I often see VAs talking about developing a niche for their practice. This is a good line of thought, however it’s important to consider that it could be awhile before you even know what your niche is. Some know straight away and others have no idea. I was in the latter category when I started my business. All I knew was how to type and that meant I would do documents in Word or WordPerfect and I could do data entry into spreadsheets. That was the limit of what I thought I could do in my own business.
I discovered many things by chance (or perhaps you could say it was by design, but it definitely wasn’t of my own accord) and found I had a love of working with databases and writing newsletters. So I learnt to hone my skills in these areas and eventually became the person to know if someone wanted to learn about ACT! Other things I found I enjoyed doing and were great matches for my skillset was Association Management and managing membership based groups. The net widened when I found that Business Coaches and Professional Speakers also had the same needs as membership based groups – newsletters produced (printed or in email format), databases maintained, documents typed up and formatted nicely and so on.
And whilst all that was happening I found I also enjoyed doing web based work – learning first on my own website and growing that to what it is today and then being asked by clients to start maintaining their’s and eventually even designing some from scratch.
Most of what I’ve learnt in my business over the years has been through client requests – wanting to know if I could find out about this… or find out about that… and do some research for them. It soon became obvious to me what I knew I was capable of doing and taking on versus finding someone else to assist my client for that particular thing.
So, today my own particular niche is looking after business coaches and professional speakers and that also includes authors. Association Management was something I did for 10 years before deciding not to take on any more associations but I do manage a VA network so that keeps my skills operating in that regard.
Some niche areas you could consider, based on your own skillsets, are:
- Real Estate
- Author’s Assistant
- Association Management
- Transcriptions (analogue or digital): medical, legal, conference, court reports, etc
- Desktop publishing
- Website design and management
- Database design and management
- Resume writing
- Travel arrangements
- Conference and event organisation
The above list is really a mixture of industries and skillsets. That is you could choose to target your services around a particular industry and build up your skills for that industry and/or you might decide to target clients who need a particular skillset. Your choice.
Perhaps you can add to this list?