Are you a new virtual assistant or small-business owner wondering how to find your first clients? That’s a struggle for many business owners as they’re just getting started! Here are all the tips you need to know to land your first clients and get your new business off the ground.
A Little Back Story
Just over a year ago, I knew that I wasn’t going to return to full-time teaching in the fall. I was working too many hours inside and outside of the classroom, I felt like I was neglecting my boys (age 5 and 3), and I was barely making a part-time salary after paying for full-time daycare for our boys. My husband and I decided that it would be better for our family if I found something that I could do at home while my younger son was in a part-time Mother’s Day Out program.
As I explored the different options, the term Virtual Assistant kept popping up. I had never heard of such a thing before, but it seemed like it might be just what I was looking for.
I started reading blogs and taking courses to understand what a VA was, how I could be one, and what I needed to learn to become a successful one. When I was working through Gina Horkey’s course 30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistant Success (Note: While I did learn a lot in this course, it would not be my top choice for VA courses if I were starting now), I realized what I needed to do to build my business and get my first clients.
Identify the Skills You Have to Find the Right Clients
As I thought about my own skills, I realized that I knew how to do a bunch of things that could benefit clients. I can organize files, I have design skills, I can create printables, and I’m a technology geek. If I don’t know something technology-related, I’ll research until I find it. I also pick up new skills quickly and can teach others the skills they need.
When I thought about what I liked and was passionate about, I realized I was interested in design, analytics, and SEO. Pinterest combined these three interests, plus I love it! Becoming a Pinterest manager was a natural fit.
Spending time thinking about the skills you have can help you identify some of the areas where your target audience might need help.
Need help identifying your skills to find your perfect business idea? Grab a copy of my free Online Business Idea Planner!
Know What You Want to Do and Who You Want to Work With
Although it might seem counter-intuitive that narrowing the focus of your business can help you land clients, it’s really not. There is absolutely no way that you can learn every potential skill for every potential client out there. When you focus on a specific skill (or skills) for a specific group of people, it’s easier to know what you need to learn, what audience you need to market to, and what skills you need to market.Although it might seem counter-intuitive that narrowing the focus of your business can help you land clients, it's really not. There is absolutely no way that you can learn every potential skill for every potential client out there. Click To Tweet
As I mentioned, I wanted to focus on Pinterest. I was talking with a friend who is a realtor about how she needed to be on Pinterest and ways it could work for her business. She was interested, but she wanted someone to take care of all of her social media accounts. I knew I didn’t want that, especially because Pinterest isn’t social media! (Excuse me while I get on my soapbox…😉).
While I love my friend dearly, I also knew that I did not possess the qualities that this friend needed for her business. I don’t have the real estate knowledge, I have no interest in learning it, and I don’t have the time to give her social media accounts the attention they need.
While I don’t think you need to know exactly who your ideal client is right away, it’s a good idea to put some thought into the type of person you want to work with when you’re starting out.
Use Your Personal Network to Land Your First Clients
There are people you know who are building businesses. They might need the help that you’re offering. There’s potential there to find your first clients.
One of my clients is a friend who needed to be on Pinterest but didn’t want to learn it. She hired me on the spot. I wrote a case study of her account’s Pinterest growth.
Other friends might know of people who need your skillset. It’s so important that your network knows what you’re doing and that you would love for them to recommend you to people that they might know who need your help.
Another friend’s husband is a client of mine. You never know what opportunities will come up!
Be Visible on Social Media
I know it’s hard to believe, but there really is a reason for social media. I found some of my first VA clients in Facebook groups.
While I know that social media can be a major time suck, groups really are good places to network. I spend a small amount of time in groups, and I use that time to provide value and promote my business.
I get a lot better response when I am providing value than when I am promoting my business. Here are a few of the positive responses I’ve gotten from people:
These interactions can help you get clients for your business. It’s better to try to be helpful and promote when it feels natural.
One note about job postings in Facebook groups – Make sure you follow the directions from the original post. If it says don’t PM, don’t PM. If it says post your rates and experience, do it. There are tons of people that respond to these, so you don’t want to disqualify yourself by not following directions!
Make it Clear What Your Business Is About
Whether you have a Facebook page, LinkedIn account, or website, be sure you include the services you offer. You never know when someone will need exactly what you offer.
One of my clients found me online, and I’m so glad he did. He was on my website to read a blog post of mine (which is why your business should absolutely have a blog!) and he looked at the services I offered.
Before he even contacted me, he knew which package he wanted to sign up for, and the contract was signed and the invoice was paid in less than a day.
If I hadn’t posted what services I offered or if it was hard to find my services on my website, I would have missed out on a great opportunity doing something that I love.
Summing It Up
In case you skipped to the end of the post, here’s a recap:
- Identify the skills you have to find the right clients
- Know what you want to do and who you want to work with
- Use your personal network
- Be visible online
- Make it clear what your business is about
Using these tips, doing quality work, and having patience, your business will grow.
Still need to grab a copy of my Online Business Idea Planner? Here you go!
That’s it for today. Did I miss any of your favorite ways to land your first clients? Share them in the comments below!
Until next time,