Defining Your Niche As A Virtual Assistant
a. A situation or activity specially suited to a person's interests, abilities, or nature.
b. A special area of demand for a product or service.
To place in a niche.
As a Virtual Assistant (VA), you know about filling a niche because you are already doing it simply by being a VA. You cater to the administrative, technical, creative, and financial needs of your clients by assisting them virtually. This itself is a niche.
If you?re like many entrepreneurs when first starting in business, you took every job that came along. You did it from a place of necessity. Even if you thought yours was the exception, no company can meet every need of every client throughout the life of a business. There is no doubt, however, that this approach serves us well in the beginning!
If you are an exceptional entrepreneur who has developed a reputation of excellence in everything you do, eventually you will need to make important decisions about the future of your company because you have more business than you are able to manage. What a dilemma! You are no longer in a place where you must accept work because it provides revenue. Your hard work has brought you to where you have the opportunity to pick-and-choose your clients from this point forward.
This is the perfect time not only to increase your fees, but also to decide on the specific industry or industries and type(s) of clients you most want to serve. This is known as niching.
By narrowing your focus, you:
? have the opportunity to work with people in the industry of your choice.
? have inside exposure to different aspects/news of the industry from the perspective/experience of your clients.
? can position yourself as the VA expert within your industry and use this to market your services, e.g. ?We cater to the ____ industry and are the first and only ones to do so. We are best equipped to meet your needs because we know the industry from the inside out!?
? will have the passion and tenacity on those days when you question your sanity and wonder if you truly have what it takes to be a VA. You will be serving an industry you love and that
will carry you to your next new client/task.
? keep your focus on those clients/markets that most interest you and will continue to interest you over the life of your business.
? are maintaining a concentrated marketing/advertising focus instead of diluting your efforts by trying to meet every need of every client in every field.
? increase your ability to get an hourly rate that is higher than a VA business with no niche focus. If you have insider knowledge of a specific industry, your expertise is more valuable and therefore, you can charge more for your services.
Initially, you may think that you risk losing business because you are niching yourself too narrowly. However, if your focus is catering to a specific industry and all your marketing efforts are placed there, you will soon reap the rewards of clients who come only from your chosen industry. . .an industry you love and want to cater to anyway! You will have more business than you?ll be able to manage and can soon raise your rates again!
Okay, now that you?ve decided you want to niche tighter, you may be asking yourself how to go about choosing an industry.
A key factor in deciding on a specific industry is to spend a few hours assessing your own interests, work style, and personality characteristics. With at least an hour of uninterrupted time set aside for this specific task, use a blank sheet of paper and answer the following questions:
1. What are my hobbies?
2. What are other areas of interest that are not yet hobbies? What passions have I not taken the time to fully explore?
3. Which existing clients bring me the most joy? Why? In which industries do they work?
4. What are the work and personality characteristics of my ideal client?
In answering these questions thoughtfully, you will begin to see patterns emerge. These patterns will offer clues about which industries to further investigate as possible options for your new focus.
Now that you are thinking more about focused niching, it is a perfect time to go through your list of services and cut out the ones that:
? you don?t love.
? aren?t lucrative.
? aren?t requested often enough to warrant keeping them on your list of services.
These points will move you closer to being in full alignment with providing the services that you most enjoy! You are creating a vacuum . . . an open space that will be filled with dream clients in your desired industry! How does that sound? Think about it. If your current circumstance is filled with an unfocused direction, clients coming in from fields that hold no interest for you, and old service offerings, it is your duty to yourself and the life of your business to draw in a situation that is a much better match.
Okay, so you have chosen your niche market, developed a new plan of how to market your VA services, cut out services that no longer play a part in your new direction, and it occurs to you to ask the question: What do I do with my existing clients who are not in the industry on which I have decided to focus?
Great question! By all means, keep them! They are one of the reasons you are in the place to be able to take this important step. And no doubt, they will continue to be excellent clients and make referrals based on your well-established relationship.
The primary focus is that NEW clients come from the industry you have decided is the best match for the person/business you are now.
In following these guidelines, you will find your work becoming more and more fulfilling because your efforts truly meet the needs of those who most interest you! Only with a narrowed market concentration, can you truly meet the specific needs of your clients.
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About the Author: Charlon Bobo is a Professional Virtual Assistant and founder of Muse works?, a dynamic trend-setting Virtual Assistant enterprise in Southern California that caters to the niche needs of entrepreneurs in the handmade beauty industry. http://www.museworks.org