Sell Out Your Services as a Virtual Assistant
*This post may contain affiliate links. This means I may earn a small commission (at no cost to you) if you sign up for a program or make a purchase using my link!
There’s nothing I love more than a good “Success Story”. It’s why I’m a sucker for those weight loss shows and Shark Tank stories. They just make you feel good inside, right?
Let me tell you, though – the BEST success stories come from the people that I work with directly.
Here’s some of the “success stories” people have sent to me, just in the last few weeks:
Does that fire you up like it does me? There’s something about success stories that make you say, “If she can do it… I can do it too!”
Whether it’s Shark Tank successes or Virtual Assistants posting their “win’s”, the problem usually is, we don’t know HOW to get there ourselves. We see the success story, but we don’t get to see behind the scenes and know what it took to make it happen.
That’s why I want to pull back the curtain today and show you the EXACT steps that I lead my Virtual Assistant clients through to start gaining more clients for their business.
Ready for a step-by-step, detailed marketing plan for your Virtual Assistant business? You’re in the right place.
Here’s something that’s tough to say, but it needs to be said:
Your clients are NOT going to come to you.
At least, not at first. When you first start your virtual assistant business, no one knows who you are or what you can do for them. If you want to start getting clients for your business, you are going to have to go out and GET them.
Marketing scares the crap out of people. This is usually for two reasons:
1. You aren’t confident in your own abilities
2. You don’t have a plan of action (and simply, just don’t know what to do)
Let’s talk about each of these super-quick.
You aren’t confident in your own abilities.
You became a virtual assistant for a reason. Most people who start virtual assistant businesses have some kind of administrative background. You have been in a supporting role in the past, you have techie skills, or have some other skill that originally made you think, “Hey, maybe I can do this!”.
Hold on to that. Gather testimonials from friends and family that say, “This girl is incredible. You should hire her now”. It’s okay if you haven’t had a client. You have skills to offer and the ability to learn. You ARE worth hiring. Know it. Believe it. Gather a few stories from others so you can remind yourself and your future clients.
You don’t have a plan of action.
That’s when it’s time to ask for a little help along the way. You don’t have experience selling out virtual assistant services. So, you need to ask help from someone who has (ahem… that would be me : ).
Here’s the four-piece marketing plan I’m going to be sharing with you today.
Take notes, this info is legit.
1. Reserve an hour a day to market your business
2. Send out a friends and family email
3. Make Facebook groups your new best friend
4. Propose well
Let’s jump into each of these, in detail.
RESERVE AN HOUR A DAY TO MARKET YOUR BUSINESS
What is the most important part of a virtual assistant business?
A logo? Nope.
A perfect website? Uh-uh.
A time-tracking system? No siree.
The MOST IMPORTANT part of your virtual assistant business. The MAIN thing that you need in order to make it successful is…
Earth-shattering, right? Seriously though. If you don’t have clients – you won’t make money and you won’t HAVE a business.
That’s why it’s so important to have marketing as part of your daily schedule. I recommend having at least one hour a day set aside for marketing your business. When you are first starting out – increase that number as much as you can. Spend 3, 4, 5 hours marketing your business. It’s the one thing that will actually yield a return.
So, go ahead – right now – and decide when you will spend time marketing your business. Put it in your planner, or it won’t happen. When will you carve out time in your day to market your business?
Don’t move on to the next step until you’ve done this. Or else, you won’t actually make it a priority!
SEND OUT A FRIENDS AND FAMILY EMAIL
This is seriously one of the easiest ways to start finding clients, that most virtual assistants (and other business owners, for that matter) tend to skip over.
You may be thinking, “Abbey – my friends and family don’t need a virtual assistant”.
First off – MAYBE THEY DO!
Second – MAYBE THEY KNOW SOMEONE WHO DOES!
Even if your Aunt Silvia isn’t a business owner, I can guarantee she knows a business owner, and would likely be happy to send your information along to the right people.
Here’s how you’ll accomplish this task:
Step #1: Make a list of 50+ friends and family members
This list is easier to find than you may think. Start an excel spreadsheet (I even made one for you HERE) where you can list out the people you plan to reach out to.
First, list out your family.
