Where to find clients as a Virtual Assistant
An introduction: Finding clients as a Virtual Assistant
When you start your online business from home, you’re likely to get a block in how to find clients to start generating income. In this post, we will bounce ideas about where to find clients online and offline!
Ready? Let’s go.
What will you take away today?
In this blog post you will learn;
Ideas on where you can go to find online clients as a Virtual Assistant
#1: Online Job Boards
Before I list these resources, I have to let you know that there has been no affiliate or commission made on any of these recommendations, they are simply those that I believe are great avenues for finding new business.
You can use online job boards such as the below in the UK;
Use keywords such as ‘remote’, ‘virtual’, ‘work from home’
For a Virtual Assistant, as I am one, I suggest using the category ‘Admin, Secretarial and PA jobs’
TIP: on the left-hand side of Gumtree, when you’re in a category, for instance, Admin, Secretarial and PA, there’s a ‘Top Searches’ section underneath the keyword search box.
Sometimes you will find that there are ads from agencies but from past experience, if you keep looking in here, you will eventually find someone who is looking for remote support but remember so many businesses, online businesses etc are looking for Virtual Assistants / Freelancers.
Upwork.com is an online platform which matches businesses and skilled professionals and in their own words “We empower our customers to confidently work together in new and more flexible ways.”
With Upwork, any job which can be done remotely, from a laptop, can be done through the platform.
At the point of writing, Upwork public statistics state that they’re the largest freelancing website with;
$1B+ work done
30% of Fortune 500 companies choose Upwork
My own experience with Upwork.com is that there are little projects which really catch my attention plus the billing is largely in USD, however, that being said, it’s never short of new posts looking for skilled professionals so I’d suggest setting up an account and getting to work browsing the platform. When you find a project you would like to work on, you place a cover letter and bid on the job. The business owner then reviews and either approves or declines your proposal.
PeoplePerHour has been incredibly fruitful for me. I have met some AMAZING clients through the platform and I was able to really pin down my processes and strategies working virtually when I was new into the Industry.
The platform itself is easy to use and it ultimately connects skilled and expert freelancers to clients and from my experience, the projects are really varied, some small one-off projects which are best for hourly rate charging and others being longterm projects with a fixed price project work or hourly retainers.
Being a freelancer on the platform, clients can search for what they’re looking for and if you fit the skills and persona they set then they can invite you to bid on their projects directly, which gives you a good headstart to others who are just searching for work and bidding. Again, when you see a job/project you’d like to work on, you complete a proposal (more on that in another post) and send off to the client, this uses your bid credits which, you get 15 free bid credits per month and it is generally 1 credit per proposal sent.
A personal stat, once I got the hang of writing the proposals, I didn’t get to the end of a month without securing a client (either new or I had a recurring). If you do run out of proposal bids however and you’re keen to get more, you can purchase them.
PeoplePerHour, in my opinion, is a great little platform for Freelancers BUT be sure to really dive in with any prospective clients and get a REAL understanding of the scope of work they require, because it isn’t always the lucky case of finding amazing clients thus it’s not always smooth sailing. Take that from my own personal experience!
Again, Freelancers matches businesses with skilled professionals. These are mainly technical, professional or creative freelancers.
I haven’t personally used this platform to obtain work as a Virtual Assistant but I have used the platform to hire, specifically web developers, who seem to be in their masses on this platform.
Freelancer.com works like the others, A business posts a project, freelancers can bid/apply for the project work and the business owner reviews all applications, they can chat via the workstreams (like the others) and then accept or decline based on the initial discussions/proposal. Payment is made when the business owner is satisfied with the completion of work.
Although these are great platforms, be mindful that the competition is high and people try to get the lowest rate possible. Ensure you have a strong proposal and persist with bidding for the jobs which suit you and your skills. This is how I started as a Virtual Assistant and got a lot of great clients from these platforms, I very very rarely negotiated on my rates, the only time I did was if and when there was organic recurring work offered, which is entirely possible if you wow the socks off your new client!
