regular payroll or does the Independent contractor have a system for getting paid?
Set your business up to encourage the business owner mindset.
So, I think one way we stop thinking like an employee and move towards a business mindset and away from an employee mindset is by setting boundaries with our clients. Here’s how:
- Set official office hours.
- Have your own bookkeeping systems in place and send invoices to your clients.
- Create a standard contract for clients to sign.
- Include all of this information in your Welcome Packet…
The Welcome Packet
A welcome packet can set up expectations between you and the client from the start.
Send over your office hours, contracts, an explanation of how you work (your systems, your policies, what they can expect).
Include fun information too! Ask for personal information such as Birthdays and favorite foods, etc. to make it easy when you send “client gifts.”
Overcoming barriers to an entrepreneurial mindset.
So, you’ve got all your stuff looking professional, your systems are in place…but you still feel like you’re working for someone else and not yourself. It’s time to do some reprogramming. Here are some tools and tips to get your head in the right space and start you not just looking, but feeling like a boss. Some of the things I’m going to ask you to do are not “cool.”
Just try to be open to being an embarrassing dork…
- You’re Good Enough, You’re Smart Enough, and Gosh Darn it, People Like You...Yep, make Stuart Smalley your spirit guide…Give affirmations a try! Here’s one from Morning Business Chat: “My business allows me to have a life I love.” Find more here.
- Say your rates or prices out loud multiple times until you don’t feel shy about it.
- Do Body Check-ins and mindfulness practices throughout the day to keep you grounded and focused on your business goals.
- Immerse yourself! Read books about owning and running a business, read Business Insider, Entrepreneur, etc.
For more information on how to stop thinking like an employee and start thinking like a boss, check these out: