When my trainees are about to be signed off and released into the world of freelancing, we often discuss how to manage your time when you’re trying to run your own business as well as managing multiple clients. I’ve picked up quite a few time-management tricks over the years and here is some of the advice I give them.
People often email me their questions and concerns about becoming a Virtual Assistant and, 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 your biggest fears 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 provides creative support to other VAs.
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, many 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!) it’s also a whole lot more and can even be a great way to share client work and collaborate with your clients.
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.
A good service to offer is credit control – i.e. chasing invoice payments. You might shudder at the thought of calling strangers to chase money, but it’s actually completely painless if you know what to say. Many small businesses and freelancers prefer to outsource this task because it creates a buffer between them and their client.
An “elevator pitch” is how you would deliver a summary of your product, business or service to someone during a short elevator ride. It’s not a sales pitch, it’s a concise explanation of who you are, what you do, who you do it for and why someone might want this. It’s useful to have an elevator pitch when networking, so let me show you how to write one.