Don't Be Wendy Whiner! Get Better at Networking with These 5 Tips

Don't Be Wendy Whiner! Get Better at Networking with These 5 Tips

Are you good at networking?

Networking is really just talking to people about your VA business, either in person or online.

But when I ask VAs if they are good at networking, they tell me it is something that they dread.

So instead of networking with potential clients, they hang out in the VA forums and online groups with their colleagues. And they develop terrible networking habits!

You've seen them - maybe you even are 'them' - Wendy Whiner. Always complaining, or looking for someone to agree with what they are complaining about. (apologies to any Wendys out there!)

You really need to be networking with potential clients.

But even if you are spending more time in the VA forums, then I have some tips for you on how to practice your networking there, so that you get better at it (and then move to business groups!).

I see VAs talking to each other ALL DAY LONG in Facebook groups and other online forums.

I shouldn’t have to tell you that you will never get clients by spending your days in VA groups.

But it’s not just the time being spent there. It’s what I see being posted there.

Do you know what they are talking about? How crappy their clients are. Or how uncertain they are about their skills. Or how they can't even find clients because Upwork refused their profile.

These posts bother me so much.

Why? Mainly because they are not a good use of anyone's time. And some of the groups even have potential clients in them which makes VAs look even worse.


If you are going to seek out support from - or give support to - your colleagues, you need to start to develop the right attitude and skill - to do it well, so it supports both of you. You might even find a great collaboration or referral colleague!

Here are 5 tips to get better at your networking:

Find a Great Support Network

Where do you find support for your business? Many business owners seek it out through their colleagues - and VAs are no different! If you want to be successful, you need to surround yourself with others who are working towards success as well. Fresh ideas, advice and camaraderie is important as a business owner, but especially one who works virtually - alone - all the time. A free VA group with thousands of members is not always the best place for you to grow, or to get the best support. If you can't find a support network that gets you excited to share and support the others in the group, keep looking. There is one for you!

Offer Advice Only From Experience

One of the things I see VAs do all too often is offer advice they are not qualified to offer. That's not a dig - it's a simple truth. You should only offer advice when you have had experience with the exact situation that is being discussed. If a VA is asking about business advice or advice about a client situation that you have no experience with, simply don't respond. Don't guess at what you think you would do. Think of your VA colleagues as your clients for a moment. Would you offer your client untested advice in a similar conversation? Probably not. 

It's Not Personal, It's Business

Keeping emotions out of business is challenging at times  - especially for women. But if we don’t learn to separate the business from the personal, that makes for difficult conversations with people. When you are networking with colleagues, look for the opportunities to lift everyone up by focusing on the business impact of the discussion - not on how it makes you feel. Business is business and when you remove the emotion from decision making and how you handle certain conversations (like money!), it is often so much easier. Sounds easier said than done – until you try it and you’ll love it!

Come From Abundance

When you are struggling to find clients, it is hard to stay positive. It gets difficult to watch others celebrate getting new clients if you aren't. You might even feel that other VAs are somehow taking your clients. Having a poverty mindset will take its toll on you. It's important to remind yourself every day that there are plenty of clients for everyone. You just need to find and connect with yours. Creating and maintaining an abundance mindset - where you know that there is enough for everyone - is so worthwhile.

Keep a Positive Mindset

Stop complaining! As a VA, you are a business owner. You must act like one everywhere you go. A negative mindset will soon take over your thoughts and will reflect in your actions. Work on reframing your thoughts when they go to the negative side. If the forums suck you in and drag you down, stay away from them for a week (or forever!). Focusing on a positive mindset not only helps you, but it helps those around you. Connect with other excited business owners – who need your support! You might even get a client!

Simple advice, right? I know it’s difficult to do. That’s why it takes practice and good daily habits to help you maintain it.

I urge you to try it.

Focus only on positive messaging for a week – in what you post yourself, and in what you respond to. Skip over everything else.

I think you’ll find that you are in a better frame of mind. And that’s the vibe you’ll be putting out there for your potential clients. They’ll notice!

