Dealing with Imposter Syndrome as a New Virtual Assistant
If you are a virtual assistant who is just launching your VA career, you might be getting some traction in your freelance business and even landing a couple of clients but you don’t feel that you are worthy of those clients or you question yourself or you are constantly comparing yourself to other virtual assistants who are more established and probably have more clients.
This is imposter syndrome and it is something that a lot of different freelancers deal with. It is that feeling of not wanting to claim your status as an expert or a professional in the field despite the fact that you probably have the skills and possibly even the previous experience to back up calling yourself that.
A lot of people have trouble calling themselves the professional term in their industry. For a long time, it was difficult for me to refer to myself professionally as a writer. When people would ask me what I did, I felt, “Well, does writer really capture it? I am not a published author, I don’t want to mislead people,” and it took a while to own up to just saying, “Yes I am a freelance writer.”
Virtual assistants often deal with imposter syndrome because they are coming in from a career that's completely different in the way that it's carried out. So you might have worked previously in an office or in an executive assistant position but you have never worked online; or you have only recently mastered a skill and don’t feel 100% confident in offering it to your clients yet. It's very easy to find yourself feeling that experience of imposter syndrome in these situations because you are doing something new.
Get Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable
If you have ever read the work of Jen Sincero before, she talks a lot about getting comfortable with the concept of being uncomfortable. Owning and growing a business involves feeling uncomfortable and taking a leap of faith before you're psychologically ready to do it. As a business owner and especially as a solo entrepreneur, you are constantly in unchartered territory and that is very true for new virtual assistants who may still be thinking at the back of their head that working online as a VA is a scam or something that is going to be really going to be difficult for them or something that will be hard to explain to their friends and family. All of this helps to contribute to that feeling of imposter syndrome.
Imposter syndrome is really dangerous in your virtual assistant business because it can telegraph to your prospective clients that you are not confident. It can also put you in a really bad position to negotiate your prices because a client may be able to sense that you are new and that you don’t have a lot of confidence or experience and they can use that to their advantage to get you at really low prices. So imposter syndrome is well worth fighting against.
Half the battle in launching any freelance business and especially that of a virtual assistant is having confidence and faking it until you make it. You might not feel like the most professional or experienced virtual assistant out there but the more that you can make your clients feel like they are in good hands by choosing to work with you, the easier it will be to launch and grow your company.
Make an Evidence List
When you are dealing with imposter syndrome, one of my favorite things that I love to do and tell my students to do is to make an evidence list. An evidence list is all the reasons why you are great as a VA or why you are an exceptional choice to move forward with this new type of contract that you are planning to work on.
You are going to list everything you have ever achieved that's even remotely linked to your business. It can be achievements on the job, it can be compliments that people gave you in passing, like perhaps you are a great team player. When other people have acknowledged something in you, that is definitely a unique value proposition you can use in your virtual assistant business.
I challenge you to list at least ten reasons on your evidence list about why you would make an amazing virtual assistant or why you will be an incredibly fully booked virtual assistant.
Often challenging ourselves to write these things down can help to break through that psychological barrier of imposter syndrome. There is always going to be an element of just putting yourself out there, even if you don’t feel entirely ready to do so yet. You have to project confidence in the marketplace so that your prospective clients will come knocking.
As you gain more experience and achieve new levels of success in your business, you may still deal with imposter syndrome, but it will be easier to spot these problems and work through them effectively.
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