If you’re just starting out in the virtual assistant industry or if you’re changing your niche where there is a lot of competition, read this carefully. People often think that being a solo VA  is a huge barrier to getting clients. In reality, not only can you succeed in making top dollar if you’re not a multi-VA business, but you being a solo VA can actually be an advantage.

Here are a few tips for getting your first clients as a solo virtual assistant:

Do Unusual Projects

If your customer comes to you with an unusual project request, say “yes.”

Multi-VA companies often just can’t handle these kinds of requests. They have project management procedures that would take far too long to retask for small custom gigs.

Solo virtual assistants, on the other hand, can take on these projects, gain a customer and get more of a foothold in the industry.

Do Interim or Short-Term Gigs

If most of your industry insists on long-term contracts, be the one that’s willing to do one-offs.

I talk to prospective clients all the time who just need someone to help with the “startup” phase of the business. They don’t need someone long-term and this is where you come in. You can either charge by the hour, especially if the business owner doesn’t know what types of tasks need to be done. Or, if you are a savvy VA, you can talk to the prospect for an hour, see what their needs are, and quote them a package price. For example, if they need you to set up their shopping cart, you can gauge how long it takes you to set it up, and quote them based on your best hourly rate.

Contact your VA colleagues and tell them to keep you in mind as someone who can do this type of work, you’d be surprised how often you’ll get referrals. And you will most likely gain clients if you provide stellar service.

Move Quickly to Industry Changes

Can you say Infusionsoft? It’s the newest thing and online business owners are always seeking VAs who can help them use it.  It was the same when WordPress blew onto the scene, I got tons of work just by spending a weekend and learning WordPress.

If the market moves in one direction, you should move in that direction as well. If people are demanding a new service, move quickly to try and fulfill that need. Be the first to market!

Do Loss Leaders

If you’re in the business of selling $2,000 websites, it could make a lot of sense to also have some sort of service that you can sell for $500 or $1,000. This gets people into your pipeline. It helps people get to know you better and establish some trust. You can then sell these people on your higher end or custom sites.

Above all else, the one thing you should NOT do if you’re just starting out is try to compete by charging less. Notice that none of my recommendations mentioned being known as the “affordable VA”? You don’t want to compete on price, but instead try to pick an advantage (speed, location, types of jobs, lengths of contracts, etc.) and really carve out a market for yourself based on that advantage.