Is Finding a Niche Necessary For Your VA Business?

Is Finding a Niche Necessary For Your VA Business?

Virtual Assistants who are starting out or struggling often end up asking if they need to find a niche to be successful.

My answer to this question is a definite YES and NO.

Choosing a niche is actually a personal choice, like everything else in your business.

There are advantages and disadvantages to deciding to work with a particular group of people.

What is a niche?

If you’re not sure what I mean by finding a niche, it’s basically choose to segment a group of people to target your networking/marketing/work with. You can choose a group by the industry they are part of (ie travel industry), orby type of person they are (married with families, female solopreneurs) or the service you provide (WordPress websites).

There are so many options to specialize your services.

Usually, the experts will tell you that you need to specialize in order to be successful. I disagree with that because I think that your level of success can only be determined by you.

What do you want to earn?

No one else knows how much money you need to make to live the life you want.

I have never wanted to be a 6 figure VA. I make a comfortable living as a VA and I work as hard as I want to work. But to break through that $100K level doing what I do would mean having a team of people to help me generate more work for clients, which then turns me into a project manager – which I do NOT want to be.

So I have a threshold of income I need to make, and I target to make that each month.

And you can do the same.

Everything is your choice in your business!

If you are making the amount of money you need to make each month and you have good clients that you enjoy working with, then you don’t need to change a thing.

And most certainly if you think you ‘need’ to specialize or you can’t find good clients, you couldn’t be farther from the truth. Don’t let anyone tell you that!

But if you do want to build and grow and your vision for your business is to have a lot of people on your team then finding a niche is the fastest way to do that.

Why a niche is a good idea.

There is nothing like networking with a large pool of potential clients who work in the same industry, who need the same services. You can bring on new clients consistently and really hone your skills to be THE go-to person in their community. Great business tactic!

Or deciding to be the BEST WordPress VA around and building a solid clientele of repeat customers. Continuously improving your skills and knowledge so you are highly sought after. Able to set your rates so that you can work with fewer clients and make more money. Or finding a really great service that not too many others offer like this VA.

So is finding a niche really necessary? Yes and No. It totally depends on your perspective. And what you want to do in your business.

Ask yourself THAT question instead, and then decide what's right for you.

But if you are having difficulty finding clients, then maybe looking at a niche is the right thing for you now. For more information about choosing a niche, read this blog post:  How to Choose a Niche and Why it Matters.

Why You Need a Niche Market

A niche market can be thought of as a narrowly defined group of potential customers - usually a portion of a larger target market. For example, a target market is working women, but a niche market is working women with kids at home, or working women in executive positions, or working women in the financial sector.

As a small business owner, you usually do not have the money, resources and time to market to a larger target market. You need to focus your marketing efforts on those people most likely to buy what you offer.

Think of narrowing your niche as simply positioning yourself more closely to the people or companies who could benefit most from your services.

Many of us like to believe that the number of people who want and need our product or service has no limit. Also, most of us truly want to help as many people as possible and so therefore believe we almost have an obligation to let everyone know about what we offer.

But the truth of the matter is if a small business tries to market to everyone, they'll eventually lose money and quite possibly go out of business.

I know it seems to go against common sense that we make more money and have more success when we limit the scope of who we market to. However, it is true and its been proven over and over again by very successful small businesses.

There are many reasons why it makes good business and marketing sense to have a niche market:

• you can focus your marketing efforts and not dilute them by trying to appeal to everyone

• it allows you to stand out as an expert in your niche which makes people come to you

• you attract significantly more business

• you have a natural competitive advantage because you can dominate your niche

• your marketing materials and communications are more targeted and therefore more effective

• people more easily refer business to you as they have a very clear idea of who you appeal to

• you can easily determine what opportunities to say yes to and which ones to pass on

• your creativity and strengths get to shine through

• makes it easy to find suitable strategic partners and joint ventures

• you spend less money on getting your message out there because you're not wasting time and resources on talking to people who aren't
interested in what you have

By taking the time (and the deep breath!) to narrow down your target group into a niche market that your company, products and services are best suited to serving, you'll be making a huge investment in a successful future.

How to Choose a Niche and Why It Matters

Are you going to specialize? As a virtual assistant, will you offer specialty services? Or will you offer anything and everything? Experts strongly recommend specializing. Here’s why:

Specializing makes you competitive.

