On Google+ recently a new VA introduced herself and her business and outlined the services she was providing. She’d only been in business 6 months and was struggling to find clients and connect with people on LinkedIn. She had a very clever business name which I remarked on. Here is my answer to her which is suitable for all new VAs.
- spending time networking amongst people you know personally offline
- spending time networking online amongst your peers but also in business groups where potential clients hang out
making sure you have an online presence that people can view to show you are in business, i.e. LinkedIn Profile, Facebook Page, website or perhaps an about.me page – or something.
you don’t have to have a registered business name but there’s nothing to say you can’t get a domain with your own name, for email, even if you don’t have a website yet.
Are you a VA who is finding it lonely working alone at home every day? This is a common occurrence for new VAs as they make the transition from the corporate world to a work-at-home scenario.
Loneliness is one of the key factors for VAs not continuing their businesses and returning to the workforce. I encourage each of you to seek out local networks close to where you live so you can go to meetings. Business networks, council networking groups, if you have children, perhaps mother’s clubs (or whatever they’re called these days), sporting groups, etc so that you have direct face-to-face contact with people. And then the VA forums are a good way to connect with others too.
I learnt many years ago that I needed to find company to replace what used to be in a corporate world. For the most part I really enjoy my own company and am happy to work alone. But there are times I know I need to be with others, and apart from ‘company’ it also means I learn things from other business owners, particularly relating to my own region. And it’s amazing who knows who when connecting with others via social groups and clubs. It doesn’t all have to be about business.
I also have the radio on all day long in the background. It’s good just to hear voices chattering and music playing.
I have never wanted to go back to the corporate world and my daughters, now fully grown, are grateful for a mum who was always available to them when they had need of me. However, like many of you, I did have to work through the loneliness factor and find ways to counteract that so I could function and operate properly in my business and enjoy it on a daily basis. If you have other tips for handling loneliness, why not share them here?
I received a newsletter during the week from a coach who was talking about the very topic of this blog post. It raised an important aspect and that is not all clients are a good fit for us as Virtual Assistants. I know if cash flow is slow, our businesses are new or going through a slump, that we want to say yes to every client that makes contact, but that’s not always a good thing to do. Particularly if the client has had a bad experience with a previous VA – they can often react to us in the same vein, painting us with the same brush.
If you sense that something is not right then it’s probably best to say out right that you don’t wish to work with them, or that you don’t really need to do this. If the client objects or suggests this is just a tactic on your behalf, be firm and say you don’t believe you’re a good fit but perhaps you could help them find the right VA. And make sure you do that. If you belong to one or more VA networks that shouldn’t be a difficult thing to do.
It’s important to maintain your dignity and self-worth and it’s powerfully re-affirming when you know you don’t have to accept every client that comes along. Picking the right type of client for your VA business is an important part of your business operation. It can actually increase your business and sales and eliminate the grief factor you could experience through dealing with clients that aren’t right for you.
Saying no to the wrong client will actually make room for the right client. After all you can’t work with everyone and if your capacity is full and some of those clients aren’t the ‘right clients’ then you won’t have capacity for those that are.
Have you wondered how to market your business and get your name out there? Have you wondered how others do it? There are some very simple steps to getting things happening and it very much relates to persistency and consistency – keep at it, even when it seems not much is happening. The reality is you’re planting seeds and those seeds need time to grow.
Some time ago I wrote a book called “10 Surefire Steps to Market Your VA Business” and it is available as an ebook at my VAShop.
Some of the items covered are:
- Your image
- Determining your services
- Getting a domain
- Different forms of advertising, and
- Measuring your marketing
The book is an easy quick read and retails for $9.95AUD. Why not pop into the bookstore now to get yourself a copy?