So, you have decided to set up shop as a Virtual Assistant, but you are struggling to get your first client? No worries, I understand your situation because, you know what? I once was in the same position you are in now – and trust me, there is a way out!
These days it’s easier than ever to your start your own business however, we often make it sound as though it’s as simple as 1, 2, 3: decide what to call yourself, get a website and the clients will come. Sorry to tell you, it usually doesn’t really work that way. It’s great that the internet gives you this opportunity, however it offers the same opportunity to everyone else out there that wants to take it.
Over the last few months I have figured out that not having that first client is often down to a block in a different area of your business and the clients will not come unless that piece falls into place, regardless of how many networking events you attend, or how much money you want to spend on ads. So instead of giving you another useless list post, where I tell you about another 20 things you can do to market your new VA business, I am going to get straight to the meaty part that will actually help you work out WHY the clients are not yet sent your way. Let’s dive right in.
Generally speaking, when you invest time and money into making people aware of your business and connecting, you’d expect to come across someone that is going to need your help eventually and will want to hire you. So, if you are putting this effort in and yet people are STILL not interested in working with you, then it’s because there is an underlying issue that needs to get addressed first, so let’s take a few steps back and cover some bases – and I mean cover them properly.
Understanding the client’s perspective
It’s really important to just step back and see life from the client’s perspective. They have this business that they have painstakingly built up and got to the point where it is now. Many online biz owners are women that have built businesses while taking care of young children and the home. Many hours of blood, sweat and tears have gone into this and it’s now grown to a point where they need to outsource or be stuck. Their biz baby is going to be touched by someone else and they are about to release some control! A lot of your potential clients are NOT comfortable with the idea. Needless to say they are looking for the most experienced and confident person they can find within their budget. They are often inexperienced with delegating and are almost looking for someone that can guide them through this process. They want and need reassurance.
Now let’s see your side of the deal
You are new to the industry. You have your reasons for building a business, but these may not be terribly internalised yet as a lot of this is new territory for your mind. You are looking for a client that can almost guide you and tell you firmly what it is they need and what’s expected of you – and these people are few and far in between.
So, can you see how the client may feel insecure (and may not even realise) and you may feel insecure (and not realise) and therefore the vibes are just off? So, what can you do to get the frequencies right?
Get clear on your vision
I have written a whole post on this, so I’m not going to bang on about the same thing here, but your vision is your key to your business success. Many people have told me the same thing and I chose to ignore them, but I ended up having to make a u-turn months later and return to my vision for my life and business. I noticed 6 months in that I had built a successful business but it turned out that it wasn’t actually the business that I wanted to build! Doh. If I had invested my time into getting clear on my vision early on, I wouldn’t have wasted so much time.
Know WHO you are
I am a firm believer in the fact that you have to know yourself before you can attract the things to you that you want. So, how does one get to know oneself? Well, some people are lucky and they are extremely aware of who they are and how they behave and others are not. If you are one of the less intuitive types, then check out tests such as the Myers-Briggs-Type-Indicator. While they are never 100% accurate these are pretty good (my type is ESFP in case you are interested). You could supplement this test by the How To Fascinate test by Sally Hogshead (I’m a Maverick Leader). Both of these tests are awesome at telling you a. more about how you are and b. telling you more about how others see and perceive you.
HINT: Your personality is NEVER going to stop you from achieving something you set your mind to. It just means you may need to adjust how you’re going to get there.
Know what you’re good at (= your strengths)
Now that you know a little bit more about what your dream life is going to look like, how you as a person fit into it, it’s time to look at your special knowledge and skills – and don’t try and tell me you don’t have any.
There are plenty of ways in which you can identify what you’re good at. Here are some things you may want to think about:
- What makes you feel excited? You know those activities you could do for HOURS at a time. You start at 10am and suddenly it gets dark and you haven’t eaten any food.
- Notice when your approach is different from other people’s. If you are approaching certain challenges a different way, explore why that is. If you’re performing better in certain situations than others, think of what could be the reason.
- Ask your close (honest!) friends and family about your strengths. Or if you don’t feel comfortable observe the situations when people come to you, whether it’s to ask for your help or just share.
You can also complete another assessment (I did this one too and found it very accurate, but I already know myself quite well and gave realistic answers rather than idealistic ones!) and for strengths I recommend the Gallup Strengths Finder.
Link your strengths to tasks
Now that you know what you’re good at (so the kind of work or situations in which you thrive) it’s time to identify the tasks that you could actually help people with. Eg. if you are a “people person” and you thrive on these interactions (even if they are challenging) then you need to identify situations in which that strengths would come into play. You may want to consider roles in customer service or facebook community management. If your strengths are problem-solving and technology, then you may want to offer techy support etc.
Every pot has it’s lid – you need to find yours
So your personality + your knowledge and strengths = YOU and there is the perfect client for you out there. You just got to find it. The issue is we often look in the most random places and hope that our ideal client just jumps out at us – and that’s rarely the case. So let’s take the task list you created in the previous paragraph and think of WHO needs help with those tasks. Who needs FB community management? Who needs tech support? Who needs freelance writers. Now let’s narrow this down further – what are YOU interested in or passionate about? Does your ideal client’s company need to have a not-for-profit or good cause aspect? Are you passionate about working with creatives? What type of work interests you?
Once you know that you are looking to support mainly creative online entrepreneurs you can start to think about where you may find them. You can draw conclusions as to which FB groups to target, which social networks to use for your business. Where to run ads (later on when you’re ready!) etc.
So, now that you have done a deep dive into your inside happenings and you have a clear vision for where you want your life to head to, who you are and who you can help and how, you have your bases covered and if you work through all of these aspects you should fill a massive amount of clarity. If that’s not yet the case, then you have more work to do.
Once you have experienced this clarity, it’s time to get out there and build relationships – and that’s what the next post will be about.
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