One of the issues I have run into becoming a V.A. has been trying to identify my niche as well as my niche market. Having come from such a huge variety of industries over the years, I have been finding it hard to pin down one particular market.
So my answer is, trying to find a person/product/belief system that I truly believe in too so that my work is authentic as the person I will be working with. Authenticity and passion for what I do that enriches others businesses is my niche market.
The services I can offer are also broad, therefore, as mentioned above, doing the things I love to do, that others might not, is my niche. I love fiddling around and formatting documents and spreadsheets. Creating newsletters and forms. Sorting and prioritising emails to make our online communication easier and less daunting. Writing short articles, or researching products, I can do all of the above. Data entry for insurance claims, crazy, but I love that too!
The joy and the downfall for working for yourself is keeping your lifestyle as well as keeping your business going. Learning to keep your own desired lifestyle is something you must lay down from the start. If you want to work six days a week, go for it, four days - why not, a couple of hours in the morning and a few in the evening 5 days week, whatever you decide, make sure you stick to it. Remember you are also in this for your personal happiness and growth.
I have been reading a book called Get your Sh*t Together by Sarah Knight. It has so many pearls of wisdom and with a lot of, and pardon the language, who-gives-a fuck-anyway, just-get-rid-of-the-shit-and-move-on advice to help you simplify your life and start living a life worth living.
One part in particular resonated with me was the topic of email. We seem to be inundated with so much these days that it can be quite overwhelming and exhausting to get through the day. I have managed to get my email boxes, both personal and business down to inbox zero. It wasn't easy but it is definitely achievable and maintainable.
But, what we should be thinking about is what causes it in the first place, especially in your business email. We know a lot of our personal email overflow is usually marketing and spam, but business email can be quite avoidable if we stopped and considered before pushing the almighty send button if it was really necessary in the first place.
One thing is, do we always have to reply saying "thanks"? I know it is polite to do so, but it always necessary email communication? Imagine the time to you and your recipients could save but ignoring the auto "thanks" we often do. Imagine 5 seconds per email, say 50 emails a day.
This would equate to:
4 minutes a day x 5 days a week = 20 minutes a week equals 18 hours a year.
Wouldn't you rather be doing something more productive with that time so you are not under pressure of spending your day opening and deleting unnecessary emails of thanks?
Perhaps make short, to the point drafts for your emails, and by the time you go back to sending them, several points may not be necessary. Therefore, your time and the recipients time and inbox is saved.
Also, do something crazy and old fashioned like getting off your butt and walking across the room to talk to someone if you need an answer straight away, or picking up the phone and calling a person, or doing the same if you are sending an important email with detail that needs classification so that the recipient is aware that in their hordes of email, perhaps yours might be the one they should be looking at first.
So here is a brief checklist for email:Think out your email intent for a moment - is it really necessary?