One of the biggest questions I get from those in The Creative VA Academy is “Where do you get virtual assistant clients?!” And the answer? Everywhere! There are quite a few places where I get clients for my digital marketing business, Ava And The Bee. While most of my current leads are from word of mouth, that’s not something you will have when you first get started. As your business grows, finding clients will become easier. You will start to get referrals, and people will recognize your name. But first, you need to book your first client!
Keep in mind, finding clients depends on a lot of factors. First is the services you offer. Different services will have different price points. And different price points will mean different clients to target! So keep in mind, not all industries and services will be the same.
Before we get started, I want to clarify two terms. Networking vs. Looking For a Client. Networking is a long term strategy but gives you the best clients. Networking is all about meeting people, and making a connection. It is why most of my leads are referrals! Once people know my business and my work, they are more likely to refer me. It’s that all-important know-like-trust factor you hear about! And while Networking is the best solution for the long term, chances are, you are looking for someone now.
The best place to find your first virtual assistant client is by going local! There are dozens of businesses right in your city or town – so start networking with them! When I got started, this is where all of my first clients came from – right from the wedding industry in Savannah! By meeting you people in your area, you are not only sharing your services but making connections. And connections are essential in growing a business.
Being around freelancers and other workers also allow you to connect and share stories and struggles. By creating a local network, you will set up a place for you to go when you need help or advice!
I also suggest you share your new virtual assistant business with those you know! When you get started, it is important to share the great news. Now, you don’t want to be spammy – but you want to share your new business, and that you are looking for clients. I share only once a month or so on my personal Facebook page about my business, but when I do, I often get people tagging others that might be interested in what I do! My first three clients were all people I knew in person – zero marketing required.
Share on your Facebook and personal social media what your new business is. Encourage people to tag those who might be interested in your services. Tell your closest family and friends as well. Ask if they know any small local businesses who need help, or if they have anyone that might be interested in your services. If you are excited about this new venture, they will be too!
When it comes to Facebook, it requires a lot more networking and a lot fewer sales pitches. So this can be another long term strategy – but very rewarding! Facebook Groups can allow you to reach hundreds of potential clients, in a ton of different posts. Make sure to join groups where your potential clients hang out. Search for groups that are related to your industry, or niche. A few I love are Goal Digger Podcast Insiders, Virtual Savvies, Pinterest VA Hangouts.
When you are in a Facebook Group, search for different terms like “Help needed” or service you offer. For example, if you have Instagram as a service, search for the term “Instagram help”. Remember to not just go in and announce you need clients – that will not work! This is about building relationships and a sense of trust. Start out by offering advice, answering questions, or giving your opinion. Some posts will be asking for direct help – which is when you can sell your services. But 90% of it is helping, giving advice, and not just applying for jobs.
When I first got started, I didn’t just have my own business and clients – I also subcontracted or other business! I worked for two large companies, as their subcontractor. Not only did this give me work right away, but it also didn’t have the headache and overwhelm of dealing with clients. Instead, I was assigned to work by the company. No client communication needed! This was a great way for me to build my skills and portfolio. While a subcontract rate will be less than you would be making as a stand-alone client, for me, it was worth every penny. It allowed me to make money, while I was still learning the ropes of the business.
Reach out to those in the industry you want to be in, and see if they are looking for subcontracting help! You never know who needs help and if you can provide it. Working as a VA subcontractor is a great way to gain experience that will later give you the confidence to find and keep clients!
This is one of the best ways I am able to get referrals when I am looking to add another client. And while this doesn’t really work until you have that first client, it’s still an important step!
Send your past client a quick email, and let them know you have opening and space available. I would make sure to add why you loved working with that client, and that they might have some friends or industry vendors looking to outsource. Let them know what you are offering! This is also a great tactic if you are adding a new service, and looking to book a few clients with that new service.
One extra tip: send a gift if they refer you! I always send referral gifts, even if the referred client doesn’t book me. Even just a $5 Starbucks gift card is a great thank you, and encourages them to keep referring you!
While booking your first virtual assistant client can seem super overwhelming, by focusing on finding someone local, or in your current network, it can be much easier! Keep in mind: your first few clients might not be dream clients. Or the dream industry. And that is okay! It is completely okay to work outside of your target audience, as you grow your business. I did that myself! I didn’t always only work with wedding professionals. That took me a few years to niche down and do! For even more tips and advice on how to find clients, make sure to check out The Creative VA School. Module 7 is ALL about targeting clients, finding clients, and booking them!