Most virtual assistants will agree that they enjoy their job mainly for its flexibility in terms of working hours, being in control of their own schedule, and working from the comfort of their own home. But virtual assistance isn't for everyone, and it doesn't always work out well for the VA if he/she doesn’t have a focus. I've spoken a great deal about becoming a niche VA because I believe it is one of the most critical aspects to becoming a successful entrepreneur in any sector of business and it’s especially pivotal to the virtual assistance industry.
First off, having a niche is a must in terms of profitability. It allows you to grow your set of skills within that specialty, which in turn, allows you charge more for your skills because you are in-demand.
Secondly, having a niche allows you to better market yourself and your business. Knowing exactly what you can offer and who needs your services most is brilliant marketing. You can better expose your services to the right audience with ease, which makes it much simpler to go after new business and builds trust with your existing clientele.
Finally, having a niche sets you apart from the competition. You become a valuable asset to your clients which leads to more ongoing work, repetitive business and higher earnings.
So how can you become an expert and find your niche as a virtual assistant? Below are a few steps that I found helpful when deciding on my niche:
- Test Different Categories/Target Audiences: Like most newbie entrepreneurs in the beginning, you may not have a grasp on the services you want to offer or your ideal target audience. There's no harm in rotating within different categories and working with different markets as a generalist in the beginning, as long as you take note of what you like and/or dislike and get closer to finding your niche.
When I first started my VA business in December of 2011, I was also freelancing for several corporations in a project management and marketing capacity. To grow my VA business, I took on any client I could get. I did not have a clear focus or niche, but I had an idea about the type of work and projects that attracted me most. So I started working on what I was good at, had experience at doing, and what I enjoyed. From there, my skills and service offering expanded, and more clients started enlisting our services.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Mix Personal Interests and Business Strengths: Offer services that mix with your personal interests and business strengths. For me, I enjoyed working on project plans and strategy, so any services that that involved researching a client’s target audience and creating a plan to go after them, was not only something I could do, it was also interesting work. Once you have defined what you enjoy doing and what you are good at, this will help with finding and securing clients online.
- Know Your Target Audience: After you’ve determined your ideal audience and some of the services you can offer them, you’ll need to understand the full picture. What other services do they need? What problems can you solve for them? By making a list of these aspects and building your services and knowledge around them - you’ll be on your way to becoming an expert in your chosen niche in no time.
Some careers are routine and thus offer little chance for advancement and building skills. Unless you're planning on working for a low rate per hour or per project for the rest of your life, avoid offering the monotonous repetitive skills that require little to no head scratching. These skills, regardless of how much they pay, will not enable you to increase your rate much in the future or acquire any new skills.
To put it in a nutshell, virtual assistants can start off earning as low as $5 to $15 per hour on websites such a Fiverr, Freelancer.com and Upwork. But if you get really good at doing one certain thing or several things within a single category of work, you eventually have more control over what you charge your clients and can go on to charge as high as $75 per hour.
So if you're planning on being a long-term virtual assistant, go ahead and find your niche!
Michelle Anastiso-Festi founded CT Virtual Assistance in 2011, as the publishing and public relations industries were enduring dramatic changes in online engagement. At the forefront of this evolution, her company continues to partner with clients to provide cutting-edge strategies that drive targeted online exposure. Learn more about CT Virtual Assistance here.
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- 3 Steps To Finding Your Niche as a Virtual Assistant - October 2, 2018