How to Get That First Client

How to Get That First Client

Congratulations! You’ve set up your Virtual Assistant business and are ready for your first client. It’s a big step and one that deserves celebrating. So now that you’re ready to work, how do you get that first client? Consider these options:

Job Board

Job boards are a wonderful tool. They can help you launch your business. They can provide a consistent income while you’re building your business. And when you have the eventual dips in your schedule or slow season you can use them to provide additional income.

As a virtual assistant you may want to focus your attention solely on job boards for virtual assistants. There are all encompassing freelance job boards. These generally require a membership. The freelance job board can serve its purpose. However, you may find better clients via a VA job board. Check out both options and choose the opportunities that are right for you.

Always research your potential client. Make sure they’re legitimate and that they follow through on their commitments. Some job boards simply work like classified ads. You apply for the position and communicate directly with the client. Others work as a go between. All agreements, payments and work are managed through the job site. Both situations have their pros and cons. Again, make sure you’re working with a legitimate company and job site. Check references. Read reviews. Most opportunities are legitimate. However, it always pays to be safe.

Use Your Resources

When you’re ready for that first client, tell your friends and family. Make a list of 100 people you know and begin to determine who you can contact regarding your business. Send an email to your associates. Let everyone know what you’re able to provide. Your rolodex of contacts is a great place to get started. With a few simple email messages and phone calls you’ll likely land a few great clients. There’s no shame in using your resources. And there really are no better clients than those who are referred to you from friends, family and associates.

Network

If you’re not already active on a social networking site, get a profile and start connecting. Networking online is a wonderful way to market your services. It’s also a great way to meet new people.

Network offline too. Join your local business association or networking group. Become a member of your Chamber of Commerce. Participate in local meet-ups and networking events. Make sure you have a business card and a positive attitude when you’re networking. (An online presence is a must as well. )

Also consider:

• Making sure your business is listed on your local online business directory
• Advertising
• Article marketing
• Blogging/guest blogging
• Posting flyers around town

There are many ways to market your VA business. Knock on doors. Connect with people online and in your community. Use your resources and explore your opportunities. You’ll have a full schedule in no time.

 

Why You Need a Niche Market

A niche market can be thought of as a narrowly defined group of potential customers - usually a portion of a larger target market. For example, a target market is working women, but a niche market is working women with kids at home, or working women in executive positions, or working women in the financial sector.

As a small business owner, you usually do not have the money, resources and time to market to a larger target market. You need to focus your marketing efforts on those people most likely to buy what you offer.

Think of narrowing your niche as simply positioning yourself more closely to the people or companies who could benefit most from your services.

Many of us like to believe that the number of people who want and need our product or service has no limit. Also, most of us truly want to help as many people as possible and so therefore believe we almost have an obligation to let everyone know about what we offer.

But the truth of the matter is if a small business tries to market to everyone, they'll eventually lose money and quite possibly go out of business.

I know it seems to go against common sense that we make more money and have more success when we limit the scope of who we market to. However, it is true and its been proven over and over again by very successful small businesses.

There are many reasons why it makes good business and marketing sense to have a niche market:

• you can focus your marketing efforts and not dilute them by trying to appeal to everyone

• it allows you to stand out as an expert in your niche which makes people come to you

• you attract significantly more business

• you have a natural competitive advantage because you can dominate your niche

• your marketing materials and communications are more targeted and therefore more effective

• people more easily refer business to you as they have a very clear idea of who you appeal to

• you can easily determine what opportunities to say yes to and which ones to pass on

• your creativity and strengths get to shine through

• makes it easy to find suitable strategic partners and joint ventures

• you spend less money on getting your message out there because you're not wasting time and resources on talking to people who aren't
interested in what you have

By taking the time (and the deep breath!) to narrow down your target group into a niche market that your company, products and services are best suited to serving, you'll be making a huge investment in a successful future.

You Need A Marketing Plan - Period!

All virtual assistants need a marketing plan! A marketing plan makes your marketing more effective which means your business is more successful.

Most VAs do not have marketing plans. This means that their marketing tends to be inconsistent, ineffective and inefficient.

