Lesson 13: Be Authentic!
What does being authentic mean? Well simply, don’t try to be something you are not. Don’t let people think you are in an office in the city for example if you are working from your lounge room with four kids under 5. If potential clients cannot trust you to be authentic, what can they trust you with?
This also applies to what you include on your website. I have seen VAs who have been in the industry for 12 months posting on their site that they have certifications in this or that – that they were the first in Australia to receive it – and given I sit on some of those certifying boards, I know they are making it up … and that’s a shame.
I’ve seen others who will attend online conferences, and then put together training programs they sell to other VAs on the exact topics I know they attended on the conference because I took their registration.
Many of these VAs do not last long in the industry, but you don’t want to be one of them and you sure don’t want to learn from them.
Don’t try to be a big corporate – you’re not … and that’s okay. If that’s your goal, that’s okay too, but don’t “fake it till you make it”. Not in this industry.
When you work virtually, clients need to trust you – trust is the foundation on which your practice – indeed the entire industry – is built. Without it none of us will be in business for long.
Don’t pretend you can do something if you really can’t. I’ve seen newbies hit the lists saying things like “I’ve just got my first client in XYZ but I’ve actually never done that. What’s the best program for me to use?” Or others asking the most basic questions about the functionality of a program that their site would lead you to believe they are an expert in.
Also remember, if your tribe are referring you – in the early stages based on what you tell them – and then you drop the ball because you are pretending to be something you are not, that reflects on them. You can be sure they will hear back from the client – “Why did you recommend them?? They weren’t all that great!” You will soon find your referrals drying up.
Authenticity – one of the best traits you can have as a business owner. The other two are next!
(You might like The Fraud of Living the Dream over at the Virtual Business Show Podcast.)