Getting started online: Where to find your first clients?

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I imagine you just found out about this whole new world of virtual assisting, being able to work from anywhere, and you’re ready to join the party. You love everything about it and you know you have what it takes, but there’s one thing stopping you isn’t there? Where do I find clients!?

Don’t sweat my friend, I’ll share with you some very beneficial tips that will help you to land your first clients. Let’s begin…

Friends & Family

If you researched how to find clients before reading this, you might have seen that many people recommend friends and family. This is because it works. If you’re shy about the fact that you’re trying to start a business, or make an income by working online then this really isn’t for you.

You need to be confident in what you’re doing and make sure everyone you know is aware of the business you are trying to create. People want to be able to help, so who better to ask for help than your friends and family. These are the people who have a relationship with you and if you’re offering something they need someone to get done for them, they’re going to go through you most likely rather than a stranger. Even if they don’t need the service, they will be sure to mention your name to someone who does if the situation ever presents itself.

So here’s an example: I started off by doing graphic design services. I made a post on my personal facebook page announcing that I was starting a graphic design studio. I wasn’t all salesy in my post; I was very genuine and showed excitement. This lead to 3 people messaging me for my services, and I booked 3 design jobs from it.

Boom. Just like that, 3 clients.

It’s very important to get the word out about yourself and what you’re providing. You never know who has a friend of a friend that just might need what you’re offering.

Online Communities

I’m not going to lie, it took me a while to figure this one out. But when I did, it was a game changer. There are literally billions of users online across multiple platforms with millions of communities within them.

Let’s use Facebook as the example. The list of facebook groups is growing everyday and covers just about any topic you can think of.

In the search bar you can type in anything that relates to who your potential client will be and then filter by groups. So if you want to work with people in the Health and Wellness industry, you should join a few groups that revolve around that topic.

Say you search,"Fitness Coach,” you can sift through the group names and the amount of members and then join the ones you feel best suit you. Once you’re in the group, you can search the group for keywords like “hiring” or “open position” or any keywords that relate to the services you provide such as “social media.” Check in often and you’ll see just how active these communities are.

My experience: I found a group called “Online Biz BFFs” (the group is now closed unfortunately) and would check in every so often to read the posts. The posts varied and were about starting online businesses, the struggles, successes and so forth. This group was filled with entrepreneurs so I figured somewhere along the line someone is going to need assistance.

Once I got deeper into reading the posts and discussions, I realized I didn’t necessarily need to look for HIRING to written out so bluntly. Someone posted about a design struggle they were having, I replied with a solution and also stated I have a design studio, if you ever need anything else in the future I’d be happy to help you out.

She ended up contacting me and I did a design gig for her. Moral of the story, truly get involved in the communities and build relationships so that down when they do need a service you provide, they already know and trust you.

On another note, some communities actually have a #gethired in there community. By searching the hashtag within the group you can see what posts come up and throw your hat into the ring for the more recent posting.

Referrals

How do I get a referral? Here’s a trick fo’ ya. Create a referral program.

Here’s some ways to do it.

If you offer packages, let’s say you are a graphic designer and you just finished creating a logo and branding kit for your client. When you’re going to give them the invoice, include either on the invoice or in the email something like this:

It has been an absolute pleasure working with you. If you know of anyone who would benefit from this same package or something similar, I’d like to offer you a 3 image social media package ($100 value) complimentary for your referral.

This gives your current client an incentive to refer someone to you. Yes, you would be providing the social media images for “free,” but in reality, to have a client handed over to you is well worth it.

Another way,

If you’re a virtual assistant and have hourly packages, you can email your current clients. Many people with businesses are well connected and most likely know of someone who would need your services.

Try saying something like:

I have gone through my scheduling for the upcoming months and I have an opening to take on another client. I wanted to reach out to see if you would need any more hours added on to your existing package, or if you know if anyone looking for similar work you have hired me for.

Based on your relationship with your client, the above can be tweaked. But the general idea is to see if they need more first, then ask for them to recommend. This lets them know you put them first. It’ll make you look good.

After using these methods, you should be able to grow your client list to where you feel comfortable. Go ahead and start from the top and work your way down.

Have another method that works? I would love to hear from you. Let us know your strategies in the comments below :)