Continued from “I’m a VA- How did I get here?”
After networking and speaking to people about my business, I was able to really start educating people about what I do. I had a wonderful website created which supported and expanded on the information I provided to potential clients.
I joined local community based groups – not to promote my business, but simply to get involved in community based projects due to the fact that I was now working and living locally. This was the best move I could have made. Joining these groups was unofficial networking, and showed that I was interested in what people in my community were doing, and from this has come many of my most regular clients.
Online networking has been very important too. That first job? It was from a joblead from another Virtual Assistant Networking Group. Tips and advice? From other Virtual Assistants all over the world – amazing resources of information and experiences.
Another networking bonus for me was that a Virtual Assistant who lived in the same area as me contacted me after finding me online, to talk about being a Virtual Assistant.
By then, I had some regular clients and had learnt some valuable lessons (there are plenty more where they came from though!).
I met up with this VA who was new to the business. She had some great ideas, some nervous questions, and a need to chat to someone who understood what it was like to be a VA. This woman has since become a successful VA who is too busy to take on any additional jobs I send her way! And over this time, having someone nearby to debrief to, has been ever so valuable to me, and hopefully to her as well.
Attending networking events is another extremely useful way to put your business ‘out there’. Like-minded individuals who are genuinely interested in what you do are often great resources and sources of referral. Your local home-based business network or BNI are always worth contacting.
These are my skills, but what service to provide?
Having long term clients has been very rewarding. I was introduced to a local community group whose aim it was to support their members and to promote their members’ services.
When I first spoke to them, they had some great ideas and concepts that they wanted to get off the ground. At that stage, they had a basic set-up which lacked member support. Over the past couple of years I have been able to see this group grow and develop, to the point where another group in a nearby region noticed what we had achieved and started to develop their own programs to mirror ours.
To be on board with this type of growth has been one of the highlights of my business experience. To be on a committee which so determinedly strives to meet bigger and better achievements keeps me challenged and interested.
Thanks to this client I have also learnt some new skills which have helped me fine tune the area of service that interests me the most – something I had thought I already knew. Trying new things has led to a more defined understanding of which services I am most passionate about.
Previously my interest areas were varied and fairly generic – a common starting ground. Thanks to the variety of jobs I have taken on, I now know that there are certain tasks that I may do well, but I don’t enjoy doing, or that I enjoy, but possibly don’t do so well. So I have either removed them from my list of services or flagged them as areas needing additional training. In these cases, I know of other service providers who excel in these particular service areas so I am still able to either direct clients in the right direction, or support them by liaising with the 3rd party provider on their behalf.
My niche evolved over a period of time – it’s something I think everyone should look at regularly – start, middle, later on and then again!
To be continued…