Niche: A place or position suitable or appropriate for a person or thing: to find one’s niche in the business world.
I recently lost my job as an Administrative Assistant in a small company and decided to become a Virtual Assistant. I have been trying to find clients and recently downloaded one of your teleseminars where you were talking about niches. How do I find a profitable niche?
Karen, Bronx, NY
Good morning Karen. This is a question that we hear frequently and as I hear it, you are actually asking two questions even though one may be undefined, and that is “How do I find clients?” We will tackle that thorny question in future posts so please bookmark this site and return often to ask questions and browse the answers that other Virtual Assistants are asking. You can also get blog updates delivered to your email box by subscribing to this site.
The first request I would make of you is that you with down with a piece of paper and a pen and clearly determine what both your hard and soft skills are as well as where your true interests and passions lie. By assessing your own interests, work style, skills, and personality characteristics you will see patterns emerge that offer clarity about which services you would be passionate about offering. It will also offer clues to where you may need further training in order to achieve the success in your industry that you crave. Keep in mind that working in a traditional brick and mortar office is vastly different then working with a client, or clients, remotely. I cannot stress this enough!
Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills
In the business world, “hard skills” are technical or administrative procedures related to an organization’s core business. For example if you are a Excel spreadsheet expert, this is a skill that is easy to observe, quantify and measure.
“Soft skills”, however are difficult to observe, quantify and measure. Soft skills can be defined as “people skills” and are very critical to your Virtual Assistance practice either growing and thriving, or never becoming a viable practice at all.
When assessing your hard and soft skills, be very honest with yourself. On the hard skill, or technical side of the sheet, are you listing systems or processes that you have worked with a little but are by no means expert in? List them, but make a note letting yourself know that if these skills are what you would like to base your Virtual Assistance practice on, that you will enroll in a training program that focuses on the area of highest need.
Soft skills are needed for everyday life just as much as they are needed for business. Honestly assess how well you communicate with other people, with emphasis given to telephone and email interaction. Remember, you are working remotely and this is how you will communicate with both your clients and other team members or consultants if you are in a multi-VA team environment. Give serious consideration to the following soft skills and add your own where appropriate:
- Engaging in dialogue
- Giving feedback
- Cooperating as a team member
- Problem solving
- Conflict resolution
- Proactive innovation
- Decision making
- Encouragement and motivation
- Team building
Once you have clearly defined what your current skills are, what areas require further training or coaching and most importantly, where your true passion lies, you can formulate a plan to focus on those clients/markets that most interest you and will continue to interest you over the life of your practice.
To train with Denise Griffitts to become a highly technically saavvy, highly paid, highly sought-after Virtual Assistant please visit Virtual Assistance University.
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