Long before I was a VA, I was an esthetician. And I thought it would be my “forever” job. Except for one tragic flaw. I could not do a Brazilian wax to save my life. This was 2005/2006 so that was a big deal.
If I could go back to that time, I’d have a few things to tell my young self that are probably important for any service provider. Things that might have helped prevent me from burning out, getting frustrated (and honestly scared I might get sued), and ultimately giving up completely. If you are feeling that way, here’s the advice I wish I’d received:
Go Into Business For Yourself NOW
If you’ve never worked for yourself before, it can seem intimidating. While educating yourself is always a good thing to do, you know enough to get started already.
As an esthetician, I’d planned to start my own business all along. But I told myself I needed to work in a spa or salon first, observe, and then I could do my own thing in, like, 5 years.
That was just not true.
Other estheticians skipped the traditional spa and salon jobs and went directly into working for themselves, renting out cute rooms in local buildings or even setting up mobile practices. They were able to offer exactly what they wanted to offer and decide on their own pricing.
** I am NOT saying “jump and the net will appear/quit your dayjob now without a plan” because I think that is terrible advice. I’m saying if you know, like I did, that you want to work for yourself eventually, you have what you need to get started and you don’t need to “learn the ropes” for years on end.**
DO Things You Suck At – But Only Up to a Point
Since I did not enjoy providing Brazilians, I sucked at them, and since I sucked at them, I did not enjoy providing them. I had no business providing such a personal service that I sucked at.
However, I do not think just because you suck at something, you shouldn’t do it. Being willing to be a beginner and be bad at things at first has made me a much better VA. For example, I’ve been working on a graphic design certificate. You know what? I’m not good. I do not have mastery over these tools yet. But I still enjoy learning about it, even when I get annoyed or frustrated by it. Also, I was bad at discovery calls at first, but eventually I improved.
So yes, let yourself begin where you are and be bad at things, but if you suck at something and you’re just not that into it, let it go!
DON’T Do Things You Hate
This might seem like a “no duh” to you, but it really wasn’t to me in the beginning.
I was, and still am, obsessed with skincare, but not particularly passionate about hair removal. There are some estheticians who are and that is fantastic. When I was an esthetician, the Brazillian wax was HUGE. It had been featured on Oprah and other media outlets and was a massive part of the spa industry. So when I went to work in a salon, naturally, this felt like a must-have skill.
But I loved offering relaxing skincare treatments and helping people to feel better about themselves. I was always overjoyed when I saw skin treatment appointments on my schedule and not so stoked to see the waxing appointments. But I wasn’t in charge of our service menu and I felt I HAD to become an expert Brazilian waxer.
What I know now is that even though a particular service might be in demand, if you don’t like doing it, you’ll be better off in the long run leaving it for those who DO love it while you build a clientele who need the kind of help you love to provide. Trends come and go but if you’re seeking ways to be of service in ways that feel good to you, you’ll find your people.
These are 3 lessons I learned as an esthetician and they’ve helped me to be a better virtual assistant.
And look, I’m not saying that every.single.task you do will be 100% enjoyable and amazing. But, if you dread doing something and you are consistently not doing a great job, this will be bad for your reputation and your confidence.
Plus, who wants to spend their short time on planet Earth hating life? Not me.
Now I want to know, did you learn anything from this post? Are there any of your services that need re-evaluating? Let me know in the comments!