Most people, when they first hear of the concept of the Virtual Assistant, have (at least) one of three reactions:
- Can you really make money doing this?
- I have no idea how to start such a business.
- How can you possibly find people who would pay you for being a VA?
These are great questions, and they’re the types of questions we love answering here at Horkey HandBook. Today’s post takes aim at a slightly more advanced facet of that third question, about finding people to pay you.
The “people who pay you” are your clients, and a big part of getting your virtual assistant business up and running is landing a couple of clients. But once you’re working and feeling confident in your business, it’s time to start thinking about your dream virtual assistant job.
How exactly do you get that dream VA job?
Let’s break that down, step by step.
1. Get Clear on Your Ideal Client
Step One to a dream virtual assistant gig is knowing who your ideal client is.
Some clients are obvious rotten eggs. These are the folks who undervalue your services, want you to do “little stuff” off the clock, who tell you your rates are too high and who put you on blast for no apparent reason.
The list could go on; but trust us – you’ll know when you’re dealing with a toxic client.
Then there are the “nice guys.” These are the clients who are pleasant enough and treat you well, but you aren’t really in love with the work you’re doing for them. There’s nothing “wrong” with your working relationship per se, but you might wonder if you’re just going to be bored out of your mind for the rest of your virtual assistant career. It doesn’t have to be that way!
The fact is, there are a lot of different virtual assistant jobs you can do, and there are tons of clients who would hire you to do those jobs. Whether you’re just starting out and focusing on administrative work such as customer service or email management, or you’re reaching for something that’s more complex and higher value, there are multiple ways you can structure your virtual assistant services and your client search.
Which brings me to your ideal client! This is the person you can help the most – and are most excited to help.
Your ideal client may be a specific type of entrepreneur (such as a female life coach), any entrepreneur who’s running a specific type of business (think of an Etsy seller or a blogger), or even anybody who has a specific need, no matter the business (such as social media marketing or Facebook ads). You might even pick a much more specific ideal client niche (like female bloggers who need Pinterest help).
One thing to keep in mind: as you build your business, not every client will be ideal.
That said, the sooner you can get a sense of your ideal client persona, the more quickly you can orient your business toward finding and working with those people.
If you’re still not sure what virtual assistant services you can offer, we’ve put together a list of over 150 services that webpreneurs need help with.
2. Get Clear on Your Dream Job
As you shape your thoughts on your ideal VA client, you should also be thinking about the more dreamy aspects of your work as a VA. What are the parameters to put in place to keep your virtual assistant work ideal?
Some things to consider:
- Your hourly rate;
- Your specialization (or desired future specialization if you aren’t ready to commit yet);
- The services you DON’T want to offer;
- Your availability and the hours you do and don’t work;
- How many hours per week or month each client books (more or less);
- How many clients you carry at any given time.
3. Get the Rates Right
Let’s chat about rates for a second.
An important facet of enjoying your virtual assistant job is being confident in your rates.
A lot of VAs, especially new ones, tend to undercharge for their services. Plug in with a network of other virtual assistants who are willing to talk about rates, and get a sense of how your rates compare. You may find that you’ve been undercharging, and getting paid more money for what you were already doing will sweeten pretty much any job!
The other thing you need to do is understand the value of each service you offer.
Not all VA services are the same, and not all should be compensated the same way, either. Building a website, for example, should come at a higher rate than formatting blog posts on that website.
It’s important to understand where your virtual assistant rates fall on the spectrum of freelance service. You also need to have a good sense of what the “return on investment” is for each of your tasks because ROI will affect the value of the service and, thus, the rate you charge to perform it. This is something you’ll get a greater sense of in the next few steps.
4. Learn to Speak Your Ideal Client’s Language
Once you’ve identified your dream client, you need to learn how they talk about what they do.
What do they need and how do they talk about it? What are some of the typical rough spots in their businesses? If you can find Facebook groups, Reddit threads, or any other online hangouts, try to check in with the conversations there and look for trends.
Once you know what they need (or think they need), you can figure out how your services can meet that need. Some want peace of mind, some want to recapture time, some want to stop doing things that annoy them, some want a task to magically get done without having to do it themselves, etc.
When you’ve figured that out, you can work out how to position yourself as their ideal solution.
5. Be Visible to Your Ideal VA Client
You know who they are. You know where they hang out online. You speak their language. Now it’s time to make sure they can see you! This is where social media strategies can help a lot.
If your ideal client spends a lot of time on Pinterest, you need to write some blog posts and get some pins circulating. If they’re on Facebook groups, get active in those groups by answering as many questions as you can and providing value. People will notice you and ask for your information.
Same goes for LinkedIn – publish content that’s relevant to your ideal client, and make sure you have the right keywords in your profile.
6. Learn on the Job
When a client, or even a prospective client, asks you to do something you don’t exactly know how to do yet – and everything else checks out with that client – take the gig! You’ll become more valuable as a VA, and you may even discover a great new niche or service to move into.
On the flip side, if you’ve picked up a particular skill or service that your ideal client could really use help with, that’s a great skill to start offering to others. Start reading up on how to do that service; add it to your website if you list your services there. You may even want to broach the new service with your current clients.
Pro Tip! Offer a temporary discount on the new service if you need to, but don’t do it for free and don’t discount more than two or three rounds of it.
7. Ask Around
As you get clearer and clearer on the type of virtual assistant job you want to be doing, start getting the word out in your personal networks. Let your friends and colleagues know what kind of work you’re looking for. When they’re aware of what you’re doing, they can send referrals your way.
Pro Tip! Referrals go both ways! As you share about your search for an ideal client, ask your colleagues about their ideal clients so you can send referrals to them, too.
8. Ask Your Clients How They Found You
Every time you get an inquiry, see if you can find out how that person found out about you. I like to work this into my last line of the first email reply I send.
When you hear back, take that as a clue about your marketing efforts. Start planning to do more of the thing that brought this client to your door. For example, if they found you on Pinterest, do even more pinning. If they found you in a Facebook group, keep that group on your radar.
Some clients will be up front and say “I found you through your blog post” or “So-and-so recommended I get in touch.” Others will be happy to tell you how they found out about you … but you need to ask!
9. Join an Active Lead-Finder
If you read a few of the posts we’ve published about freelance writing, you’ll notice that freelance writers always have the option of job boards – there are dozens of job boards devoted to freelance writing, and even more that cater to all kinds of freelancers including writing.
But there isn’t a whole lot out there for virtual assistant job leads (unless you want to get paid $10/hr or less, which is not something I’d ever advocate).
Around here, we’re experts in making it work as a virtual assistant – including showing you how to find your dream job as a VA. If you’re looking for ways to expand your client hunt and build your business into something you absolutely love, consider joining our VA Leads service. You can join the waitlist here.
10. It’s All About Building Your Business
Even if your client docket is full, you need to be building your business every day.
Keep the marketing machine going to find clients who will pay you higher rates for the same work. Keep browsing around and researching where to find your ideal clients. Think about any new virtual assistant skills you’d like to offer and start learning up on them.
You don’t necessarily have to have your head down and grinding out some mega-growth plan for your business (unless that’s what you want!) but it’s a good idea to have a picture of where you’d like your business to go in the future.
Further Thoughts on Dream Virtual Assistant Jobs
With so many possibilities out there, you can make any kind of business you want out of your virtual assistant job. The keys to making it happen are fairly straightforward – figure out who your ideal clients are, figure out how you can meet their needs, and then find ways to present yourself as a solution to them.
Do that enough times, and you’ll have a fantastic VA business!
What about you? Have you found your dream VA job already?