Virtual assistants are a form of outsourcing taken to a personal level. Assistants are supposed to handle all the online transactions for their clients, including email replies, reservations, reminders, scheduling and transcripts. Clients enjoy virtual assistants because they cost only a fraction of physical assistants; virtual assistants themselves enjoy a casual, home-based lifestyle and earn with only a phone, fax, desktop computer and fast Internet connection.
Here's how to grow your virtual assistant business.
- Promote through social networks. Message boards, blogs, Craigslist, Twitter, Facebook and other social networking sites are big right now when it comes to promoting your business. Create a professional account for your business, then update regularly with relevant information. Join a community of virtual assistants. They can help you with tips, opportunities, even pass you extra clients that they might have. A warning, though: avoid griping about existing clients and colleagues online. Whether using your professional or personal account, these negative posts are permanently stored on the web and can be passed around, discouraging potential employers and besmirching your own reputation.
- Start a website. Reserve a domain name, get your own web hosting, then hire a professional to make a brochure website that promotes your business. For content, upload your resume, add a video element, and link your blog posts and other social media. Get an email address using based off your domain name, then use that to promote your business. This creates an air of professionalism that will convince potential clients of your seriousness.
- Answer inquiries promptly. Respond within the day, or even hours after getting an inquiry. Tailor your resume kit, which is composed of text, images and video clips detailing your experience with the relevant field, then send it to the potential client. The extra effort you take at this early stage will create a positive impact with anyone.
- Build your VA skills. The more skills you can offer, the larger your market will be. Take online classes for relevant skill-building in the field you want to focus on. Purchase equipment and software that will improve your business, then write it off as a tax expense.
- Find a niche. Niche markets are perfect for self-employed and small businesses. You can charge more for specialty services like medical, legal and other specific industries. Start with your existing skills and previous experiences and sell yourself in those industries. By being an expert in your narrow field, you can secure the few potential clients who are willing to pay extra for the relevant skills.
- Inquire about possible contacts through your existing clients. If your clients are satisfied with your performance, they would gladly introduce you to their colleagues.
- Word-of-mouth is the best way to promote a business. What's more, clients will only introduce you sensible businesspeople for possible opportunities.
- Pace yourself. Sustaining the growth of your VA business not only means not slacking off, but avoiding burn-out. Resist the idea that working longer hours means working better. Set boundaries between work time and personal time. This way, you can last much longer as a VA.
Virtual assistance maybe an ideal business for people who like to stay at home and not deal with people face-to-face, but as a web-based business, it is open to anyone with internet access. Having a niche is the best way to prosper in this environment. Combined with social networking and a lot of effort, a VA can have a comfortable lifestyle without the hassle of traveling and office politics.