One of the most frequently asked questions by new VAs is:
‘How do I find clients?’
In this blog I’m going to show you a handful of ways that you can do this. Be consistent in your efforts and they will pay off!
Here are 5 things you can do to find clients
Online forums and groups allow you to connect with business owners from all over the world. Facebook groups in particular are a fantastic way to build professional relationships and many virtual assistants get clients this way.
There are a few things to keep in mind, however:
- Pick the right groups – When it comes to building professional relationships with the aim of increasing your client base make sure that you’re in groups where your ideal client hangs out.
- Be helpful – Don’t just promote your services, because people will tire of it. Aim to provide useful and valuable information that answers their questions. And if it is something you feel you can offer a bit more help with then suggest a quick chat.
- Abide by the rules – Facebook group admins enforce various rules and with good reason. Stick with them and stay in their good books!
- Answer postings – Often you will see someone looking for a VA for their business. If it sounds like something you would love to do then do two things: 1. Read the posting carefully, and 2. Follow their instructions when you answer it.
Action step: Go ahead and identify a handful of groups that you will engage with daily.
Just because you plan on working virtually doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be networking face-to-face. Local networking events will give you the chance to meet with other small business owners in your area.
Go to these events and build relationships with the other business owners there. But don’t just tell them what you do, ask questions and show them that you are interested in what they do! You should also get the business cards of other business owners so you can connect with them later on.
Action step: Identify upcoming networking events in your area and mark them in your diary.
Following on from my previous point, use LinkedIn to connect with business owners you meet at networking events. Send them a short and sweet message reminding them who you are.
Ensure that you’re regularly posting great content on LinkedIn, such as:
This will help you position yourself as an expert!
Action step: Connect with others on LinkedIn and get a plan of action in place for the content you’ll post.
Get out your address book
If you haven’t already considered family, friends, old work colleagues and acquaintances to help you get more clients, then you really should!
Many VAs start out by doing tasks for people that they already know or who have connections to their family and friends. Whether you’ve worked with them in the past or you’re related, you never know just how many business owners your connections know.
Start off by letting your contacts know about your new business and ask them to keep you in mind if they or someone they know needs some support in their work.
Remember, if you get on well with someone then they should have no problem recommending you!
Action step: Draft a list of your contacts and write your email for them.
Approaching businesses you’d like to work with
This is a strategy that some people may feel a little nervous about doing because you’re essentially cold-emailing businesses you’d like to work with. However, if done right then this strategy can work very well.
Think about businesses that fit your criteria of an ideal client. Learn about them and then draft a personalised email.
Once you introduce yourself and your business, tell them about how you know their business and what you think you could help them with. You could even provide a couple of tips to demonstrate that you know what you’re talking about. Finally suggest setting up a consult or quick chat on Skype to discuss things further.
Action step: Research businesses and learn about them. Use the information you find to draft your email.
Using all these strategies will help you build your client base and grow as a virtual assistant!
You’ve identified your perfect client, pitched your services and just found out that they would love to work with you.
Well, the next step to take is to send them a Welcome Pack! Now, before you starting thinking about what to include in your pack, we first need to go through why you should do this.
Why send a Welcome Pack?
All in the one place
Some of the information you will include may already be on your website. But with the Welcome Pack you’re putting all the important details together in one handy document that your client can refer to when needs be.
It will help clarify what you and your business is all about
The Welcome Pack is perfect for showcasing what it is that you do, how you do it and all the terms and policies you abide by.
It shows professionalism and that you value your clients.
Having a clean, easy to follow and informative pack is a great way of demonstrating your professionalism and it also shows that you’ve taken the time to ensure that your clients are well informed.
It’s a nice way to welcome them to your business.
And isn’t it nice to be nice?
When you sit down to create all the individual components of your Welcome Pack, keep these whys in mind.
What you should include
A personalised welcome letter
Take the time to properly welcome them as a client. A short and sweet personalised letter will show them you care.
A quick overview of what is included in the Welcome Pack
After your letter, include a number of bullet points that outline what the rest of your pack includes.
An introduction to your business
Here you can tell them all about…
- Your background
- What you do
- Who you work with
- Your vision and mission as a virtual assistant
- Your strengths
How you work
This section contains important information about how things are done and when they are done. Here you should include…
- Your working hours
- Methods and times of communication
- Availability and holidays
- Your working processes
Give them overview of the tasks or projects you will be involved in. Include a breakdown of each task, the desired outcomes and the timeframe.
It can be as simple as using bullet points, but the important thing to remember is to be clear.
State your rates, whether you work on an hourly, per-project or package basis.
