I was holding an online classroom session last night and two of the students voiced the same thought as they came to a sudden realisation. We’d been talking about advertising and marketing and I told them how important networking is. Networking locally.
It was like a light suddenly went on for both of them. They had thought that by being a virtual assistant they had to get all of their work virtually and online. I told them that if they tried to do that, they were missing a potential client base – their neighbour, the people across the road, down the street, around the corner, at the local library and so on.
They told me that made such a difference to them and they started to excitedly talk about the different community groups they belonged to and the experience they had in various areas that could be used by the groups or the people they knew. They also started to think about which business networking groups were within reasonable reach that they could begin attending in order to meet possible new clients.
Servicing local clients doesn’t mean we’re no longer virtual assistants. Most of my clients are local and around 95% of my work is virtual – I occasionally attend meetings in person, or go onsite to assist with something, but everything else is done by phone, fax, mail, email and web upload/download. I go days and weeks without even seeing a client face-to-face and then another week when I might see several because of various meetings. And constant networking is most important. You never know when a client might pass on to something else, or worst case, pass away as I’ve had happen. You must keep filling the pipeline and any clients you can’t personally service can always be referred to other VAs you’ve gotten to know.
I’m a VA but not all my work is 100% virtual and that’s ok – we’re not meant to be islands and human interaction is good for the soul! KMT