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I have no idea how many virtual assistants there are but I do know the industry has grown by leaps and bounds over the last ten years when I started out. And that's a good thing. A little competition never hurt anyone, right?
Personally, having more virtual assistants enter the field makes me smile. I get to talk to lots of folks who are just starting out (yay!), folks who are still checking it out to see if it's for them or not, folks who are convinced working from home as a virtual assistant is just one more scam (I'm here to tell you, it isn't). Rather than get intimidated by all the new virtual assistants, I get motivated.
I take courses, like how to become a Pinterest virtual assistant and keep my eye on what other skills business owners are requesting. One of the most requested skills? Social media and content creation.
Email management and customer service-type skills are also in hot demand.
OK, you see new virtual assistants taking the plunge daily to launch their biz. What can you do to stand out from the pack?
What I see time and time again is a new virtual assistant responding to EACH and EVERY posting they see. Not good. Why?
By applying to anything that comes down the pike, you are not specialized. And specialization is what will make you stand out.
Listen, my dad was a master at his craft - bricklaying. One of the best in the area, if I can brag for a second. Could he do carpentry work? Yep. But that wasn't his specialization. He was a bricklayer and he knew it. And he was darn good at it.
Find what you are awesome at and run with it. When you determine your specialized gift, it will be easy to weed out the job openings that aren't a good fit.
Listen, I know you might be in a financial bind. You've got a bill staring you in the face so you're not in a position to turn down business. I get it. Been there. My dad probably took some jobs that underpaid and didn't utilize his skills to the fullest just so he could keep a roof over our heads.
But he always came back to bricklaying. And that's how people knew him.
Become known as THAT person who loves creating content, or setting up funnels, or is a master email organizer. When you become THAT person, folks will recommend you for THAT job or client.
Need some ideas on what services you can offer? Download this handy-dandy list.
Use the best tools possible.
Just because you're a newbie doesn't mean you have to go cheap. But it doesn't mean you have to break the bank, either. Some of the best tools out there are free or require a low investment.
Clients love when you use the tools they already use or even better - you can recommend something they've never used.
For example, you've got a super unorganized client. Emails are constantly getting lost, deadlines are missed. Be proactive and set up a system to track deadlines and projects. My go-to tool is Trello. I track my weekly tasks, collaborate with clients and a whole lot more. And it's free, baby! Free doesn't mean junk!
This is why it's super important to charge your clients accordingly and not low-ball: you want to be able to upgrade the tools you use in your business. You can't do that if you're charging super low rates, can you?
Networking is one way to find clients but referrals are the bread and butter of any business. If you do a great job for a client, more than likely they will tell other people about you. And if you don't do a great job? Well, a bad rep can spread like wildfire, especially on social media. How can you avoid that?
Do a little bit more than what the client expects.
A client asks for Twitter posts. Maybe do a search and find potential leads for the client. Offer to grow their Twitter followers in addition to creating content. Your client will love the fact that you want to be a part of their business and not just looking out for yours. When the time comes, make sure to ask your client for a referral. You've been a huge asset to them in their business, right? There's no need to be afraid then!
Start a blog
Here's the kicker: most virtual assistants do not blog. Do you want to know how most potential clients find me? It's not because I'm hanging out online a whole lot these days. I work a 9-to-5 (sometimes a 9-to-6) and I truly don't have a lot of time to hang out in Facebook groups like I used to. A better use of my time is blogging. It's funny - when I was a kid, I told my guidance counselor I wanted to be a reporter. Blogging is kind of like that, yeah?
Anyways, most folks find me through my blog. I research a topic, write a draft, finalize the post, design a graphic to go with it and strategically promote it.
What does blogging do for my business?
Pure and simple, blogging shows potential clients I know what I'm talking about. That's important to someone who you're asking to hire you. One of my late grandmother's favorite phrases was, "I can show you better than I can tell you." Blogging is a terrific way to show the world what you know. Are you an established virtual assistant? Just starting out? Blogging works either way. This jam-packed ebook can get you started blogging the right way.
If you're new to the virtual assistant industry, welcome! Make sure to grab my free newbie virtual assistant toolkit that includes a list of resources you'll need to be a rockstar virtual assistant. And make sure to check out my resources page for more stuff you can use in your business. Enjoy!