You’ve heard about it, right? Setting client expectations, what they want, what they need, how you can help them? Ok, here’s the thing, you must do your due diligence in setting up expectations or else, it could turn into a real train wreck!
Here are 5 simple steps to get a handle on it before it ALL COMES CRASHING AROUND YOU!
- Be clear
- Sometimes do them a tiny favor
- Establish boundaries
- Don’t promise them everything
- Always under-promise and over-deliver
Read more in this guide → Setting Client Expectations
4 Steps to New Clients
Here are four ideas to get a flow of clients coming your way:
- Be clear about the work you do. If you can clearly explain your work, others will be able to spread the word. When someone asks what I do, I say, “I’m a Virtual Assistant. I work with solo-professionals – people who work on their own – like business coaches, marketing consultants, and financial planners. I help them with all their administrative work – like updating their websites, setting up their newsletters, and helping them set up online courses.”And then I stop talking. Too much information can be confusing! And by the way, I say the exact same thing every time someone asks me the question (I practiced saying it out loud until I could do it cold!).
- Spread the word. Attend networking events in your area, participate in social media, and write a monthly email newsletter that you then send to everyone you know. If you’re in front of people on a regular basis, you won’t be top of mind when someone needs to hire a Virtual Assistant with your skills. People love to make referrals – make it easy for them.
- Be clear about how much you charge. By being clear, clients can decide if they can afford you. It removes time spent negotiating and wringing your hands every time someone asks you how much working with you will cost. So pick an hourly rate and stick to it. Then raise it from time to time as your skills get sharper.
- Be clear about how to get started. have 15-minute free consultations with many prospective clients. When the call is wrapping up and I think they’re a good fit for me, I’m clear about the next steps. I say, “I’d like to work with you. I’ll send you a link to buy your first set of hours with me. When you’re ready and once you buy them, I’ll be in touch to schedule a meeting with you and we can get started.”
It may seem like getting good clients is a lot of work, but if you think about it as a part of what you do – and have a set approach you rely on every day – the work will flow your way!
Turning Your VA Clients into Repeat Customers
Some virtual assistants complain about the ‘feast or famine’ cycles in their business. But the truth is that Virtual Assistants with this problem aren’t focused on getting repeat work. How to turn your VA clients into repeat customers is our topic of discussion today.
When you have repeat clients, you can balance your bills each month with ease and you don’t have to spend time constantly searching for new projects.
So, how do you get and keep repeat work?
Try using some of these tips…
Do Your Best
If you don’t do a good job with the initial project, clients aren’t likely to hire you for follow up ones. Think of your first project with a new client as an audition. You want to bring your best work to the table so that next time they have a project, they think of you.
Meet Your Deadlines
When you don’t deliver on time, clients are less likely to give you repeat work. If there truly is an emergency or a valid reason that you can’t meet a deadline, let your client know as far in advance as you can.
Send an email or call them on the phone. Tell them that you won’t be able to meet the deadline then suggest a new one. For example, “A loved one is having emergency surgery this week, so I can’t meet our deadline. However, I can have your project back to you by (a new date). Does that work for you?”
When you approach clients this way, most of them will be understanding and will still be open to working with you again. Honest communication is the foundation of a successful working relationship. It’s essential if you hope to turn a client into a repeat customer.
Offer a Long-Term Arrangement
When you’ve finished working on a project that both you and your client enjoyed, bring up the subject of working together again. For example, you might say something like, “I enjoyed redesigning your website. I notice your social media branding doesn’t match. I can help you with that.”
Don’t be pushy when you make this type of observation. Simply point out a problem area and offer to help. Some clients will be enthusiastic and want to start work immediately while others may not be ready to hire you for another project just yet.
Create a Package
Another way to land more repeat customers is to create a package around your most popular services. If you’re a virtual assistant who specializes in social media management, then you could create a package where you upload 100 social media updates for your clients.
Your clients may be more likely to hire you to do this task when they know how much you’ll charge. It makes it easy for them to look at their budget and determine if they can afford your services.
