Friday, June 5, 2009

Exposure: Key to Successful Virtual Assistant Business

Having the best professional Virtual Assistant website and being a highly skilled virtual assistant does not guarantee exposure. Just like any great service provider you need maximum publicity in order to get your name out there and obtain working clients.

One way of marketing yourself is via Virtual Assistant Directories.

List of some Virtual Assistant Directories:

Search4vas: Free virtual assistant directory for virtual assistants to join and networks with other Vas and market your business.

Virtual Buzz Assistant: Offers a monthly membership of $29.00 for Virtual Assistants who specialize in internet marketing.

VA Networking: Is the “largest global meeting place for aspiring and successful virtual assistants.” It is free to join and there is also a helpful eBook for Virtual Assistants who may need help in starting their business.

Virtual Assistant Forums: A forum with a wealth of information regarding virtual assistants. Registration is free, but required in order to have access to the forum.

Find Virtual: This is a social networking site that focuses on virtual assistants and the growing industry.

Virtuallin: Many tools and membership resources available to help grow your virtual assistant business. There are 3 levels of monthly memberships, $0.99, $9.99 or $24.99 per month, with different benefits for each.

Use Freelance sites to build your Virtual Assistant Portfolio

When building a Virtual Assistant business the first thing to do, after you build your professional virtual assistant website is to create profiles on freelance websites and build an online portfolio working as a freelance virtual assistant.

Here are some freelance websites that can help you get started to highlighting your skills and abilities as a great virtual assistant.

Odesk: If you are aspiring to be a virtual assistant or building your business you must be knowledgeable of Odesk. Odesk is a great way to dive into the virtual world and showcase your skills as a virtual assistant. Great site that brings together employers who are seeking qualified professionals in many different areas of interest. Many virtual assistant opportunities listed.

Elance: Build a professional virtual assistant porfolio and start bidding on projects in many different areas of business in order to build your virtual assistant portfolio.

People per hour: Another good outsourcing website. Links up companies and professional entrepreneurs who are in need of outsourcing projects to specialized individuals in many different areas.

Get a Freelancer: Online marketplace for Freelancers. Match up on this site with many customers all over the world who are seeking out professional freelancers who specialize in the area of interest of their need.

Moonlighting your skills, growing your skills set and promoting yourself as a virtual assistant goes a long way in building a reputation and proving yourself as a freelance virtual assistant. Take advantage of the many freelance websites available. Create a smashing professional virtual assistant profile for each one and include portfolio items.

Many of the freelance websites offer free and paid profiles, each offering different opportunities with each subscription. There are also many skills tests that can be taken and this is another way to prove your ability in different fields of interest. Link your professional virtual assistant website to your portfolios on these freelance websites.

Everyone Needs a Virtual Assistant

Everyone needs a Virtual Assistant, right? Yes, but as I have been working as a Virtual Assistant, I have found several helpful tips and pointers, whether you are working as a Virtual Assistant and trying to build your client base or if you are just starting out and building a new Virtual Assistant business.

1.) Create your own Virtual Assistant website: This the most important marketing tool. Who would believe a Virtual Assistant can do a good job if they are not savvy with working on the internet or putting together a website. Networking and building contacts in the regular business world is so important to growing a business or building a portfolio and the same thing applies to the “online” world or “virtual” world. Make sure your website clearly defines what types of services you provide and as much organized information you can about your particular virtual assistant business. Also, list your virtual assistant website on as many virtual assistant directories as possible.

2.) Find your niche: The reason I say this is that when a prospective client is seeking the services of a Virtual Assistant, they are not necessarily looking for a full-time secretary to work 40 hours per week for them remotely. Most business professionals and companies are seeking to fill a need that they may have. Maybe it is a small task of research and analysis of data for a new product they are thinking of launching depending on the product growth in the market. Or they could need a snazzy PowerPoint Presentation put together for a pitch to a big client. Whatever the case you need to step in and fill that need. Most often if you find a client and you work together and have great work chemistry and have provided quality services to them in a timely manner, they will work with keeping you on retainer as their Virtual Assistant.

3.) Expand your Skills-set: Gone are the days when Virtual Assistants were just known for being someone who had secretarial skills and could type and answer phones. The world is ever-changing and I think that the Virtual Assistant, not only is changing with it, but actually is part of the revolution that we are in. A good Virtual Assistant will be up on all new internet programs and applications that are available. These are some examples of tasks that an entrepreneur may need from a good virtual assistant: internet marketing, writing blog articles, blog promotion, promotion of website with blog, social networking etc. and the list goes on.

4.) Gain experience: Starting a Virtual Assistant business is not easy. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication and you have to build trust in your work and ability to work as an independent contractor. Not everyone is able to work their own hours, prioritize work-loads, multi-task between clients and keep it all together looking highly professional and being “reachable’ within a short time frame from most of your business clients. You need to build trusting relationships with business clients in hope of keeping them on or being recalled for a specific needs or tasks they may need. Once a client knows that they can come to you for just about any administrative need that you specialize in and you will provide it to them, you have built a wonderful relationship and are well on your way to building a lucrative virtual assistant business. Start out by moonlighting on freelance websites in order to build a portfolio and “prove” yourself in the “virtual” business world.