Then, go through your list of friends on Facebook, your followers on Twitter and Instagram, your connections on LinkedIn. Who are you already connected with?
Lastly, go through your email and look at the people that you have emailed in the last 6 months. How many of these individuals could you add to your list?
Step #2: Send a personalized email to each person
Yes – this is going to take time. But you’re here because you need clients, right?
Here’s the email template that I suggest sending out to your friends and family:
If you don’t have the email address of the person you want to reach out to, simply send them something similar via social media. Even better, give them a call and have a conversation about what you are doing.
The goal is to GET OUT THERE. Let people know what you are doing so they can support you. Remember, these are the people that love you and believe in you already. LET THEM support you!
Step #3: Follow up
You’ve sent out your email to 50+ people. Some of them you may get responses from and some of them you may not. I recommend setting a reminder for yourself to reach out to these individuals again in a week. It’s not being pushy. Most people just forget to get around to stuff like this – so a reminder email will help them tremendously!
MAKE FACEBOOK GROUPS YOUR NEW BEST FRIEND
Facebook is the #1 spot where I found my clients for my Virtual Assistant business. It’s where online entrepreneurs are hanging out, and where many go to first when they are looking for their own VA.
Here’s how to make Facebook groups your new best friend.
Step #1: Request to join 30+ entrepreneurial Facebook groups
This is easier than you may think. There are literally thousands of groups that entrepreneurs are hanging out in every day. These people are growing their businesses and are prime candidates for hiring a Virtual Assistant.
Here’s a quick video tutorial on how I find Facebook groups for entrepreneurs:
Here’s some of the key search terms you can look for when discovering groups:
I would recommend sticking with groups that have 1,000 members or more. These groups generally have more involvement and you’ll be casting out a wider net when trying to find people who need a VA.
Step #2: Do a DAILY search in each of these groups
Remember how you set aside an hour a day for marketing?
This is where the majority of that time is going to be spent when you are first starting out.
You’ll go into your groups each day and search for the term “VA” and “Virtual Assistant”. You might even want to add “Social Media Manager”, “OBM”, and “Online Business Manager” to your list.
Once you’ve searched for this term, you’ll see all the times that a member of the group has searched for that term. Oftentimes, the individual will be posting that they NEED a VA. This is your time to comment on their post and send them a personalized proposal.
A quick note on Facebook Groups:
Facebook groups are an incredible way to find community with other entrepreneurs, not just market your own business. I recommend finding 4-5 groups that you make “your people”. Share your life and your business struggles with them. When it comes to Facebook groups, look for a community – not just clients. Some of my FAVORITE groups for finding real community and awesome support are:
Savvy Business Owners with Heather Crabtree
For Love + Money with Caitlin Bacher
Blog + Biz BFFs with Melyssa Griffin
Freedom Hacker’s Mastermind with Kimra Luna
Step #3: Show up regularly in three or more Facebook groups
Many people avoid posting in Facebook groups because they don’t want to appear “sales-y”.
However, showing up in groups on a regular basis (posting 1-3x per day) can be one of the BEST ways to find clients for your virtual assistant business!
When you post regularly, people will begin to notice you and will be curious about the services that you offer.
In fact, I recommend prioritizing posting in Facebook groups regularly over posting on your own Facebook business page!
So… what do you post about?
Here’s a lovely little cheat sheet to help you do just that:
I’m about to share with you the SECRET to finding clients for your virtual assistant business.
This is seriously the #1 way that you will stand out from the crowd and start getting clients for your VA Business.
It’s ALL about the proposal.
Remember how you’ve been searching daily in Facebook groups for the terms “VA” and “Virtual Assistant”?
Once you find a person looking to hire a Virtual Assistant, the game isn’t over.
Chances are, there are going to be other virtual assistants vetting for the same job. A few weeks ago, I hired a virtual assistant to help me out with a few tasks and I got 35 responses.
Yep – 35. That’s a LOT.
If you are going to stand a CHANCE in getting that job, you’re going to have to stand out.
Before you get scared, let me reassure you. Standing out doesn’t mean having the most polished website or even the most experience. It means going above and beyond in your proposal.
What does a BAD proposal look like?
Seriously. So bad. But it’s what I see VA’s doing time and time again.
