How Have I Found Virtual Clients for My VA Business?
“Where have you found virtual clients?” That’s the #1 question that I hear aspiring virtual assistants ask the most. It’s not easy to find clients, let alone good ones, and without clients you don’t have much of a business.
Just keepin’ it real here: It takes time and hard work to build up a good client base. Virtual assistance is not a get-rich-quick business.
However, it’s not impossible to find virtual gigs. It doesn’t happen overnight, but that doesn’t mean you should get discouraged and drop out of the race. Keep at it until you’ve got your momentum going, and then leverage that to find more work.
These are my tips for the search, and you’ll find a free brainstorming printable in the Resource Library. (If you’re already a subscriber, head here to log in. Your password is in the May 2016 newsletter.)
The best places I’ve found virtual clients:
1. Word of mouth referrals.
This is where I’ve found the most clients. When the right people find out what you do, they know exactly where to pass along your name.
- Let people know what you do, what you’re looking for in an ideal client, and how you help clients with their business.
- Ask if they know anyone along those lines that they can introduce you to.
- Ask your current clients for referrals and testimonials.
- Get the word out among your business connections that you have a few time slots open to accept new clients
- Have a quick, clear description of what you do that you can share with family and friends. Keep it short and simple so they can understand and easily explain to others.
- Social Media – LinkedIn, Facebook groups, etc. Keep an eye out for a good fit, and then jump on it. These are competitive so you have to move fast. If it’s not a good fit though, don’t waste your time or theirs. Mind your manners, follow the rules, network, and provide value in these groups.
- Job boards – These will post jobs or RFPs (Request for Proposal). Be sure you follow the guidelines exactly when you reply. There are some sites that post specifically for VAs such as IVAA (International Virtual Assistants Association – http://ivaa.org/), VA Insiders (http://vainsiders.com/) and the LeapFrog VA Network (http://leapfrogvanetwork.com/vasite/join/). These offer paid memberships to access the job boards, but they’re worth considering. Like any new venture, you’ll have to weigh out the cost and decide if it’s for you or not.
- Job sites – Such as freelancer.com, Upwork, Fiverr. Some of the low rates may not be worth it for you. Learn the strategies of how to charge more money and build up your rankings on these sites.
- Craigslist – I’ve found some real rockstar clients here. In fact, I’m just about to publish an e-book detailing all the steps I used to find them. (So excited to share it with you soon!)
- Go where your ideal clients hang out online – groups, LinkedIn, forums, etc. Get to know them, keep an eye out for opportunities, and lend your expertise to the groups. You’ll start to get noticed. (Credits to the amazing Susan Mershon, The Techie Mentor, for this one!)
- Postings – Newspaper, local Craigslist, coffee shop boards, local colleges, etc.
- Networking groups – Don’t let introversion scare you away from attending these every now and then. You might find you actually enjoy them. Spread the word about how you help clients. Have an answer ready in case someone asks you, “How can I help you with your business?”
- Flyers, rack cards, and/or business cards – You don’t necessarily need all of these, but some sort of business eye candy will help people remember you and what you do.
Whatever avenues you use, provide value and make yourself known. Sadly, the “if you build it, they will come” dream is long over for online ventures. We have to be proactive.
Here’s a 2-page printable to help you do just that:
If you’re already subscribed to the Resource Library, you can log in here to get the printable.
Be specific about how you can:
- Help clients
- Make their life easier/ease their frustrations
- Free up time for them to concentrate on other things
- Take part of their workload off their plate
- Handle their _____ (email inbox, website updates, travel scheduling, bill paying, etc.)
***Listen to me, friends, because this is important:***
If you have experience in what you’re doing, even though you’ve never done it virtually, you have experience. Don’t act like you’re the newbie or let people take advantage of you. If you are qualified and competent, own it.
Working virtually does add some dimensions that you’ll need to get used to such as clear communication, using online tools effectively, and consistently following up more often. But your experience with _____ (admin, travel planning, website design, bookkeeping, whatever) still qualifies you to do the same things for virtual clients.
Why should they choose you? What makes you different from other VAs? Deliver that.
There are many VAs, but there are also many potential clients. There’s plenty of work to go around; the trick is finding the right work for you. Hang in there!
Here’s where you access that printable again in case you missed it: Find Virtual Clients
Where have you found virtual clients? How do you make yourself stand out as a VA? Share in the comments below!