Regrets, I’ve had a few. I’ve been VERY fortunate that none of my business mistakes were disastrous, but they were troublesome and unnecessary or set me back in my business. I’m sharing some of my biggest mistakes so that you don’t have to make them!
One of the biggest newbie mistakes I made was not using a contract. It seemed unnecessary and somehow in my brain almost seemed rude to bring up. It’s not! It is crucial to making sure both you and the client are entirely clear on the service you’ll be providing for them and gives them a chance to ask questions. This way, I know EXACTLY what I’m signing up for, and so does the client. Win-win.
Being too shy to ask for a referral or a testimonial after I’ve completed a project in which the client was extremely pleased. I don’t know why I felt awkward, but if you feel like that at all get over it fast. In my experience, clients are thrilled to be asked as long as you don’t expect a novel-length testimonial. Most people are extremely busy these days, so, of course, be respectful of that, but just ask for a kind sentence or two! You might find that they are delighted to do so. They’ll also likely be happy to brag about you to a friend, especially if you give them something awesome in exchange for the referral, like a discount or a thank-you present.
Not making my marketing and social media a priority. This is an ongoing battle, but the way I’m trying to think about it is the thing they say when you fly, to put your mask on before helping others. This is important because your clients want you at your best and with the most current knowledge. It also offers proof that you know what you’re doing and can help them. This is a no-duh and something I’m working on continuously.
Agreeing to anything and everything, even things I didn’t enjoy doing or when I was getting the vibe that the client or project and I wouldn’t be a great match. It’s never worth it. It can be hard to say no when you’re just starting out or when business is scarce, but trust yourself when you get that feeling. Fortunately, I’ve only had those alarm bells go off once or twice, but when I went ahead and worked with them, I was kicking myself hard about a month after we began our work together.
Trying to learn ALL THE THINGS all at once. No matter what industry you’re in, learning more about it is likely to be very useful and will help you earn more money. It can be tempting when you’re newer to a business to want to know it all basically yesterday, but mastery is more important. I’ve learned that one teacher at a time is more than enough and WAY more efficient.
Some of these mistakes are a little embarrassing, but you live and learn! I like to think I’m a better VA as a result. What are some of the business mistakes that YOU made?