One question aspiring virtual assistants ask me all the time is “how do I get started as a virtual assistant? I've got a whole lot to say about this, after all, it's what I do..teach women how to become virtual assistants. So check out the short video below as well as what's underneath.
- Start marketing yourself as a virtual assistant to everyone you know. You have to get into the entrepreneurial mindset and shout it from the rooftop that you are open for business.
- Create a professional website. You don’t need to spend a lot of money on a website but you DO need to have a professional image on the internet. I spent a little over $300 on my first site. Want to create an awesome website without a designer on a shoestring budget? It's possible. I wrote a post about that here. Once you have a website (and even if you don't have a site yet) make sure you have a professional email address. Don’t go using something childish like firstname.lastname@example.org - that is not going to go over well with prospective clients and will make you look like an idiot (don’t go there).
- Highlight your experience. Are you insane about organization? Did your mom let you loose in her house when you were a kid because you just had to put everything in color-coded folders? This is relevant information! Use it to your advantage and include some real-world business experience as well. One of my readers is a teacher and wants to know how to translate teaching experience into virtual assistant expertise. Hell anyone that can manage 30 kids has MORE than enough experience to become a VA. Teachers have to create weekly schedules, participate in teacher/parent meetings and much MUCH more. I personally think teachers have the HARDEST job and I have nothing but respect. Start by making a list of what you do on a daily basis, then break that down into skill sets and then have someone help you create an online resume on LinkedIn that really showcases your skills!
- Communicate what you do. Now that you’ve created a list of your skills, write a paragraph or two describing how those skills translate into benefits that your prospective clients can use to help them with their business. You might need some help with this from a friend who can provide an objective point of view.
- Get some client testimonials. Okay, I know you’re thinking "how on earth am I going to get testimonials", I don’t even have clients! Here’s how you do it. Go out and offer your services for free or at a discounted rate in exchange for a great client review. Showcase these client reviews on your website and your LinkedIn profile.
- Network, network, and network some more! I can't stress enough how important it is to just go out and talk to people about what you’re doing. I live in Israel but most of my clients are based in North America. I am constantly networking on social media sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. All you have to do is join a conversation, provide value by answering questions and lending your expertise. I landed my first and key client by joining a conversation about what women executives should wear to work during summer months and the conversation was centered on pantyhose! One of the women participating in the conversation decided to check out my profile on LinkedIn and started a conversation with me about virtual assistance. Go figure!
If you prefer more face-to-face networking then attend a meet-up at your local Chamber of Commerce, BMI or join a local networking group on LinkedIn (i.e. LinkedIn San Francisco always advertises free or minimal cost networking events). Go to these meet-ups prepared with a business card (don't have one? Go here.) and a 1-minute spiel explaining what you do in 1 minute or less. Don't forget to BE CONFIDENT.
Nothing turns off someone more than a person who is unsure of who they are and what they do. Here's an example - I am a virtual assistant that specializes in database and calendar management, OR I am a virtual assistant that specializes in event planning for corporate off-site events.
For those of you who are interested in joining an already established virtual assistance business here are a few companies that are looking to hire. Take it a step further and research for yourself on Google as there are literally hundreds of VA firms that are hiring right now.
To get hooked up with some like-minded individuals who are total newbies to the virtual assistant industry just like you join my Facebook group, The Virtual Assistant Tribe. This is a group filled with total newbies and some pretty hardcore, successful virtual assistants that can and will answer all of your questions plus I'll even jump in from time to time.
I'd love to hear from you. How did you get started as a virtual assistant? What additional questions do you have about starting a career as a virtual assistant?