Starting from Ground Zero - #11 Top Tips to Building Your VA Client Base

One of the BIG questions I often get asked is “how did you find your first clients?”

I still see this question asked in some VA forums.

For me, personally, I started by going to client’s places of work and helping them out there.

I started my practice back in 1999 when not a lot of people knew what virtual assistance was or understood how it worked.

I knew (and it still stands) that one of the key ingredients to virtual assistance is trust. I began building my client base by physically going to local businesses and working with them in their own environment.

Two things happened.

  1. It allowed my clients to get to know me and learn to trust me.
  2. I was able to teach them how I could still support them working from my own office.

Once I had built trust with my clients, all my work came in via recommendations.

So, what would I advise to anyone starting up?

Here are my top #11 tips to building your virtual assistant client base.

  1. Give yourself some breathing space. Most small businesses fail because they don’t have enough funds to keep them going. Work out how long you can last without clients and an income. I would suggest having around 6 – 12 months’ income. That way when you’re starting there is less risk and more chance of your business succeeding.
  2. Decide what services you are going to provide. Once you know that, you can start looking for clients to sell your services to.
  3. Create your service packages BEFORE you try to sell them, so you are ready with your prices on enquiry. Granted, some clients may require bespoke packages depending on their requirements but if you have a number of packages that you can bolt together, it means you may be able to give the client what they need without having to go away , work it all out and get back to them.
  4. Ensure your website reflects the services you are offering.
  5. Have a blog page on your site and write some articles that will attract prospective customers. Write a bit about yourself but concentrate on the writing about the client benefits of your services. If you are still in full-time employment, this is a great opportunity to let the world know you are there and begin to build your business reputation.
  6. If you’re not already, get yourself on social media and promote your blogs, share relevant posts and let the world know who you are.
  7. Get involved in the community. People do business with people they know, like and trust.
  8. Collaborate with other Virtual Assistants. They may have so much work that they might just be looking for a helping hand. I have had many VAs contact me over the years. I like to find out about their skills and services. It’s great to have a directory of VAs you can go back to if a client requires a service you can’t provide.
  9. Network. I’ll be honest, I hate networking so that’s probably why I haven’t found it that useful. But, if networking is your thing, your business could benefit.
  10. Recommendations. Tell everyone you know about your business. They may be in touch with someone that would benefit from your services. Just about all my clients have come through recommendations.
  11. Become an expert in your field. It could be a specific piece of software, transcription, graphic design, web site building. Whatever really lights your passion. Create some freebies such as a checklist or ‘How To…’ documents to give away in exchange for contact names and email addresses. Always ensure that you are transparent at the time of contacts signing up that they will be added to your mailing list, and they can unsubscribe at any time. Once you have their details, target market them with useful information throwing the odd offer in now and then.

Golden Nugget: Work out where your clients hang out on social media and use those platforms to promote your business. When I’m talking about promoting your business, I mean making potential clients know that you’re there, posting articles about things that are close to their heart, writing information that is useful to them, NOT a hard sell about your services. If you try to hard sell, chances are people are likely to ignore you.

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