As a new virtual assistant, your greatest challenge is likely to be getting new clients. How do you get people to trust you with their business and money? It’s definitely not easy when you’re just starting out but that is why the technique that I’ll share with you in this article works so well. It’s a simple technique: work for free. Yes, I’m telling you to work for no money. And yes, this will get you paying clients later – if you are smart about it.
Why work for free?
Most virtual assistant businesses offer a free consultation to explain their processes and let clients ask questions. You could do the same thing, but that would be boring and you would be no different from the thousands of other VA companies or freelancers out there. To stand out from the crowd and win the business, give away a sample of your services and show the client what you can do instead of just talking about it.
Why does it work?
Working for free is effective for these two reasons: First, it eliminates risk for your client. Business is risky, not just for you but also for your client. Your client will have to trust you to give them results. They will be investing time and money in your services and it is natural for them to want to choose wisely. By offering a free sample of your work, you help your client save time by showing them results before they even pay a penny. Second, offering a free sample gives your working relationship a positive start. Let’s face it: to work well together, you’ll need to develop a good relationship with your client. Ever heard of the rule of reciprocity? People tend to respond in kind to positive actions. By giving a free sample of your services, you start the relationship off on a good note and your client is likely to want to return the favor.
Being smart about offering free work
Now, this technique is not without its risks. You want to exchange your time and efforts for genuine clients. You do not want to offer free samples of your virtual assistant services indiscriminately. There are freeloaders who will take advantage of it and you need to be smart about who you offer your services to in order to eliminate these risks. Make sure you do your research and handpick the people you want to work with. Offer your services to people with whom you can create a mutually beneficial relationship; Seek out people that you’ll love to work with. This could be people that you already know, respect and admire. It could also be people you don’t know personally but know enough about (friends of friends, people you follow online, etc). When I used this technique, I reached out to people I already knew and whose business models I admired – this had the added advantage of letting me learn what they’re doing with their businesses that makes them so successful.
Convinced? Here’s what you can do
If you are willing to try this technique, here’s a bit rough plan you can use to give away your services for free:
- Offer a sample of your work with no strings attached.
- About one to three hours of VA work would be a good amount
- Offer this only to people who are interested in hiring and need the help
- Make sure you do a fantastic job
- After that, ask for testimonials or referrals in exchange for your free work. At this point, most people would be more than willing to return the favor, especially if they were happy with your work.
Remember, this is not something that you should do all the time. Use this technique for clients that you’ve handpicked and researched. All you need is one client who really loves your work and you’ll be getting referrals (and a long-term paying customer!) for a long time to come.