Posted on Oct 3, 2012 | 0 comments
So you want to make real money working from home, right?
There’s a big leap between wanting to make money from home and actually doing it. You need readers or advertisers or clients or customers. You need a plan.
One of the myriad of ways you can do well in the online space is as a virtual assistant or VA. It’s a job that plays into our collective skills as bloggers.
I have a VA, Lisa Morosky. I love her. I recommend her. If you need a VA, you should hire her.
Because she’s awesome.
Lisa built a home business into an enterprise with employees. Then Lisa scaled back her business to spend more time living her life. She’s done it all, and she’s kept her focus on what’s most important – her family.
That’s why I do this. I want to help you make money while keeping your focus on what’s important.
If you want to build a business, you should read Lisa’s book, The Bootstrap VA.
The Bootstrap VA is great for anyone who wants to build a home business. Lisa gives sound advice that will help you identify an ideal customer (where have you heard that before?), build a business plan, and find the right clients.
Later in the book, she deals with issues specific to being a VA. If you’re thinking about taking the plunge, seeking clients, or approaching bloggers to help with their never-ending inboxes, you need to read The Bootstrap VA.
Lisa has graciously allowed me to print an excerpt from The Bootstrap VA, dealing with identifying your ideal customer.
This chapter is probably the most important chapter in the entire eBook. If it wouldn’t be totally obnoxious, I’d capitalize, bold, and italicize every single word. Creating a roadmap now will save you many navigational errors later. Start your business off on the right foot with an organized, thought-out business plan.
If the term “business plan” scares you a little bit (and brings to mind images of businessmen, lawyers, and bank executives in suits in a conference room mulling over a PowerPoint presentation) – don’t worry. We’re bootstrapping, remember? This is a small business you’re creating, and your business plan will reflect that. This is just a way for you to organize your thoughts, get on track, and create some accountability for yourself. No businessmen, lawyers, bank executives, suits, conference rooms, or PowerPoint presentations needed. But a piece of paper and a pen would be handy.
Last thing I want to note before we jump into it is this – don’t forget that what you’re creating here is a lifestyle business. No one I know became a virtual assistant without some significant lifestyle motivators. Perhaps you want to be at home with your kids. Or maybe you want the freedom of working the hours you choose so you can travel. Or maybe, like me, you just want to own a little bit more of your life. Whatever your lifestyle motivators are, make sure to incorporate them into your business plan. Create a business that complements your life and your goals, not one you eventually become a slave to.
So let’s get started on creating your business plan. All of the headings below should be part of your business plan as a whole.
Your business plan needs to start with mapping out your ideal client. By “ideal client” I mean the type of person you’re creating this virtual assistant business to cater to. This is step one in your business plan because, quite literally, every single thing you do in your business – the market you choose, your branding, the services you offer, your rates, your marketing, etc – needs to be done with this person in mind.
Your business should be centered around wooing one specific type of client. This goes much deeper than just saying, for example, “lawyers are my ideal client”. When considering who your ideal client is, ask yourself the following questions in order to get a detailed persona.
Certainly there are more questions you could ask yourself about your ideal client, but those are a good start. Here are my answers to those questions at this point in time (so you have an example). This is my ideal client right now (I’m not saying that I don’t have clients who are different than this that I love, because I do, but going forward this is the type of client I’d like to take on).
That’s how detailed you should be in creating your ideal client profile. When I read my answers there, I can actually put faces to that description. When this is defined well, making decisions on services and how to market yourself is easy. Even making the decision on what to call yourself is easier decided when you have your ideal client profile completed (I’m a “blog helper” because that term means more to my ideal client than “virtual assistant” – maybe you’re a “personal assistant”, “marketing assistant”, or another term you come up with that matches your ideal client’s expectations).
I urge you to take some time and sketch this out. And when you’re done, stick your ideal client profile on the wall where you work as a reminder to keep focused. When taking on new clients, make sure to ask yourself if this person matches up with your ideal client profile and if their work will help your business and move you forward, or send you in a totally different direction you don’t want to head in.
And don’t forget – your ideal client can change over time. Mine certainly has. Whenever you’re considering a business shift, go back to this profile and reevaluate how you’re doing things. Are you still appealing to the same person? Do you even want to appeal to the same person (if not, then it’s time for a new profile to be made and to shift your business to fit that new ideal client)?