In this episode, I’m joined by Catherine Gladwyn of Delegate VA where we discuss how to land your first client. Catherine share’s her two top tips and I cover how I got my first clients both as a VA and previously as a web designer.
Catherine is the best-selling author of “How to be a Virtual Assistant” and runs a paid membership group for virtual assistants, of which I am a member.
In this episode we cover:
- You never know who knows someone that’ll need your services
- Why you should start with friends and family
- How I landed my first client!
How To Land Your First Client As A Virtual Assistant
On today’s show, I’m joined by Catherine from Delegate VA. And we’re just going to tap into her knowledge about landing your first client as a VA.
Hi, thank you so much for inviting me and for having me. So, I mean, we’ve met in person already. So it’s nice to meet you again, virtually.
Yes. Thanks very much again for coming on the show. Do you just want to before we get started, just introduce yourself and say a little bit about what you do?
Yeah, cool. So I’m, I’m Catherine Gladwin. And my virtual assistant business is called delegate VA. And in addition to that, I’ve written a book on how to be a virtual assistant. So that’s my website for that is how to be a va.co.uk. And there’s various resources in that to help people start build and grow their own virtual assistant business. And that’s kind of how we met when it Mark you, I think, did you contact me, I found you on Twitter or something like that?
Yeah, I think we passed this cross randomly on LinkedIn. And that was long before I even decided I wanted to be a VA. And I think if you I don’t know whether you connected with me, because at the time I was living in Swindon had a small business myself. So maybe you requested as a potential client. But then when I was starting to see that some of the stuff that you’re putting out, actually, really, you’re probably the reason I am a VA now, just through seeing what you’re doing, and actually not really knowing much about that world at all. So yeah, thanks very much.
You’re smashing it and I and also to add, I mean, so many people just, they work with just women, don’t they in this in this domain, and I absolutely love the fact that you’re a male VA. And that’s that just I love that. I think there needs to be more male vs. So
yeah, I’m searching high and low for them. Little power to the man group.
Yeah, that was kind of a USP really. And then my first episode, that’s what I spoke about is just this everyone kind of transitions from pa or executive assistant to virtual assistant. And not enough guys, obviously, in those positions to begin with. That’s why so yeah, okay, great. And you also run your paid membership group, which is amazing.
You’re the only boy in this lot of abuse, but
yesterday is quite amusing.
It makes it for a fun environment, doesn’t it? It doesn’t all have to be about work and hard work. I mean, that’s why we we, we run our own business. And that is for the flexibility. So exactly that. Yeah.
Okay, so I know you’re massive on social media. And so yeah, I really wanted to tap into any advice or kind of ideas you’ve got for really land in your first client for anyone? Yeah.
No, absolutely. And it’s so daunting, I mean, and we say to ourselves, you know, if we even got a business if we haven’t got a client, but you’ve got to start somewhere. So yes, you are already a virtual assistant, even if you haven’t got your first client yet. And it’s easier than you might think, to get your first client, the first place to start. And this seems you may have already heard of this. But if you haven’t done it, you need to do it, as soon as you finish listening to this podcast, is to contact friends and family, and to let them know exactly what you’re doing. So not just I’ve set up my own virtual assistant business, or I can help people with admin, that’s really too generic. And being too generic is going to be your downfall. So contact friends and family, send an email or a Facebook message, or you know, even send send them a birthday card or something or some sort of card through the post and ask how they are. be genuine. Ask something about them, not just how are you? Because that means nothing.
I hate that winning. How are you? Do you
need to stop that?
So yeah, so send them an email, or however you prefer to communicate with them. And mentioned something personal, like, how’s Jessica getting on at gymnastics? Or, you know, how’s the husband something like that. And then say, I just wanted to let you know, I’ve started my own business. I’m a virtual assistant, and I offer the following services, and then lyst your services, and emit any that you think they definitely wouldn’t want to know about? Or include all of them and say, if you ever need my help, or you know, any other small business owners or any small business owners that that could do with an extra pair of hands? Could you send them my way, or include a link to your website as well, if you’ve got a website, and you will be surprised how many of those sort of salesy you can call it a salesy form of contacts, turn into paid leads turn into clients, my first client is still a client now. And it’s been invaluable working with her. And she and she was a friend. She was a the wife of a long term friend. And I knew she had a business, but I didn’t know to what extent and since I’ve been working, whether it’s the growth of our business has been phenomenal, but not not because of me. But it’s helped me evolve as well. So it’s been brilliant. So that is my first tip. So did you contact your friends and family Mark,
I did actually. Not necessarily as the VA stuff. But when I was really getting started in web design, I put it out on my personal Facebook, because that’s I didn’t have an email list. I didn’t really have a website at that point. But I had a couple of hundred friends on Facebook. And it made sense. And actually, that’s where I got my first five or six clients from those that I built the website for, actually then became my first retainer client when I went full time in February. So yeah, absolutely, yeah, hundred percent, friends or family, you’re usually the first to support you. And so if you put it out there, they usually know someone or they’re thinking of doing something themselves. And even if it’s a couple of hours, that’s still your first client.
Absolutely. And that couple of hours. If you do that, well, then they’ll come back to you again. They’ll recommend you. I had an inquiry last week from somebody never met her. She lives in my hometown. I’ve never heard of her. And somebody I used to run with and recommended me he’s never worked with me. He’s a policeman. And so he’s never worked with me, but he knows about my business, because I don’t shut up about it, I suppose. But yes. So she’s turned into a, I’m happy to say a 500 pound project.