Below are all the good reasons you need to have a marketing plan. As you read these reasons, you'll probably think to yourself, "I know this, this is common sense or I've heard this before".

And you're right, but I would like you to REALLY see yourself and your business enjoying these benefits and reaping these rewards of having a marketing plan – and implementing it.

1. Easy for you take action

A marketing plan makes it easier to do your marketing because it helps you market consistently. Anything we do on a regular basis becomes much simpler and faster to do. You also get into action because a plan will break your marketing tasks down into smaller steps or chunks. You feel less overwhelmed about tackling each task and therefore, can reduce your procrastination too!

2. Save you time and money

Taking the time to sit down and create a marketing plan will save you time and money in the long run. That's because you don't have to waste time scrambling around every time you try a new marketing activity – your marketing plan lays out the steps you need to take.

A plan also helps you be more focused which means you work smarter and faster. Being focused also means that you don't get distracted and waste time and money on tactics that seem like a good opportunity but don't really fit your marketing goals outlined in your marketing plan.

3. Help you keep customers

Because your plan keeps you focused and saves time, you don't have to sacrifice client relationships due to inability to make time to follow-up with customers or create new products and services that would appeal to your clients.

4. Bring in more prospects and clients

Having a marketing plan ensures that you constantly are attracting new leads and clients, because you're actually marketing your business! There is no way around it – marketing is how you grow your business.

5. Help you run a successful and profitable business

A marketing plan will give you time, money, freedom and focus – all necessary ingredients to a successful business. It will also save your sanity and reduce your stress – so you can enjoy your work and your business!

 

Three Challenges of Being A VA and How to Avoid Them

There’s little that compares with being your own boss. As a VA you have a lot of freedom. You choose your working hours. You choose your clients. You even set your fees and grow your business as you see fit. However, this freedom also means challenges. Owning your own VA business can be tricky. Let’s explore some common challenges of being a VA and how you can avoid them.

#1 Time Management

One of the great things about being a VA is that you get to set your own working hours. However, if you’re not good at managing your time, you could end up working around the clock. In addition to your client projects, you have a business to run. That means tasks like invoicing and email are on your daily to do list. Couple that with the normal responsibilities of life and you have a very full schedule. It’s then easy to see why some VAs never seem to sleep.

However, with a good time management system, everything gets done. You get to sleep. It’s about scheduling your day. It’s about prioritizing. And you must make the most of your work time. Be productive! Eliminate distractions.

#2 Clients

Without clients you don’t have a business. Yet there will definitely be clients you wish you didn’t have. It’s okay. You don’t have to like, get along with or work with everyone. If you find that you’ve gained a client you just don’t want to work with there’s a solution. Honor your commitment and then refer them to someone else.

When setting up your business you can avoid problematic clients by taking a few steps. The first is to identify the type of clients you do want to work with. Create an “ideal” client. Write down all of the characteristics they have. What makes them ideal? When you’re searching for new clients, keep that “ideal” client in your mind.

Also make sure your systems support a good client relationship. Make sure you have established policies and procedures. Make sure communication is easy and straight forward. This will help ensure your client relationships are positive ones.

#3 Cash flow

As a service provider you only make money when you have client projects to work on. This can make cash flow a real challenge. No cash flow and you may have to take on a part time job or borrow. That’s not the goal here. The goal is to have a successful VA business. There are a few strategies to help.

First, create a savings account that can support you during the slow times. There will be slow times. Even very successful businesses have them. When you have savings to turn to, the slow times can be stress free.

Create systems that support consistent cash flow. For example, consider finding regular, longer term clients instead of project work. program. Have your clients pay in advance each month and be sure to always be marketing to bring in new clients when needed.

Finally, look for supplemental income. Become an affiliate for a product or service that your audience might be interested in. Sell advertising space on your website. Create an information product and sell it. Partner with another business owner and earn referral income. When you have multiple streams of passive income coming into your business, cash flow management becomes much easier.

There are challenges to being a VA. However, the rewards can offset them. With a plan in place, you can overcome these challenges with ease. To your success!