This is a common question for those new to the Virtual Assistant business. How do they find clients? Should they be networking? Do they really have to go out and meet people? What about those sites where you have to pay to get work and so on.
Networking is paramount, both online and offline. If people don’t know you exist, then they’re not going to think of you when looking for your type of service. Building relationships is still very important in business, probably moreso because people can remain ‘anonymous’ online and unknown entities. So getting to know people online often takes longer than face to face. Both should be done – and one shouldn’t over ride the other. There will be people local to you who need your services just the same as someone online in another state or country.
Develop business cards for meeting people face-to-face and a signature block for emailing people and participating in forums that allow signatures. Always give people more than one way to contact you: phone, cellphone, email, postal, fax, whatever forms you have. Some clients are happy to communicate by email, others prefer the phone.
Anytime you connect with someone else it’s a form of networking. So you need to be listening to them and then speak/act accordingly if there’s something there you can grab hold of. Networking (and marketing) are a daily event for your business and even when you do have regular clients, it should never be stopped. It should become a habit.