how to be a virtual assistant

5 Ways to Find Clients Online for Your Virtual Assistant Biz

The number one burning question for  freelance Virtual Assistants, and those thinking of becoming freelance Virtual Assistants is of course: where and how do I find clients? Even if you are an established VA you may well be looking for new ways of finding clients. For many VAs, myself included, the quickest and most effective way of finding clients is through joining a face to face networking group. However there are many who can’t attend networking events and would find it difficult to meet the commitments of joining a group. Reasons for this can include having pre-school children to look after, elderly relatives, a full or part-time day job or a disability which restricts your movements. So, here is a super-useful list of 5 Ways to Find Clients Online:

  1. Social Media: the most obvious one – I imagine that most of you are already using at least one social media platform. For me, LinkedIn and Facebook are the two which have been most useful for finding clients. Everyone is different – I have met VAs who find clients regularly through Twitter whereas I myself don’t feel that comfortable with it compared to other platforms. Whichever platforms you use though the key is that like any form of networking it takes time. You can’t set yourself up an account and expect to start finding clients right away. The other thing you can’t do is to go on about selling all the time. Which can be difficult to get your head around if you aren’t familiar with social media. After all – isn’t selling the reason you’re supposed to be on there in the first place?? Well – yes…. but you need to build relationships with people before they will ever consider buying anything from you. For some great tips on using LinkedIn to find clients check out these blog posts: How I Find Clients on LinkedIn, 25 Ways to Get Noticed as a Virtual Assistant on LinkedIn  and 12 Top Tips to Get Started on LinkedIn as a Virtual Assistant.
  2. Freelancer Websites: there are lots of websites out there for freelancers including VAs to find clients including Peopleperhour, Upwork and Freelancer but they come with a warning. Such sites have gained a bit of a bad name in the VA community because they tend to be swamped with jobs posted by people who want to pay ridiculously low rates, and similarly with people who are prepared to do this work for very low rates. However, I never say never and there are in fact people who can and do regularly find well-paid work through such platforms. I have no personal experience of Upwork or Freelancer.co.uk but I personally know at least two VAs who use People Per Hour and are charging £20-£25 per hour. This is at the lower end of the scale expected by UK Virtual Assistants but way more than the paltry $10 or even less that you might expect to find. Yes it’s going to be time consuming trawling through the rubbish. Yes there are lots of people on there who will never work with someone at your rates. Yes you’re going to have to make sure you stand out and ace it with your proposals. But there ARE people who value quality over quantity. If you are thinking of giving it a go, set up an account and do lots of research – you can look up Virtual Assistants, see which ones are charging higher rates and check out their profiles. Check out the People Per Hour blog for tips and advice from other freelancers.
  3. Blogging and Email Marketing: I’ve put these together because they are really part and parcel of the same thing. If you post regularly on the blog page of your site and put that content out in enough places to reach enough people, you will drive traffic to your website. Or perhaps you’re even paying for traffic to your site through Google Adwords or something similar. Great! But what do you want people to do when they arrive? Ideally you want them to go to the contact page find your phone number and call you or send you a message. But unfortunately that is not very likely. A more productive way to make use of the traffic to your website is to create a “lead magnet” to entice people to give you their email address. Check out this blog page. Either to the right of this article or below it you will see a sign up form – I currently have this linked to my PDF download “5 Point Checklist to Know if You’re Ready to Become a Freelance Virtual Assistant”People reading my blog will see this, sign up for it and bingo! Another subscriber to my email list. That is very very valuable because it’s not just any old person’s email address. Its the email address of someone who has visited my website and then downloaded my lead magnet which means they are already extremely interested in what I have to offer. Gathering email addresses is just the start of your relationship with this warm lead. You now need to nurture them through a series of emails, the purpose of which is to lead and encourage them towards the point of paying for one or more of your services. Check out this post from Optin Monster for some tips: 6 Steps to Create an Effective Autoresponder Series.
  4. Paid advertising: There are plenty of options for paid advertising online of course. For example Google Adwords to get you to page one of Google. or Facebook Advertising to drive traffic to your site. (It’s worth considering by the way what you would do if you DID get to page one of google. What would happen if you suddenly got a huge increase in people contacting you with potential jobs? Have you even got the infrastructure to deal with it?). The thing about Google Adwords and Facebook is that because they cost money it can be easy to get carried away doing it for yourself and waste a lot of money when you don’t really know what you’re doing. Or you might hire someone to do it for you but that will cost you even more. If you are interested in experimenting, do some research and find a free tutorial on Youtube. Then start off with a tiny micro budget to see how you get on before you even think about increasing it. Another thing to think about is  – once you get people onto your site what do you want them to do? It’s relatively easy to get people onto your site especially if you’re paying them – but to get them to do anything beyond that isn’t so easy. You need to ensure you have well-placed “CTAs” (Calls to Action). Check out this blog post from Hubspot for some ideas: 31 Call-to-Action Examples You Can’t Help But Click.
  5. Job Boards and Client Matching Services: there are various Virtual Assistant “Job Boards” around. A job board is effectively a platform where someone collates all of the freelance jobs advertised everywhere on the internet in one place. The idea behind it is to save you the time of trawling the internet for hours on end. You could literally spend all day on this, so a Job Board can save you hours and hours. If you have been a VA for at least six months you can apply for Charlotte Wibberley’s VIP VA Membership which includes a service matching clients to Virtual Assistants. Find out more here. 

how to be a virtual assistant

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