Balancing Passion and Profit: How to Find Your Niche as a Virtual Assistant

If there are just a few questions that we see coming up time and time again via email and in our Facebook group it’s the following:

  1. How do I decide which service(s) to offer my clients?
  2. Where is the best place to start? -and-
  3. Which services are the most profitable?

Seems like a straightforward series of questions, doesn’t it? If only that were the truth!

Figuring out how to find your niche as a virtual assistant can be harder that it seems.

Sure, after a few years in business you’ll be able to sit back and say, “Oh, that’s easy. Just start with XYZ.” But as a beginner, it’s not that simple.

At least not when you’re in the thick of trying to launch your business and struggling to land your first few clients. At that point in time, you’re probably feeling overwhelmed — an endless stream of questions and feelings of self-doubt cloud your mind.

But where do these feelings come from? What is causing you to feel unsure or to doubt your abilities?

Let’s be honest, if we were to take a snapshot of the audience at Horkey HandBook, many (if not all of us) have dealt with challenges that far exceed those associated with the launching of a virtual assistant business.

Maybe you’re raising a family (kids are hard work!), maybe you’ve spent time serving overseas or maybe your significant other is doing just that. Maybe you’re a single parent or you just lost your job.

Those things are real challenges, right?

This idea of starting a virtual assistant biz — that’s easy by comparison if you really think about it. You just have to be willing to work hard, persevere and spend time on self-improvement.

The rest will fall into place, if you give it time.

This Isn’t About Motivation

Before I head too far down the path of trying to motivate you, I want to circle back to those first three questions that I mentioned in the opening paragraphs. Because what this post is really about is helping you answer those questions, so that you can move your business forward.

The first thing to understand is why these questions are creating self-doubt and holding you back from making progress.

In my experience, it’s a result of two underlying problems:

  1. You’re trying to win the game with your first pitch — an impossible achievement.
  2. You don’t have enough information to make an educated, confident decision.

Let’s tackle number one first, shall we?

Don’t Try to Win the Game With Your First Pitch

Most of us try to get things right the first time. Totally normal, right?

We want pick the right niche on day one of launching our business. We want our website to look amazingly perfect right out of the gate. And we want to land the first client we send a proposal to.

But ask yourself how realistic that approach might be?

It doesn’t work that way in sports. It doesn’t work that way when learning to ride a bike or when you first learned to walk. So why should starting a business be any different?

You need to allow yourself to fail, to make mistakes and to learn. If you can’t accept that getting things wrong every now and then is perfectly ok, you’ll never gather the courage to get started.

Let me just come right out and say it: If you’re in business for yourself, you’re going to make plenty of mistakes. And yes, that could include selecting the wrong niche/service offering for your VA business. Possibly more than once.

There is no way around that fact, try as you may.

Although you aren’t always privy to what happens behind the scenes at Horkey HandBook, you can rest assured that there is plenty of experimentation and testing going on. Some of what we try works and some doesn’t. In fact, some of what we try fails miserably.

And that’s okay because the best way to learn is through experience, right?

Instinctively, you already know this, but as adults we seem to forget how fearless and experimental we were as children.

You need to recapture some of that childhood fearlessness and willingness to experiment when you launch your VA biz.

You’re going to need to experiment with different services, different rates and different types of clients. You’ll also need to embark on a path of continual learning. Because if you don’t continue to educate yourself in this technology-driven world, it won’t be long before you fall behind your competitors.

Every time you try something different or learn something new, you gain a piece of experience in exchange. Your objective is to gather as many pieces of experience as possible. If you gather up enough, and learn from each one, you’ll start to see success.

Imagine if you improved your skills or knowledge by just ½ of 1% each day? Heck, even 1% per week would be amazing at the end of a year!

This doesn’t mean that you can’t be successful as a VA right out of the gate — you totally can! Especially if you’ve already gathered enough experience through your previous work or day-to-day life.

You will, however, need to continue building on your experience in order to improve your odds of long-term success.

Just like in a game of baseball, you can’t win with the first pitch — there are nine innings to play and many potential outcomes.

Experience and Motivation: Two Keys to Success

At Horkey HandBook, while we can’t provide you with the actual experiences or even the motivation to seek out those experiences, we can help you answer some very important questions.

  • What do I base my decision on when deciding which services to offer my clients?
  • Where is the best place to start learning about potential niches?
  • Which services are the most profitable?