- Your payment and invoice terms
- How you are to be paid
- And policies for late payment
While this may include some of the details you’ve already included in the pack, the Contract itself provides even more detail.
Here’s an idea of the sections you should include in your contract:
- An agreement between both parties
- Office hours and holidays
- Payment and invoice policies
- Availability for work hours
- Terminating a contract
- Ownership of work
- Code of ethics
Give them a quick overview of your contact methods and preferences.
Finally, here are some things you may also like to include in your Welcome Pack
Have previous or current clients given you raving reviews? Add them to your pack and show your new client the kind of results they could have!
A list of the various software you are proficient in
Show them what you are skilled in. You never know, they might have a few more things they need help with.
What are the most common questions you are asked as a virtual assistant? Could the answers be useful to your new client?
Is there anything else you’ve included in your pack?
Want to get more done in your business without burning out?
Outsource to a Freelancer
If there’s tasks that need to be completed that you may not have the skills or desire to do, then find yourself a great freelancer you can outsource them to.
Here’s a small list of the benefits outsourcing can bring to your business:
- Outsourcing frees you up to work on your business and take on even more clients
- And of course, when you increase your client base, that means you increase your earnings
- A freelancer can bring things to your business that you may not already have. For example, if you’re not tech savvy and the thought of creating a website fills you with dread, then the smart thing is to outsource that task!
- It will also save you time and money than if you took on an employee
Delegate to your VA
Your virtual assistant is there to help with the smooth running of your business. Figure out what you will delegate and give your VA for SOP for those tasks. Look, I understand that it’s hard to give up some of what you used to build your business but if you want to be productive and get more done, then learning to delegate is vital.
Concentrate on One Thing
You may think that multitasking is the only way to get lots done in a short space of time. Well, quite simply, it’s not. How can you expect yourself to give 100% to a task if you’ve got 10 other things you’re doing at the same time?
Focus on one activity and do it well. If your mind is elsewhere you’ll probably miss out on a few things that you’ll have to come back to later.
Use a Pomodoro Timer to Maintain Focus
The Pomodoro Technique involves working in 25-minute intervals followed by a 5-minute break. A Pomodoro timer will help you stick to these blocks of time, meaning you’ll get more done in short bursts and drive through any distractions.
Automate Simple Processes
You might not think that a simple task like posting to your Facebook page or answering an email will take up much of your time. But we are only human and can become easily distracted. The answer to this is automation! There are lots of tools and programmes out there that will let you automate all sorts of processes. Rather than posting on your social media pages multiple times each day, set aside some time to fill your scheduler and let that do the work for you.
Set up an autoresponder for your emails so that anyone who is trying to contact you will know that you’ve received their message and will get back to them later.
Why would you waste so much time on tasks that can be easily taken care of automatically?
Systemise your Business
You probably know by now that systems are ‘my thing’. I have a system for everything and you really should work on creating your own too! Download my freebie here to help you do this!
Follow these ideas and start getting back more time in your business.
Whilst on the plane to Cyprus to visit my husband Big was playing.
As I watched it I took note of some important business lessons which I thought were worth sharing with you.
For this of you that haven’t seen this film, I will need to tell you a quick overview.
Basically, after a wish turns 12-year-old Josh Baskin into a 30-year-old man (Tom Hanks), he heads to New York City and gets a low-level job at MacMillen Toy Company.
A chance encounter with the owner (Robert Loggia) of the company leads to a promotion testing new toys. Soon a fellow employee, Susan Lawrence (Elizabeth Perkins), takes a romantic interest in Josh.
Here are some interesting business lessons I picked up on and wanted to share with you.
Don’t care about what other people think
Embrace your weird and wonderful self. Josh goes to a work party dressed in a white Tuxedo and starts to eat the random foods on the buffet. He isn’t worried about what other people think, he tries some quinoa and proceeds to spit it out as it’s disgusting drawing some attention.
By not worrying about what other people think and being you, you will stand out for all the right reasons. There is no point being like everyone else if you want to make an impact and Josh certainly did that!
Not scared to try new things
This is one lesson that I think all adults, not just business folk should take heed of. Josh had never played squash before but he gave it his best. He’d never had a job before but he went for it as he needed to pay the bills.
Imagine if we approached new situations with a childlike curiosity and sense of adventure there is no limit to what we can achieve.
Don’t get stuck in your ways
When Josh gets promoted to work on toy development he literally questions everything. But why? He asked constantly, he just doesn’t get it.
Just because something has always been a certain way doesn’t mean it should be. By not accepted the norm he makes the toy even better!
