When I started out as a Virtual Assistant, my main challenge was around finding clients. As we all do now, I turned to the internet for advice. A lot of the information I found said the same thing: I had to think about my “ideal client”. And my answer would be someone who wants someone else to do their admin (and who pays on invoices promptly). The other thing I heard was that I had to specialise.
A lot of this advice is written in jargon or management speak, so if you’re like me, you’re left scratching your head and wonder why they can’t just say what they mean. But gradually, this jargon translated into plain English. What they were really saying was that you have to find your niche.
Finding your niche is one of the trickier parts of establishing yourself in any business, but in the Virtual Assistant industry, it is especially so. Virtual Assistant (VA) is really an umbrella term for many different jobs, because administration covers a lot of ground. What VA’s have in common is that we provide a service that can be done online.
VAs can be bookkeepers, receptionists, executive assistants, website designers, human resources or data entry specialists, social media managers (a job that didn’t exist ten years ago), and so on. Or they may focus on a single industry such as real estate, health or legal.
For me, though, it wasn’t that simple. My background is in government . It would be easier to tell you the departments I didn’t work for. At different times I worked at the Queensland Art Gallery, Trade and Investment Queensland, to departments focused on community services. I also worked at a university for a few years. Each position was an opportunity to learn new admin skills (I do have a broad range of skills) and to gain insights into aspects of different industries. This sort of knowledge and broad perspective can only be beneficial to my clients (and if you are navigating a bureaucratic maze, it’s second nature to me, so I’m happy to help).
But still, it made it difficult to identify what made my skills and abilities stand out from the crowd.
Then I realised there was one job I did more than any other – departmental correspondence. In fact if I thought about it, the work I enjoyed the most involved using my writing skills – whether it was writing or proofreading and editing a letter or brief, induction manuals, reports, website content or creating presentations – if it required written communication and a bit of creativity, I just flew. Work complex information into a message everyone can understand? Too easy. I’m also a dab hand at designing and formatting documents, as well. Bingo! I had found my niche.
So while my wide-ranging background has given me many admin skills (and please, if in doubt, just ask if it is something I can do), as a VA I have found myself doing a lot of work that involves creating content and copy, proofreading and editing, formatting, fixing or designing documents. It’s my thing.
If this is something you need help with, please contact me to discuss.