10 Places to Find Virtual Assistant Clients

Are you still struggling to find clients for your VA business?

When we start our Virtual Assistant business, we all have the same vision – working on our own schedule, clients calling with work they need done, and money coming in easily.

After a while that shine goes away and we realize that it’s much harder than we thought it was going to be to find those wonderful clients.

But it doesn’t have to be!

If you are struggling, you need to look at what you are doing to find and sign clients.

The first thing you need to identify is where you are looking for clients.

Here are 10 places you can find potential clients to connect with:

1. Facebook

You can find clients in Facebook groups (go and join the entrepreneur groups, not the VA groups!). Start or join conversations with people who are talking about what kind of support they need.

2. LinkedIn

Use the search function in LinkedIn to find people who might be able to use your services. Choose an industry to target and do some outreach to active LinkedIn users.

3. Your phone or email address book

You know more people than you think you do. Go through your phone or email address book (or your Facebook friends!) and look for people who could potentially be your clients, or who might know someone who could use your services.

4. Bulletin boards

Local small business owners use bulletin boards in public places to post their business card. Find and connect with these people on social media and start to build a relationship to see if they need your support.

5. Referrals

Ask your family and friends if they know anyone that might need your services. You have to be very clear on what you offer and who you can best support, but once you know that, it’s easy to ask for referrals.

6. Former employers or clients

Reach out to people you have worked with before to see if they need any help, or if they know anyone who does. Also see if you can get a testimonial from them if you haven’t yet, to put on your LinkedIn profile or website.

7. Email list

If you aren’t building an email list yet, you need to start. These are people who are interested in what you have to offer – and they will be your warmest audience for prospects.

8. Networking event

Attend a local or virtual networking event to connect with people who are looking to connect with other business owners. Remember every small business owner needs support – get out there so they can see you are there to help!

9. Professional associations or organizations

Join your local chamber of commerce or business group where entrepreneurs are connecting. Surrounding yourself with people who are looking to grow their business is an excellent way to find people who will need to outsource work to a VA.

10. Job boards

Of course job boards are a great place to look for clients. These are people who are looking for help right now. It is important to be able to respond quickly, so be sure to have a draft proposal ready to fill in with their requirements to increase your chances of getting an interview.

Clients are everywhere. These are just 10 places to look.

The key is to be looking every day, and to not just be asking people if they need your help, but to be building relationships with communities of people so that they see your expertise.

Once you get talking to people daily about what they need help with and how you might be able to help them, it’s time to invite them to a sales conversation (don’t do this in your first interaction, please!). I’ve recorded a video on my Youtube channel to talk about how to handle that sales conversation. Watch it here! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ocij3Z8AX3w

About the Author: Tracey D’Aviero is a Virtual Assistant Coach, Trainer, Speaker and Author. After operating a busy VA business of her own since 1996, Tracey began teaching others to run their VA businesses in 2010 through Your VA Mentor. Tracey owns CAVA VA association and teaches and coaches VAs exclusively. She has a vast amount of experience working in many different industries which helps her to offer her students and coaching clients a unique perspective and sound advice. She is a proud advocate of the Virtual Assistant industry. Learn more about Tracey’s journey in the VA industry here.

How to Decide If You Should Respond to a Virtual Assistant RFP

Do you read job postings for Virtual Assistants and don’t submit a proposal, even if you think you could do the work?

We post a good number of RFPs here at CAVA, and sometimes the clients tell us that they did not get a lot of responses.

Sometimes they don’t get any responses at all – like a recent screened RFP we posted.

If you read them and don’t respond, why is that?

An RFP (Request for Proposal) is a job posting from a client who needs help. Now.

Like, they are looking to pay someone to do work for them. Now.

If you see one that you think you could do, and you don’t respond to it, you are essentially turning down the client.

If you do respond, your odds of getting the work are VERY high. Yes, okay, some RFPs get a lot of responses – depending on the work the client is looking to get done. You definitely can’t get the work if you don’t submit a proposal.

And if you do respond and you don’t get the work, you can get feedback from the client as to why they went with someone else, so you can improve your proposal for the next client.

So how do you know if you should respond?

Here is my biggest tip to help you decide:

If you think you could help them … like, at all … Send. Them. A. Proposal.

There are many details in most RFPs, but if you find one that you have some experience and/or training with, and you think you might be able to do it, put a proposal together.

Clients May Not Know What They Need

Clients often don’t really know what they are looking for. Look to any discovery call you do with a client and you know how much conversation you have to have about the client’s needs to see if you can help them.

Sometimes filling in an RFP form makes it hard for the client to concisely communicate their needs.

Sometimes the client puts in a lot of tasks – some you can do, some you can’t.

Sometimes they don’t put in enough details for you. (We do try to make sure to clarify vague RFP postings with the clients before we post them).

The Client is Not a VA

You must remember that the client is NOT a VA. They might never have worked with a VA before. They aren’t sure what they should be asking of you.