When you specialize in a service or an industry it helps set you apart from your competition. When a potential customer is looking for a virtual administrator chances are they have a very specific task in mind. If you provide that service or specialize in their industry then you’re going to make it to the top of their list.

Not specializing can make you crazy.

Choosing a specialty means you don’t have to juggle too many tasks and responsibilities. It’s challenging enough to own and grow your own business. The last thing you want to do is add more challenges to your day. If you specialize in a task or an industry then you can focus on being the best provider possible.
Specializing helps you raise your rates.

The truth is, specialists make more money. It’s not limited to the VA industry either. It’s everywhere. If you specialize, there’s a presumption that you have specialized knowledge and skills too. People pay more for that knowledge.

Specializing helps you market.

It’s tough to market your business to a target audience if you offer everything. However, if you offer forum moderation and blog management for the parenting and child care industry then it’s much easier to market your services. You know exactly who you’re marketing to and the benefit you can provide them.

So How Do You Choose a Specialty?

There are a few considerations when choosing a specialty. First, it should be noted that you can specialize in:

An industry. For example, parenting and childcare.

A task. For example, blog management and creation.

An industry and a task. For example, blog management for the parenting and child care industry.

You might think that this degree of specialization limits you. However, consider this. If there are 500 blogs on parenting and child care and you gain five of them as clients. You probably have a full schedule. There’s plenty of work to go around. Specialization simply makes your business easier to manage and grow.

Back to choosing your specialty…

Specialize in what you know. If you are skilled at transcription then specialize in transcription. If you’re an expert blogger or bookkeeper then specialize in those tasks. If you know the ins and outs of coaching then specialize in virtual administration for coaches.

Specialize in what you like and enjoy. If you love social networking then specialize in managing and creating social networking profiles. You’ll be much happier and productive if you’re doing something you enjoy.
Specialize in something that’s in demand. Take a look at the job boards. What jobs are commonly posted for virtual assistants? Chances are, that’s an in demand niche. If it’s also something you enjoy and are skilled in then you have a winner.

Remember, you can grow and change.

You might be worried about limiting yourself if you specialize. However, you can always add more services to your portfolio. Your needs, tastes, and business will grow and change. It’s perfectly acceptable to change your services as you grow. Specializing simply helps you attain the success you desire.

How to Find Legitimate VA Opportunities

So you’ve just started a VA business and you need clients. Not to worry. You’re in a high demand business. The clients are there. You just have to know where to look. True, there are some scams out there. However, the legitimate opportunities far outweigh the scams. Here are three great ways to find legitimate VA opportunities.

Ask

In the beginning, there are a few key places to find legitimate VA opportunities. The first and often best resource is your connections. Ask your friends. Ask your family. And ask your business associates for referrals. Often, the best clients come from known sources.

Consider creating an email and sending it to the connections in your rolodex. Introduce your services. Stress the benefits you offer. And ask for referrals. You might even offer a referral bonus. For example, for each new client you receive the person earns a credit toward your services. You could really motivate people by offering cash. Just make sure that you can afford it!

Network

Another way to build your business and find legitimate VA opportunities is through networking. If you have a social networking profile, consider connecting with a few people you’d like to work with. Send them an email or a message introducing yourself. The worst thing that can happen is nothing. The best…you get a new client.

Don’t forget to promote yourself on social networking sites too. Offer promotions. Link to your blog and online content. Become a valuable contributor and help others as well. They’ll remember you and turn to you for assistance in the future.
Networking offline is great too. Join your local business organizations. Attend networking events. Bring a business card, confidence and a smile. You’re sure to meet a few new clients.

Job Sites

Finally, there are the freelance job sites and the job boards. These are full of legitimate opportunities. They’re also full of scams. Use them wisely. Make sure you research each potential opportunity thoroughly. Speak to a live person if you can.

And sites like Elance that control the payment, communication and delivery process are good. They can help you if there’s ever a dispute. And they require providers and employers to leave feedback. If the employer doesn’t have good feedback, don’t work with them.

There are legitimate VA opportunities everywhere. Market your services. Get out and meet people. And don’t be afraid to use the job boards. They do provide excellent experience, connections and profit potential. To your success!

How to Find Legitimate VA Opportunities

So you’ve just started a VA business and you need clients. Not to worry. You’re in a high demand business. The clients are there. You just have to know where to look. True, there are some scams out there. However, the legitimate opportunities far outweigh the scams. Here are three great ways to find legitimate VA opportunities.