These are the exact questions that we see aspiring VAs getting hung up on EVERY.SINGLE.WEEK.

Honestly, it’s getting hung up on questions like these (because you’re trying to win the game with your first pitch) that prevent you from moving your business forward. I know because I was stuck in the same exact place for what seemed like an eternity.

In a perfect world, the best way to answer these questions would be through experience and practical knowledge. But barring that, the decision can be made easier by relying on the experiences of other people who have already walked a similar path.

It’s true that your experiences will never be the exact same as someone else’s, but there are usually enough things in common that you can significantly reduce your learning time.

How to Launch Your VA Business Faster and With Greater Confidence

So we can’t provide you with your own experiences or motivation. But what we can do is share our own experiences so that you are able to make a more educated, confident decision about your niche selection.

We’re going to try to help you find your niche as a virtual assistant while keeping three objectives in mind:

  1. We want you to feel more confident in your decision.
  2. We want you to spend less time making your decision.
  3. We want to maximize your odds of success by finding a balance between passion and profitability.

To achieve these objectives, we’re going to be publishing a series of posts that outline a variety of potential niche markets you can target as a virtual assistant.

Whether you’re an aspiring VA or are looking to grow your established business, these posts are designed to answer many of your questions and more.

Not only will we draw on our own experience, but we’ll also be reaching out to the people who are experts in their field and asking them to share their advice and experience as well.

These are some of the topics and questions we’re going to approach when assessing different niches:

  • Is this a niche you’re passionate about or that has great potential?
  • How to get started in a niche.
  • Deciding what services to offer.
  • How much can or should you charge?
  • Finding potential clients.
  • Where can you learn some of the job-specific skills and acquire some of the prerequisite knowledge?
  • Your first or next step to get started.

We feel that addressing these questions or topics will remove a lot of the guesswork on your part.

Some of the niche services we cover will require technical skills and others will require strong people skills. Some will involve a combination of the two. Basically, we’ll have something for everyone, or so we hope. 🙂

We’re not suggesting that these niches represent your final decision or the ultimate future of your business, by the way.

That might be the case, but equally likely is the possibility that your decision will get you started on a path which allows you to carve out your own unique niche — working with clients who love what you do as much as you love what you’re doing.

The things you’ll have to bring to the table are a desire to learn, passion and a healthy dose of work ethic.

While we can’t inspire you to become passionate about a niche — that part is up to you — we can provide you with as much detail as possible about each niche. That way you’ll feel confident that you’re at least making a sound business decision!

We’ll be adding links to each post as they are published right here at the bottom of this post.

If you have feedback or even additional questions, fire away! We’ll do our best to help you find the answers you’re looking for!

Note: If you’ve enrolled in our 30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistant Success course, you’ll find several accompanying videos with even more detail about how to incorporate these niches into your business and make them profitable.

2 thoughts on “Balancing Passion and Profit: How to Find Your Niche as a Virtual Assistant

  1. HI Gina,
    I found your site through proofreadanywhere.com. I have researched and I have determined that proofreading is probably not for me….at least to the extent of specialization. In the process of a career change and working with a career coach, I have managed to weed out certain industries, peel away layers of self doubt, confidence etc. One of the areas of profession I have often pondered was to offer business services to small businesses who may not otherwise be able to afford the extra employees to handle billing, payroll, media marketing etc. I like what I see in the VA opportunity. It seems like what I have been looking for. I was wondering about taking online courses in principles of Human Resources, accounting, payroll, etc etc through sites like Udemy. The courses seem thorough and credible and very affordable.

    My question to you is: would it be best to wait until I have completed your 30 days course before I delve into honing in on some of the skills mentioned???
    Thanks and I appreciate all you offer to help me make my decision.
    Andrea

    • Hi Andrea,

      In the VA course, we talk about how to set up a VA business, how to market it and how to find (and bill) clients. But we also have separate modules on skills such as social media management, email management and blog management. That being said, it doesn’t hurt to pick up extra skills such as the ones you mention (Human Resources, accounting, payroll). Our most important piece of advice, however, is to not get stuck in the “learning phase.” At one point, you have to get out there and take some action. You can always come back to learning to fill in the gaps, but learning something through practice is much easier than just relying on theory.

      Hope that helps.

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