We all need advice sometimes, but the problematic part is that advice can be subjective. What’s great advice for one person may be horrible advice for the next person.
I feel like this is especially true for people who work virtually, or run their own business from home.
It’s an amazing concept – working from home and establishing a business on your own terms, setting your own hours and paying the bills in your pajamas. But none of that will ever happen if you don’t have clients.
The one thing that vexes virtual assistants most. It can be so challenging to find them, especially if you’re new.
The thing is, everyone has different ways of successfully landing clients. This can be super confusing when you’re just starting out as a virtual assistant.
Wouldn’t life be sooo much easier if there was one exact formula to follow that was guaranteed to work 100% of the time?
But it’s also good news that there isn’t a one size fits all method. You can absolutely be successful in finding and keeping clients, and running your own business in a way that feels right for you.
Before I give you my personal tips, I just want to encourage you to take everything you read or hear with a grain of salt. Like I mentioned earlier, what works well for one person may never work for you.
My favourite example of this is Upwork. I tried once, and I was so confused and frustrated that I finally realized I was just wasting my time on that platform. That’s not to say I’ll never go back and try it again. But for now I’ve found other methods that are serving me well, so I’ll stick with them.
Using Social Media Platforms To Start Landing Clients
I have three words for you – Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest. And I put them in this order for a very specific reason.
Facebook is first because…
I think Facebook groups are the perfect place to find your first client.
Now be aware, it is very bad to just promote yourself in a Facebook group. You will probably get kicked out. So here’s what I suggest: pick a couple of groups that you can at least somewhat commit yourself to, and be active and genuine in those groups. Give a tidbit of advise when you can, congratulate people on their own personal wins, and leave positive comments and be encouraging. People will start to recognize you as someone valuable and you may even build some relationships! (This is called networking but tbh I don’t really like that word so I try not to use it.)
Another thing I would recommend doing (and this is exactly how I got my first ever client) is to offer your service (or one of your services) in exchange for a testimonial (← very important). I did this when the admin of one of the groups I was in put up a post that said something like “Comment with something you need done in exchange for something you can offer.”
All I did was comment that I would like to offer a month of free Pinterest Management Services in exchange for a testimonial. I got quite a few responses and met some truly amazing entrepreneurs. Literally one of the smartest things I’ve ever done for my business. It gave me a lot of good quality practice which made me much more confidant in my offerings, plus it gave me testimonials to put on my website. And I’ve also gotten referrals from those people that I originally connected with!
If you get an opportunity to do this, I very much suggest you take it. And if someone posts a #jobopp, by all means apply! (BONUS TIP – read the entire post before applying and follow instructions exactly)
Next comes Instagram…
If you’re a grammer, you probably understand that Instagram is a very visual platform. Meaning everything you post has to be aesthetically pleasing. Notice I didn’t say perfect, because I don’t believe that at all.
And honestly I get that that’s how IG gets a bit of a bad rep, because if everyone’s only posting a highlight reel of their lives and hiding all the less than perfect moments, we start to feel like a failure in comparison. And if comparison is the thief of joy it can quickly turn into a downward spiral. Especially if you’re just starting out, it can seem like everyone has a flourishing business except for you.
But if you look at Instagram from a positive and strategic perspective, it really is a great place to showcase the best things about your business while being positive and supportive to others, and build real relationships. (There’s that “networking” aspect again.)
So just to cover the basics: in order to have any sort of presence on Instagram, you have to be posting regularly. Obviously, the pictures you post need to look good, and I firmly believe that it really does help if your profile has a cohesive feed because it gives a good first impression.
And make sure you’re interacting. Make it fun and genuinely “talk” to people by liking and commenting on others’ posts (that you do in fact like and make it a heartfelt comment – don’t spam!), watch and comment on stories, and be sure to interact with people who are liking, commenting and following you!
Speaking of stories, it really is worth it to learn how to do them well. If you’re not used to being on camera it can feel really awkward at first. That’s OK! And it can be super freaky when you realize that people are actually watching your IG stories (I know!). But culture and society are rapidly moving in the direction of video, so a person that leans into this trend will definitely have an advantage over people that don’t.
Last but most definitely not least – hashtags. Using the correct hashtags can be the key to successfully utilizing Instagram to attract clients. Hashtags take a bit of practice and trial and error, and their fluid so you should be constantly changing and playing around with them anyway. Be careful you don’t use any with too high a volume (multi million) or too low. But always be putting yourself in the shoes of your ideal client and asking yourself what he/she needs and what they’re looking for (AKA what they’re actually typing into the search bar). There have been instances where clients have found me by searching things like #PinterestManager and #PinterestMarketing. Hashtags are super beneficial and it’s more than worth the time it takes to learn how to use them effectively for your brand/business.
By the way, I have a whole post on why and how I became a Pinterest Virtual Assistant, plus more social media tips here!
And don’t forget Pinterest…
Pinterest is different because it is not a social media platform, it’s a search engine. And like Instagram it’s very visual, your pins MUST be appealing enough to click on. And, because it’s a search engine, your keywords need to be on point so your pin can get found in the first place.
The whole point of using Pinterest is to get people to your website, but it’s also a great place for people/customers/clients to get to “know” you and your brand. Especially if your website has more to offer like a blog or podcast, or even digital products.
And because Pinterest is the world’s 3rd largest search engine, next only to Google and Youtube, it’d be best to not overlook it. Chances are your future clients are on there!
I truly hope you are able to glean at least a tip or two from this post, but do more research as well. You never know when you’ll find nuggets of gold, and with them you can formulate your own personal secret sauce. Just know that this is a journey and be sure to give yourself grace to make mistakes ans learn. And if you’re an introvert like me, give yourself credit for being brave!
You’re doing great!