But if you think that you can help the client with the most important pieces of their needs, send in a proposal.

Explain in your cover letter what you can do and what you might need training or procedures for.

Send a Cover Letter and PDF Proposal

And yes, we do suggest that you send both a cover letter and a proposal (PDF).

The cover letter can be the email you send letting the client know that you are submitting a proposal (it serves the same purpose). But the proposal definitely should be a downloadable document for the client – not an email, not a shared file.

Why? The client is probably collecting a lot of proposals and it is easiest if they can download them all and then look through them at the same time. When you make a client go from email, to Google or Dropbox, to their download folder, it can get really difficult to keep track of the proposals sent in. Yours might get missed if it’s not an actual document. (Hot tip: put your own name in the filename!)

Use a Proposal Template

Also, when you use a proposal template, it makes it SUPER simple (and quick) to send a proposal to a client. Imagine you see an RFP posted, you go into your template – add in the client details, their scope of work, and send it off. You are the first to respond. Do you know how impressive that is to a client? I’ll tell you, VERY. We provide a proposal template in the CAVA member area and our members have told us that they were not successful in getting clients until they started using this template – and now they are winning RFPs.

Make Your Proposal About The Client

Last point, and it’s absolutely essential – make your proposal all about the client. What do they need? That’s what your proposal should showcase. If you want to put a short blurb about yourself or your company in it, do so after you have covered all of their information. The proposal is in response to their job posting. That’s what our proposal template does – puts the client front and center.

Clients Only Want to Know Two Things

I say this all the time. Clients only want to know two things: what you can do for them, and how much it will cost them. Do not leave these things out of your proposal. Tell them what you can do, the related experience and/or training you have, and how much it will cost them.

Leave Out Stuff They Don’t Need

Do not put anything in your proposal about services they are not asking about. This is not your website, it’s a direct response to their job posting. It needs to be specific enough so that they can see what they asked for, and how you are proposing to look after that for them. That’s all.

At CAVA we have an RFP training that is also invaluable. If you are submitting proposals and not hearing back from the client, your membership fee is worth its weight in gold to get the template and the training. Because they work.

When you do everything above, you will find yourself responding to more proposals than ever before. And the clients WILL call you, because you put their needs at the forefront, which is what it’s all about.

And when you are honest about what you can and can’t do, the client can make an informed decision about whether you are the right person to invest in – and you will start your VA-client relationship off on such a good foot. Try it with the next RFP you see!

If you need help with responding to proposals, look no further than your VA community! An annual membership in CAVA is the answer. CAVA is a professional association for Virtual Assistants in Canada. We provide community, visibility, resources, connections, training, client opportunities and so much more. Check out our full list of benefits here: https://canadianava.org/join-cava/

About the Author: Tracey D’Aviero is a Virtual Assistant Coach, Trainer, Speaker and Author. After operating a busy VA business of her own since 1996, Tracey began teaching others to run their VA businesses in 2010 through Your VA Mentor. Tracey owns CAVA VA association and teaches and coaches VAs exclusively. She has a vast amount of experience working in many different industries which helps her to offer her students and coaching clients a unique perspective and sound advice. She is a proud advocate of the Virtual Assistant industry. Learn more about Tracey’s journey in the VA industry here.

5 Steps to Productive Meetings with Your VA Clients

Do you find yourself spending (or losing?) a lot of time in meetings with your Virtual Assistant clients?

A lot of VAs I talk to get trapped in a corporate type of working relationship with their clients. What I mean by that is that clients get into the habit of wanting meetings for every little thing they need.

This might seem innocent, but it’s a really bad habit that can get out of hand easily if you don’t handle it correctly.

When a client asks you for a meeting, the very first thing you need to figure out is if it needs to be a meeting at all.

It’s up to you as an independent contractor to put policies and boundaries in place for how clients request work to be done, and how they should communicate with you about it.

Not all work requests need to be meetings. In fact, most of them don’t.

In the event that you do need to meet with a client, here are 5 tips to help you make your meeting as productive as possible:

1. Schedule the Meeting

Make sure that you always slot meetings into your schedule when it’s convenient for you. Don’t do last minute meetings with clients – it’s a hard habit to break once you start it. When a client wants to meet with you, put it on the calendar. Set a start and stop time for your meeting - the shorter the better.

2. Take Charge

When you let the client take charge of a meeting, you run the risk of wasting more time than necessary. For all meetings, make sure you are the one leading the meeting. Come prepared with your objectives and run the meeting.

3. Follow an Agenda

Most meetings run longer than they need to. With every single meeting you host, create and follow a simple agenda. A meeting should be held for a specific reason. If it’s about one topic, cover that topic and then end the meeting. If it’s a weekly meeting and you have a number of things to discuss, continue to hold to the agenda and time limits as necessary.

4. Stop at your Designated Time

Always end a meeting on time. When you allow a client to ramble on for hours, it’s a waste of everyone’s time. Be clear about the objectives of the meeting at the top of the call, and stick to the agenda you created, and the time you allotted.