#2 Work with a Virtual Assistant Agency
I worked with www.timeetc.co.uk and still do. There are fantastic clients I still work with that I was matched with through Time Etc. The rate starts at £11 but through experience, if you continue to give value to your clients and be a consistent and good VA your rate will increase over time, as mine has considerably.
It’s not the most fruitful of return when you’re established because they work on an hourly model, HOWEVER, for me, it’s not about the money but the relationships which I have built and grown through working with Time etc clients.
To get started as a VA with Time etc you’ll need to head over to their website, apply to be a VA and you’ll go through an interview process and either be accepted or not. It’s that simple and great because they have set standard criteria.
The best thing I have found with Time etc is the human interaction behind the Virtual platform. Account managers and the founder, Barnaby Lashbrooke, are genuine human beings and in my opinion, non-judgemental people and very supportive in any given situation you as a Freelancer or as a Client may face.
I reached out to Barnaby for this article and he said;
“Our/My mission remains as it has always been – to help busy entrepreneurs to achieve more, without having to work harder. The most rewarding part of this mission is the opportunity for work that we’re able to create for our incredible freelance Virtual Assistants we work with all over the UK and the US. In many cases, our Virtual Assistants have found themselves ‘cast out’ of the traditional work environment after starting families, and it’s immensely satisfying to be able to offer opportunities for those people to continue to use their skills, earn an income and thrive as a Virtual Assistant.”
Register today: http://www.timeetc.co.uk/be-a-virtual-assistant/
Moving on, you may also see from time to time that in Facebook groups that VA agencies are looking to expand and scale.
#3 In person Networking
People buy from People, is what I truly believe and the best way for people to learn about you is in person.
I really like that Networking is personal. Relationships and connections can be built, people can learn a lot about you and your skills/business from simple group discussions.
TIP: if you go to Networking groups, go with the aim of giving. Give good information about something in your industry, give valuable advice and guidance if people seek it, get involved with discussions. Share, share, share!
When I first started networking, I was incredibly nervous. I was nervous to meet others, but once I did it once, it was absolutely fine and the following networking meetings, I was returning with more and more confidence and interestingly, I have largely been the only Virtual Assistant in the group.
Although network events may not create a flood of clients or income, the more you attend the more likely you’re going to be the person who is recommended when said business owners have the opportunity to recommend you as a Virtual Assistant.
Where to find networking events?
- Join local business groups on Facebook
- Search Networking
- Search the area you’re in
- Results will load
- On Facebook
- Explore groups
- Your location Networking: in my instance, I searched ‘Cornwall Networking’ and a list of various posts related to or groups for Networking in Cornwall loaded.
#4 Social Media Groups
Facebook Groups and LinkedIn groups are my best recommendations: as mentioned above, you can get a lot of information from Facebook Groups. When you’ve found the Facebook groups you’d be interested in joining and you’ve joined/been accepted in, keep a lookout for people requesting help or support from others in the group.
There’s one crucial point to make here, don’t assume that people will just see you and come to you in the group if they’re looking for a VA, some of these groups are packed with experts in their own fields.
The key to social media groups is to;
- Ask questions
- Answer other peoples questions with VALUABLE answers
- Give people VALUE through your interaction, never be worried about sharing too much. It’s good to give. No really, not only does it give you feel-good feelings, it positions you well as knowing your know!
#5 Friends, Family and Business Network Contacts
Tell everyone about your new venture, let people know what you’re doing and let them know how people can contact you. Old business contacts are a great start and friends and family members may know someone who needs your services. Reach out to as many people as possible to let them know about your new business!
TIP: This doesn’t need to be daunting, the chances are someone who you contact will either need you or know other business owners who they’d be happy to recommend you to. If your contact is interested in what you’re doing GREAT! Ask them for the best email address you can use to keep them informed and you start your email list! If they say they’re not interested, thank them for your time and move on.
In this blog post we covered;
- Ideas on where you can go to find online clients as a Virtual Assistant.
- Ideas for online job boards
- Ideas for Networking
- Ideas for Social Media groups
What was the top thing you are taking away from this post?
Let me know in the comments below and as always, please use the information I share to make a change as acting is the only way forward to succeeding.