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MillyC

No Business!!! Very Depressed!

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Hello,

 

My name is Milly and I've been a VA since Mid July of this year. I've signed on with Guru.com and Elance.com since then and had only 2 clients. I've been so stressed and a little depressed because I cannot land another job. I'm appalled at some of the bids that are being accepted by the Employers. They seem to prefer bids (very low bids) from providers in other countries. How am I suppose to compete with that? How am I suppose to compete with bids as low as $2.00 per hour on lengthy projects? I've sent out mailings, lots of mailings, I've been on Craigslist and I've hit a wall. I don't know what else to do to get my business going? I need advice, lots of advice, all kinds of advice I would greatly appreciate!

 

Thank you.

 

Milly

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Hi Milly,

 

Firstly, let me say I completely understand how frustrating it is to work so hard and not have better results. It takes a lot of work and time to build up a successful VA business and having been in business for a little over a month and having garnered 2 clients, I would say you're doing quite well! A lot the of successful VAs you read about have been around for years and it has taken them time to get where they are.

 

As a VA, you want clients to respect your abilities and pay you what you're worth and I don't think you're going to find your ideal clients on Guru or Elance. While I know VAs have found worthy clients on these freelancing sites, I agree you are competing against people from developing countries who can offer very low bids. Frankly, you get what you pay for, as many of these businesses will subsequently discover.

 

Mass mailings generally don't have a great return on investment and advertising on Craigslist might not be where your ideal client is. You have to think on that, who is your ideal client and where do they hang out? Once you figure that out, then you're able to target them specifically, which boosts your chances of success and narrows your focus so you are working towards a specific audience.

 

In-person networking is a great way to market your VA business. Get out to networking events in your area and meet people! If you do a search on meetup.com, it is likely that you can find a networking group to join in your area. Tell everyone you know what you are doing and how it can help their business. Volunteering for a charity you support can also help you hone your skills and generate good testimonials. Once you have a few clients willing to sing your praises and give you testimonials, you will find it easier to gain more ideal clients through word of mouth.

 

Don't give up! Just change your approach a bit and remember that it takes time to build any successful business, but if it's what you want to do, then you can! :thumbup:

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Hello Milly,

I'm sorry you're so down, starting out on your own is very hard and can be really stressful. I have been in business for almost 3 years now and there are times that I get down (even w/ clients) b/c I want more. Back in April I took my business in a different direction and have never finished my website (i deactivated my old one b/c it was truly a completely different business that I began). So everyday I beat myself up about that new website <img src="http://www.vanetworking.com/forum/public/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/blink.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":blink:" border="0" alt="blink.gif" /> I will finish it!!!!!

 

It's impossible to compete with other countries who bid on jobs at those rates, that's why I do not use Guru or Elance. If I were you, I would focus on sub-contract work with multi-va businesses. This will help establish you in the industry and will help you network with others that have the same struggles that you have. I'm not sure what kind of mailings that you're sending out but I don't market locally and I don't have advertise on Craig's List. If you want to be virtual, then local advertising is not always where you should focus. I get RFP's from the forum and I check out the IVAA ones also.

 

Don't get too down b/c then you are "breeding" the negativity into your business. You have to stay upbeat and positive. Read some books are marketing and growing your business, even if they are about HUGE businesses have success.....it gets you pumped up and keeps you focused. When I get down, I read books written by people like Brian Tracy (a great motivator), Susan Wilson Solovic, Elizabeth Cogswell Baskin. Just log on to Amazon and reads some of the book reviews on some of these writers and go w/ what drives you internally. When I get bummed or feel that I need boosted, I turn to one by SWS which is The Girls' Guide to Building a Million-Dollar Business. It always gets me back on track. I have so many little sticky notes and highlights in that book and I've only had it for about a year and half.

 

Find something that motivates you, whether it's reading success stories online or writing to all of us on the forum....the key is to stay focused and find something that works for marketing your business. I'm not a marketing person so I can't give you any suggestions like some of the great marketing minds on here will be able to do. I'm just trying to help you snap out of little rut that you have gotten yourself into. Please don't fall into it-it wil gobble you up faster than you can imagine.

 

Hang in there! YOU CAN DO IT, YOU WILL DO IT!

Stay positive and stay focused!

 

Good Luck! Please keep in touch with us, things will be improving in no time so let us know how it's going. <img src="style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/thumbup.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":thumbup:" border="0" alt="thumbup.gif" />

 

Kris

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I've been so stressed and a little depressed because I cannot land another job. I'm appalled at some of the bids that are being accepted by the Employers.

I have to agree with what the others said.