Sees everything from a positive perspective
This is a great trait when you’re running your own business. Josh does this fabulously in the film when others are jealous or trying to make things difficult for him he sees the best in every situation.
By looking at things in a positive way when problems occur you can find solutions rather than complaining. This is business lesson 101, don’t moan about things or blame others, look at ways you can fix the issue and take it as a learning curve.
Seizing the day with passion and excitement will mean you’re not talking about things you actually take action and enjoy the process.
I love it when Josh is in the limousine and opens the sunroof and literally has the time of his life. Why do we think it’s just kids that need to have fun?
Make sure you let yourself have fun, life is too short not to laugh everyday. When Josh and the owner (old man) play chopsticks on the floor keyboard it builds a relationship with someone you never thought he would. This business lesson is crucial, you can make the best business relationships in the strangest of places with people you didn’t expect to.
Not afraid to say or do what need to be done
20th Century Fox / HBO
Imagine getting a job at 12 years old? I mean like a proper job and not a paper round. That must have been so scary but he did it anyway.
When he has a date with his work colleague she gets mustard on her face and he tells her. Not everyone would do that. People overthink things too much. I know tons of times I’ve had spinach in my teeth and no-one was grave enough to tell me!
He values Loyalty
Remember the fierce loyalty we had towards our friends when we were younger. We literally live for our friends when we are younger. Why does that change?
Josh and his best friend would do anything for each other. Josh loses sight of this temporally but soon sorts it out when his BFF calls him out on it.
If you treat people on business like you’d like to be treated and you’ll go far. You are not in the business or making money, you’re in the business in helping people which is a powerful business lesson.
Dream the Impossible
As a 12-year-old you know it’s pretty impossible to turn into a grownup overnight right? But Josh wished for it and it happened.
Dream big and you will be surprised what you can be achieved. If. You set the bar low and hit it is that better than setting it really high and coming short?
I know what I would rather go for!
Doesn’t mind being a Beginner
One of Josh’s colleagues that wants to take him down asks him to play squash. Josh has never played it but that doesn’t stop him trying his best.
He plays against someone that has been playing for a long time, instead of admitting defeat he gives it is all and learns the rules pretty quickly.
In business there will always be people that are more experienced than you, however, you can take it as an opportunity to learn or to bitch. Which will get you further?
When playing squash the balls goes out of play but the other plays didn’t admit it. He wants to win by any means necessary, even if that means cheating. Josh calls him out on it. Then they end up in a childish fight which is quite amusing.
In business, it doesn’t matter how much you make. It matters how you make it. You don’t want to cheat people to win. Having integrity is not something you can teach.
Telling the trust is important as people will see through your fake scarcity and pretend price hikes in a heartbeat. Be authentic!
Phactual 20th Century Fox
Josh starts seeing his co-worker and they get talking and he listens to her and genuinely cares. He sees the good in her and doesn’t put her down like her last partner.
By listening he can read people better and in turn knows he has to end it with her. It’s not fair to her or him.
As a business owner if you listen you are much more likely to win. No one cares what you have to say until they know you CARE. Show. Your customers you care and you value their feedback.
There are other parables in this movie with running a business. Some of them may be a little tenuous but they are worth taking note of.
Who you are as a person reflects in your business.
Who do you think will be remembered?
Or more importantly, do you want to be remembered for good or bad reasons?
Have you seen Big do you think these lessons are important in business?
What is your main takeaway from this blog?
Check out my free resources to help you get more sh*t done >> http://kellymariewest.com/resources/
Do you think there are successful habits which can help business owners achieve more in a shorter space of time?
We all know who is successful in our circles right? Do you know what they all have in common?
I have been doing a little research and I thought it would be handy to share with you what I found out.
Success leaves clues you see, there are common habits that successful people repeat daily.
If we create habits that make others successful surely it will mean we have a better chance of being successful.
Let’s go through some common habits and traits I have noticed.
They are Selfish with Their Time
This might make them sound back but really it isn’t. Time is the most precious commodity we have. They don’t waste it and they don’t make themselves too easily accessible.
Firstly imagine they were accessible to everyone constantly they would soon burn out, right?
They have spent years honing their skills and creating their empire and work with the best clients. It is those people that will get their undivided attention rather than the free loaders that won’t implement what they are told anyway!
Now I am not saying that you should not give, however you give in a way that works for you and means you can help many people at one.
They Take Care of Themselves
You have to secure your own face mask first. I was told this my Dan Meredith and it has always stuck with me. Plus I did find my husbands gas mask and shared a quite scary picture of me wearing it to make a point!
