The second in our series ‘Making the leap from PA to VA’ talks about how to get clients and market your business.
So how do I market my business?
You’ve done the research and planning and now it’s time to start your VA business. This is the most exciting part but if you’ve never done marketing or networking it can feel quite daunting. Remember that you are marketing yourself and your skills and no one knows you better than you do!
If you work for a company like Designated, you will be matched with suitable clients (yes, it’s a bit like dating!) Your skills and the client’s industry/preferences can be matched depending on similarities and strengths. The benefit of this is that you do not need to spend any of your billable time finding clients.
If you set up independently, the best place to start is with your own personal network. Who do you know from previous jobs that might require support? LinkedIn is a great tool for connecting with people and can be very effective in researching and targeting potential clients. A basic free account is all you need to maintain a professional profile online.
You should expect to spend some time on networking and whilst you may be lucky to pick up your first client quickly, networking and generating new clients is an ongoing task.
Networking events are a good way of meeting prospective clients but attending them is time consuming and can be a bit daunting if you’re not an extrovert. If you are worried about attending by yourself take a professional friend that would also benefit from a networking event. Aim to connect with as many people as you can – you never know how people may help you in the future.
There are lots of VAs competing for clients, so consider what your USP is. If you have skills and experience in a certain industry, targeting similar businesses will make finding clients easier. Attending local networking events will also give you opportunities to meet local businesses.
Having a website is important if you set up independently, but you don’t need to
spend a lot of money on it. There are some great website tools out there that offer good value templates and are relatively easy to build from e.g. wix.com, wordpress.com. Don’t aim for perfection, a website is an evolving tool so launch something simple and develop it over time.
Social media allows you to reach large numbers of people without huge costs. LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram all offer ways of building an effective presence online.
Set up a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system for managing your clients contact details, sign up status, and marketing in one place. Platforms such as Zoho CRM or Hubspot are free if you take up a basic subscription and come with free helpline access shouldyou have questions with set up.
Security and legislation
Working from home means you have a responsibility to ensure your clients’ data is managed securely. Use a PC that no one else in your family has access to and store all files on a cloud based secure server, not on your desktop. An encrypted password protection system such as Zoho Vault or Last Pass is essential.
We’ve made it sound really easy and building clients takes time, effort and patience. Chances are you will have to work hard to get your first clients. Whilst building up your client base you could use that time to enhance your own skills, do some social media training, write blogs etc.
If you have missed our previous article about How to set up your VA business read here.