A VA posted a question over the weekend about a service (web design) a client asked her to provide. She wasn’t sure how to go about doing it and asked at the forum. This is my response to her:
It is important we only take on work we are equipped for and in that regard, also equally important we portray that on our websites as well. With the publicity around about our industry I guess it’s easy for prospective clients to get confused and think that we (VAs) can do anything and everything. And that isn’t the case for most of us. Some of us have built up a bevy of skills and resources over time, but the majority of us have started out with only one or two service offerings and then found areas we enjoy and built our businesses around that.
It is good to know what you are good at and promote that for your business and even develop a niche VA business in your specialty. It looks like you already know what you’re good at and who your target client base is, so stick with that and enjoy it – over time you might find you’ll increase your skills and offerings to clients, but don’t be in a rush to do it all straight away.
I didn’t start out doing website design – in fact, when I began the web wasn’t even in the equation, but once it was I started experimenting with my own site and made many, many changes to it over a few years. Then eventually I had existing clients ask if I could help with their existing sites and began doing maintenance and updates. From there I progressed to doing website creation and today I even offer hosting. I still don’t do graphic design though and doubt I will – I usually outsource it.
On that note, it is good to build up a team of VAs around you, i.e make connections with those of this list and any other VA forum you belong to. If you have 2 or 3 VAs you know who specialise in areas you don’t, it means you can refer clients on to them, or even your own clients when they need additional services you’re unable to offer. It’s not unusual for clients to have 2 or 3 VAs (or more) to support them in their needs. In other words, many clients have virtual teams working with them, rather than just one VA.
When we first get started in our business we want to please the client and offer everything they’re looking for, for fear we’ll lose them and they move onto someone else. The danger in that is if we make a mess of things, we’ll lose them anyway, and a good reputation to boot as well. But if you take it slowly and steadily, over time you’ll be able to add more services and know you have a good team around you for the things you don’t offer in your business.