How to Land Your First Client as a Virtual Assistant
The first question of every aspiring virtual assistant is, “How do I get my first client?” Although you may have taken all the required courses and developed the necessary skills, you cannot be a virtual assistant without having any actual clients.
Virtual assistance is fast becoming one of the most popular remote jobs. It is an excellent freelance remote job to do. However, landing your first client can be tough because not everyone wants to try out someone with no actual work experience.
Additionally, most companies or individuals find it difficult to trust newbies to handle important business (and sometimes personal) details. This is a thorn in the flesh for beginner virtual assistants.
Fortunately, in this article, I will show you practical ways to land your first client as a virtual assistant, even if you have no experience. You will also learn how to charge your clients at the best rates suitable for you.
TOP IN-DEMAND VIRTUAL ASSISTANT JOBS
The virtual assistant market is rapidly rising and is projected to rise to $4.12 billion by 2025 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of almost 11.79%.
With the rapid rise in virtual and remote jobs, virtual assistants are gradually replacing personal assistants in the workplace.
It is clear to some business owners and individuals that distance is no longer a barrier when assisting. You can effectively assist as a virtual assistant through online tools.
A virtual assistant is responsible for a business’s technical, administrative, sales, or marketing tasks, but all are completed online. Virtual assistant responsibilities are born out of secretarial duties and functions, though their duties now go beyond secretarial duties.
Your job as a virtual assistant is broad, but you can choose where you want to specialize. Before picking a niche, it is best to have an idea of all the tasks associated with virtual assistants. You’ll be several things to several people.
The tasks you will perform largely depend on the area of virtual assistance.
1. Project Management
A project manager virtual assistant oversees the entire project’s operations. Your role as a project manager involves scheduling meetings, gathering meeting updates from team members, and creating reports on project progress team members.
You may also be tasked with ensuring that all projects are done at the right time, deadlines are met, and all projects stick to the budget.
2. Email Management
As a virtual assistant, you are responsible for handling and managing the emails of business owners or managers. You may be tasked with sending, receiving, labeling, and archiving your client’s emails.
To do this, you must first understand what your clients want. Does your client want certain emails archived and not deleted? To be able to manage your client’s inbox well, there are a few questions you need to answer, or you need to ask your client.
- Do they subscribe to newsletters?
- Do they save all their emails or archive them?
- What does their perfect inbox look like?
- Can you respond to emails on their behalf?
- How do they feel about deleting all emails older than six months, one year, or two years?
Asking your clients these questions helps you understand their wants and how best to achieve them.
3. Social Media Management
Some business owners want their virtual assistants to be in charge of their social media handles or the company’s social media handles. When you become a social media manager, you are tasked with making sure that the image of the business projected online is good and engaging.
Your role as a virtual assistant in this field involves creating and curating content, online community management, posting content, tracking metrics, and other social-related issues.
The process used on a particular social media channel is different from what is used in another. Therefore, you should be able to navigate through all social media types and contents. Remember, the sole purpose of this could be online visibility or engagement for the business.
4. Bookkeeping and Accounting
Every business needs finance to start and stay sustained. Businesses need help creating and documenting budgets, processing payments, and checking expenses. This aspect of virtual assistance is more suitable for someone good at calculations, numbers, and business.
There are many sheets to be balanced and many accounts to be onboarded. If you’re going into this virtual assistant job, ensure you’re good at finances and accounting.
To improve in your role, it is advisable to take bookkeeping courses online. These courses will help improve your skills in keeping your client’s accounting records.
5. Content Research
Many businesses are searching for people to handle their research work. To handle research for a business company, you ought to understand the company you work with. Understand the product, its customers, the vision, and the mission of the industry or company.
With this knowledge of the company, it is easier to do research for the company. Some business owners may require you to study your competition’s modus operandi for months and develop some plans for the company. You can be assigned to create ideas and research topics to provide relevant, necessary, and up-to-date information.
6. Customer Support
Sometimes, the virtual assistant takes up customer support roles. They are placed in charge of answering frequently asked questions, handling phone calls, and taking messages from customers.
As a customer support assistant, you must attend to any need or question of the customers.