 

However, you have to have a different mindset than what you have above. You are not "landing another job" and you are not "being accepted by the Employers". You have to remember that your Virtual Assistant business is your business. You can networking/market your business and get clients, but you're not landing a job and they are not your employer.

 

Figure out your target market and network where they hang out, whether it be online or in person.

 

Remember, you're like the plumber, the electrician, etc. They have their own business and so do you.

 

Also, if you're wanting to gain clients, you might want to think about joining the VAinsiders. You'll then have access to the RFPs that come through, plus tons of other goodies.

 

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Hi Milly,

 

It is very stressful when jobs do not come in. When you start out as a VA, you can often be worried and/or afraid that you will not survive, financially, but you must believe in yourself and your work. Would you even want to work with a client who would accept a 2$/hour bid on a job? This tells me that this client has no common sense and no desire for quality. Do not sell yourself short.

 

Also, in my experience, online ads do not bring many interesting or serious clients. Most people perusing the online ads (Craigslist, Kijiji, etc.) are looking for a bargain. Most are not clients who would be returning or who want a long term relationship or regular partnership.

 

Join a VA network if you have not already done this, contact potentiel clients, get yourself out there.

 

And remember, you are not alone in this.

 

Micheline.

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Some great advice here - what I would take heart from though is that you aren't offering the same service as those offshore VAs - it is two completely different things.

 

Offshore VAs - cheap hourly rate, take forever to do even the simplest of tasks and require massive micromanagement.

Domestic VAs - understand instructions, are proactive and get stuff done fast, but charge a higher hourly rate.

 

That's how I would approach it!

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Hi Milly!

 

I am so sorry you are feeling down in the dumps. I totally understand. I launched my business in November of last year and just recently landed a client. Before I landed this client I too was feeling very depressed. Like you I posted my frustrations in this forum and received great advice. Are you on Twitter? Have you joined any of your local networking groups? What about volunteering? Check out BNI and your local Chamber of Commerce.

 

I tried Elance and felt like I was short changing myself. I never found a client on Craigslist and ultimately stopped looking.

 

Hang in there!

 

Beth

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<!--quoteo(post=118194:date=Aug 23 2009, 12:07 PM:name=KrisSPrice)--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (KrisSPrice @ Aug 23 2009, 12:07 PM) <a href="index.php?act=findpost&pid=118194"><{POST_SNAPBACK}></a></div><div class='quotemain'><!--quotec-->Hello Milly,

I'm sorry you're so down, starting out on your own is very hard and can be really stressful. I have been in business for almost 3 years now and there are times that I get down (even w/ clients) b/c I want more. Back in April I took my business in a different direction and have never finished my website (i deactivated my old one b/c it was truly a completely different business that I began). So everyday I beat myself up about that new website <img src="http://www.vanetworking.com/forum/public/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/blink.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":blink:" border="0" alt="blink.gif" /> I will finish it!!!!!

 

It's impossible to compete with other countries who bid on jobs at those rates, that's why I do not use Guru or Elance. If I were you, I would focus on sub-contract work with multi-va businesses. This will help establish you in the industry and will help you network with others that have the same struggles that you have. I'm not sure what kind of mailings that you're sending out but I don't market locally and I don't have advertise on Craig's List. If you want to be virtual, then local advertising is not always where you should focus. I get RFP's from the forum and I check out the IVAA ones also.

 

Don't get too down b/c then you are "breeding" the negativity into your business. You have to stay upbeat and positive. Read some books are marketing and growing your business, even if they are about HUGE businesses have success.....it gets you pumped up and keeps you focused. When I get down, I read books written by people like Brian Tracy (a great motivator), Susan Wilson Solovic, Elizabeth Cogswell Baskin. Just log on to Amazon and reads some of the book reviews on some of these writers and go w/ what drives you internally. When I get bummed or feel that I need boosted, I turn to one by SWS which is The Girls' Guide to Building a Million-Dollar Business. It always gets me back on track. I have so many little sticky notes and highlights in that book and I've only had it for about a year and half.

 

Find something that motivates you, whether it's reading success stories online or writing to all of us on the forum....the key is to stay focused and find something that works for marketing your business. I'm not a marketing person so I can't give you any suggestions like some of the great marketing minds on here will be able to do. I'm just trying to help you snap out of little rut that you have gotten yourself into. Please don't fall into it-it wil gobble you up faster than you can imagine.

 

Hang in there! YOU CAN DO IT, YOU WILL DO IT!

Stay positive and stay focused!

