Whether you are setting up a new business as a VA, or you are trying to grow an existing one, you will inevitably have to set goals to achieve the success you want. If you are setting goals and not achieving them, what is standing in your way? My guess: YOU.

Setting goals is a very important part of building your business, no matter what stage it's in. But even more important than setting the goals is following through to ensure that you meet those goals. If you don't follow through, you won't achieve your goals, and you will effectively stay stuck wherever you are.

I hear many reasons for not reaching goals that are set, and I will tell you that these are excuses, not valid reasons at all. The bottom line is that you are not doing what's necessary to make your goal a reality, and as a result, it's YOU that is holding you back. When you set a specific goal, you also detail the procedure you will take to achieve it. Follow through on your procedure and you will see success sooner than if you abandon it because of an excuse.

Let's say for instance that your goal was to use your social networking profiles to get 3 new clients on your 5 hour retainer package by the end of 2010. First of all, note the specificity of the goal. We know exactly the measurable details of the goal, and how you plan to achieve it. So why haven't you achieved it?

Here are five common excuses I have heard to not reach the goals you have set for yourself, and how to break through those obstacles to achieve them:

I don't know where to look to find the clients. Excuse: You haven't done enough research on your ideal client and target market. You can't set a goal of getting clients if you don't know where they are. Breakthrough: First you need to determine who you best serve and where they are hanging out online. When you find them, reach out to them. Start a conversation and start to develop a relationship with them. Social networking is meant to be social; you have to communicate with people to become known to them.

I don't have time to hang out on the social network sites all day. Excuse: Social networking does not mean you have to sit by the water cooler all day and hope for someone to come by (and you don't have to use it 'live' like Instant Messaging for it to be effective!). You can effectively network with people in 15 minute increments, even just once (or twice) a day. Breakthrough: Make a list of the 10 people you want to reach out to this week. Set a schedule to do your social networking each day and stick to it (15 minutes every morning while you have your coffee works and doesn't even interrupt your work day!).

I seem to be trying everything and nothing is working. Excuse: You are spreading yourself too thin. If you think you are trying 'everything' then you are not focusing your strategy enough to sign the clients. Breakthrough: You need to develop a strategy and then put that strategy in place. When you set your goal, you need to be sure to detail specifically what you are going to do every day to achieve your goal. For instance, focus on just one social networking profile to achieve your goal, and you will have more success than if you are trying to keep up with 10 groups of people at once. Focus = success.

I can get the prospect on the phone, but they don't buy. Excuse: If by the time you get the prospect on the phone, you are not making the sale, you are not steering the conversation properly. Breakthrough: You need to be sure that you are very clear on the benefits of your service, and the price (or investment) that the client will pay for the service. If your sales conversation is not going easily, identify where it falters and make adjustments to it based on that. You don't always get a do-over, so it's really important to plan this part of the process so that you are comfortable with it. And don't forget to ASK for the sale!

I have to get my website ready before I can get in touch with clients, and it's not done yet. Excuse: You are suffering from perfectionism syndrome. You will not get clients if you wait until everything is perfect to get them. Breakthrough: If you are using social networking to attract clients, then your online presence is already established. Spruce up your profile with your business details, and get moving on your networking! Building a website does not bring in revenue for your business, and it never will. You need to get in touch with the prospective clients in order to sign them. Don't hide behind a website in progress. Just get out there.

I have to finish my training course before I can offer my services to clients. Excuse: The services you are offering to clients should be things you are an expert in NOW, not 3 months from now. Get training, yes, but sell those services after you are finished training. Breakthrough: Sell your current expertise NOW. Stop taking free teleclasses trying to learn something new. Stop enrolling in programs to learn something more before you reach out. Once you have paying clients, make time to learn more and build on that, but you shouldn't be trying to start that way.

Set goals. Attain them. Don't stand behind excuses. You will not be successful if you keep making excuses for why things are not going your way. Make the time, develop and use your strategy. Focus on one goal at a time. Know your service benefits inside and out. Get out there! You will see success sooner!

Author's Bio: 

Tracey D’Aviero is a successful Virtual Assistant as well as a VA coach and mentor. She helps new and aspiring Virtual Assistants build solid foundations for their businesses by teaching them how to put procedures and plans in place for success and growth. Pick up a copy of Tracey’s free ebook “3 Way To Get The Clients You Want!” at www.yourvamentor.com