Thirty six months in business:  Thirty six lessons learned.


As I start my third year in business, I am taking a few minutes to reflect back and see what lessons I have learned in starting this exciting venture.


  1. Not everyone works the same hours as I do. A 9-5 mindset is limiting. Creativity has no set time.
  2. Most people don’t know what a virtual assistant is or what I do.
  3. A solid internet connection is critical to my work.
  4. Tracking hours religiously is very important.
  5. Small business owners have to pay CPP deductions both as the employer, and the employee. (Silly CRA rule).
  6. Some clients don’t need me every day, or week, or month. But they will need me again.
  7. Securing government contracts is very helpful for business growth.
  8. Some people don’t read their emails every 10 minutes like I do.
  9. Set aside a specific time every month to do your billing.
  10. Have a separate bank account to pay yourself and your HST.
  11. Computer back-up hard drives are very important.
  12. Always, always have business cards with you – no matter where you go.
  13. Don’t forget to ask for a referral; if you forgot, just ask later.
  14. There is always something to learn every day.
  15. Some people still want to mail you a cheque. Be accommodating.
  16. Sometimes you have to give something away to get people to pay for your services.
  17. Finding others who have similar goals as you is who you should work with.
  18. No job is too small
  19. Create a system that works for you to track receipts and expenses and stick to it.
  20. Try and stay up on what is new in your industry via blogs, magazines, social media.
  21. Remember to take time to rest and take care of you. You can’t work 24/7.
  22. Outsource smaller jobs to focus efforts on larger, more complicated jobs.
  23. Leave the house regularly, go work in a coffee shop or library.
  24. You will need a good accountant.
  25. Find your best working time and be super productive during these hours; leave the menial tasks to less productive time in the day.
  26. Accept help; you can’t do everything yourself.
  27. Monitor your competition.  They are probably doing some things better than you.
  28. I am not great at everything; there are some things I am going to fail at. Accept it and move on.
  29. I can’t make everyone happy all the time.
  30. My time, experience, and education all have value and I am worth what I charge.
  31. Find a support system – you will need to vent and bounce ideas off of people.
  32. All connections will eventually lead to business, just not when you expect it.
  33. Sometimes I need a kick in the butt to get motivated.  It’s hard when working at home alone.
  34. You need to take the time to celebrate the little successes along the way.
  35. In order to grow your business, you have to spend a little money on improving it.
  36. Hold yourself and your clients accountable. Have a clear process and deliver value for money.


Looking forward to adding many more lessons to this list.


Thank you to everyone who has supported me in this journey.  I couldn’t have done it without you.


Lisa Jibson,

Owner and CAO – Ross Street Agency