This post contains affiliate links, meaning I will earn a small commission if you make a purchase. I only recommend items and services that I have personally used or believe in.
I can remember the day like it was yesterday. I was in my office doing client work. The phone rang - it was one of my clients, calling to discuss a change she wanted to make to a document. And of course, it had to be done that day. And it was a Friday afternoon. I had been working all day without a break and I'll admit, I was not in the best of moods on that call. Not more than five minutes later, another client sent an email with something that of course, had to be done before the weekend started.
I was ticked. But I had no one to blame but myself.
My clients at the time covered the gamut: real estate, nonprofit, internet marketing and a few more. And the tasks were just as diverse: making phone calls, creating documents, social media - every day was different. And over time, I became miserable. Why?
I didn't have a niche.
I took any and all work that came my way because you see, I thought that's what hustling was all about: snatching up business and not really caring that the work doesn't fit with your mission, your personality, your circumstances.
Folks, I was so wrong.
It was only when I made the decision to niche down my array of skills that I enjoyed my business again.
If you don't have time to read the full post and you want #justthefacts, the video below will give you the highlights. Or, feel free to keep reading :)
What is a niche?
Let me give you an example: you've got the big, wide medical field. Within the medical field are various niches: pediatric, neurology, psychiatry and so on. A niche is a specialization within a larger field.
When it comes to the virtual assistant industry, there can be many niches. For example, a virtual assistant may provide Facebook management for real estate agents only. Not internet marketers, not bloggers, just real estate agents.
How do I decide on my niche?
I bet you've got some mad administrative skills and things you really love doing. Think about the skills you currently have and think about some things that you might not know how to do but you'd be willing to learn. I love to write and when I write an email sequence or website copy for a client, it doesn't even feel like work. But if a client asks me to make sales calls, that would feel like work because I don't like doing it. I could do it, I just wouldn't like doing it.
Here's how you go about defining your niche:
- Take a look at the skills you've got already. (And don't say you don't have any because I know you do!). For example, you're a master proofreader. You can spot a grammatical error a mile away and know how to correct it.
- Have you worked in specific industries, maybe medical or legal or nonprofits? Maybe you've worked as a legal secretary for litigation attorneys.
- Put your skills and industry together and BOOM! - you've got a niche, baby!
VOILA! Your new niche is:
Proofreader + legal = Proofreader for litigation attorneys
Is deciding on a niche helpful?
Marketing your business can be a pain in the behind on a good day and it becomes a whole lot harder when you don't know who your ideal client is. Let's use our example above.
You've decided you want to offer proofreading to litigation attorneys - awesome! You'll want to hang out where litigation attorneys hang out. You won't find attorneys in Facebook groups for bloggers, right? You'll probably have good luck on LinkedIn so that's where you want to spend your precious marketing time.
Hey, I know the online world can seem a little crowded, especially for new virtual assistants. Don't let that scare you! Having a niche is what will set you apart from the crowd. Become that go-to guy or gal and offer proofreading services to litigation attorneys. Make follow-up sales calls for real estate agents. Design Squarespace websites for nonprofit organizations. When you niche down, the opportunities are endless and the field doesn't seem so crowded.
If you're still having trouble deciding on a niche, let's talk about a few in-demand things that a new virtual assistant can do. Ready?
Friend, Pinterest is the juice in the blogging world. Seriously!
When I decided to shift my business more toward blogging and away from client work, I spent time learning all about Pinterest and how it could help my business. And let me tell you, Pinterest is the real deal when it comes to blogging. Pinterest clicks translate into page views on your website and that's golden.
If you're willing to learn how Pinterest can help bloggers, this can be a very lucrative niche.
If you don't know a thing about Pinterest other than how to pin your favorite recipes, no worries. There are some resources to get you up and running.
Many Pinterest virtual assistants use a software to schedule pins. I personally use Tailwind because it's super easy to use and the reports are incredibly useful. This video can give you a peek into how Tailwind works and if you want to give it a try for 30 days, click here.
➡️ Summer Tannhauser has a free 5-day Pinterest course that will teach you enough to be dangerous. This free course is loaded with information and you'll walk away with the knowledge to get out of the Pinterest newbie category.
If you want to dive deep into how to become a Pinterest virtual assistant, you definitely want to check out Gina Horkey and Kristen Larsen's course, Become a Pinterest VA. I took this course myself and I can't tell you how much I learned from it. I've doubled my website traffic AND my Pinterest pageviews have grown also. Whoo hoo! This course only opens a few times a year and the next enrollment begins April 20th so if this sounds like something that might interest you, sign up for the waitlist.
Gina and Kristen also have an awesome prep workbook - totally free! - where you can practice your Pinterest skills. ➡️ ➡️ ➡️ ➡️ ➡️ ➡️ ➡️
I'm not talking about checking and prioritizing client's emails (although that is totally a thing). I'm talking about becoming an expert in an email marketing software like ConvertKit or Mailchimp , setting up email sequences for clients, designing custom templates and even writing the content.
Can you keep busy with this type of work? You betcha! Most bloggers like to concentrate on creating content for their blog. They know keeping their email subscribers engaged is important but sending out emails often takes a back seat to other tasks.
The two most popular email marketing programs are ConvertKit and Mailchimp. I've included tutorials below but other programs include Constant Contact, Active Campaign, AWeber and Infusionsoft. Specialize in one of these and you'll have lots of work at your fingertips.
Believe me when I tell you it takes a lot to launch a course and if you're organized, technologically skilled and patient, course creators like myself will love you dearly. Read my blog post about what it takes to pull off a successful product launch and grab my free product launch checklist.
There are a lot of moving parts to a product launch and having a virtual assistant do this type of advanced work is key to a successful launch.
➡️ McKinzie of Moms Make Cents has a fabulous course on how to use Teachable. Give it a whirl because it's free!
⬇️ ⬇️ ⬇️ ⬇️ ⬇️
I'm proud to be presenting at the upcoming Virtual Assistant Virtuosos Summit for the second year! This year's #VAVS theme is all about Mindset, Income and Business and 20 speakers will be talking about how to grow your virtual assistant business. I'd love to have you there cheering me on and at $37, this online summit is one of the cheapest around.
Grab your virtual summit ticket here - there are only 200 seats available.
The Big Takeaway
Focus on one thing. I know that seems like it won't work and you might even be afraid that by boxing yourself in, you won't have enough client work. Totally get that. The goal of a niche is to become "that" person who does "that" thing. By defining your niche, clients will seek you out and not the other way around.