For more tips on how to think like a business owner, check out this free training video Creating a Business Mindset. There are over 30 free training videos for Virtual Assistants on my Youtube channel. 

5 Effective Ways Virtual Assistants Can Follow Up To Get More Clients

Follow up that falls flat is wasting your networking time.

As a virtual assistant, you probably know by now that everything in your business can’t be done virtually.

Most things can – but when it comes to meeting new clients, the quickest way is still in person.

When you see people face to face, trust builds more quickly and easily.

Online connections have their place, but face to face networking is really something you should get used to in your business.

And when you do, make sure you have an effective follow up strategy.

Meeting people in person takes more time, so you want to make sure you are making the most of your time by building a solid foundation for those new connections.

Here are 5 effective things you can do to follow up with a new connection:

1. Collect business cards or contact info.

When you go to an event, you often meet more than one person at a time. It will be difficult to remember all of the details about everyone, so be sure to get their contact info so you can reach out to them afterwards.

Even if you think you have only met a few good connections, it saves you time when you get home to connect again.

Bring your own business cards to hand out as well. The other person may not contact you (if they don’t do good follow up!) but it is always professional to be able to hand out your card, and often it becomes a conversation starter.

2. Send them a resource or something of value.

After you have met someone, send them an initial email letting them know that you enjoyed meeting them, what you liked about the event, and something that you think might be of value to them.

Sometimes that is a link to one of your blog posts that was the topic of a conversations. Or maybe you send them the name of a book from an author you spoke about. Or a link to and event you discussed.

Whatever you send them, make sure it’s in line with what you talked about at the event. Relevancy is important – it shows that you were listening.

3. Ask before adding them to your mailing list.

Even though you can technically add someone to your mailing list when they give you their business card, always ask them first. I always prefer to have people reach out directly to me after I give them my card – rather than just starting to send me their newsletter.

Because it often takes up to 10 ‘touches’ for someone to move from being a prospect to a client, you don’t want to lose them right away by dumping them onto your newsletter list. Those touches really should be made personally if you met face to face.

4. Introduce yourself afterwards if you didn't have a conversation.

Some events allow you to put your business card at everyone’s place setting, or they provide you with a swag bag with marketing materials in it.

If this is the case, and you find yourself with a handful of business cards, start at the beginning. Reach out to the person and introduce yourself as you would have in person. If you can get the opportunity to have a quick phone call it’s even better.

Try not to discount anyone from their business card. Reach out to everyone. You never know where your next client will come from.

If someone doesn’t look like they might be your client, they could still have a great network, and be a potential referral source. Take a few minutes to explore their business and you might be surprised.

5. Connect with people on their social networks.

After every event, take some time to connect with everyone you met or came into contact with on social media. That doesn’t mean add them as a friend on Facebook. You can do that, but I prefer add only actual friends to my Facebook. But by all means check out all of their social media pages, and follow or like the ones that are suitable.

While you are there, explore a little bit about what they post and who they are speaking to. Add that information to your follow up notes in case it is relevant to your conversations.

Social media is meant to be social, so don’t just follow them and be done with it. Take the opportunity to reach out and send them a personal message. And like and share their stuff. The best way to get a referral is to give one first. The same goes for social media. Share other people’s stuff and they’ll share yours.

The fortune is in the follow up.

You may have heard that saying and it’s true.

Why spend your time networking if you are not going to work to make those connections stronger?

And when you develop a system that works for you, your follow up can be flawless and regular. And you will get clients sooners.

For more great info about networking for your VA business, check out my free networking videos for Virtual Assistants on my Youtube channel.

Struggling to Find Virtual Assistant Clients? Look at Your Numbers!

This Strategy Will Make Finding VA Clients Easier

Are you still having trouble getting Virtual Assistant clients through networking?

I hear this often from VAs in the online forums. They feel like they are always networking but not getting clients.

It can be very discouraging when you feel like you are doing ‘everything’ to find clients but you are still struggling.

We take it personally and the defeat can actually make many VAs throw in the towel on their business.

