As I am writing this, I can’t believe it’s been almost 6 years since I started my journey as a Virtual Assistant. My solo entrepreneur venture has grown from just me as a virtual assistant, to now an agency model with 4 amazing team members helping make our clients businesses run smoothly.
Through our work, clients have tripled their income, had the freedom to start families (5 babies and counting!), launch new products and make a powerful impact in the world. We get to see every day, from the supporter point of view how some truly incredible business deals and products happen.
Taking what I have learned, I’ve been able to teach and empower other virtual assistants to launch their own businesses through my 90-day private coaching program. I’ve also had the honor of launching a t-shirt line specifically for virtual entrepreneur’s via BlackShirtWhiteLetters.com – to empower, educate and entertain my community.
As I write this - I am in a growth phase of my business. Stepping out from behind the scenes to now exploring speaking, and leading workshops geared at teaching entrepreneurs how to properly leverage virtual support to grow their digital businesses.
If you know anything about growth phases, you know it is exciting, it can be frustrating, it is rewarding, and it can be incredibly uncomfortable. Looking back on those early days, I truly understand what people mean when they say they wish they could go back.
It’s not that I am not enjoying the phase I am in, it’s just that:
1. I wish I could bottle the drive, enthusiasm, and hunger I had in that first year. I would seriously bottle up that ambition into one of those 5-hour energy bottles and take a sip on those days that I get too comfortable in my routine or feel the urge to shrink back.
2. I wish I could arm her with the mindset tools I have now. If Romaine, then knew what Romaine now knows – that first two years would have been a lot different.
If you’ve read anything about becoming or excelling as an entrepreneur – mindset is going to come up at some point. There’s a reason for this. It truly is the key to continuing to excel as a small business owner.
Your mindset must be on point to get you through the bad stuff like:
The first time a client leaves when you weren’t expecting it.
The first time a client complains
The first time you make what feels like a major mistake on a client account
Not hitting revenue goals
That first slow summer (I’ll be honest those still throw me for a loop)
You also want to have the right mindset around success.
How are you going to react when things start to go really, really, really well?
What will you do when you hit your goal revenue for the month for the first time?
How will you handle it when you hit six figures in your business?
How are you going to react when everyone around you starts wanting more from you?
How are you going pivot, when you start wanting more for yourself?
Here’s What I Have Learned About Mindset over 5 years in Business As A Virtual Assistant
You Have To Define What Success Looks Like For You!
I’m not saying anything revolutionary here, but this is something I truly wish I had spent more time breaking down in detail before I started my business.
I decided to become a virtual assistant because I wanted more freedom. I wanted the flexibility to travel, I wanted to increase my income and I wanted to scale my business on my terms. Except when I got that first taste of the freedom I craved in my life - I kinda freaked out.
I remember specifically the first time I had a Wednesday, with nothing to do. I spent the whole day trying to get another client.
I even ended up working 2 hours longer than I normally did on other days. Space in my life at that time meant I needed more work.
Even though I had already hit six figures and my monthly revenue goal. Even though it’s what I said I wanted. I worked diligently that day to fill the void – and I did.
But why? Hadn’t this been the freedom and flexibility I said I wanted? Why did this space – send me into a frenzy?
I filled my days and my roster so much that within 6 months of opening my business, I had to hire my first team member – before I was ready or even prepared to do so (I don’t recommend this) – simply because I was drowning and working six 10-12 hour days per week.
My one day off per week, I would be so exhausted, I just slept the whole day away. I lost months of quality time with my family, who were understanding, but also it was unfair to them to do so. My friends stop inviting me to things because my answer was always the same – I was busy.
Yes, I was building a business, but at that point – I was truly doing it blindly. Making it up as I went along and learning really tough and emotional lessons.
While I truly believe and value the hustle mentality, there is a way to balance it so that you don’t lose yourself to the grind.
Here’s the Mindset work that helped me turn that around.
1. I get REALLY specific about what success looks like for me – and I edit this each year as my goals change. When I say specific – I MEAN SUPER SPECIFIC.
How did I want my days to look?
How long would they be?
Where would I like to go on a vacation that year?
What do I want to do with my free time?
How many times a month do I want to see my friends?
How many date nights I want a month?
I break it down and journal it out so that it becomes real for me. I’ve already envisioned that life – and so when it happens, it won’t freak me out. I have been working towards it and I can enjoy it.
2. With being so specific, it allows me the freedom to ask myself this question when faced with new opportunities – Will this add or subtract from the vision for my life?
If the answer is adding – then I can say yes to the opportunity and the additional work that comes with it. If the answer is no, then I will politely decline. It’s that simple for me.
3. I want a balanced life, but I understand that my version of balance, may not match societies – and that is perfectly ok.
I got specific about what balance meant for me. For example, for me, working on vacation, feels luxurious.
I LOVE that I can work from anywhere, especially if it means I can stay extra days. If I had to choose between 1 week of total disconnect in another country vs. 3 weeks while coordinating days to be online – I choose 3 weeks every time.
Related: If Travel is Your Motivation For Becoming a Virtual Assistant - Read: 3 Things I Learned This Summer As A Digital Nomad
That doesn’t work for everyone, but it does for me and for my family. Figure out what a balanced life looks like for you so that you can release any guilt around it.
4. It’s ok to be amazing in progress.
Comparison truly is the thief of joy and social media makes everything look shiny and new and perfect. So when I’m working on my projects or something new, I allow myself to focus on my lane and run my own race.
I remember when I first started off as a cyclist and I did my first 20-mile bike ride, a professor at the university I was working at whom I had shared my new passion with, asked me how my weekend ride went.
I told him proudly my accomplishment but then immediately tried to dampen it by saying – “ but it took me almost three hours and the other cyclists did it in like an hour and a half.” He looked at me and said –“ But you all rode 20 miles.”
I learned a super valuable lesson at that moment and continues to show up for me every day in my business. Run your own race.
While my lessons keep coming, in all ways shapes and forms, because owning a business is a silent commitment to always being a student, it continues to be the most fun I have had so far.
For wherever you are in your journey, my hope is that my sharing has been valuable to you, even if it’s just to provide a chuckle or a nod of understanding. Keep seeking out information that will take you farther and provide you little shortcuts on your journey!
To your sweet success,
Romaine Brown Palmer
CEO, The Executive Administrative Group, LLC.
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Saturday, February 8th, 2020⠀ 11 AM EST | 10 AM CST | 9 AM MST| 8 AM PST⠀ ⠀