 

Good Luck! Please keep in touch with us, things will be improving in no time so let us know how it's going. <img src="style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/thumbup.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":thumbup:" border="0" alt="thumbup.gif" />

 

Kris<!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd-->

 

Kris

 

Thanks for the words of encouragement. Milly I am right there with you. I know and realize it is hard work to start a business kind of like losing weight and you look for a little movement in order to stay encouraged. Kris you mention sub-contracting with other VA businesses. Forgive my ignorance but as a newbie not really sure how to do this. Can you provide more insight?

I will also look into the books you mention. But I have to say visiting this site is a great motivator as well. I check in everyday to see what others are struggling with, pick up new tips, and most importantly get excellent advise from our seasoned VAs who have made their businesses work. It gives me hope I will be able to as well.

Thanks!!

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Hi Milly,

 

Even though I don't have a client, haven't finished my website, and am starting to panic about finances, I have to agree with everyone here. I am NOT going to give up, I AM going to keep on going and believe it or not, just reading the posts here helps me to do that. If fact, just reading the answers you have received has helped me. I didn't know about meetup.com until I read the posts. I just checked it out and found a women's business owner group near me that was formed as a networking/support group. It sounds great and I signed up on the spot.

 

Don't give up, you'll get there! Even if the worst happens and I have to get a temp job outside the home, I'm going to keep on trying to build my business. I knew getting into this that I was in for the long haul and that I couldn't expect work immediately, so I just keep reminding myself that I've only been really working on this for about 6 weeks and that I'm really doing well, considering. I'm learning more everyday and improving myself and my business all the time.

 

Please hang in there! I know that you can do it!...... I know WE can do it! :thumbup:

 

LindaQ

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Guest Melodee

Hang in there, Milly - and get out of the house!

 

Find a local women's business group and start networking. And look for a local or state VA group where you can hear of opportunities that other VAs don't have the time or expertise to do.

 

And try to stay positive - it may take a little time, but it will happen :)

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Kris you mention sub-contracting with other VA businesses. Forgive my ignorance but as a newbie not really sure how to do this. Can you provide more insight?

Just thought I'd let you know that I'll be presenting the "Being the VAs VA" presentation during the VAvirtuoso Summer Series. I really enjoy being The VAs VA. :)

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Wow!!

 

Thank you so much all of your kind words and encouragement. As depressed as I have been lately, I know not to give up...I will keep going. I will definitely look into networking and meetup.com. I know that it will take time; however, I cannot afford to wait a long time, I'm interviewing for a full time position tomorrow, but I will still keep working at this!!

 

Thanks again!

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Sorry to hear about you being down!! You have received a lot of great advice here so I won't repeat anything but you have to hang in there... since mid-July is not a lot of time. You have to believe in yourself and your business and in the end do not sell yourself short.

 

Kim

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Guest Nikki Johnson

I received some pretty great advice yesterday that may be of some assistance to you. Do you have a former employer that is familiar with your skillset? If so, then contact them and ask them to give you the names/contact info for about 10 people they know that may benefit from your service. A referral like that may carry a little more weight than if you were out just fishing on your own. Then, you can ask those 10 people for 10 names/contacts as well - even if they can't or don't want to use your service, they may be able to refer you to someone that can. This can lead to about 100 leads for possible clients as well as getting your name out there so even if they don't need you right now - they may consider you or remember you in the future.

 

I hope this helps.

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Guest TerryGreen

Hi Milly,

 

How are you marketing yourself? Do you have a marketing plan in place? Do you know who your target market is? As Patty said, you're not looking for another job, you're looking for clients. You are a business owner that has a service(s) to provide clients ... not an employee looking for work. If you're new to being a business owner, sometimes it is a very difficult mindset to achieve. We are so used to having jobs and being employees that it really does take some training (in our minds) to begin thinking of ourselves as business owners ... and you need to be able to do that before you'll ever be able to get others to see you that way.

 

Just hang in there; you've been in business less than 2 months, and clients don't always appear overnight. Going into business for yourself and becoming a VA isn't going to be a "get rich quick" thing ... it takes time and dedication and patience to build a client base and be successful as a VA. Many VAs gain clients very quickly, while it may take time for others to gain clients. A lot depends on who your target market is and how you market your business. I would strongly suggest that you stay away from guru and elance and all of the other sites where you bid for "work," and start networking online and offline. Determine who your target market is and start hanging out online where they do. Network with other VAs so they can get to know you too ... you never know when another VA might need your assistance or have someone they want to refer to you. You might also try volunteering in your local area so people can see what you do and you can get your name out there. Just hang in there ... if you are truly serious about building your business and work at it, the clients will come!

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