He explained that you have to take care of you first in order to take care of others. That is why they say on an aeroplane to secure your gas mask first and then help others.
Also if you cannot take care of yourself how can you be expected to take care of others? By putting others first you are not being selfless you are bein silly!
If someone else expects you to put their needs before your own this is not a person you want to be spending time with. Believe me I know. Unless it’s your child, as they are totally demanding and do come first.
The Don’t Just Read They Implement
Have you heard the saying ‘Data for Lata’, the first time I heard this was from the video guru James Lavers who basically told us that there is no point learning sh*t if you are not going to implement it.
I know so many people that make tonnes of notes (me included) from webinars, conferences and networking events and then forget about them forever….
What a waste of time that is!
If it was important enough for you to write down, it must be something you thought was worth implementing.
So do it!
That is why it’s a good tip to clear your diary for 1-2 days following an event, that way whilst it is fresh in your mind you can implement it and get ahead of the pack and don’t save the ‘data for lata’!
They are NOT a Martyr
No matter how skilled, talented or clever you are. You cannot do it all.
They know in order to serve their clients better they need help. They don’t pretend that they are the best at EVERYTHING!
It takes time to build a team, but the sooner you take someone on to help you the more you will be able to give.
There are so many tasks that are involved in running a business, and I bet you there are a fair few of them you hate and make you bat sh*t crazy!
Mine is accounting, I used to force myself to do this and I would keep putting it off until it grew into this massive monster and I procrastinated so much that I would rather do housework that do it! So this was the first thing I outsourced.
I now have a team of 3 VAs that all have their own specialities and things they enjoy to do. So that means they do more of that work, it also means that in the case of sickness or holidays there is someone else to step in.
They Show Up Daily
This is a big deal. They turn up and deliver to their clients every damn day. They do it when they feel good or when they feel inspired, they do it daily. It is a habit for them to do the work and deliver to their audience.
If you base your business and deliver to your clients when you feel good you will not be in business long.
Running a business is hard work and the more you build it the more work you have, it’s a catch 22. You want to be busy but you want to have a life too. It is a difficult task to find that balance but it is totally doable.
Whether you have 3 key tasks you complete no matter what and spend some time doing stuff you like. As long as that works for you and your customers are happy then by all means go for it.
What key tasks do you do everyday? I’d love to know!
They Collaborate With Other Influencers
You will notice then successful people keep good company. They know who is respected and is doing well. They don’t pretend that they are better than others, they collaborate with other people that have other skills to create an awesome product or service to their audience.
They also know that in order to be given a helping hand from an entrepreneur you FIRST have to give. Also you must give with NO expectation. These people have been around the block, they have lost sleep, invested in themselves and had those days when they want to throw in the towel – so you have to respect that.
Is there someone you would like to work with? Comment below you never know, someone might be able to make it happen for you!
Success is a Habit
So in essence it is your daily habits which create your success. We are what we repeatedly do – Aristotle.
By being addicted to the action of DOING the work it will mean than you are not relying on the outcome to spur you on.
For example, if you know you need to reach out to 10 people daily, but you only feel spurred on if you convert all of them – you will soon be very disappointed and you will not get very far.
However if you make it your goal to speak to 10 people daily REGARDLESS of the outcome, you will soon get results.
One thing I have learned is that perseverance pays off. Many business owners give up too soon and don’t follow up. It can take up to 9 attempts to convert someone to a client and if you give up after 2 attempts you reduce your chances of getting new clients.
Did you find this blog helpful?
I would love to hear your thoughts and if you think that there are other habits which are useful to our success.
Here are some helpful resources if you want to become more productive >> http://kellymariewest.com/resources/
Sounds strange right?
Being lazy isn’t going to make me more productive…
But think about it, if you find the quickest most efficient way to do every task in your business; that will mean you will get more done in less time.
Sounds too good to be true I know.
This morning I was on a deadline to get to the garage. I had to leave the house at 10am. Usually, I would do my main 3 tasks by 11am but I know had an hour to do them.
Do you think I managed it?
You bet your ass I did!
By being 100% focused on the task hand and not taking my time I got everything done that I needed to.
Does that mean usually I am lazy? No. However usually if you allocate yourself 2 hours to do something you will take 2 hours, if you allocate 1 it will take 1 and I just proved it!
Create Your Best Process
For every task I do, I know the outcome and the exact steps needed to complete it. When I am forced to do this quicker I ensure that I do not do anything that is unnecessary or will hold me back.
Small things like having everything I need to complete said task to hand, my checklist to ensure I don’t miss anything when doing it quickly. If it’s good enough for doctors and pilots its good enough for me. You see checklists reduce mistakes check out the book The Checklist and how it is used to save people’s lives. I use it to save time but it’s the same principle.