This is experienced more in people with situations when the customer base is high and demands a lot of attention. The ideal clients for this niche are tech-based businesses or companies that offer services.
A common task associated with virtual assistants is transcriptions. Clients often require virtual assistants to listen to recordings, meetings, or interviews and transcribe the content into written words.
Good listening skill is needed to transcribe well. You can decide to pick this up as your niche.
Most business managers need people who can transcribe any recording to paper. This transcription could be language transcription.
You can be asked to transcribe a recording from French to English. This is why being bilingual is one of the requirements most clients are looking for hire.
Just as some people have a natural affinity for numbers, others have an affinity for writing. If you love writing, copywriting is an advantage for you.
A copywriter writes copies that sell— seeing that most business owners may not have the natural talent to craft persuasive words to channel sales and engagement. This can involve social media posts, sales pages, landing pages, and emails.
Copywriting is a high-end service, and you can charge per hour if you’re interested in it.
9. Content Writing
The difference between copywriting and content writing is in the purpose of the write-up. A copywriter is geared towards conversions and copies that sell, while content writing is geared towards information.
The goal is to inform, educate, and entertain a specific audience about a brand.
Asides from marketing for content, you may be tasked with writing the content you researched. Content can be in the form of blog posts, e-commerce listing and ghostwriting, and social media posts.
A virtual assistant can write web pages – business pages or about pages and other content for a business. Though this is the sole duty of a UX writer, you may be called to fill any writing position.
10. Data Entry
As the name implies, data entry has to do with data input. The work doesn’t stop at inputting numbers; you are to organize and arrange the information. Sometimes, it can be the typing or recording of information.
11. E-commerce Order Management
E-commerce order management comes as another form of customer support. This is for companies with products to sell online. These companies have e-commerce websites, and the virtual assistants are asked to trace orders, take note of current orders, restock products and search for a tracking number for customers.
12. Website Management
Virtual assistants in this field know the basics of websites, including creation, updating, proofreading, and publishing content on the company’s websites. WordPress skills may even be needed here.
13. General Administrative Work
General administrative works include calendar management, answering phone calls, using Google docs for typing documents, making appointments, constantly reminding about upcoming events, and many other administrative duties.
Remember, the virtual assistant is just like the personal assistant though all duties take place virtually instead of physically.
HOW TO LAND YOUR FIRST CLIENT AS A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT
The first thing to note about getting your first client is to identify who your ideal clients are. The ideal virtual assistant target clients are busy business professionals who do not have enough time to attend to some activities.
Your job is to reduce their burden by performing these minor tasks effectively and efficiently.
Each virtual assistant found their first client in various ways. Ideally, you pick out the ones that you think resonate with you, or if you can handle them all, go for it.
1. Beta Testing
As a newbie, it is alright if you beta-test your services. A beta test means giving a sample of your service to a client for a low or no-cost return. This encourages feedback that can be used to improve your services.
Considering that some jobs will want to see your portfolio or just a previous work you have done, the beta test work is an opportunity to add to your work experience and portfolio.
When you make use of beta testing, you’re not just anticipating feedback but also adding value. With beta testing, you can build confidence in your skills and get testimonies.
It is best to engage in the beta testing for a few months and then leave or move into another industry to beta test as a virtual assistant.
In most cases, the client may decide to retain you, knowing you give great value as a virtual assistant. At this point, let your client know that you’re upgrading your services. For beta testing, you can start with family and friends.
2. Build Your Resume
It will be very difficult ever to get hired without a resume. Your resume is like your ticket to ever getting hired.
The perfect resume should contain relevant information and skills about your qualifications as a virtual assistant. Presenting potential clients with a relevant and captivating resume increases your chances of getting hired.
If you cannot create a great and attractive resume, you can always hire the help of a professional resume writer. Or, if you prefer to do it yourself, you can check out other virtual assistant resume samples and use the information as a guide to creating your resume.
3. Know Where to Look
To land your first client as a virtual assistant, you should know where to search. Various potential clients are looking to hire virtual assistants for help.
After identifying your ideal clients, you can now go to where they are located online. The easiest platforms to scout for jobs are in the freelance marketplace. Sites like Upwork, Fiverr, Freelance, and so many others.
