If you have been following this series, then you’ll recall that to date we’ve discussed what a virtual assistant (VA) is and does. We have also discussed some of the steps to planning your virtual assistant practice and transitioning into it.
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Now we will discuss where to find your clients. This will be one of the most important decisions you’ll make, because this will be the one that brings income into your business.
Before you decide where you will find your clients decide who they will be. What industry is it that you want to serve as a VA? Just to name a few, there are authors, coaches, Internet marketers, and web designers.
To broaden your options, there are also many offline choices such as artists, caterers, chiropractors, and small restaurant owners. They probably also advertise online or have a web site for you to update. Pick up a phone book or a copy of the Yellow Pages and begin browsing the A through Z services section.
Get creative about the types of the services that you could offer a particular market. Then ask:
• What particular services does this industry need?
• What services could I provide to this industry?
• Can I easily reach this industry?
• Will this industry produce enough work to keep me busy?
• Does this industry have the income to merit my services?
• Would I actually enjoy working with this industry?
Now, within this industry there could also be a more specialized niche. For example, say that you selected authors. Within the writing/publishing (author) industry there could be non-fiction. Then within the non-fiction sector, there could be biographers. Even within biographers, there could be 19th Century biographers. There are even sub-niches or specialized niches within a niche.
Are you beginning to see how you can take an industry and narrow it down to a niche or a specialized niche? Also, ask yourself which niche would you be the most passionate about in providing services?
While you do not have to have a niche to be a successful VA, it does help. Just like in the medical industry, specialists make more money than general practitioners do. Again, give this thought.
When I began my VA practice in 2006, anyone who had a pulse and a checkbook was a client. However, as time progressed, I noticed that I could not serve nor keep track of each industry. I would “spread myself too thin” marketing to all of them. I was going to have to specialize or select a niche. The good thing was that even the niche that I selected didn’t have to be my only choice.
Many times specializing in a niche can be counter-intuitive. Other industries will ask if you would also consider serving them. So don’t be afraid of selecting the wrong industry or niche. If an individual in another industry “clicks” with you, feel free to offer services to him or her.
Once you find your industry or niche, start marketing to them. Google online forums where your niche hangs out. Join Facebook and LinkedIn discussion groups. Also, join online networking forums such as Meetup and Biznik.
Also don’t just limit your marketing to online, there are organizations within your community such as your local Chamber of Commerce and BNI.
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For those of you who have already selected an industry or niche for your VA practice, who is it and how did you decide on this industry or niche? Where are you finding these individual clients?
- Understanding Virtual Assisting – Part 5 – How Will You Structure Your VA Practice?
- Understanding Virtual Assisting – Part 3 – Do I Need to Become Certified?
- Understanding Virtual Assisting – Part 6 – What Will You Put in Your VA Marketing Package?
- Understanding Virtual Assisting – Part 11 – Writing Your Business Plan
- Understanding Virtual Assisting – Part 10 – Transitioning into Your Virtual Assistant Practice
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