5. Charge the Client for the Meeting

I can not tell you how many VAs tell me that they do not charge the client for meeting time. It’s billable! Anything the client needs you to do for them – including the communication between the two of you – is billable to them. They have to pay you for your time. When you charge the client, not only are you more aware of how much the meeting time is costing them, but they are too.

As I said, not all conversations need to be meetings. To keep your VA business productive and efficient, use the steps above to run faster, more efficient meetings when necessary.

You may need to adjust your other communication methods to make shorter meetings work in your business, but once you do, you’ll wonder why you ever spent hours in meetings with your clients to begin with.

Your VA clients are paying you to get their work done. So don’t spend it in meetings, spend it doing their work!

If you need help with procedures, boundaries, or improving communication with your clients, look no further than your VA community! An annual membership in CAVA is the answer. CAVA is a professional association for Virtual Assistants in Canada. We provide community, visibility, resources, connections, training, client opportunities and so much more. Check out our full list of benefits here: https://canadianava.org/join-cava/

About the Author: Tracey D’Aviero is a Virtual Assistant Coach, Trainer, Speaker and Author. After operating a busy VA business of her own since 1996, Tracey began teaching others to run their VA businesses in 2010 through Your VA Mentor. In 2016 she purchased the CAVA and GAVA VA associations and now teaches and coaches VAs exclusively. She has a vast amount of experience working in many different industries which helps her to offer her students and coaching clients a unique perspective and sound advice. She is a proud advocate of the Virtual Assistant industry. Learn more about Tracey’s journey in the VA industry here.

How to Get Things Done In Your VA Business

Does your to-do list seem to be never-ending in your Virtual Assistant business?

Whether you are trying to get your VA business off the ground, full with great clients, or somewhere in between, the task list sometimes just seems to get bigger.

One of the things that many VAs I know struggle with is setting goals.

I remember when someone taught me to set goals ‘way back when’. They taught me to have a 10 year goal, a 5 year goal and so on. I found it totally overwhelming to set a goal that far away – let alone figuring out what I needed to do to reach it.

I started setting short-term goals instead. Of course they are connected to the long term vision I have for my business, but I find that setting short-term goals helps keep things much more in focus for me. And maybe it can for you too.

Because you can get so many more things done in your VA business when you set a goal, and then put the action steps in place to do it. Here’s how:

We’ll use the example of finishing your website (it’s a big thing with so many VAs, that it keeps them stuck!)

1. Define the big goal.

Write down what it is you want to accomplish. Launch website. That’s it. Step 1 done!

2. Identify the action steps to reach the big goal.

Here’s where the work happens. Write down every single thing you need to do to reach that big goal. There are lots of steps for this goal – make sure you write down all of them – domain name, host, theme, pages, content, images, graphics/logo, etc.

3. Break those steps into actionable tasks that you can do every day.

By breaking your activities into small tasks, you can fit something in every single day to help you reach your goal. Choosing your domain name can be one. Buying it can be another. Choosing a theme. Deciding on pages. Creating an image. Calling graphics contact about logo. Small activities that take 15 to 20 minutes a day.

4. Create a checklist with your daily tasks.

Putting things together in a checklist can help you organize the order in which you need to get things done. And it helps you to assign deadlines to the things that you need to do. And of course, you get to check things off as you do them – is there any better sense of accomplishment?

5. Assign the daily tasks into your calendar.

When you have broken down your tasks to a small chunk of time, you can do a little bit every single day – instead of trying to work on it for 2 hours on a Sunday night, you can do 15 minutes every single day, and accomplish much more in less time.

6. Complete your small daily task every day.

You will find yourself moving closer to your goal every single day when you are focusing on it daily. And if you do miss one day, you are only 15 minutes ‘behind’. Not like if you miss that 2 hour block on a Sunday night!

7. Reach your goal!

It really is that simple. The easier you make things for yourself, the easier it will be to set and reach goals.

And I promise you when you take this approach of task and time management, you will get more done.

Whatever you need to do, use these steps and see just how well it can work for you!

If you need help with time management and other business tips, look no further than your VA community! An annual membership in CAVA is the answer. CAVA is a professional association for Virtual Assistants in Canada. We provide community, visibility, resources, connections, training, client opportunities and so much more. Check out our full list of benefits here: https://canadianava.org/join-cava/

About the Author: Tracey D’Aviero is a Virtual Assistant Coach, Trainer, Speaker and Author. After operating a busy VA business of her own since 1996, Tracey began teaching others to run their VA businesses in 2010 through Your VA Mentor. In 2016 she purchased the CAVA and GAVA VA associations and now teaches and coaches VAs exclusively. She has a vast amount of experience working in many different industries which helps her to offer her students and coaching clients a unique perspective and sound advice. She is a proud advocate of the Virtual Assistant industry. Learn more about Tracey’s journey in the VA industry here.