Are you running your virtual assistant services like a business or a hobby?
You can look up the law within your state/country on what the government considers a hobby or a business…
But here in the United States with the laws of the IRS, you do not want your business to be a hobby. Because you cannot take advantage of the “tax deductions” if it is a hobby
Of course, you want tax deductions for a business
BUT let’s face the facts what you really want …
Is to be able to always operate in profit mode, right?
If you’re running your virtual assistant business in profit…you’re definitely not a hobby and you do not have to worry about the IRS
Here are a few questions to ask yourself right now, no matter where you are at in your business, or what your business is:
If you have answered “yes” to any of these questions, take a hard look at your virtual assistant business. There’s nothing wrong with a hobby unless you’re expecting it to pay your car payment each month.
But if you need to be able to pay the bills and have a business you love, and it is not happening for you, then start to look for outside help. If you already had what you needed you would be already getting the results you want!
Be honest with yourself, and find a way to fill in the holes, rather that be a mentor, a training course, a consultant, whatever you need, even if it is out of your comfort zone. And if you’re not ready to do this..then maybe it is time to reevaluate your “business.”
Are you struggling with running your virtual assistant services like a business?
I would love to hear from you!
Disclaimer: I am not a tax expert, nor do I claim to be, check with your own government /CPA for the rules governing where you live.Continue reading
You might be asking yourself right now, why would I market my virtual assistant business offline? Doesn’t it defeat the purpose of building an online business from home?
It is kinda crazy, but marketing offline can you bring you a lot of clients, if you know who your ideal client is
The cool thing about marketing offline is that some of your clients, you will be able to meet face to face, which helps build connections easier as you can build the like and trust factor
To prepare yourself to building your business offline, you will want to develop what is known as your “Elevator Speech” Your elevator speech should be 30 seconds or less, and in those 30 seconds, you should be able to clearly explain what you do, and how it can benefit them (or maybe someone they know). So if you’re fumbling with what you do, right now is the time to get clear. Grab a pencil and paper and write it down, memorize it so that it can be natural to you. Don’t worry if it is not perfect yet; I guarantee it will evolve over time!
Family, Friends, Bosses, Colleagues, Old Classmates. If they don’t know, they will never use your services or refer anyone else. So make it a priority to let everyone you know, know what you do, and how you can help.
The chamber of commerce is filled with business owners, and most of those business owners could probably use your services! Don’t join to sell to them specifically, but join to network with other business owners and get to know them. Let them know what you do, and eventually, they will reach out to you! Make sure you have business cards when attending this event, and dress for success
There are literally thousands of meetup groups nowadays. Find Meetup groups that are specifically for business owners, or you can find meetup groups that are specific to a topic that interests you. Again, join them to network and to learn. Share and participate in the groups. There will be a time to talk about what you do. But be an active and helpful participant. You can always volunteer to help with a project that shows off your skills
There are 1000s of events where entrepreneurs meet up just about anywhere on any given day. If you know who your ideal client is, you can google search on Facebook search for upcoming events. You might already be following someone that holds events. I found that these events provide a great opportunity to network with my ideal clients who need my services. Again, you don’t go to these events just to sell your “services”, but to meet people who need your services. It will come up naturally in the conversation when they ask what you do. Make sure you connect with them on Facebook, and get their email address, so you can check in with them later to see how they are doing. I have found some amazing clients this way! And just one client can pay for the cost of the event and travel costs within the 1st month.
Please note that when you sponsor an event, you will be paying. There are over a dozen ways to sponsor an event. But it’s a great way to get your ideal client’s attention to specifically looking at your business. You can sponsor an event by giving something away in a swag bag, run a booth or even speak from stage and become known as the go to Virtual Assistant. Clients will flock to you in droves. But be very clear that the audience will be your target audience and be very clear on what your offer will be. Make sure to count all of the costs.