By submitting this kind of “proposal”, you are leaving all the work in their hands. You may still get jobs if you have a really stellar website, but I guarantee you won’t make people say “WOW” with a proposal like this.
So, if you’re ready to propose well, do these three things:
1. Spend time researching.
Let the potential client know that you will be sending them an email or private message, but then spend some time researching their business. Take time to read who they are and what they offer. What have they posted about previously in this same Facebook group? What do you like about their website or the programs they offer? What do you see immediately that you can help with? You’ll only know this by taking the time to research them.
2. Make it personal.
When you email your client – make sure to give them a compliment on what they are doing or tell them what you like about their products. Is there anything that connects the two of you? Maybe you grew up in the same state or have the same kind of dog in her profile picture. Find a way to connect and make it personal.
3. Give value first.
What if you took an extra 30 minutes to SHOW your potential client what you could do for them? In addition to sending them a general portfolio of your work, is there a way that you could show off your skills for their business personally?
Here’s some ideas of how this could play out:
The client: Wants help with Pinterest
Give value: Go ahead and create a “pinnable” image for their most recent blog post
The client: Is looking for someone to help them with blogging
Give value: Write out a very detailed outline for a post you would like to write for them
The client: Wants help with scheduling tweets
Give value: Make a list of 50 tweets that you have pre-created for them
The client: Wants help growing their Instagram account
Give value: Lay out a personalized plan of the exact steps you’ll do for them to increase their followers and engagement.
I’m telling you – people aren’t doing this. It takes time. It takes you doing work without getting paid for it *Ghasp!*. However, if this is a client you really want to work with (which you’ll actually know since you’ve done your research), isn’t it worth it to take time to make sure your proposal gets noticed?
Building a business isn’t easy. It will take work. It will take waking up early and saying “no” to other things. However, when you land your first client (and then another… and another… and another) it makes the hard work 1000% worth it.
Here’s the steps you’ll need to land your first (and future) clients for your Virtual Assistant business:
1. Reserve an hour a day to market your business
2. Send out a friends and family email
3. Make Facebook groups your new best friend
4. Propose well
Let me help simplify this for you. I’ve collected all the tools in this article in one “Sell Out Your Services” swipe file. This file will include:
• A daily checklist/marketing plan to help you accomplish the goals listed here
• An editable copy of the friends and family email
• A massive list of all the entrepreneurial groups I recommend joining
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I’ve read post “like this” everywhere, but there are so many things I hadn’t heard before. Great “timely” information. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks Vittoria! Glad you liked it. Is there a method that you’re going to try?
Great Ideas. Thank you for sharing. I did not know until now how to use FB properly when it comes to groups.
So happy it was helpful!
This post was excellent and even though I’m not a Virtual Assistant it has really helped me
I am so happy that you liked it!
I love this! And it is useful for all sorts of work, not just virtual assisting. I can specifically see a lot of this working for freelance writers as well. Thank you!
I am so glad that you liked it!!!
I love the process! It’s going to be my new years resolution, thank you for sharing ?
Awesome! Thanks for sharing. Make sure to let us know how it goes!
Hi Abbey, thanks for sharing this! I’m confident I’ve got awesome admin skills, but I have no – zero – zilch -marketing background. This article was very helpful – after reading dozens of “make your VA business a success” style articles this one had some really useful tips I’ve not previously heard. I’m new to Facebook and have heard it can be useful for networking to get clients, but had very little idea HOW to use it for that. Your specific steps for that sound really useful. Look forward to giving them a go.
This is really helpful thank you!
Glad this helped you out! Join our Virtual Savvies Facebook Group if you haven’t already, so we can celebrate with you once you SELL OUT your services! 🙂
Ai Ai Ai….!!!!!
I feel like a new VA!! This is stuff that I have not learnt before, from many other coaches. But, I am super excited to get going….seriously.
Thank you so so so much Abbey!!
No problem Evah! Trust me I am always learning new things!
This post was awesome!!! I love your website.
Thank you so much for this post. I am a new VA, and have been trying to figure out how to get clients for my author services business. I can’t wait to print out your check list and fill it out.
We are so glad you liked it! Thanks for the feedback!
This post (like ALL of your others) is so helpful!