How to Find Great Clients

Being self-employed can be extremely rewarding. It can also be a challenge. Often the difference is the type of client you have. The better your clients, the more rewarding your business feels and the happier you are. So, it makes sense to create a strategy to find great clients. Here are a few tactics to consider.

Referrals

When you find clients that you enjoy working with, ask them for referrals. People tend to be attracted to likeminded individuals and clients referred from existing clients tend to be of the same caliber. In short, good clients refer good clients.

Consider offering a referral program for your business. Reward customers for their referrals by giving them a credit towards your virtual administrative services or a discount.

Network

One of the best ways to find people you enjoy working with is to meet them via networking. Sometimes you click with another business owner. A simple, “I’d love to see how we can work together” may end up producing profitable results for years to come.

Networking both online and off is a fantastic way to find great clients. In fact, you may find that networking is the best source of ideal clients for your VA business.

Partnerships

Consider forging partnerships with other business owners that you enjoy working with. For example, if you’re a virtual assistant who provides social networking management you might partner with someone who creates social networking graphics. Together you could offer a complete social networking package.

Ask

Put the word out there. Let your friends, family and associates know that you’re looking to add two or three quality clients to your schedule. You might be surprised at what you find. You may end up with more quality clients than you have time for.

Before You Begin Searching For More Great Clients

There are a few steps to take before you begin searching for more VA clients. Taking these steps will ensure you’re attracting the type of client you want. It’ll also make sure you can accommodate their needs.

#1 Make sure you have room in your schedule for them. If not, consider eliminating some of clients or tasks from your calendar. You want to make sure you can meet the needs of your new clients.

#2 Identify exactly what you want in a client. What makes a client great to work with? What are you looking for? Are they easy to communicate with? Do they provide minimum instruction? Do they pay well? Define what makes a good client.

#3 Take steps to make sure that your existing clients and any new clients know how much you appreciate them. Create a customer appreciation strategy. Finding those great clients is only the first step. You want to make sure to keep them too.

Finding great clients isn’t difficult. Know what you’re looking for. Don’t hesitate to ask for new clients. Pay attention to the service you provide. A good VA client can stick with you for years. It’s worth the time and effort to show your appreciation.

How to Find Your Ideal Client

Ideal ClientBeing a virtual assistant has definite perks. You have the freedom to choose your hours. You can call in sick without feeling guilty. And of course you’re in control of who you work with and the projects you work on. However, in the beginning and certainly throughout your virtual assistance career, you’ll likely take on projects that are with clients you’d rather pass on. Many VAs struggle to find their ideal clients.

What Is Your Ideal Client?

Before you can go on a scavenger hunt for your ideal client, you want to identify what makes them ideal. Is it a topic, project type or subject matter that you find ideal? Do you prefer certain communication styles? Are you looking for someone who is detail oriented or someone who lets you manage the details? Do you want to work together as a team or would you rather work alone?

Many people view their ideal client as someone who provides them with a constant stream of well-paying work. That’s certainly a bonus. However, if you don’t enjoy working with that client or on their projects, the money isn’t going to be as fun to earn. They won’t be an ideal client.

Take some notes or jot down an idea of who your ideal client is. Daydream for a minute and imagine who they are. This is your ideal client profile. Keep this information where you can review it often.

Finding Your Ideal Client

The next step is to explore where your ideal client may hang out. Do they participate on industry forums? Are they in your local networking group? Find out where they hang out and make yourself a part of their world.

For example, if your ideal client is a small business blogger interested in parenting and child-related topics, then you may network on small business blogging sites or parenting sites. Check out the people who are hanging out there too. Connect with them.

Introduce yourself. Perhaps you already know who your ideal client is. Maybe you love the products a company offers, you like their personality and would love to work with them. Then by all means hold out your virtual hand and introduce yourself. Let them know you admire their work. Tell them what you do and offer your services. Consider offering a project on spec. That way they get to know you and the amazing freelance work you do, and there’s no risk to them.

Ask for an introduction. If you know people who know people, tell them who your ideal client is and ask for referrals and introductions. If there’s one thing everyone should have been taught in school, it is that hard work is only part of the success equation. Who you know is also important, and it makes the trip to success street much faster and easier.

Finding your ideal client isn’t difficult. Describe them in a paragraph or two; create an ideal client profile. Then seek them out online and off. Ask for introductions and referrals. Connect with them and don’t be shy. Your ideal client may be looking for an ideal virtual assistant – you!