I am sure you have heard the old saying, it is not what you know, it is who you know? By consistently building your network you will ensure business growth for years to come!
Now I would love to hear from you! What ways have you found clients offline?
This is probably the #1 question I get from new virtual assistants.
I have to say the possibilities of clients are endless, there is no shortage, and even though you might be feeling like, eek there is so much competition.
That is, False…
The fact is, in the digital age we live in and the uprising of new small business owners.
The need of quality virtual assistants is HUGE….
There is a BIG market…
And then when you factor in the fact that not all virtual assistants offer the same services or quality…What that needs is even bigger…
So, let’s focus today on getting you some new clients, ok?
If your focus is getting clients, you should be spending 80% of your time doing just that. I hate when someone complains that they could have a great virtual assistant business if they could just get clients.
Well, guess what clients are not going to fall from the sky when you are starting out
And guess what…all businesses want/need clients..
To get clients, you need to do the work!
So, 80% of your time should be looking for clients, networking on social media sites with your idea clients, and bidding on freelance sites.
Yep, I am saying it…. instead of playing Candy Crush and watching NetFlix, get out there and do the work.
“There is no substitute for hard work.”
When I first started out, I did not land my first client, by only placing 1 bid….
I placed 100s of bids,
I daily placed bids,
I spent hours daily improving my RFPs,
I spent hours daily improving my profiles,
And finally after what seemed forever …but really it was only 2 weeks I landed my first client.
And from there…things have spiraled…
Now, today things have changed a bit… with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn (which are great places to find clients too)…. But, contrary to many Virtual Assistant Trainers and Mentors I believe that Freelance Sites are still a VERY good place to get started.
My favorite freelance sites to get started on are:
And there is a lot more then that out there now…depending on the services you are offering. Just do a “google search”
A matter of fact of the virtual assistants I have mentored have started there…and have been able to build substantial businesses within a short period of time. Eventually leaving those sites like I did. It is a great starting place!
The reason I prefer these sites is because there are people actively looking for your services on a daily basis. They are established freelance-sites, and lots of GREAT opportunities.
Will you make as much money using Freelance sites as you will without them?
Well, no, the fact is most freelance sites will collect a fee…But think of it as a safety net to get you out there… It helps many business owners feel more comfortable about hiring you for your services. I do not think you should view freelance sites as a long term option. But it helps you get established.
Will you be competing with others on these sites?
Yep that is what its all about. And you might be a little uneasy as you might see bids as low as $1 an hour, and wonder how you might compete with that. They are out there…and I laugh every time I see one. But if you place your bid based on your experience and your skills and sell yourself properly that will not a be a problem =-)
I always explain that even though others are bidding $1 an hour they are actually going to save money by working with me because I will be able to do the work in a more timely matter because of my skill level…and guess what it works
Do not give up after one bid, keep bidding and keep improving your proposals eventually something will come up that works for you.
Are Freelance sites just for project work?
True freelance sites tend to have a lot of project work. I have picked up a lot of clients from freelance sites, and some we worked together for years. Bid on the projects if within your skillset. This will help you build your skills and your online reputation.
What to watch out for on Freelance Sites…
Even though sites like Guru and Upwork are normally pretty good about making sure scams do not slip through…it does happen from time to time.
So, be leery when things don’t feel right, guess what they are probably not.
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Always research a company before agreeing to work with them, Google is your best friend in this case. Google their website, google their business name and the word “scam”. Check out the Better Business Bureau. I even go as far as checking their phone numbers they have listed as well.
Then, of course, there are common sense things, like if someone asks you for a bank account number….RUN….. LiterallyRun and … Actually, I just block them from ever contacting me again
When you are starting your virtual assistant business out by using freelance sites you need to remember the following things:
If you follow these 3 things, within a short period of time, you will have established your business, and your funnel will be full of prospective clients.
Now, I would love to hear from you, have you used freelance job sites for finding clients?
What has been your experience? What has worked for you? What has not?