Look at your numbers.

How many clients are you actually looking for?

If you were looking for 100 clients, then you would have reason to be discouraged if every time you went to an event you came home with nothing. It would be an uphill battle to try to find 100 people to work with you.

Most VAs are looking for far fewer clients than that. You are probably only looking for one (or one at a time). To fill your practice you may only need 5 good clients. Five!

So specifically how many people you need to connect with to find 5 clients? Do you know that number?

Getting strategic about your numbers makes things easier to measure and to set goals that can help you get the clients.

How many you need to connect with depends a lot on where you are choosing to network.

If you are networking in the right place, you might only need to talk to 5 people. Most of the time it’s more like 15 or 20 good contacts that convert into 5 clients.

The point is, it’s a lot fewer people than you think it is.

If your networking is not working for you, you probably aren’t being strategic enough about it. 

Here are a few tips to help:

1.Go only where you know there are potential clients.

If you go to a lot of events and don’t get clients, identify why that is.

Who are you meeting there? Are the people attending 'your' kind of people?

What are your conversations about? What are you saying to them?

2. Know your services inside and out.

If you know who is attending the event, you can decide what you want to talk about, or present, in terms of your service offerings.

When you are in a networking situation, you need to have the answers to the questions the prospective client asks you. It expedites the process of ‘can you help me?’

3. Talk to people to gauge their interest.

Can you help them? If you think you can, ask them questions about their business and chat about how you can think you can help them.

If there is interest, invite them to a sales conversation after the event to explore the possibility of working together. It really can happen that quickly!

Networking strategically works for you much better than just ‘spending time’ networking.

You must have a good strategy to make it work for you.

Figure out where to find the people that you can help. And make the decision to spend your time there.

Focus your efforts on one good networking place, and make it work for you.

When you realize how easy it is to just work with your numbers, you can get clients much more easily.

Set up your strategy and when you find one client, then you simply rinse and repeat the process that got you that client.

For more great info about networking for your VA business, check out my free networking videos for Virtual Assistants on my Youtube channel.

I Hate Selling - How Do I Get Clients for my Virtual Assistant Business?

Do you get uncomfortable selling your VA services?

If you do, don't worry you're not alone.

This is one of the most common issues for Virtual Assistants who are just getting started (or who are trying to grow).

Here's the reason: we have usually not had any sales training in the corporate world. It's really as simple as that. We don't know how!

When I talk to VAs who are struggling with this, and I ask them what they say to people when they are networking, the result is almost always the same.

The trip over their words.

They try to educate the client about the VA industry.

They leave the conversation frustrated, and the potential client confused.

But did you know that the most effective sales conversations are simply that ... conversations?

 What are you saying to potential clients?

If this is you, it's a really simple fix!

All you have to do is make all of your conversations about the client.

Not you. The client.

Ask them questions.

  • What do they do for their business?
  • Do they have support?
  • What keeps them busy?
  • How do they find clients?
  • What systems do they use to run their business?

The answers to the questions will help you tell them more about your own business - believe it or not!

And everyone LOVES to talk about their own business (trust me on this one!). Once you start asking them questions, you will be much more at ease because they will end up doing most of the talking.

You will also learn quickly whether you can help them or not.

If you can, great - you can tell them how. It's just a conversation. 

If you can't, then you move on.

No selling involved.

Try it in your next networking conversation.

When someone says to you, 'What do you do?' respond with, 'I'm a Virtual Assistant. What do you do?'

... and watch the conversation develop from there.

There is no need to fear sales - because when you offer support, either you can help someone or you can't.

Sure, you still have to talk about logistics and pricing and all that good stuff, but the general conversation doesn't have to paralyze you.

Leave the infomercial out of it.

Many VAs I know avoid in person networking for this reason alone.  They think they have to start every conversation with their awkward one-minute infomercial. 

Don't do that. It's not natural and it usually falls completely flat.

Just talk. Ask questions. Answer questions.

Your services will naturally come up. 

No sales necessary. And I guarantee you that you will get clients!