As I meet more and more business owner/operators the thing that tends to separate the successful from the not so successful, it seems to me, are those who understand the value of networking. Many talk about it but not all walk their talk.
Being in business means having to do more than just supply services or products to clients, but rather it is important to make connections, get to know people, and let others know about what you have to offer. After all, we are the best salespeople for our own businesses and no-one knows what we’re about like we do. This applies to anyone – not just those in the VA industry.
I often encourage those I meet on the VA forums, and in other business forums to explore and see what other groups they can find that might introduce them to their target audience and/or introduce them to peers who can teach them more about running their business. What concerns me is that many join only one networking group (online or offline) and then expect that group to be the answer to all their needs. That is often not the case at all. In fact, I believe that they still very much have an employee mindset – they feel that others should be doing for them, what they really should be doing for themselves.
Belonging to several local face-to-face networks, as well as a good number of online networks, has given me many opportunities and I’ve met some really interesting people, and occasionally some who have been of great value to my business. And wherever I go I meet potential clients. I would be restricting my opportunities if I didn’t participate in several groups.
If you are new to the VA industry, don’t underestimate the value of exploring several networking possibilities and don’t overestimate any particular one as providing all the answers for your needs. They won’t as each will have a different set of benefits and focus for what they plan to achieve. Some VA forums provide client referrals but you will not get fulltime work out of this, so don’t expect it – it is your role to make sure you are marketing and promoting your business in other avenues as well. Some VA forums don’t have client referrals but do provide excellent 24/7 support for you in your business.