A question I’m often asked in different places. Usually by new VAs who are dead set keen to get their first client and not sure how to go about it. I thought I’d share how my first clients came about and encourage readers to add theirs as well.
For me it was 1994. I was telling everyone I knew what I was planning to do… leave my job and start up my own secretarial business at home. A man at my church came and asked if I could do some typing for him and that was my first job. Only a few pages but it was a start. I was asked if I could help with the church newsletter – that was unpaid but again, I thought that people would get to know what I was capable of doing. Not long after that a lady told me that the company she’d just started working with needed someone 2 days a week to do their typing, manage their database and prepare letters. It meant I had to do it onsite but I was fine with that. It meant I was getting work and getting paid and spent some time learning how other people operate. Always good to get some experience in different areas. That role lasted two years. Not long after that a Minister at the head of the church office asked if I could assist him and I would do his letters, other documents and manage the database. That was also 2 days a week. Things started rolling along nicely.
About six months after I began my business a lady who had met me months before at a conference rang to see if I was still doing…? And I told her I was. She became my first truly virtual client and I did PowerPoint presentations, database management and workshop manual typing for her.
So, what can you draw from that information? Speak to everyone you know and let them know what you plan to do, or are doing? It was the personal connections that brought me my first clients and I still maintain the effort to network locally today too.