Don’t worry! We all start in the same place, we at Victoria Eve. & Co. definitely did. It can be incredibly daunting and sometimes quite difficult as a new Virtual Assistant to find your first client and get your business off the ground.
Fortunately, because we know what it’s like to start from square one, we’ve picked up a few tricks of the trade that we’d love to share with you all.
Step 1: Talk to Your Friends and Family
As much as this first step might feel like a multi-level marketing scheme, we promise you it’s not. You don’t need to sell your services to those closest to you (unless they’re interested, of course ). However, having these chats and updating them on your current endeavours will become the foundation of a solid network you’ll be building as a resource you can tap into later on.
Your friends and family are your best advocates and the single best source of word-of-mouth referrals. Because of this, we seriously recommend sharing an elevator pitch on your business with them.
An elevator pitch is a quick summary (roughly 30 seconds) about yourself and your product offerings. Your pitch should highlight what a Virtual Assistant does, why people hire them, and your services.
We find this method incredibly effective when searching for your first clients because you now have many eyes and ears looking for opportunities. While this may not produce immediate results, your name will be out there!
Step 2: Obtain Testimonials
We know it seems a bit silly to bring up testimonials for a business that hasn’t even begun to bloom yet, but trust us, a personal reference elaborating on your skills and reliability can make a huge difference when you’re first getting started.
These references should come from a professional source, so we recommend reaching out to your old bosses, managers, and colleagues.
A great way to ensure a fast active response to the testimonial requests you send off is to write your receiver a guideline. Depending on the person, this may be a set of bullet points you would appreciate them addressing in the testimonial, or maybe even provide a script they simply need to approve. Doing either of the above provides a starting point for whoever you ask, making their lives easier (which is always a plus) and ensuring that what you need from a testimonial is achieved.
While reaching out to those at a company you left may feel a little awkward, it’s worth it. Having a way to show possible future clients proof of your advertised abilities and work quality can make getting those first few contracts signed much easier.
Step 3: Network, Network, Network
Networking is the single most crucial part of building a business. You want to get your name out there, making sure that people know who you are and what you do.
Luckily, there are so many ways to form an expansive network nowadays. Apart from your friends and family, here are a couple more methods for network building that we love:
- Social Media Groups: The internet is a marvellous resource! Many groups on platforms like Facebook or LinkedIn exist to bring together those interested in online business and small business entrepreneurship. As you can imagine, these groups are ripe with potential clients just waiting for you to connect with them.
- Meet-Ups: A more traditional way of getting to know potential clients and other professionals in your field is through networking events. At these events, you get to speak with people face to face, an opportunity offered to us less and less these days. While these events can be daunting at first, they provide the uniquely fun experience of interacting with like-minded people seeking to enhance their lives through learning, industry exposure, and personal connections.
Step 4: Ask for Referrals
Our last little nugget of inspiration for you is to reach out and ask for referrals. We know that actively asking for people to send possible clients your way may seem a little daunting at first, but there’s a wealth of people out there who need help.
The best source of referrals comes from current clients. If you have a good working relationship with them and let them know that you’re searching for new people and businesses to work with, the chances are that they’ll be more than happy to send some new faces your way.
However, referrals can also come from many other places, including other Virtual Assistants!
Long story short, just ask!
We hope this has helped you figure out where to start on your path of client acquisition. If you found these tips helpful, we’d love to hear your stories — your triumphs are ours too!