The platforms are gold mines as clients from all over the world come in search of freelancers to handle their jobs.
4. Creating An Online Presence
The most important channels you need are websites and social media to create an online presence.
To be successful as a virtual assistant, you need a website. Creating a website makes your virtual assisting business more authentic to potential clients.
You can use the best free website builders like WordPress, Squarespace, Wix, and even GoDaddy to get your website up and running within a very short time. These are self-hosting platforms and are very easy to use. You have free and paid templates to choose from.
On your website, you can use keywords to draw engagement. Incorporating keywords within your web pages and content drives engagement. Your website ought to comprise the following:
- Homepage – You can tell your clients who you are and what you do.
- About Page – This is the page where the client learns about you and your story.
- Contact Page – This provides various means for your customers to reach you. This should contain your phone number, email address, and names on all social media handles. You can also place your contact details in the Home Page’s heading so potential clients can see them immediately after visiting your site.
- Service Page – This page is dedicated to describing your services in detail.
- Portfolio Pages – Samples of your work are displayed in the portfolio.
- Testimonial Page – This page contains testimonies from clients you’ve worked with and mustn’t be on a separate page.
Take note that a beginner in virtual assistant may find it difficult to create this page, seeing as much work experience is needed.
You can also create your website and include all the beta tasking and works you’ve done before. Knowing that you can get good deals from the website encourages you to test the waters before gaining ground. When you include your details on the website, you’re not just attracting clients but high-paying ones.
Facebook and LinkedIn are major social platforms for getting a better online presence.
LinkedIn is a social media network that connects professionals, businesses, and companies. After creating a captivating LinkedIn profile and building your virtual assistant resume, you can join groups and start networking.
Facebook is a great social platform for finding clients. You can start with a Facebook page or group. Ensure that whatever content on your page is formal. It is not always advised to mix business and family content.
You can start a blog on the virtual assistance niche to create an online presence. This is an opportunity to leverage your content marketing skills.
In your portfolio, you can publish the content that will bring your clients.
5. Content Marketing Application
Content marketing can be applied to gain clients. It is about marketing yourself online with amazing content that attracts your ideal clients.
Tailor your strategy to be discovered by clients. Clients can dictate who you are and what you do through your posts. However, ensure that your content is authentic, relevant, and up-to-date.
With your content, you can position yourself as someone with expert knowledge of virtual assisting (even if you have no experience at all). You can create content that addresses clients’ pain points by using relevant keywords, thus attracting them to you.
6. Create Awareness
Who will if you don’t tell people about your business and what you do? Your ideal clients cannot hire you if they do not know you.
Spread the good news about your business. Tell everybody about it; who knows where your clients can come from. Spam online community message groups are in places where your ideal clients hang out.
7. Reach Out and Connect With Other Virtual Assistants
Connecting with other virtual assistants will help fuel your knowledge of the important information you need to improve your skills and position yourself. Find a virtual assistant that offers similar services, connect with them, and let them know what you do.
You never know, they might be fully booked and looking for someone to refer clients to, or they might even be looking for someone to partner with in job applications and search.
Also, join communities and clubs relating to what you do. You can join groups where job positions are being shown.
While in these online groups and communities, you can offer to do some voluntary work. This will help strengthen your experience level and resume while gaining trust and building your network.
WHERE TO FIND HIGH PAYING JOBS
As a newbie virtual assistant, your client will not find you. Instead, you find them. There are numerous platforms that you can scout for jobs.
The easiest and best platforms to find your first few clients in virtual assistance are freelance websites and online job boards.
Upwork is one of the most popular freelance websites where newbie freelancers come to get their breakthroughs. Clients worldwide post jobs on the Upwork platform, and freelancers are allowed to bid on them.
The trick to using Upwork is keyword usage. Aside from writing virtual assistance in your title, keywords such as WordPress Maintenance, Social Media Manager, Copywriter, etc., can be linked to your services.
Cleverism is another incredible online job board for freelancers and seekers seeking full-time jobs. On this online job board, you have the opportunity to customize your search to more specific searches.
Cleverism is ideal if you need more information on creating a killer resume and attracting higher-paying clients.
