When I first starting working as a virtual assistant, I did what most do and created a laundry list of services that I offered and marketed myself as a virtual assistant that supports small businesses owners with their administrative needs.
I spent hours marketing every day. One of the biggest struggles amongst virtual assistants (and for any just about any freelancer) is finding their first client (and then the 2nd, 3rd, and so on). When you are competing with thousands of other virtual assistants who do the exact same thing as you do, and some overseas are charging rates like $5/hour, how can you compete?
The answer lies in how you market yourself and more specifically how you infuse your marketing with your personal story.
In today’s world, consumers are hit with marketing campaigns at a frenetic pace. On the radio in the car we hear advertisements. On Facebook, we see ads in the sidebar and in your news feed. We get random emails marketing some “amazing offer” that we never opt-ed in for. Let’s not even begin with television ads.
Then comes you.
You’re a virtual assistant, you’re vying for the attention of your ideal clients, and those ideal clients are inundated with marketing campaigns every day, just like I mentioned above. Because of the internet our attention spans are shorter than a goldfish! That means you have to work smarter, not harder to market your business.
So how can you rise up above the noise considering the average human’s attention span is…..oh, look a bird! The answer is you must tell a story. An inspiring, emotionally provoking story that connects your prospect with you immediately.
How do you tell an emotionally provoking story about your virtual assistant business?
I’ll start by telling you what not to do.
Do not write a story on your home or about page about where you born, your hobbies, how you love your children and go to church on Sundays and how much you love being a virtual assistant and helping small businesses get more time back in their lives.
Instead, start telling stories about the very issues your ideal clients face. But not just any story will do. Wrap that story up in a way that makes is personal for them.
Stories have the power to overcome any objections that your prospects have about working with you because throwing data (like a rate comparison calculator – I’ve seen these a million times) at them won’t convert them. It will bore them. They see hiring a virtual assistant as a risk and you have to overcome their fear of that risk.
Your job is to tell them a relatable story about how they are struggling in their business and want more than anything to get support but they are afraid to hand over their business baby to someone else for fear of losing control.
Tell them a story about a time you felt overwhelmed and describe that overwhelm with powerful words. Talk about the pivotal point in your life where you knew it was time to make a decision to move forward or stay stagnant and then paint the picture (again with powerful words) about the journey you went on to get from complete overwhelm to where you are now.
Show them through the power of your words the powerful transformation you experienced because you took a risk and made the changes to achieve your goal. Because let’s face it, creating your virtual assistant business was your big risk and you did it and THAT is a story worth telling.
Why is this so important?
The reason why marketing your business through stories is so important is that we as humans are rigged to zone in and focus when we hear a good story. It’s in our DNA.
Stories are relatable and we remember more information about a person when we hear them tell us a story. Here’s an example of my own personal story and how I can turn that information into marketable copy to convert prospects into clients.
“Back in college when I was a graphic designer major I had a complete and total breakdown one night. It was one year into my studies, I freaked out and was anxiety ridden about my future as a graphic designer. My left-brain kicked in and said, Reese, you can’t be creative every single day of your life, you need systems, structure and checklists.
I knew from then on out that my passion was in left-brained business creation systems, not in right brained creative projects. That’s when I left my major and took up business and years down the line I’m glad I did because I worked in a support role for some of the most successful CEO’s at Fortune 500 companies and an international venture capital fund. My heart was in the right place, making the magic happen behind the scenes of some of the biggest projects ever.
Let’s come up with your story! Leave me a comment below so we can show your next client why you’re the exact virtual assistant they need because there isn’t anyone in the world that has your skill set, life experience and personality. And THAT is a story worth telling.
Learn more about Reese's company here!
- How To Tell YOUR Story To Attract Clients - July 30, 2020
Would love some help creating “my story”. This is a brand new venture for me and totally out of my comfort zone. Please help!
Lynn, start with pieces of your own personal story that lead you to wanting to become a virtual assistant? Why is it important for you to support business owners? Was there a pivotal point in your life where you said” I just have to do this”?