But when it comes to creating a package, try to look for a task or project that clients will need monthly, like blog content or website backups. This way, your clients can continue to pay you month after month.
Getting repeat work can take time.
Keep offering exceptional service and let clients know that you’re available for more work in the future.
6 Steps to Writing a Winning Client Proposal
We are going to cover two (2) different situations when it comes to you, the virtual assistant, offering a proposal or estimate to a client. Below are 6 Steps to Writing a Winning Client Proposal.
Scenario #1: You are rocking out your marketing and have made contact with a potential client. They tell you their needs, ask if you handle that type of work as well as what you charge, and you want to respond to them.
Scenario #2: You are a member of a virtual assistant directory that provides RFP (request for proposal) service for people looking for virtual assistants, and you’d like to respond to one. The directories are listed below.
Step #1: Follow Directions
First and foremost, follow the directions they laid out to respond to the RFP. Maybe they want a certain thing noted in your subject line, certain things listed in a particular order or you need to attach some type of documentation that they request from you. Make sure that you do just that. You need to show them that you can follow directions right from the start. Attention to detail is so important. They also want to know that you can follow directions.
Step #2: Answer All Questions
This might seem simple but people miss this. Make sure that you cover each task/item that they list and how you would accomplish it. Don’t skip sections or questions. If they ask for a certain number of references, make sure you provide that number of references. If they ask a question about why you think you’re best for the task, tell them why.
Step #3: Do Your Research
Learn a little about the prospective client. Visit their website so that you can mention in your RFP how your particular expertise can help them with their particular type of work with an example of how you’ve helped another such client.
Step #4: Easy Contact Info
Provide all pertinent contact information for you and your business. It should be easy to read, with clickable links if possible. Make sure that all of those places they can contact you are up to date. If it’s your website, that should be up and running. If you mention a social media platform, you should be active there.
Step #5: Skills Count
Make sure that you have the skills and can do what is requested. If they mention that they’re looking for someone experienced in a certain area, don’t tell them that you’re a fast learner.
Apply for RFPs that help you to feel confident in your abilities, ones you know that you would be a great fit for, according to your skills and experience.
Step #6: It’s About Them
Remember, it’s about what you can do for them and how you can fill their need. Don’t go on and on with “I” and “me” and all the things you know how to do. Keep your responses relevant to their needs and how you can help them.
Where can you find directories with RFPs?
Here are some great virtual assistant directories where you can find new clients. A number of them require a monthly fee in order to view the RFPs but you would consider that as part of your marketing budget.
It’s well worth it if you start to get some regular clients rolling in after putting forth the time and effort.
Here are my top suggestions:
Click on the links below:
GAVA (Global Alliance of Virtual Assistants)
CAVA (Canadian Association of Virtual Assistants)
Virtual Assistant Forums
IVAA (International Virtual Assistants Association)
If you’re looking for additional help, please reach out so we can put you on the right track.
Finding Your First Clients as a Virtual Assistant
Ok, so you’re ready to start looking for your first clients. Finding Your First Clients as a Virtual Assistant, it’s the first step of many that you’ll be taking. Many new virtual assistants don’t know where to look for clients or how to start marketing their new business.
If that describes you, don’t panic.
Here are a few ways to land your first client …
Ask for Referrals
The first and most obvious place to look for your first client is for a referral from friends or family. Tell everyone that will listen that you’re a virtual assistant and you’re looking for work.
Many VAs have started their careers just from referrals that came from their social circles. Share how you can help clients and be enthusiastic when describing what you do. Your enthusiasm can attract clients who are eager to work with you.
Another place to look for clients is on LinkedIn. If you don’t have a profile on this social media network, set one up. If you have a profile you haven’t used in a long time, then dust it off.
When it comes to your job title, be sure to use the phrase ‘Virtual Assistant’. Project managers and potential clients do search on LinkedIn when they’re ready to hire someone and this is a term they’re likely to use.
After you’ve set up a LinkedIn profile or updated your existing one, start connecting with friends and colleagues. Sometimes, an invitation to connect can remind an old co-worker or friend that they know someone who needs your services.