The job board gives you access to relevant information, from how to create a killer resume to how to write a captivating application letter.
Fiverr is Upwork’s biggest rival when it comes to freelance websites. It is the ideal platform for freelancers. Sevices offered on Fiverr are called gigs, and the buyers (sellers) pay in advance for these “gigs.”
There are other freelancing websites such as Flexjobs, Freelancer, and Remote.co, Hubstaff, Talent, Dribble Jobs, and many more.
4. Facebook Groups
Many Gen Z’s don’t like Facebook because of the crowd and caliber of people on it. However, it is a platform that anyone can join and relate to. There’s no age limit to the target audience.
Now, you can leverage that with the crowd as an opportunity for campaigns. You can find virtual assistant jobs in several types of groups, such as:
- General Job groups,
- Job groups for specific positions (Virtual Assistants),
- Job groups for regional positions, and
- Industry-related groups.
You cannot talk about actively looking for professional business clients without mentioning the top platform they use. If you are actively looking for a job, LinkedIn is the best place to be. In fact, it should be at the top of your list.
There are over a thousand business professionals on the platform who are actively looking for assistance.
You can target your ideal clients by connecting with them. The best clients to target are tech startup businesses because the founders usually need a lot of help. However, you can try out other business professionals.
You can search for jobs on Twitter or use hashtags such as #hiring or #translationjobs. Your tweets should show that you’re looking for work or your sphere of work.
You can agree with me that as a freelancer, looking for high-paying clients online can be time-consuming and frustrating.
For most freelancing jobs, clients must input their job offers where freelancers can open and apply. Some other websites will require the freelancer’s portfolio with their services, and clients can contact them if they are impressed with what they see.
These online platforms seem significant to earn, but they have downsides. A popular skill like content writing has a lot of people going for it. Since there are many people, there’s a chance someone can do it cheaper than you, resulting in low or no payment.
Another downside to this is the issue that some of the freelance sites request a fee. If you land a job in Upwork, Upwork takes 20% of your income which is a lot of money.
But asides from these few challenges, these platforms are still a great opportunity to get your first clients. Some people have hit it big on these websites. So, it is possible to earn and get high clients there.
LANDING YOUR FIRST CLIENT
The marketing strategy is one of the toughest parts of getting a client. Let’s say you have some clients that you want to reach out to, or there are some clients that a freelance marketplace introduces you to. Convincing them to choose you is not so easy if you do not know what to do.
1. Introduction Letter or Proposals
Create an introduction letter that answers the question of who you are, what you do, and how to contact you. You can use this introduction to create a proposal to help you land a client. Your proposals should be short, clear, and straight to the point. A long and boring letter will likely get ignored at first glance.
In your letter or proposal, address your clients’ needs and how you can solve the problem with your virtual assistant services.
You can also discuss your previous work experiences and the value of your services. Don’t forget to tell your clients about the results you produced. Good results are very convincing.
2. The Interview
If your introduction intrigues prospective clients, they will likely request an interview. A virtual interview takes no more than 15 to 20 minutes. Sometimes, you can set up a 15-minute interview with a client to get additional information about a task.
Always make it easy for a client to locate your contact details and schedule an appointment or interview. You can add the calendar link to your proposal. Calendly is a great tool for appointment scheduling.
The interview process is the best chance to make the final best impression– assuming that your proposal letter and resume had made previous good impressions. This is where the clients want to hear more about your qualifications, skills, and experiences.
After the interview has been fixed, never be late. If there’s an unavoidable emergency, contact your clients and let them know. It is wrong to have your client wait for you without a cause. If you do this, you lose a client, and your reputation suffers too.
Everything you do in your interview matters a lot. The interviewer will use it to see if you are a suitable assistant or not. You have to be prepared if you want to nail your online job interview.
3. Question and Answers
All questions asked by the client should be answered in honesty and confidence. A simple yes and no answer will not work, nor is telling long stories acceptable. Your answers should be clear, concise, and relevant to the questions. Be clear enough for the interviewer to understand your answer better and be concise enough for them not to get bored.
