Being Visible Even When You’re “Virtual”

VIrtual Assistant & ClientsI had an interesting experience last week.  A client of mine was being interviewed by the local newspaper and he asked me to come to the interview.  When the photojournalist arrived, my client introduced me as his “Virtual Assistant” – to which the photojournalist replied “She looks pretty real to me!”

The comment made me laugh – but it also reminded me of the importance of remaining visible.  As a virtual assistant, I work with clients across the United States and Canada.  Some of my clients I have met in person, some I have only “spoken” to via email.  I have the privilege of working out of my own office and not in someone else’s.

Even with all the benefits of being “virtual”, there is one major challenge – How do you grow your business when you’re not physically present in someone’s sight?  Here are four simple tips to staying visible with minimal effort:

  1. Go Public! – One of my favorite ways to stay visible is to be out in public.  About once a week, I go work in my “offsite office” (otherwise known as my local coffee shop).  Why do I do this?  It’s not for the coffee since I am not a coffee drinker.  It is to be visible.  It allows me the opportunity to engage personally with other individuals in my local community.  People are naturally curious and when they see me here, they ask what I am working on which gives me the opportunity to introduce my services.  So go out and be visible!
  2. Be Present – I encourage people to be actively involved with at least one networking group, whether it be a Chamber of Commerce or a niche networking group.  The more people interact with you, the more they trust you.  The more they trust you, the more likely they are to work with you and to refer you to others.
  3. Listen – I constantly listen to what other people have to say, whether I am in the same room with them or watching what they write on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or other social networks.  When you listen, you can sense their problems and find a way to help them.  I picked up a client on Twitter one morning, simply by watching my Twitter stream.  Someone I did not follow asked if anyone knew of a reliable Virtual Assistant.  I immediately responded to his inquiry and was hired that day.  I’ve been working with him now for over a year.  Listening is vital.
  4. Stay connected – Find a forum and virtual community for your industry.  Stay connected with the people in that community as they can provide invaluable information and advice.  There also can be cross-referrals with those in the community.  As a virtual assistant, I highly recommend VAClassroom for their forum and their amazing educational opportunities.

Do these items take time?  Of course they do.  But think of it this way… you are investing time in building your business.  I might be sitting in my favorite coffee shop at the moment, but I just wrote this blog post and connected with the person sitting next to me.  What have you done for your business today?

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