- Last Updated: Thursday, 30 July 2015 12:53
I came from the closetted corporate world, where it was my job to be a gate-keeper to my bosses and protect them from unsolicitored sales calls, which we got many of. So ‘sales’ was an evil dirty word, something to steer clear of.
As a PA, I was very much office based and the culture was you had to be seen in the office, otherwise no-one thought you were working. Home was reserved for ‘not working’ and we were discouraged from taking work home.
So when I started my VA business, it was really hard to imagine who might use my services. I was so used to executives and directors who needed to see you ‘there’ in the office.
From my due diligence and research into the virtual assistance world, I knew that people did use VAs and whilst it was a fairly new concept, it definitely was growing. And the way to find people who used virtual assistants was to go to networking events.
Networking events, I was informed, were attended by business owners and entrepreneurs and a great way to make new contacts with like-minded people, build relationships which would ultimately lead you to getting work.
Based on an established fact that people do business with people they know, like and trust, and although networking was a totally foreign concept to me, it didn’t involve me doing any dreaded ‘evil’ cold-calling, so networking seemed the right way for me to start making useful contacts and getting clients.
At networking events, which are usually conducted over breakfast or lunch, everyone takes a turn to stand up and talk for 60 seconds about who they are and what they do.
This was a terrifying prospect for me! Whilst I had been great at supporting my bosses and making them look good, me standing up in front of a group of strangers and telling them how good I was, was not something I had ever done before, or was at all comfortable with!!
In fact, I was so nervous about standing up and speaking for 60 seconds, all I could do was count down the ladies until it was my turn to stand up and talk! I stood up and blurted something out, that I’m not even sure was coherent or made any sense. I just remember seeing the sea of expectant faces looking puzzled as I spoke!
Then, when I sat down, it took the rest of the ladies their 60 second pitches for me to recover. I hadn’t taken in anything anyone had said, much less made an impression on anyone in the room to ask more about me.
But I needed clients! And these networking events were full of business owners who could use my VA services. I just had to get over myself, step out of my comfort zone and learn how to get good at delivering a good and memorable 60 second pitch that made them think ‘yes, I need Vee – I need to speak with her’.
So, move on a year later, I had a good few clients under my belt AND I was chairing that same network group. How did I do it?
I share this and more with 2 other experienced VAs, Jacky Workman and Helen Jacobi in our free webinar, Kickstart Your VA Business on 30th July. Click here for more info and to register…..
By Vee Smith – My Super VA