Nice. Nice as a referral. Yes. So that’s brilliant. So that’s because four years ago, I told him about my business, or however long it was, and he continues to see my posts. So don’t be afraid and don’t feel that you’re intruding on their on their space or anything. Because if you start the conversation by asking them how they are, that’s nice. Everybody likes to talk about themselves and little bit and it feels lovely. If somebody remembers something about you. Yeah. So yeah, it’s that’s the best place to start. I do have some other tips if if you. Yeah, I mean, you know that social media is huge to have to reach people.
It’s by having a presence on social media, you reach more people than you do if you do face to face networking. And I’m a bit biassed, because if you read my book, you’ll know that I’m not keen on face to face networking. Personally, that’s just my personal thoughts. But also, as I say, you reach more people, if you go, go online. So what you need to be doing is not just posting from your social media channels, so whether that’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn, you need to be doing regular posts, you need to be reminding people of the services you can support them with. But you also need to engage. So you need to comment on other people’s posts. And it doesn’t have to be somebody that’s a potential client. It is, again, like the analogy I gave you. The recent inquiry I had came via somebody that is never going to work with me. And it’s just an old running friend.
So if you’re commenting on people’s posts, more people get to see you. And then if somebody says, Oh, I’m looking for a VA, that does this, and that and the other, then people can think, Oh, actually, I saw that a VA commented on one of my posts recently. Let me find her name, let me find his name or whatever. So. So being active on social media is about not only posting your own content, reminding your audience what you do, but also commenting on other people’s posts. And I highly recommend that you you get yourself active on LinkedIn, it’s the place to be at the moment. So make sure you’re you’re active on there and make sure your profile shows exactly what you can do for people.
Yeah, exactly that so LinkedIn, I obviously being in business to business that we are seems like the obvious place, but I can see almost a transformation and LinkedIn from when I first joined it, or years and years ago now to it’s it’s very much it’s way closer to Facebook than it’s ever been, I think now in terms of people are posting stuff, not necessarily just about job updates, or I did this great project, but it’s very much about personal brand these days. And it seems to be the place to go now. I spend most of my time hundred percent of my mouth 100%. But most of my time is spent on social media, you get a little pop ups on your phone that tells you how much screen time you
know, I did, I
did absolutely dominate It’s mine. And I just spend time doing what you’re doing. And actually, I’d say it’s almost more important to be interacting on other people’s stuff than it is to be putting out your own.
Absolutely, yeah, yes, yes, normal. Got as long as if you if you if you’re only interacting on other people’s things, as long as you’ve got somewhere that you can direct them to, that shows them shows the audience what you do, which is I was gonna feed on actually and it is almost like we’re radio presenters, Mark, we’re gonna link on to say that if you’ve not yet got a website, to talking to your audience now but if you’ve not yet got a website, I really recommend that that’s your first investment. And obviously, that leads nicely onto Mark for you. Totally unplanned by the way I want everybody to know we’ve not done this in the past. Yeah. But um, yeah, and also just to throw in there, you know, I’ve worked with you with my own website. So I know that you’re, you’re spot on with it. But yeah, you do always need it. I mean, you know this motto, you’re talking to your audience, but you do need to direct people to somewhere that makes it easy for them to decide whether they want to work with you. So it needs to be some way that shows your services and your rates, and a little bit about you as well. So if you’ve not yet got a website, make sure that is on LinkedIn.
Exactly is it’s an online brochure, isn’t it? You don’t have to keep explaining stuff over and over again. It’s like you can just drop a link to anyone that inquires and say check it out. If you like what you see sort of thing drop me a line and we can go from there. You don’t want to be copy and pasting I do this I do this or trying to sell to them every time they inquire.
Absolutely. Yeah. Hundred per cent No. spot on.
Yeah, so yeah, definitely. be interesting to know. Or if your audience could let you know, when they’ve contacted friends and family and see what the turnaround is. See what people come back.
Yeah, yeah, exactly that. So yeah, if you are listening in, the first thing you should do, once you finish listening is put something out on it on your social media. Facebook is obviously great, because you tend to be linked to friends and family, put something out, tell everyone what you’re doing. Or send them a letter or an email, like Catherine suggested and just say like, this is what I’m doing. Give it a couple of weeks and just see what response you get. Because you will be surprised who talks to who knows who and you just never know when those conversations are going to happen.
And sadly, it doesn’t happen overnight, but it will happen.
Exactly. You’ve just got to be on it all the time. Ave. Absolutely. recommendations are going to come in.
No, totally. Yep. And then eventually you’re like, you’ll have so many recommendations. You wonder what to do with them.
It happens. It happens. Yeah. Now you’re doing great. Mark.
Did you have any other tips?
No, I’m not sharing anymore.
I can’t give everything away, Mark. Because otherwise, you know? No, but no, but they’re my two tips. Because I don’t want to give too much not for wanting to hold things back. But you’ve got to start small.
Yeah, you can’t do everything at once can know
you can and if I give it as your listeners will know, there is so much advice out there that it can become overwhelming. So if you just start with those two tips, that is more than enough to keep going.
Absolutely. Okay, so if anyone wants to get in touch with you, Catherine, where’s the best place to find you?
Definitely LinkedIn. come and find me over on LinkedIn.
Yep. fab and your websites for the book I highly recommend and you can grab that directly from the website. Can’t you how to be a va.com
Yeah, that’s right. And it’s also on Amazon as well. And Kindle and audible.
Yeah. Oh, audible knows I haven’t listened to actually.
Yeah, yeah. No, it’s on Audible. So when it’s not narrated by me but by a lady called Natalie, so it’s not my will to tone on there. It’s a bit of a Manchester tone.
Thank you very much. No, thanks, Mark.