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There are many benefits to being a virtual assistant. Flexible work hours, the ability to set your own rate, and the opportunity to work remotely are a few of the many advantages. However, there are also some traps that are easy to fall into when you work for yourself.

Here are the top 5 common mistakes you can make as a virtual assistant and how you can avoid them:

Being a “Yes” Person

When you decide to become a virtual assistant, you are really becoming an independent contractor. This means you may not have consistent work. It then becomes tempting to accept every job you are offered. In addition, the added pressure of paying the bills and being a responsible adult is one more reason to say “yes” to a job you’re not really ready for, or even wanting to do. But remember this: you have a limited amount of energy in your tank each day; use it well. There’s a time and a place for learning the ropes of a new business or acquiring a new skill, but once you’ve established your skill set, look for the jobs that are the best fit for you.

Seeing Yourself as An Employee

An employee is a person who is hired to fulfil a specific role or complete a specific task within an organisation for an hourly wage or yearly salary. The moment you decide to quit your job at an organisation and work for yourself is the moment you are no longer an employee, but a contractor. You have the ability to set your own hours, work from wherever you want, and establish your own rate. You also have the freedom to choose the clients you want to work with. John McPhee, a project manager at Academized and State of writing says, “Your client is not your boss, contrary to how it may feel at times. It may feel like it because the client pays you a fee for your service because they believe you’re the best fit. But at the end of the day, you get to choose whether you want to work with them or not”.

Loose Work Boundaries

If you want to maintain good rapport with your client and ultimately enjoy your work, setting good work boundaries is a must. The consequences of poor boundary setting could eventually lead to a decrease in self-confidence and/or burnout. The ability to say, “no” to a client can be daunting, but if you start setting limits on the smaller things, such as refusing to answer an email at midnight, you’ll be able to say no to the bigger things and avoid future burnout.

Staying in a Specific Niche

It’s nice to be known for a specific skill, but once you do that same task day in and day out, it can become boring and repetitive. Remember those professional development days back at your old job? Brenda Robinson, a business writer at Paper Fellows and Oxessays explains, “They’re called professional development days for a reason. Don’t forget that you need to be continuously learning and expanding your skill set so that you can have more opportunities”.

Not Communicating Clearly Enough

Effective communication is already a big enough hurdle within the workplace, but it can be an even bigger obstacle if you are working as a virtual assistant. Since you’re most likely to be working from a remote place, it can be harder to reach out to your client to ask questions and clarify situations. You may also feel self-conscious of bothering them too much. Don’t worry about this. As long as you are professional, reaching out to your client should not be a problem. In fact, they may even appreciate it because it shows that you care about your work and you take pride in doing a good job. Don’t be afraid to communicate effectively with your client—if you’re unsure about something, ask!

At the end of the day, remember that you are just one person. You are not an employee; you are an independent contractor, which means you work for yourself. Know your skill set, but don’t be afraid to venture out and learn new things. Set good work boundaries and never be afraid to ask your client questions. If you keep these points in mind, then you’re setting yourself up for success as a virtual assistant.

Molly Crockett, a marketing writer at UK Writings and Boomessays, shares her tips and tricks on digital and social media marketing with her readers. She’s interested in how businesses can boost conversions and create exciting new websites that will appeal to their audience. She teaches writing skills for Essayroo in her free time.

This article does not constitute legal advice.

The opinions expressed in the column above represent the author’s own.

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