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5 Mistakes to Avoid as a New Virtual Assistant

April 21, 2022

mistakes to avoid as a new virtual assistant

My guess is that you’re probably reading this blog post because you’re wanting to finally become your own boss and give virtual assisting a try. That’s amazing! In this post, I’m going to go over the top 5 mistakes to avoid when you are a new virtual assistant.

Like any career choice, there are mistakes to avoid when first starting out. If this is a topic you need insight on, keep reading!

1. Working for free to prove your skills 

As a new virtual assistant who is receiving client leads, you may get hit with a “test project” to test your skills. This test skill is usually a skill you’d be performing if hired for the position as that brand’s virtual assistant. However, this usually isn’t a paid task on the lead client’s end. Honestly, you’re trading free work to prove yourself when you could use your website’s content to do that same purpose.

Sadly this is a common mistake new virtual assistants seem to partake in because they want any opportunity that comes their way. If you’re going to spend time and effort creating something for a potential client, different from what you already have, then they should pay you for your time. 

The sad thing is that many virtual assistants do this “free labor” and never hear back from the client again. They just scored a free task. This is the difference between a serious client and a client just looking to have someone work for free. A serious client will actually be willing to pay for any assistance you’re rendering, test or not.

 If a client is unwilling to pay for just one hour of service, imagine what you might potentially go through working for them?

Remember your worth, even as a new virtual assistant

because accepting free jobs means that you don’t value your time and the expertise services you provide. You’ll only appear desperate and less desirable.

So what should you do if you get hit with the “can you take this skill test for me, for free?”;

  • Point them to a relevant case study that shows the work they’re asking you to perform
  • Direct them to a testimonials page
  • Point them to a How-to video you’ve done on the task

Whatever you do, don’t do the task for free if it’s a task you have already proven to be skilled at. 

2. Not treating your virtual assistant career as a business

mistakes to avoid as a new virtual assistant

You can tell the difference between a virtual assistant who sees this career as long term or short term by the way they function…and clients will notice it too.

If being a virtual assistant is a career you plan to do long term, here are some suggestions to run it like a business and not a hobby;

  • Choose a legal business structure (LLC, sole proprietorship, etc.)
  • Have a website with a domain name representing your name or business name
  • Choose a niche industry (example would be Virtual Assistant for Ethical Beauty Brands)
  • Have an onboarding process
  • Have contractual agreements
  • Having long form content that backs up your expertise (ex. Blogs on your site)

3. Choosing to charge $25/hr because that’s what you were told

Understanding your value is probably the hardest part when you’re a new virtual assistant. You’ll hear many VA coaches or read posts that state, “start off at $25” when you’re new. Here is why I hate this idea for pricing your services.

First, who are they to tell you what to price your skill set at? Second, only you know your capabilities 100%. You may have a combined set of education, training, experience, and skills that can tie into the pricing of your hourly rate where $25 doesn’t compare!

You have to change your mindset when pricing your services. There are clients who really need your services and they’re more interested in what you offer and your success than how much you charge.

Here’s a tip. Start off with a few rate factors. These factors include

  • Baseline rate (what you need to make to pay bills!)
  • Expertise
  • offers/packages
  • Education background
  • Experience background

Next, research on sites like Glassdoor or LinkedIn on how much your particular job or skill set would cost in a corporate position. If your tasks match up to the job description, you can use that hourly rate to help you decide  your pricing.

Please also consider your baseline factors when coming up with a reasonable rate. If you’re charging $100/hr with no content to back up your expertise, no social media presence, no website presence, no social proof, no education experience (depends on the industry), etc, then a potential client will not see your worth of paying you $100/hr.

4. Not setting boundaries

Not having boundaries when running your business as a virtual assistant could cause unnecessary stress. When you’re new, you’re excited to take on opportunities without thinking about tasks you will and will not do. New virtual assistants also make the mistake of treating their clients like their “boss” and they are the employee, which is not the case. 

Having client boundaries not only helps with your mental health but it also supports your client as well. For example, let’s say you set an email response time boundary with a client telling them:

 “I answer emails only Tuesdays-Friday, between 11am-4PM EST and always respond within 48 hours.”  They’ll have the understanding of not wasting their time emailing you on a Monday or more than once to check their email if you don’t answer back, let’s say in 3 hours. This boundary saves your client’s time when following up with you. 

Here are other boundaries you can set as a new virtual assistant

  • Holidays/weekends
  • Form of communication
  • Home office hours

5. Not having a website

Not having a website as a new virtual assistant is the biggest mistake you can make if you plan to scale your business. Now, not to say that you can’t make a huge presence or impact through social media alone because I have been successful at it. However, I also knew when the right time to invest in a website where I can host all of my information became an important step towards scaling my business. 

At the end of the day, you need to OWN a platform of your own. For one reason, you don’t own and have 100% control of your Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest, etc. If those platforms delete your account or your account gets hacked, and there’s no recovery options, what are you going to do? Start over? 

Well, you could but that could be disheartening and time consuming.

The purpose of a Website is to:

  • Help your services get found online (organically)
  • Promote your services (in greater detail)
  • Integrate into a lead generation email funnel
  • Establish credibility and trust
  • Show social proof
  • Provide key data for your services

While social media is great for:

  • Nurturing your warm audience
  • Building your brand and reputation
  • Giving your business a voice, a.k.a. humanizing your brand
  • Sharing your content
  • Reaching new audiences 
  • Encouraging engagement with your business

So, the only real way to protect yourself, y0ur content, your success and your viewers is to host all of your services on a website. Having your own domain name gives you the power of knowing nothing will go wrong unless you choose to make something happen.

With a website, you also have a reference point for clients looking to hire you. They would easily and readily get information about the services that you offer, your rates, case studies, testimonials, etc, all in ONE place. This immediately can help speed up their decision to hire you. Think about how competitive you’d already be than virtual assistants who do not have a website.

Starting a website isn’t expensive and you don’t have to make it perfect the first time around. The goal is to have a place where potential clients can come to consume everything they need to know about your business.

Here’s an extra tip. With a website, you can even create a branded email address. For example, info@yourbusinessname.com. Having an email that goes with your business name is more professional than using an @yahoo.com or @gmail.com plus, gives you credibility over virtual assistants who aren’t using a branded email.  

Are you going to avoid these mistakes?

Virtual Assistant Coach for new virtual assistants

Becoming a virtual assistant shouldn’t be a scary process and there’s definitely mistakes you want to avoid. Hopefully this blog post laid out the most important mistakes to avoid as a new virtual assistant.

Need more help, tips and strategies working as a new virtual assistant? Make sure to follow and subscribe to our blog! Also, follow Lauriel on TikTok and Instagram for free tips!

Ready to hire a Virtual assistant coach to SCALE your virtual assistant business? Let’s chat!

Lauriel Arkeah is an online business built on authenticity, uplifting and inspiring others. Our motto, " making the impossible, possible" is an affirmation that you're capable of accomplishing the impossible, as long as you work towards it. It's possible to run an online business, work less, travel the world, and make six figures - and I'm here to show you how. 

Lauriel Arkeah




For I know the plans that I have for you”, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you 
and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29| 11





make the
impossible, possible

© 2023 lauriel arkeah co. | ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Site byoriginhaus

© 2023 lauriel arkeah co. | ALL RIGHTS RESERVED | Site byoriginhaus