10 Places to Find Virtual Assistant Clients

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 Tips for Better Follow Up in Your VA Business

Where are your clients coming from?

Are you getting great clients easily from the people you come into contact with on a regular basis?

Or are you struggling to find clients - and maybe even taking on clients that you don't really want to work with, just so you don't turn down the money?

If you aren't meeting enough business people, that should be your first step in trying to get new clients.

But if you are meeting business people and still not getting clients, your follow up procedure probably needs work.

How many sales conversations have you had this week? this month? this year?

The more people you talk to about your business, the more clients you will get. It's just a numbers game. Honest!

A recent Hubspot survey (and many others!) says that it takes 5 to 7 marketing touches to bring someone from a new prospect to a client.

Are you following up with people 5 to 7 times? Are you following up with some of them at all? For me, it's the statistic more than that 'marketing' piece that is important. You have to connect with most people more than once to get them to advance their relationship with you in order for them to start working with you.

Here are 5 steps to set up a follow up system that works to get you clients:

1. Create a master list, database or CRM.

Keeping everything in one place is the most important part of managing your follow up (other than doing that actual follow up, of course!) Set up something that works for you. For some people that's a notebook, for others (like me!) it's a Google Sheet, and even others use a database, CRM or app on their phone. The key is to work within your habits. A beautiful database that you never use is useless. Keep things simple to start with and find a way to use it every single day so that it becomes a simple habit.

2. Record every interaction.

When you connect with someone, you need to find that master list and update it. That's part of why it needs to be so accessible for you. If you don't keep things up to date, it will not be effective for you. I use a Google Sheet because I can access it from my PC and my phone and anywhere else online. So when I speak with someone I can update it with my most recent notes and it is always current. With the many ways we can connect with people these days, having a central place to record it all is essential.

3. Communicate with intent.

When you are looking for those 'touches', be sure that you have a reason to connect with someone. Creating the intent - the topic of conversation, if you will - is essential when you reach out to connect with them. Maybe you know of an event that is coming up that you want to tell them about, or an industry trend that you are reading about that you want to share, or maybe it's just a check in to ask how their business is going. But be sure you know what the intent of the communication is before you send it.

4. Schedule time to do it daily.

Daily follow up is really important. When you are talking to people every day about your business, you will end up with a lot of conversations going on at once. Of course that doesn't mean that you have to email or message or call everyone every day! But you should reach out to at least a couple a day. It makes the routine regular and helps you stay on top of all of the relationships you are building.

5. Ask for a sales conversation only when the time is right.

When you are prospecting and doing follow up, patience is a virtue. Don't connect with someone and right away ask them to talk to you about working together. You want to nurture the relationship with anyone you connect with. When the time is right, you can ask the prospect if they want to chat about you helping them. Or, if they aren't your ideal client, you might ask them for a referral. But always make sure it's time for that and not jump into it.

Following a few rules when you are doing your follow up helps you to keep organized, on top of things, and authentic in your relationship building.

Remember you are going to be in business for the long-term. Connecting with potential clients is about the long game. Treat your prospects well, keep in touch with them, and you will find that you will get clients more easily. And you'll probably even find the networking part FUN!

For some tips on how to manage your sales conversations once you get there, check out this free training video: The Sales Conversation. There are over 40 free training videos for VAs on my Youtube channel!

How to Find Great Clients

newcustomers

Being self-employed is extremely rewarding. It can also be a challenge.

Often the difference is the type of client you have.

The better your clients are, the more rewarding your business feels and the happier you are.

So, doesn't it makes sense to create a strategy to find great clients?

Of course it does!

Here are a few tactics to consider.

Network

One of the best ways to find people you enjoy working with is to meet them by networking - either local or online.

Sometimes you click right away with another business owner.

A simple, “I’d love to see how we can work together” may end up producing profitable results for years to come.

Networking both online and off is a fantastic way to find great clients.

In fact, you will likely find that networking is the best source of ideal clients for your VA business.

Spread the Word

Put the word out about your business.

Let your friends, family and associates know that you’re looking to add two or three quality clients to your schedule. (make sure they know what you do!)

You might be surprised at what you find.

You may end up with more quality clients than you have time for.

Referrals

When you find clients that you enjoy working with, ask them for referrals.

People tend to be attracted to like-minded individuals and clients referred from existing clients tend to be of the same caliber. In short, good clients refer good clients.

And often if you are working with a client you love, you learn quickly about their industry - and where more great clients are not far behind.

Consider offering a referral program for your business. Reward customers for their referrals by giving them a credit towards their own work, or even a gift card or a small gift. Let them know you appreciate their referrals.

Partnerships

Consider forging partnerships with other business owners that you enjoy working with.

For example, if you’re a virtual assistant who provides social networking management you might partner with someone who creates social networking graphics.

Together you could offer a complete social networking package.

Before You Begin Searching For More Great Clients

There are a few steps to take before you begin searching for more VA clients. Taking these steps will ensure you’re attracting the type of client you want. It’ll also make sure you can accommodate their needs.

1. Make sure you have room in your schedule for them. If not, consider eliminating some of clients or tasks from your calendar. You want to make sure you can meet the needs of your new clients.

2. Identify exactly what you want in a client. What makes a client great to work with? What are you looking for? Are they easy to communicate with? Do they provide minimum instruction? Do they pay well? Define what makes a good client.

3. Take steps to make sure that your existing clients and any new clients know how much you appreciate them. Create a customer appreciation strategy. Finding those great clients is only the first step. You want to make sure to keep them too.

Finding great clients isn’t difficult.

Know what you’re looking for.

Don’t hesitate to ask for new clients.

Pay attention to the service you provide.

A good VA client can stick with you for years.

It’s worth the time and effort to show your appreciation.