How to Attract Clients As A Virtual Assistant
When you set up in business by yourself, naturally you want to attract clients, someone to pay you to do what you are good at. However, before we get too carried away here, it is important to think about the clients you want to attract to make sure you only attract those clients and not clients who make you wish you’d never started up in business in the first place.
So to avoid making bad decisions and getting stuck in a terrible working relationship, here are some tips on what to look for in a client when you are targeting them.
What are the qualities of an ideal client?
After speaking to lots of Virtual Assistants I can reveal that when you are looking for a client or considering a potential client, these are the characteristics or qualities you should be looking for:
• Professionalism – ability to treat you as an independent professional and work professionally with you.
• Good Communication Skills – so you know what they want and how they want it done.
• Honesty – in their dealings with you and with other staff and customers
• Willingness and Ability to Pay – You don’t want to continue working for someone who is always late at paying your invoices or who queries every minute of your time-tracked invoice.
• Organisation skills – organised enough to get you the information you need to do the job they need you to do when you need it.
• Understands the Concept and Role of a VA – understands that you are not an employee but an independent consultant.
• Reliable – Gives you the files or data you need when you need it and when they said they would. Pays regularly and honours commitments.
• Works in an industry you want to work for. If you don’t want to work for multi-nationals, then don’t target them. If you don’t want to do data-entry for 8 hours a day, don’t advertise your services to firms who would need you to do this.
• Ethics/Attitude/Professional Values. This is surprisingly very important; you don’t want to work for someone who’s outlook on life or way of doing business is totally opposite to yours – it just won’t work for either of you.
• Gut Feelings – This was recommended by both Sarah Cruickshank and Carole Meyrick. Trust your gut instinct, if you don’t like the ‘feel’ of the client, then walk away from the job. As Sarah Cruickshank says “Other clients will come. There are lots of clients out there, clients with whom you can have a good working relationship.”
What are the Qualities you seek in a Client?
Do you want a long-term relationship or short-term gigs? This will influence where you look for clients, what types of clients you want and how you will deal with these clients. Some people prefer the stability and certainty of wages that comes from a regular, long-term client. Others prefer the variety that comes from working with a number of different clients on a variety of different projects. Only you can answer this question.
Know Where to Find your Clients
Whilst being a Virtual Assistant means that your clients can be based anywhere in the world, the majority of British VAs work for companies and businesses who are quite local to them (remember to make sure that your domain name reflects where you wish to find your clients).
Use your Chamber of Commerce and your Business Link to find clients who could use your service. Use your online and offline networking skills to get your name out there and show potential clients how you could make their lives easier.
Think about trade websites or magazines that your target client would read and submit press releases or articles to them about the practicalities of hiring a VA, join the same networks as them and generally be known in your local business community or online as a VA.
Philippa Oakley is a respected and fully established Virtual Assistant. Find out more about how to become a Virtual Assistant.