Get Super Specific
More often than not we put off a task as we are dreading it and do not know exactly what is needed. Another factor can be that it is a big task and it overwhelms you.
The best way to overcome this is to get super specific and break it down. This makes your life easier and means you get some small wins in.
Imagine you have to set up a whole website and you literally have no idea where to start. By breaking down the tasks into smaller manageable tasks you will be able to get started pretty much straight away.
Start with the outcome and reverse engineer the process. When your website is completed and you are 100% happy, what steps would have been made to get you there?
- Choose what provide you are going to use WordPress, Wix etc
- Buy the domain name
- Add the theme
- Get Logo created
- Set up the hosting
- Add relevant pages
- Add relevant plug-ins
- Create a bank of images of other websites that your client likes
- Have professional images taken
- Have a copywriter create your sales page
- Have your About Page done
- List your Services
- Have a FAQ page
- Create your Lead Generator
- Lead Generator Set Up
- Pick your email marketing provider (Aweber, Active Campaign etc)
- Website linked to Autoresponder
- Upload 5 blogs
You get the idea!!
The great thing about doing this is you only have to do it one and you can rinse and repeat in the future.
Feeling overworked and burnt out but still want to serve your clients. Outsource what you can and you will be able to get even more done in less time. People often do not like to outsource work that they have been asked to do. I don’t see a problem with it AS LONG as the person you outsource too follows your systems and procedures.
It’s as if you did the work then, it is also your responsibility to ensure each task is completed to your standards. It will be a learning curve to start with but give feedback to your outsourcer so that they can learn from it.
Sometimes it might mean that the work is actually done better. I am not great at video editing, I can do it buts it’s a total ball ache for me. One of my clients is a Facebook Live machine and has loads of great content to share, so I have outsourced this process to someone that can do it quicker and better than I can.
Win win! The clients get’s their work done to a great standard and I can concentrate on what I am good at.
Workout your Work!
Have you heard of HIIT which stands for High-Intensity Interval Training to get the best out of a workout in the quickest possible time? It means you do focused bursts of exercise to a high intensity but not for too long.
I have used this approach with work for some time. It means that I do a lot more focused work and have regular breaks. When I force myself to work to a timer I remain disciplined to keep to the task at hand and I know there is a break just around the corner. I work flat out for 25 minutes and take a 4 minute break which I used to make a coffee, put the washing on or even just sit in silence.
Working all day till the late hours doesn’t make you any more productive in fact you probably get less done. When our brains are tired and we have been working on something for a long period of time we tend to make mistakes or get side tracked.
Give it a go and let me know what you think!
Stop Multitasking Forever
It used to be a big positive to be able to multitask and spin many plates without getting stressed. I used to put it on my CV as a massive pro but it really is so bad.
When we multitask and switch between tasks SFA gets done. Have you ever tried to catch two rabbits at once? You’re much better off getting one and then the other right?
When you switch between tasks it takes about 20 minutes to get back into your rhythm. Imagine you have 3-4 tasks on the go at once!
By doing many tasks at the same time you are busy all day and don’t achieve anything. So concentrate on completing one brain powered task at a time. That way you will actually achieve something and you will get it done quicker than if you were trying to complete 3 things at once.
There are certain multitasks you can do which are productive. They have to be different types of tasks, so you group passive tasks with lower brain powered tasks.
Here are some examples:
- Housework and listening to audible
- Cooking and talking to clients
- Driving and listening to audible or talking to clients
- Going for a walk and catching up with clients or audible
- Completing your Duolingo while on the loo!
These are great ways to get more done and not compromise on productivity.
Take a FULL Day Off
Now I have not always followed this as I was always tempted to just log on quickly…
However, I found that taking one full day off per week works wonders. I chose Saturday, it’s perfect as I can spend the day with my daughter and enjoy the fruits of my hard work all week.
By taking the day off I also feel refreshed and it also makes me excited to get back to work on Sunday. Now Sunday is my planning day and I take a half day so I can get organised for the following week. I plan meals, batch cook, iron school uniform etc which actually makes me more productive the following week. It is said for every minute you spend planning you save 10 minutes in implementation!
So by spending just 10 minutes planning my week, I save 100 minutes in execution!
How about those apples?!
I have highlighted a few how being lazy or shall we say more effective can boost your productivity.
Do you agree?
Do you use any of these techniques already or would you like to start one of them?
Perhaps you have a productivity hack that you would like to share with us?
Comment below I would love to hear your thoughts.