If you’re a new virtual assistant just starting out and/or you’re low on funds to invest in your business, you may be wondering if there’s a way to receive free mentoring so that you learn what you need to know.
I pondered this myself when I first started out online, but I did a lot of research and learned some things that helped me far more than I initially had planned. In this post, I’ll give you some examples, and I’ll tell you what you can do to get the results you really want.
Here are posts that I see often in my own private Facebook group as well as other places that new VAs congregate:
Example post #1: “Hey! I’m brand new to the VA industry and I was hoping that I could work for another VA for free or at a really reduced rate so that you can teach me everything you know about being a VA. I’ll do whatever you need me to do.”
Example post #2: “Hey! I’m brand new to the VA industry and I’m looking for someone to mentor or coach me for free to teach me everything I need to know about being a VA. In return, I’ll offer you my services for free.”
You might have seen posts like this in your online travels. Those people are hoping to get offers of free support from experienced VAs and VA coaches/mentors.
Those experienced VAs and VA coaches are NOT going to be willing to work with you for free. Let’s get into why that is, and how you can get the help you really need.
What’s in it for them?
Often, when I come across a situation where someone wants a mentor, they’re concentrating solely on what the mentor can do for THEM. But what are YOU bringing to the relationship?
Simply offering to do whatever tasks they might assign you in order to free up some of their time probably isn’t enough. If they accept that offer, they’ll actually be spending more of their time teaching you how to do those tasks.
This person will be taking time away from their business and money-making activities in order to help you.
In an article about mentoring, Selena Soo says, “You already know that relationships don’t work like that. In fact, relationships are a two-way street where both parties are equally invested in the partnership.” Read the full article here.
How did they get where they are?
You’re probably looking for help from this person because they are where you someday want to be with your business. Think about what they’ve done to get to this point. I’m sure they’ve put in a lot of effort to get here.
They’ve invested their time and finances. That’s not something they’re going to want to hand over for free. It seems fair that they would charge in order to share this knowledge and train/teach someone else.
Then what should you do instead?
Put some work in.
If you’re just starting your VA business now, you have so much at your disposal when it comes to technology and being able to research what you need. Google and YouTube are your friends!
I’m not suggesting that you use internet research in place of taking a course to advance a specific skill set. But when you’re stuck on something like adding an image to a blog post or how to purchase a domain name for your website, a quick internet search will most likely get you the answer that you need.
In an article on this topic, Ramit Sethi says, “If you want a mentor, DO YOUR HOMEWORK.” Read the full article here.
Start where you are.
When I first started my business, I quickly realized the importance of investing in it. And I figured out that working with a coach or mentor could get me where I wanted to go much faster. But I just didn’t have the funds. So, what did I do?
I did as much research as I could on my own. I used Google and YouTube to answer basic questions.
I found a couple of people in the industry that I looked up to, and because I couldn’t afford to hire them as a coach or mentor, I did everything else I could to learn from them. I subscribed to their blogs and poured over the materials that I found there. I attended their free webinars. I joined their free groups. Then I purchased their lower ticket items.
Once I knew that I’d be a great fit, and this was the person that I wanted to learn from, I invested in their group coaching because it was more affordable. When I wanted to move up from there, build my business faster, and get all the info I needed in one place so that I could stop feeling so overwhelmed, I saved and invested in one-on-one coaching with them.
You could also approach a more experienced VA about subcontracting for them, but you want to make sure that you already have a skill set that will really bring value to their business and team.
Do your research.
We’ve been seeing an upswing lately in the industry on the number of people who are offering VA mentoring and coaching–but have only been a VA themselves for a few months to a year. Do some research. You can ask others who they work with as a coach or mentor. If you’ve found someone you’re interested in working with, check to see if they have testimonials. Ask to speak to past or existing coaching clients. Google them and check out their website and social media profiles.
Before I bought the very first product that I was interested in online, I checked reviews for the product, but I also researched the person who created it. I Googled her name with the words “scam” and “reviews” to see what came up. I did the same before working with my first business coach.
Many coaches and mentors offer a free consultation call. If you’re serious about working with them, schedule the call so that you can get to know more about each other and your options. For example, I offer a free startup call to people who want to learn more about coaching with me and/or are deciding if the VA industry is right for them.
So, if you’re really serious about starting and growing your VA business, start taking action to show that you’re serious. Do your research. Put in the effort. Invest when, where and however you can in your business.