I am starting a freelance writing business…but I admit I’m overwhelmed with trying to find jobs. There’s a lot to apply for in the tech space, but that’s not what I write. I am considering marketing myself as a VA instead (who writes…blog posts, web copy, emails, etc.)
Have you had any students who were writers do this successfully?
I suppose it can’t hurt.
Competition is steep everywhere in freelancing.
Maybe it’s more about going the extra mile like you talk about in the post, and not really significant which way I market myself. Hmmm.
I could always start marketing myself as a VA and pivot over to writer later. ??
I totally get where your coming from. I say embrace what your good at and market yourself as a copywriter. The more specific the better. It’s all about going the extra mile so you can stand out.
Thanks Abbey! I really appreciate the reply. Yes, I will do that and stick with what I love! cari
Wonderful…glad to help! 🙂
Abbey, This is really great and helpful. I am working as a VA from past 2 years but always thought on some strategies on how to sell. I am gonna follow these now. Thanks again.
No problem! Glad to help!
Thank you for giving us tips on how to market ourselves as VA. I agree with you that the most important part of this industry is our clients. I would say this is also the most challenging part of a virtual career. 🙂
No problem Ligaya! It just takes some practice to learn to manage clients, and soon it won’t be as challenging. Good luck and feel free to reach out if you have any questions! 🙂
Thank you for this. I definitely need to stop lurking in groups and be apart of the community.
Community is where it’s at! Set aside some time each day in your schedule to build relationships, and you will be amazed at the result it has on your business. 🙂
Thank you for this information. Very helpful for me. Greetings from México
Glad you liked it, Elisa!
Hello there! I am a new VA and I’m having some trouble. I want to market my services to local small businesses, but they aren’t currently asking for some help. I want to email them a pitch, but I don’t know how to word it properly. What would be the best format to look professional when emailing local businesses?
Hi Geneva, thanks so much for reaching out! And great question! This blog post goes into how to pitch/propose well, and should answer your questions. I hope that helps, and please feel free to ask if you have any more questions. 🙂
Thank you so much for this, Abbey. I learned a lot, and plan to apply it immediately.
That’s wonderful to hear, Annette! Let us know how it goes for you. 🙂
I am starting out to become a VA. This website is by far the best I have read.
Thank you for the advice and honesty.
Hi Jay, thanks so much for taking the time to reach out. I appreciate you! 🙂
Another great read thanks to you Abbey! I am always amazed at how you are able to write and make your readers feel that they are just talking to a friend.
Thanks for the sweet words Kimberly! Makes my day. 🙂
Could you write about how to use job boards to find work? What is the process?
Are there best job boards to find work? What should we say in our outreach to the business owner? Should we call or email and what would an email say?
These are all great questions, Denise! I would recommend that you grab a copy of my “Land Your First Client” workbook, and watch my webinar, “How to Become a Booked Out VA.” Both are free, and will answer your questions in much more detail than I could explain here. 🙂
Land Your First Client Workbook –> https://www.thevirtualsavvy.com/swag/
Become a Booked Out Virtual Assistant webinar –> https://www.thevirtualsavvy.com/bbo
Wow, I am not a VA but these rules can apply to any business. Great free guide.
Thanks Gail! 🙂
This is genius! I have been feeling very overwhelmed with everything that goes into making this business work. Everything you provide has such value!
Awww, that is so sweet of you to say, Brianna! Thanks for stopping by the blog!
Great post. I love your blog by the way. I am new the to VA world. Haven’t officially started but highly considering it since I have the skills and love virtual work. It would allow me to stay home longer with my boys. I have no problem doing the work, but my question is when you go above and beyond do you somehow brand the suggestions so they don’t just copy and paste or do you give it to them for free?
Great question, Yondel!
When you’re pitching potential clients, typically, we recommend that you give something away completely for free, with no strings attached. If you’re worried about people stealing your work in the future, try and create something that is specific to that (potential) client–a branded graphic, short blog post, etc.
I hope that helps!
Hi Abbey! Thanks for sharing this. This is really helpful specialy for someone like me who was just starting in VA Business.
Glad to help, Anne! You can do this!
I’ve enjoyed your blog very much and forwarding it to my nephew who recently just started his own Virtual Assistant Business! You are very detailed and easy to understand! Thank you.
