Today as I sat in my home office after a motivating and productive session with my amazing mentor on Skype and then took a photo of my desk for Photo a Day challenge, I had a big smile on my face thinking about how much I loved my job and that becoming a Virtual Assistant (I call myself a Virtual Support Manager) was the best career move I’ve made. It’s been hard work to this point, I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t, but the hard work is certainly starting to pay off.
A few weeks ago I had a complete stranger call my office to ask for my help in setting up her VA business. As much as I wanted to sit and be a mentor for this lady, I just did not have the time to share my knowledge and so quickly gave her some helpful websites to visit. So now I want to pay it forward and give a few pointers to those contemplating starting a VA business. By no means is my business ‘there’ yet, but I’ve never been so motivated to reach such a goal.
Here are some tips from my experience to help you on your VA quest:
1. Join a Virtual Assistant network like 121temps. They have provided me with invaluable support through mentoring sessions, webinars, resources and training and provide a great network of other VA’s who I can communicate with daily.
2. Pick a specialisation instead of providing each and every service you can think of, it will make it easier for you in directing your marketing. For example, I specialise in Social Media. You may wish to specialise in bookkeeping, administration or web design. If you’re not sure, make some phone calls to local businesses and tell them you’re doing some research for your new business. Ask them what their biggest challenges will be this year and what things don’t they have time for. This will give you a better idea of what the demand is.
3. Define which businesses you are going to target. Small business, Medium Business, Soloists, Industries etc.
4. Don’t be afraid to do some cold calls. It’s tough, but you’d be surprised at the results. Call local businesses and introduce yourself and your business. I got my second client this way.
5. Before taking on clients, I made sure my business was all set up. My website was complete, my social media accounts were up and running beforehand, I had a logo and tagline, my business cards were printed, I had forms created, terms and conditions written and a pricing structure complete. I wanted it to look like I had been in business for a while.
6. Keep up to date. Whatever you’re specialising in, make time to attend webinars and do market research.
7. Get on social media, especially LinkedIn. I got one of my clients through LinkedIn. He searched for Virtual Assistants, found a few and contacted me because my experience in quality & OHS was what he was looking for – I didn’t have to do anything to get this client but optimise and maintain my LinkedIn profile.
8. Use your family and friends as your PR people. Its a simple as giving them a pile of your business cards to hand out for you. But make sure they actually know about your business and the services you provide, there would be nothing worse than having a potential client call you to develop a website when you wouldn’t have a clue. My husband has been fantastic and has connected me with two potential clients by giving out business cards to businesses he deals with at his work and telling them about what I do.
I’ve just put the dinner on in the slow cooker for tonight and now I’m onto working on the Pinterest page of one of my clients and then onto make some calls for some market research for another client.
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Are you contemplating starting a VA business or are you already a VA? Share your questions and tips here.
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