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You were all excited when you decided you wanted to launch your virtual assistant business.
Working from home meant you could live that laptop life that everyone raves about.
You could go to your kids games and recitals without having to beg a boss for time off.
You could take care of a loved one without feeling guilty about missing work.
Yep, you were all excited for the possibilities of living that freedom life.
But there’s only one thing standing between you and that dream.
You don’t have any clients.
Now the excitement has turned to stress, anxiety, anger, excuses for why it hasn’t happened for you yet.
You’re doing all the right things - spending ridiculous amounts of time spreading the word about your business to your Facebook friends. Surely they need a virtual assistant or someone who does - right?
Oh, girlfriend. Let Auntie Regina hold your hand for a second and pat your back.
It’s gonna be okay.
But we’ve gotta fix this - like, right now.
A virtual assistant without clients is like a carpenter without a hammer. You won’t get the job done.
And you want to show your friends and family that this whole work from home thing is real and that you’re just not playing around on the computer all day.
So, let’s talk about the mistakes but more importantly, how to fix them, okay? In no particular order, here are five reasons why you haven’t signed your first client. Let’s go!
#1: You’re not showing what you know.
Listen, it’s not enough to tell people you can transcribe your behind off or create bomb-diggity (is that phrase even cool anymore?) graphics and websites.
Potential clients have to see the proof.
Business owners are savvy and cost-conscious. They are not gonna throw around money without knowing what they’re getting.
You’ve gotta show them, sweetie.
Let me share something that might bring the point home:
I love Sam’s Club. Hey, with three boys who are always hungry, I’ve gotta buy in bulk - a lot.
What I am not is an adventurous eater. When I find something I like, I stick with it. It takes a lot for me to try something new.
When I go to Sam’s Club, there’s always those super nice demonstrators, who tempt and urge you to come over and try a little nibble of whatever they’ve got on their table.
Right next to the sizzling griddle/crockpot is the packaging the food came in. But I’m not looking at the packaging.
I’m tasting a sample of that delicious morsel. Because I usually go to Sam’s Club when I haven’t eaten and I’m a bit hungry myself. (Bad, Regina!)
I taste. And before you know it, I’m picking up the package and putting it in my cart.
You see? Chances are I never would have picked up the delicious food had it just been sitting on the shelf.
I needed someone to show me the possibilities of the food and give me a sample of how good it tasted.
Way to go, super nice demonstrator. Way to go.
You’ve got to do the same thing to sign your clients.
How do you do that?
Try doing a Facebook Live session on your business Facebook page. If you don’t have a business Facebook account set up, do that ASAP. Pick a subject that your ideal client would rally around and want to learn more about. Even if no one shows up to the live session, you’ve got access to the recorded session that you can share later.
If getting in front of a camera scares you senseless and causes you all sorts of anxiety, create samples your potential client can see. Make some pins for Pinterest to show off your graphic design skills. Transcribe a podcast and show off the finished product. The samples don’t have to be from a paid client. Your future client just wants to see that you can do the work, ya feel me?
#2: You’re not blogging.
Are you a whiz with words? Try blogging.
But, Regina. I thought blogging was just for moms who write about recipes, crafts and stuff like that.
You might find a few recipes right here on my blog but you definitely won’t find any craft stuff. This sister can’t cut paper in a straight line.
But I blog about what I know: how to make money working from home, especially as a virtual assistant.
And that’s what blogging is about: educating readers with the knowledge you’ve got. People love to learn new things and a blog is an effective way to do that.
Let’s say you provide services to nonprofits. Write a blog post that resonates with that audience: fundraising, volunteering, are a few examples. In your blog post, you’ll share how a virtual assistant can help with those tasks: calling potential donors, creating newsletters to send out to subscribers, developing packets for new volunteers. End it with a call to action -- “sign up for a free 30 minute consultation to discuss your needs.”
Again, show what you know. Don’t just say you know how to do something. Prove it to the world!
Not sure where to start? This course (which I’ve taken, implemented and highly recommend) will get you started on the right foot.
#3: Your proposal sucks.
That was blunt, wasn’t it?
But if you’re sending out proposal after proposal and you’re not getting even a nibble, it might be time to take a look at what you’re sending out -- and changing it.
Potential clients are put off by misspellings. How can they trust you with their business correspondence if you’re making mistakes? Use Grammarly, or spell check, at the very minimum. There’s no excuse!
Are you including samples with your proposal? No? Well, you should! Again, scroll back to the top of this post and re-read the importance of showing what you know. And start creating some samples, for goodness sakes!
And download the exact proposal I used to send to clients. Go for it!
#4: You’re not following up.
Okay, so you sent a proposal to a potential client. And you did all the things: you created an out-of-this-world sample, your proposal is spot-on but you still haven’t heard anything.
This might be a case of, “It’s not you, it’s me.”
For every work from home job posted, hundreds of applications pour in.
And if that business owner is a one-man (or woman) band, it’s gonna take some time to sift through them all.
It’s okay to send a polite follow up email if you haven’t heard anything in two weeks. Here’s a sample - make sure to personalize where you can:
I submitted a proposal/application for the position of ________ and wanted to follow up to see if you needed additional information.
I’m very interested in working for ____________ and my skills (list them out) are a perfect match for this position.
I hope we can chat soon about the position and best of luck in your recruiting efforts.”
Tip: if you want to know when your email has been opened, try using Mailtrack. It’s a free email tracker you can install on Google Chrome and you’ll know when your emails are opened. Takes the stress out of knowing if they saw it or not :)
If you want work from home leads sent straight to your inbox each week, make sure to sign up below.
#5: Your skills are outdated.
The online world moves fast. Really fast.
And your stenography skills aren’t in demand too much anymore.
It might be time to take a look at what you’re offering and where you can fill in the blanks with some new skills.
No, you don’t have to know everything.
But if your ideal client is using ConvertKit for email management, guess what? You need to know it.
Figure out what things potential clients are asking for and the tools they use. Poke around on websites of their favorite tools - many of them have free tutorials and free trials where you can test drive it.
Hope that helps and gives you some encouragement.
Don’t give up.
And while you’re here, make sure to check out the resources page for swipe files and other resources to help you in your work from home journey.
Until next time,