Thank you, Cathy, for passing this on! Our goal at The Virtual Savvy is to help aspiring VA’s to find their niche and be successful! Best wishes to your nephew!
Thank you for sharing us.
This is probably the single most helpful post I have read. I’ve spent hours, over the last several days, learning about becoming a Virtual Assistant. Thank you for taking the time to explain an easier way to accomplish my goals.
I was recently diagnosed with RA, so working on my feet 10 to 12 hours a day is extremely difficult. I was desperate to do more. I am going to get started on this right away (well after my 10 hours of work)!
You are so very welcome! I am glad that you found it helpful. I wish you all the best in your VA journey! 🙂
love love love this Abbey, THANK YOU!
Thank u for this article it came on the right time for me. Ive been lost on so many details to get started, that i forget to really get started, it was insightful and made me feel ready to take the next step.
YAY! So excited for you to take this next step in starting your own VA business. If you haven’t already, make sure to check out my FREE TRAINING as well.
Thanks for the idea of joining so many FB groups and some ideas of what to search for. I am now looking to join a bunch more!!
Thanks for sharing this. Will start now one hour daily to market my business/services. I have joined already groups or communities of moms, business owners, coaches, etc., but just now I have clarity on how and why should I need to post within the groups to be visible for the clients.
Hi Anne! Sounds like you are on the right path! How exciting! The daily time will definitely help take you the extra mile.
Thank you Abbey, this email couldn’t have come at a better time.
I’m a new Exec PA to Exec VPA and appreciate all the help I can get. I’ve been struggling to find a way to market my services that results in leads or at least a discovery call.
I’ve read loads of info on different sites (reading is my thing), by different “gurus” in this field of business and can say with absolute confidence that your info is by far the most useful. It’s self-explanatory, easy to follow and implement. You offer real value to those of us who just can’t afford your course just yet. As soon as I have the funds I’m jumping on board. It’s on my goals list for 2020.
Gillian, thank you so much! What a compliment! I cannot express how excited and grateful I am that you are finding value in my content. I can’t wait to have you jump on board!
Abbey, Thank you so much for all the information you are sharing!!!
I am in process of starting my virtual assistant business.
I have taken extensive notes and I am feeling like I have a good start.
If I have other questions as I go along… Where would I be able to chat with you regarding specific questions that I may have? I do have a website, but I haven’t added the virtual assistant part yet. What do you think?
Hey, Paula! Thank you for your kind words. I am so glad that you are finding value. If and when you have questions, feel free to email my team at [email protected]! We are always more than happy to help! Good luck!
Love it. Thanks for sharing this. What a great article.
Thank you so much! We really value your feedback!
You are God sent. God bless you and your business. Thank you so much for always putting up great content that provides immense value to newbies and advanced VA alike. I want you to know that you have been the first VA mentor that I look up to. They say that you should follow what people who have the success you want are doing. And I am following your steps. This article is exactly what I needed to develop my marketing plan. Thanks again.
Melanies, Thank you SO MUCH! Seriously, this made my day. You are so kind and I really appreciate your feedback. I am glad that I can be of help to you, and I hope that you continue to grow and succeed! Please reach out if you ever have questions! 🙂
Thank you Abby for this timely reminder, all this while I was just throwing spaghetti on the wall to see which one sticks, but with this simple yet effective methods you’ve just highlighted, having a Satisfying results in my VA biz is a 1000% attainable!
Peter, I am so glad you are finding value in my content! Good luck with the spaghetti 😉
Thank you Abbey! This is an absolutely wonderful resource for marketing. My questions: Since Facebook groups can require a lot of maintenance, do you recommend this strategy for solopreneurs who don’t have a lot of time or who will be starting their VA biz on a very small scale? Also is “word of mouth” still relevant in this digital age? Thanks so much. I highly value your response.
Hey, Cynthia! In short, yes. You don’t have to spend a lot of time in the groups, but personally and with my students, it is where I see a great majority of clients come from! As for word of mouth – YES! Still so relevant. The best way to let people know what you’re doing is to simply tell them, because they will tell others 😉
Wow! Thanks for sharing this, Abbey! Very informative.
No problem Grace! So glad this was helpful for you!!!