During a class session last night I was asked how do you develop a niche market for your VA business? My own particular specialities had happened almost by accident but it is about knowing what you like doing and keeping your eyes and ears open.
In 1997 I was offered a role to run the secretariat for a membership based group. I’d never done that type of work before but I knew I liked working on databases, organising events, and being in my own office. I met with the chairperson of the committee, discussed their needs and got the role. I soon learned that this particular role is known as “Association Management” and as I learned their needs, and helped modify the secretariat role to best suit what was required, I began to realise that this was a role that was made for me. It didn’t take too much longer to discover there was an association for association executives and I joined that to learn more about the new field I’d entered.
Whilst with that particular membership based group I helped organise many networking events and they had speakers at these events (not chosen by me). Some were professionals and excellent, others were appalling and spoke on subjects I felt I could do much better at. Then I learnt about the professional speakers industry association and went along to their functions so I could learn more about public speaking. In becoming a member there, the other members discovered that in their midst was an administrative person who knew and understood their industry – me!
Within the space of one year I’d entered into two new niche areas that were to become my main focus for my virtual assistant business as it developed: Association Management and providing support to Public Speakers. These are my core client base today. As a result of my being involved in the public speaking industry my team in Australia now service over 40 speakers around the country. Additional to that are two main services I really enjoy doing – database management and website development and management.
A couple of years later I felt confident enough to drop the services I didn’t enjoy doing (like bookkeeping) and passed those clients on to the team I work with.
Recent discussions on some forums I belong to have discussed other niche areas worth exploring: MLMs and their Directors, the Trucking industry, Human Resources and Recruitment.
I guess you either need to look at the industries you’ve had experience in and/or look at the skills you really enjoy using and promote those. You might find over time that you don’t enjoy doing some things as much as you thought (as I did with bookkeeping) but that’s ok. There is no reason why you cannot explore, keep trying things out, keep learning, and when you do find something you enjoy doing then make sure people know it. KMT