Look in Facebook Groups
Think about the type of clients you want to serve. Maybe you want to help authors handle their social media. If that’s the case, look for Facebook groups where authors are gathered and request to join.
Depending on the group’s rules, you may be allowed to share your VA services in a post. Some groups don’t allow service providers to post about their businesses, but they do let members ask for referrals. You can comment and tell other members about the services you offer if they’re looking for a VA.
Check Job Boards
Some virtual assistants have gotten their first clients through various job boards. Typically, job boards work like this: a client posts about the project they need to be done on the board. This project can be big like redesigning their entire website or it might be small like scheduling a few social media updates each month.
Then virtual assistants who are members of the job board can reply to the client, answering questions and sharing why they’re right for the job. If the poster decides to work with you, then you get the assignment.
Usually, the job board gets a percentage of your earnings as a fee for letting you use the service. The advantage of this is that you don’t have to pay any money upfront to use the board. In fact, you only pay if you’re successfully matched with a client.
Keep in mind that finding your first clients as a virtual assistant can take some time. Don’t give up if it takes a few weeks to start seeing results from your marketing efforts. If you preserve and keep networking, you will land that first client.
How to Work Through Your Fear While Creating your Business
Have you ever had a moment while in the process of building your virtual assistant business where a big wall of fear jumped up and stopped you? That’s FEAR!! Yeah, we’ve all been there. So what do you do when you find that your fears get the better of you? First, don’t freak out, because that won’t help you AT ALL! I’m going to show you how to work through your fear below.
Let me tell you a quick story:
Whenever you start something new in your life everything becomes a huge concern. You think all the “ugly thoughts”, and they. are. real ! Not going to lie to you because it will happen. Because it happens to everyone, everywhere.
But YOU are not alone. These are really mindset issues that every new business owner goes through. We’ll be discussing that in an upcoming blog, but for now, read the first few things you can do.
GET PREPARED Y’ALL!!
Follow the “FEAR” path below and let’s try to calm those nerves, ok?
Fear #1: Can I really start a virtual assistant business?
The first thing you need to do is to assess your skills. Do you have skills that can be turned into services? Is there a market that needs the help you want to provide?
Here’s what you do. Take out a piece of paper and fold it in half length-wise so you have two (2) columns. On one side put a title called SKILLS and on the other side, title it SERVICES. Now, take 10 minutes and write down everything you know how to do under the Skills Column, no matter what it is.
On the other column under Services, write down something that you could do with that skill.
Here, I’ll make it easy for you: DOWNLOAD THE WORKSHEET HERE.
Fear #2: What do I do first when it comes to setting up my virtual assistant business?
The first thing you want to do is to carve out some time to work on your business. Put it on your Google Calendar. What? You don’t have one? Then go get one by creating a Google Email Account. Go on, I’ll wait for you right here!
Once you have your calendar set up, go and block out several days where you could work on your business. At least a couple of hours at a time, that seems to work best. Now then, when that time comes up on your calendar, please honor it. You’ll be surprised how much you can accomplish once you do this a few times.
FOCUSED TIME WORKS BEST!!
Fear #3: How do I get clients? Do I have to sell, sell, sell?
Instead of selling, learn about using a relationship marketing strategy. It’s more about finding where your target market hangs out, showing up there, listening to their needs, getting to know them and sharing what you do to help them.
We’ll talk more about this later. You can join our group to connect with other virtual assistants HERE.
Fear #4: How do I avoid losing momentum or feeling lonely?
You want to get peer and/or mentoring support. Networking with others who are going through the same thing as you is very beneficial. It will also help to work with those who are further along than you on the path, to learn from them and ask for advice.
The best thing is to connect to other people who are either already in business or are just starting out.
Here are a few resources to keep you on track. Check them out.
12 Fears to Overcome
Fear of Failure
How to Use Fear
Fear of Failure in Business
Join us in our group below for inspiration and additional tips.
Virtual Assistant Facebook Group: Our free, private Facebook group just for virtual assistants to collaborate.