4. Put Up A Positive Attitude
Your attitude can either land you a client or push a client away from you. Remember, your introductory letter has set a pace – a piece of positivity regarding you. So, the client is hoping to see some positivity in your attitude.
Your confidence about what you can do can land you a client. However, try not to show too much confidence so you won’t pass off as arrogant. Clients need to see that you are smart, organized, active, and willing to learn.
Sell yourself and what you can do to the clients through a positive and friendly attitude. Clients want virtual assistants that are friendly and free-spirited. They are interested in people who won’t let their issues affect their work lives.
The client wants a virtual assistant who they can trust to perform vital tasks.
During the interview, ask your clients how regularly they want communication. Knowing that communication is done regularly helps avoid misunderstanding and prevent further issues. Find the best communication medium – Skype, telephone, WhatsApp, or Google meet.
It is best to find out your client’s preferred mode of communication. Always make yourself available so they know they can trust you. As a virtual assistant, constant feedback is required to make work easy.
Always inform your clients about how things are going and moving, and also ensure that your communication skills are clear, concise, concrete, and complete.
6. Keep Scouting for More Clients
The clients that interviewed you can decide to back out. So, your best bet is to keep searching and sending introductory letters. No number of letters is too small or big.
NOTE: You should always remember that hundreds of other virtual assistants like you are also looking to get your ideal clients. Don’t feel bad if your application was not accepted. As listed in this article, there are other ways of getting clients, so it is advisable to try out all options. Don’t limit your options.
How To Charge Your Client For Your Virtual Services
Setting your charges as a virtual assistant can be challenging as you don’t want to overcharge, nor do you want to undercharge. So, you need to ensure that you are providing great value to your clients and, at the same time, earn comfortably from it.
It is best to figure out how best your client should pay you. Most virtual assistants prefer to create an invoice.
For beginners, you can start charging hourly. This is a safe option for you as you are not yet aware how much time it will take to complete certain tasks.
As a beginner in the virtual assistance niche, it is not advisable to charge per project. There is a huge possibility that you might either undercharge or overcharge for your services.
This method is not always ideal because it makes it hard for you to manage your time; if you don’t know what’s the new task for the new week. There’s also the risk of not being paid after completing the work.
So what then is the best way to charge? Set your clients on a prepared retainer. Setting a prepared retainer dictates how much time you set aside for any client work each month. The clients can also pay ahead of time, in this case, to reserve that time in your schedule.
This method is effective when you know the sort of tasks that you’ll be accomplishing for your clients.
First, find some ongoing tasks for them like managing their inbox or handling customer care services. Then, you can allow for other new tests but not many tasks. You can develop a package that will outline what you can do for the client in a period.
However, if you choose to go hourly as a beginner, the low-end hourly rates depending on the task, can be $8 to $15 per hour. The mid-level hourly rate ranges from $20- $35 and is for a virtual assistant who is skilled and experienced. The high-end hourly rates are for the highest level of virtual assistants. They charge about $40+ per hour.
When you are more experienced in your field, you can also go for project-based prices in the long run. This pricing is reserved solely for online service providers that offer packages such as design.
There are also task-based prices that are similar to project-based pricing. The task-based price is different because it works with a fixed price for a smaller task to be completed. This small task could include writing blog posts, setting up a landing page, or creating several designs.
But if you prefer to start up as a freelancer, you can be paid hourly or monthly, depending on the agreement with the client. You can start at $8-$12 per hour using freelancing sites.
As you specialize, you can increase your rate. Some virtual assistants charge about $15-$20 for advanced virtual assistant duties such as email management, WordPress, Customer Service, and many others. Other higher rates can be $35 to $40 and above.
However, in the United States of America, an average virtual assistant earns up to $18.89 per hour. It is always best to start as a freelancer before committing to any client anywhere in the world and various fields. As you continue, you can start charging per project against the usual hourly rates.
LAND YOUR BEST CLIENT AS A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT
Although there are over a thousand virtual assistants, there are also over ten thousand potential clients. Therefore, it is possible to land your first client within a short time.
What truly matters is the value you offer your clients. This is what increases your chances of landing high-paying clients.
Even if you haven’t landed your first client yet, you can still use your time to improve your skills while searching for suitable job offers.
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