Looking for work in any market can feel like a full-time job.
In the Virtual Assistant world, there’s the added dimension of applying through email or private message, not in person, and of working with business owners who haven’t had many employees or have had none at all.
There can be frustrating times when you just want someone to say yes and give you the chance to prove yourself.
I’ve worked with one awesome client, whom I absolutely love, who took 14 emails to convince to hire me. I knew I could make a huge difference for her, and I know her niche well (I’m her ideal customer), but I had to convince her I was a good investment. Once she said yes and I did a small amount of work for her, she confirmed right away she had made the right choice in hiring me and we have a fabulous working relationship. But it was a lot of back and forth for us to get there.
And you know what? I get it. She has to be responsible for her business funds; she has to decide wisely where to put them. Business owners, especially if they’re hiring for the first time (or have been burned by another VA), are literally choosing to pay a VA over taking that portion as an income for their family. It’s a big deal.
So what’s a VA to do when they aren’t finding the hours they want to work and are hearing ‘thanks, but no thanks’ too often?
Practice Patience. My husband is a pastor and has been the entire 18 years we’ve been married. Do you know how long it takes, on average, to find a new church to love and to lead? 9 months to a year! And sometimes far longer. There’s a lot of searching, a lot of applying, and a whole lot of waiting. In the months we’ve spent waiting in the past, my husband had read, talked to other pastors, taken extra training, and worked on projects he has a hard time getting done when he’s working. We also have doubled down on our budget and spent the absolute minimum during those times when we couldn’t do much about our income.
Put Yourself Out There. I’ve coached soccer since I was a teenager… soooo for over 20 years. Coaching the offense is so challenging because there’s always a player or two who waits for the perfect goal scoring opportunity before they’ll take a shot. They’re willing to work hard to create the opportunity, but they won’t pull the trigger until it seems perfect – so they can’t miss. Time and time again I tell my players, “If you have a shot at all, take it. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. Even professionals shoot and miss all the time, but they also shoot and score.” It’s easy to fall into the same bad habit when you’re looking for clients. You agonize over a resume, you pour over Facebook groups looking for opportunities, you talk to your friends and family about this world of VA work you’re so excited about…but you don’t apply because it isn’t the perfect situation. You’ve got to shake that off and start putting yourself out there, even when it isn’t perfect!
Pad Your Resume. There are SO MANY free trainings available that you can always be learning while you’re looking for work. Learn a new program, mess around with Canva, sign-up for some online business’s emails and learn from them, try an Instagram story, or open an Etsy shop (just to see what it’s like). You might not end up doing these jobs, but having a familiarity with a variety of business needs makes you attractive to business owners.
It takes years of VA work for clients to come looking for you. Until then, you’ve got to do the hard work of applying, networking, seeking…and doing it again and again until you have the job or jobs you want.
Don’t give up! Patience and diligence will pay off in the end.