If you’ve just started your Virtual Assistant business or have been thinking about becoming a Virtual Assistant you  are probably quite eager to secure clients. Unfortunately the “build it and they will come” quote from the Field of Dreams does not apply here.

Use Google’s Keyword Tool and you will see there are over 22,000 monthly searches for “virtual assistant jobs” and about 15,000 searches for “virtual assistant positions“. The numbers speak for themselves; there are a lot of people out there trying to find information and / or virtual assistant work. Let’s dig in and go over some ideas you can implement to increase your odds.

I’ll break this post into three main parts:

  1. Make it easy for people to find you
  2. Resources for submitting RFP’s
  3. Networking and other ideas

Being Found as a Virtual Assistant

We live in a highly connected world and since we, as Virtual Assistants, can work with anyone, anywhere it’s important that you are found in multiple places. Personally I prefer Twitter so I spend the majority of my time there but I recognize that each person has their own preferred social network. That being said, be EVERYWHERE!

Places to Be Found:

  1. A professional virtual assistant website: This has a huge impact on how you are perceived and is one area I wouldn’t suggest skimping dollars on. Weebly, WordPress.com and other free websites don’t portray the same level of professionalism. A self-hosted WordPress site is so incredibly easy to maintain and hosting is relatively inexpensive. Consider hiring someone to do SEO on your site. This has had a HUGE impact on how I built my client base so quickly.
  2. Twitter
  3. Facebook Page
  4. Google Plus
  5. LinkedIn
  6. YouTube (if you like to do videos)

Where to Find Virtual Assistant Work

There are a number of sites you can join to get access to submitting RFP’s (Request for Proposal). Some will cost you money; it’s an investment in your business (and a tax write-off) and the links to your website in the profiles on those sites can help your SEO. (not really a topic for this post but I wanted to point it out).

Need a resource to learn the best practices for submitting RFP’s? Check out this ebook!

Anyone who has read Tim Ferris’ book, Four Hour Workweek, knows about Elance. Elance, Odesk and other “bid for job” sites are OK but are highly, highly competitive. In my opinion, don’t spend your time trying to compete with someone who can afford to work for $10/hr. Rather invest time in taking a class and learning a new skill.

  1. The Right VA – This a virtual assistant matchmaker type of service; you can join and list your business in one category for free; additional categories cost $4.00/month.
  2. IVAA – this is an organization I’ve known about since I started out but I never joined so I can’t tell you much except that they do also have RFP’s available to paid members.
  3. VANetworking – another one I’ve known about forever; I am only a free member there (and I don’t believe free members have access to anything RPF related).

Networking and Other Ideas:

This step cannot be overlooked! Don’t view others in this field as competition. There is more than enough business out there for everyone. Take time to reach out and get to know other Virtual Assistants, those connections can prove to be incredibly beneficial.

For example: One of my long-term clients asked me if I could transcribe their monthly Blog Talk Radio interviews. I don’t do transcription and the thought of it freaks me out. But Valerie does transcription. It’s a win-win for all. My client didn’t have to research and find someone, Valerie has recurring monthly work and I make a tiny spread on the sub-contractor rate Valerie charges me and what I charge my client.

Other Ideas:

  1. Set up Google Alerts (some people blog about their need for a VA)
  2. Join LinkedIn Groups (most have a job posting category)
  3. Set up keyword searches in Hootsuite or Tweetdeck – respond to those who are looking for services you offer (also a great way to meet & connect with other Virtual Assistants)
  4. Reach out to other Virtual Assistants and ask if they work with sub-contractors
  5. If you have defined your Ideal Client do a Google Search and contact that person through their website
  6. Face to Face Networking Groups – BNI, Chamber of Commerce, Barcamp, etc.
  7. Comment on blog posts, offer to write (or host) a guest post

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you are first starting out. Don’t try to do everything all at once. Even just one or two of these items, done well and consistently can have substantial rewards (I’ve gotten most of my clients as a direct result of the relationships I’ve built on Twitter and word of mouth.)

This week commit to spending at least one hour on any of the items suggested above (or 30 minutes on two). Do the same next week. And the week after. You’ll start seeing results, maybe not immediately but it will happen.

The key is ACTION! Nothing changes unless action is taken.

Photo Credit: Photoxpress user jedphoto