Getting your first client is an exciting thing, but scary also, and can take quite sometime to achieve. However, it is not time to relax after gaining this client. You need to continue marketing and find other clients and as each one comes along it gets easier and easier. You gain more confidence in the way you deal with clients, talk to them or email them, and as you collect both written and verbal testimonials more clients come in your direction.
It is important you work out how much work you can handle and how you are going to spread the workload, whether it is one main client and several smaller ones, or perhaps 3 or 4 of equal or similar amounts of work on a weekly or monthly basis.
However, it is also important you don’t settle for one client. If you find the one client is keeping you busy fulltime it might be better to find someone you can outsource some of the work to, or perhaps engage a part-timer to work with you, so that you are free to take on more work. Why would you do this? The main reason is that the tax department can, and most likely will, interpret your one client as an employer because they are supplying more than 80% of your income*. This can have an effect on items regarding tax and taxable expenses, insurances, superannuation, etc and who should be paying them – you, or the client (employer)? And the client may get a rude awakening too.
Another reason is if you lose the client for whatever reason (they die, they drop their business or lose it, etc) then you also lose all of your income.
You should spread your income across a number of clients so that any client loss means that income loss is kept to a minimum.
Be aware that not everything written on the web about what a Virtual Assistant is or isn’t, is true. If it’s written by someone who isn’t in the industry, then take note of the good points (how you might help a client) but be cautious about taking their advice on how you should be running your VA business or what you should be charging. Better to align yourself with those who are established in our industry (by at least 5 years) and read what they’ve got to say.
Don’t allow potential clients to take up a lot of your time to find out about your services and then flatten you by saying your rates are too high. Only give the time you are prepared to spend without being paid, and if you get the client, then that’s a bonus. One VA I heard recently spent an hour and a half telling the client what she could do for them, only to have them say they wouldn’t pay her rates and wanted her to lower them. There will always be ‘shoppers’ and over time you’ll get to recognise them. If you are confident in your abilities and that the rates you’ve set are right for your business, then it’s easier to respond accordingly.
How many clients do I have? I have over 20 on my books at the moment. But only a small number are daily or weekly. Others are monthly or ad-hoc, although reasonably regular. I do keep in touch with all of them on a regular basis to see how they are, to ask them about projects they might have mentioned in the past, and to let them know I’m there if they have a need.