Hi, Reese. Great article! I became a VA in 2010 for two reasons that I feel uncomfortable sharing with people. I either need help finding new reasons or help spinning the reasons so they have the desired effect. Reason #1: After being stuck in a series of dead-end administrative assistant jobs for 20 years, and after being let go from several of those jobs every time the economy dipped, I decided to become my own boss. This was the best self-employment option I found, since it used my existing skills. Reason #2: I wanted to work from home so I could become a mom and keep working without needing to put a baby in daycare. However, not only did infertility prevent me from becoming a mom, it was also a factor in my subsequent divorce. Neither of these “stories” would inspire much confidence in a potential client. Of course I like what I do, and I enjoy helping small business owners get more done, but I gather you think that’s boring and a cliché. What should I say instead? Thanks.
Thank you so much, Joules! I can see why you would feel uncomfortable sharing your story as it relates to your infertility and subsequent divorce. As a woman and a mother I take my hat off to you for writing that here! You have a lot of courage to make such a public statement. I would say that our stories need to be told in a way that helps our clients relate to us and our message. Our message, however, cannot be overly negative. It has to walk our prospects through our journey of where we started from and how we got to where we are now. That journey needs to tie into their journey, too. Let me give you an example of how you could spin things. I’ll use a former client as an example. She was a doula (birth coach) but she gave birth to two children and could no longer work as a doula. She started a VA business and was marketing herself as a general VA to small businesses. The FIRST thing I asked her was to tell me her story. As soon as she did I said, why are you not marketing yourself as virtual assistant to the doula industry? Today she’s fully booked.
You see, sometimes are stories don’t seem like they would be relevant to anyone that we’re marketing to but once you open up and reveal more you might just see that there are actually beautiful stories waiting to be told to an audience that is looking for you desperately. XO Reese Ben-Yaacov
I am going through your course for VAs. This post will help me write my story. My issue still comes back to niche/skill. I have been interacting with some different niches that I have an interest in. I got the best feedback in a bloggers forum, consisting mostly of Mommy/Lifestyle Bloggers. I have also realized a skill that I have that I rock at (proofreading), but can’t figure out where to go to find out if it’s a viable skill and I just want to use it to button up blog posts prior to posting, make sure there are no spelling/grammar errors and it flows well overall. In the research I’ve done so far, most are looking for social media management. It’s something I have little experience with, but know I can do since another skill of mine is number crunching and a sales background. How do I write a story for that?
Hi, Karina! I’m so happy to hear you’re going through my free e-course. How do you like it so far? To answer your question, if you love proofreading, how did you figure out you love this skill? Why is it important that clients use a proofreader? Then walk your prospects though a scenario of what it’s like to not have a well written email or blog post that will be seen by thousands. You could tell a story about the time that a client or a friend/colleague made a huge mistake because he/she didn’t proofread. What was supposed to happen with the piece they wrote and what happened as a result of the errors they didn’t’ catch? Walk us through that with your story. Then show the reader how you came in and saved the day by taking a total mess of a document and rocking out a readable white paper (or blog post) that flows like fresh rain water down a stream into a lake. XO, Reese
Hi Reese, Thank you for your response. I really like your class. It’s very simple and to-the-point. Whenever I have questions, I just refer back to it. The more I follow it, the more the information makes sense. I don’t actually have a story of where I saved the day, so to speak. I have always had this skill. This stuff just pops out at me and it’s the one Type-A thing that I have. I’ve found errors on ABC’s website and even on Copyblogger’s website that you mention in your e-course. Anyways, I wanted to get a reference and offered to proofread a presentation. She was very receptive and grateful for the detailed feedback that I gave her. Since that experience, and putting your e-course to use, I’ve figured out that maybe I can use it as a skill and get paid to do it. I’m just not sure how to approach potential clients. Sometimes I’ve thought about mentioning the errors to be corrected in the articles and posts to their respective authors in a helpful tone, but that may not always be received the right way. For me, the proofreading goes to credibility, especially when you’re asking someone to pay for something.
I just came across this article through a Google search – thank you for writing it.
I am a Contracts Manager and was recently told that my employment would be terminated; I work in the Oil&Gas industry, and the downturn in the market means there is not enough work to go around. I have previously toyed with the idea of a career change, especially something that I can fit in with travelling, and ended up reading about VA’s. Given my extensive office background (as well as being a fluent English/German speaker/writer) I believe that I can be successful in this area.
Now, as for my story, I think I have a good starter in the career change, but how do I relate that to something meaningful to new clients?
Thanks in advance for your response!