I’ve been a freelancer for a while now, people are constantly emailing me their questions and worries about becoming a Virtual Assistant, and my trainees also admit their fears about working for themselves. But although I reckon I’ve now heard pretty much every mindset stumbling block under the sun, I’ve still not found one reason why someone shouldn’t set up their own business. Here are the main worries I hear and why they shouldn’t hold you back.
On Wednesday 10th June 2009 I left my job to become a full time freelancer. I wish I could say that I screamed “UP YOURS LOSERS!!” as I waved to my previous employers (without using all my fingers) whilst sprinting for the door with the contents of the stationery cupboard, but I didn’t. Instead I quietly walked out of the gates into the unknown.
At the end of the day, the main thing every potential and new VA wants to know is “where do I get clients?”. Because this is the question on the lips of every freelancer and something I discuss in every single training session, I thought I’d share the three most successful methods I’ve found of how to fish for and land your first client.
This is a Virtual Assistant case study and interview with Michelle Gibson. UK-based Michelle lives in the small village of Measham in the East Midlands, and initially started her business in 2011 when she became a freelance administrator. She now runs Gibson VA and has a fascinating niche because she actually provides creative support to other VAs!
This is a Virtual Assistant case study and interview with Sam Cook. Sam has just celebrated her two year anniversary of being a VA and lives in Geelong near Melbourne, Australia. She has a 4 year old son (who’s a tornado of energy, questions, and chatter – just like his mum apparently!) and an insatiable travel bug. Sam will be off to Mexico shortly to work with The Hunger Project Australia and get some new projects and leadership training off the ground. This is her VA story.
Annoyingly, you will regularly be contacted by people who have absolutely no idea what they want you to do. They know they need help, but they’re often so busy they can’t think straight and really aren’t sure of the best way to use you. You obviously need to fix this or you won’t end up doing any work for them at all!
Although Pinterest is the third most popular social media platform, a lot of people still think it’s just a load of women planning their ideal wedding and designing an imaginary dream home. Although it kind of is (guilty!), like many think Twitter is just folk talking about what they had for lunch, Pinterest is way more than that and can be used in many different ways depending on who’s using it and why.
Writing LinkedIn profiles isn’t just something I used to do as part of my CV writing business, social media is also my VA niche and I spend a lot of time on LinkedIn researching and assessing profiles and groups for social media consultants and marketers. LinkedIn is a massive subject, but one of the things I want to share with you is how to effectively connect and then start conversations with those new connections.
This is a Virtual Assistant case study and interview with Ditte de Voss who lives in Copenhagen, Denmark with her boyfriend and French bulldog Otto. Providing branding and online marketing services, Ditte only set up her business this year but is already successful and has some great advice to potential VAs about the start-up phase. This is her VA story:
A good VA service to offer is credit control – i.e. chasing invoice payments. You might initially shudder at the thought of calling strangers to chase money, but it’s actually completely painless if you know what to say. A lot of small businesses and freelancers like to outsource this task because it creates a buffer between them and the other company – plus it makes them look more professional if someone else is doing the calling for them.