The next two options to consider are:

Focus Your Marketing Message

Minimizing your marketing costs, especially in the early or lean years, is vital to staying on track in your VA practice.  Focusing your message to meet the needs of your niche, and the problems they need us to solve, allows you to remain focused on and marketing to one group, and in the process may help you to find other industries that need and want the same support, or possibly even more. 

Just using my metropolitan area as an example, there are approximately 2.5-million people in the St. Louis area.  It would be very expensive for me to market to 2.5-million people, effectively, on a tight budget.  However, if I’m only looking to market to the 20,000 REALTORS in that same market, I would find it much easier, and far less expensive.

Rather than spending thousands of dollars for ads in business newspapers and small business periodicals, I am able to expend much less by marketing in real estate newspapers and periodicals, that help me focus the message and budget towards the specific problems and challenges that particular industry faces. 

It is much more economical to market to 20,000 people than it is to market to 2.5-million, or more.  Establishing where your niche ‘hangs out’, which we’ll discuss later, will help you to find the most cost-effective options for your marketing message and dollars.

Expertise and Education

Fortunately, as independent contractors, we are not required to hold specific certifications to provide business support to any specific industry.  I will say however, that having established yourself as an expert, will also expose you to specialized training in software and online technologies specific to the industry your niche will support. 

Proficiencies in these technologies will allow you to differentiate yourself from the ‘generalist’ VA, and even from others working within the same niche. 

When I first started out, just about every single client I signed worked from some specialty software outside of what we all had from Microsoft.  Without the focus of your niche, you could easily end up spending thousands on software, and training, and not be able to use that expertise with other clients.

If you’re working the real estate niche and are proficient in a real estate specific technology, chances are, you will be able to attract new clients who use the same technology and have similar needs, again allowing you to create a more focused technology-based message that will be well received within your niche.

Achieving industry specific certifications and designations takes things up a notch.  Not only do you save on costs for more industry specific certification programs, but, you develop a single message to a smaller, more focused group of people, who need what you have to offer.

You also take some of the fear and objection away from prospective clients.  Being virtual doesn’t allow us the freedom to meet and build an in-person rapport with all of our clients.  Presenting your experience in technologies and showing your willingness to achieve industry related certifications allows the prospect to connect to you beyond the barriers of our virtual nature; and helps to establish trust and loyalty with the prospect.

Next week we’ll discover niches, and doing what you LOVE to do!

Jeannine Grich, owner of Accurate Business Services, a VA practice, is an author, writer, speaker, and VA Business Coach, specializing in providing professional business coaching to established and start-up virtual assistants (VA’s).  For her FREE article,  “What’s Holding Back my Business Success?” or “Finding or Expanding Your Niche”, Visit:; or contact her at:

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