It’s ok to say no.

Why offering a service you aren’t strong in is bad for everyone.

Starting a new business has so many learning curves and feelings of uncertainty. There are some things we need to learn as we go and other things we need to stop and learn before we implement.

So many service offerings in the VA world also sound a lot easier than they are. Especially when they are advertised offshore for $5 an hour. I mean how hard could they be?

Some areas where new business owners think they can offer a service but really shouldn’t without the right training and experience include graphic design, website development, copywriting, and transcription. Just to name a few.

So many service offerings in the VA world also sound a lot easier than they are. Especially when they are advertised offshore for $5 an hour. I mean how hard could they be? Click To Tweet

You may think transcription is just typing. It isn’t. There are so many skills involved on top of being able to type. You need to know and understand the software, the different transcription types, grammar rules, layout rules etc. We developed a whole course around it so it can’t be that simple!

Copywriting may seem like just pulling sentences together. If you can talk, you can write copy, yes? NO. Copywriting always has a strategic desired outcome that you need to achieve. It’s about communicating in the brand voice to the target market to encourage a determined action. There’s often SEO considerations, lingo, pacing and sequencing. Unless you have training, please don’t offer copywriting.

Website development – well just because we have super cool CRMs now doesn’t mean that you should offer web development because you get how WordPress or Wix works. Do you understand code? Are you working alongside someone who is determining how the site will be achieving the objectives and actions intended or are you promising to deliver those yourself? Do you know what to do if the site is hacked? Are you staying updated on the latest web development breakthroughs?

And then there’s graphic design. You may love to draw. You may love making little graphics. But design work is about creating images that sell. That speak in a brand voice and connect with a targeted market. That make a business look incredible to the right person. They need to work on a variety of possible backdrops and be vectorized. And more than ever, they need to stand out as unique and strong. In a world where you can request a cheap design on fiverr, your audience can often tell the difference and if they feel you don’t value your own brand, they may wonder why you’d care about theirs.

Pretty much every service you offer in your business needs to be top level. You can’t offer bookkeeping without the right training, and you shouldn’t play with people’s social media advertising without understanding the complexities of the system. I say this because time and time again, there are services being delivered by online businesses that are simply below par. It’s easy to set up a business. But to run it, keep it going and make a profit, all requires ongoing skill development, honesty, integrity and self awareness.

If you are wanting to offer a service you are not yet strong in, do some training, get a mentor and build those skills up. There are many options available out there that make this achievable. If you want to practice these skills on yourself, by all means, go ahead. But don’t practice on your clients.

Would you want your plumber to learn on the job without someone guiding them? 

Your accountant?

Your doctor?

Your mechanic?

Every profession comes with training, supervision, support and time invested. Don’t think that simply because you CAN set up a business in 2 minutes, that you SHOULD.

If you want to practice these skills on yourself, by all means, go ahead. But don’t practice on your clients. Click To Tweet

Bad work rarely flies under the radar. It gets noticed. It affects your clients, your own business and our Industry as a whole. With creative work in particular, what you may think is actually good work, may actually… suck. Sorry. If you can’t take feedback, learn from it and improve your creative service, then stick to it as a hobby. Don’t ask your partner or close friends for feedback – that’s not fair to put them in a potentially uncomfortable situation. But you can ask for feedback from a mentor you respect.

So as you develop your business make sure you have processes in place to ensure you are being supported to provide the best service possible. Get training, get a mentor, get feedback and learn from it. You can learn on the job with your client as long as this is part of the scope.

THEN you can start working on supporting other people with their very precious businesses.

Want to be a part of a tribe of VAs who build each other up? Then join us at VYVA today!

By |2019-01-22T15:33:55+11:00January 15th, 2019|Resources for VAs|2 Comments

About the Author:

Virtually Yours was created in 2004 and is managed by Rosie Shilo. Who is Rosie Shilo?Since creating this thriving and ever growing network for Virtual Assistants, Rosie Shilo has become one dedicated business woman. Currently Rosie owns and runs ‘Virtually Yours’, a network for over 190 Australian Virtual Assistants which she founded in 2004.Rosie has mentored many new and experienced VAs in their business, and seen them overcome many hurdles to achieve amazing goals. This inspired her to write “VA VA Voom: How to become an amazing VA and every client’s most Valued Asset” which was published in May 2014 and has sold hundreds of copies to date. Since then she has also published ‘Reaching for the Stars: a woman’s guide to becoming a Stellar Virtual Assistant‘.Most recently she has posted a business book for all business owners who want to grow their businesses called 'The Outsourcing Secret'.She has also launched her own VA podcast ‘Outsourcing Mysteries Exposed' - find it on all quality podcast apps.


  1. Sarah 15/01/2019 at 4:10 pm - Reply

    Great piece! I totally understand the frustration when you hire, contract or employ someone to do a job that they are under-qualified for! It is so important for a VA to totally nail his or her zone of genius before they offer services to clients. As a growing industry, wanting to be taken seriously and seen as more than ‘stay at home mums’ or a ‘home hobby’ business we need to be sure that we only offer services that we excel in. By all means expand services to meet the changing needs of clients, but do not offer them as a service until we can be certain that we are able to offer a complete service.

    Our viability and credibility as VAs depends on our clients being able to share their positive experiences with their colleagues, business associates, family and friends. Let’s put only our best foot forward.

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