I just got an email from a new VA that I met through a networking forum and she asked me an ever-important question:
How do I find new clients so I can make more money?
This one question plagues every service provider, both new and experienced. Even if you have a steady retainer base, you just never know when one or two of those clients won’t need your services any more. And it can be for a variety of reasons; we just can’t be mind readers so it’s always best to focus on networking and expanding your skills every day.
Step 1: Network on Forums and Social Media Sites
Starting at Solo Masterminds is great and that’s where I got my start. Just contributing to the conversations & asking questions will get your name recognized. The same is true with all social media in general. Do a little bit every day to get your name out there and people will recognize you as a VA.
Also, don’t be afraid to venture out to other VA forums or even those aimed at work at home moms. You can learn, ask questions, and network there. Do some research, go to visit and get a sense if the forum is busy, and pick one or two where you feel comfortable and become a regular poster there.
Step 2: What are Your Skills?
What types of jobs do you like doing the most? If you’re brand new, you may not have any idea or you might think something sounds like fun but you need experience. Brainstorm a little bit, make a list, then seek out someone to talk with regarding learning your new task or find a tutorial video on YouTube. You can learn just about anything online so do your research.
Once you develop some basic skills, think of how you can expand your skills to make them more valuable. If you know WordPress and can format a blog post, you could almost develop that skill into content management, where you’d brainstorm topic ideas for a client’s website or newsletter and then either write the article yourself (if you like to write and are good!) or hire a writer and manage the content that way. If you get a good grasp of keyword research, that could be part of your package as well.
Side note: Writing is a HUGE need for all online business owners but you do have to be good. And you have to enjoy it (as well as be kind of quick) otherwise it won’t be worth your time.
If you like doing graphics or some minor design, you could experiment with formatting ebooks. I can manage putting a border around the doc pages but I’ve seen some really great designs recently which make reading the ebook much more interesting.
I would HIGHLY suggest you learn Aweber and/or a few autoresponder programs. That way you could add Newsletter & Email Marketing to your skills. If a client has a premade newsletter template you could easily summarize a few blog posts, plop them in the newsletter template, change the date and send it every week. The same is true for autoresponders.
Business owners KNOW how important their email lists are yet this is one aspect of business that often gets ignored. As a VA having this skill, it’s much easier for a client to hire you for an hour per week to get this done instead of them trying to find the time to get it done.
Step 3: Be Patient
Just remember that it does take some time to build up a client base and it’s important to learn your skills very well so you can work quickly yet carefully. If it takes you 6 hours to create 17 powerpoint slides (which an experienced VA can do in about 2 hours or less) your client will definitely question your timing. But if you go too quickly and make mistakes, then you’re losing money having to go back and fix the mistakes.
And you don’t have to learn a bunch of new skills all at once! Get really good at something, then move on to something else. Eventually you’ll have a portfolio of several different skills or packages you can offer.
Are you a VA struggling to find new clients? Leave a comment below so we can brainstorm some ideas with you.