One of the key things I've learnt over the years to having a consistent growing income is to increase the earning potential of my VA business, either through passive income, multiple income streams, scalability or simply being able to improve my skill set and expand what I'm able to offer. By having that kind of open flexibility with my services, clients will almost always come to me first and ask if I'm able to help them with a project or task, before they begin looking elsewhere. I can then either confirm I'm able, or pass the client onto a more suitable service provider.
The Narrow Niche Myth
You've likely heard of a niche market, but there are also niche skill sets. There is a myth, misconception, call it what you will among many virtual assistants that they have to be 'perfect' at the task in order to get it done, (we should all strive for improvement, but if you hold back selling your services because you don't feel you're the best right now, here's the thing, you're only ever going to get to be the best if you get out into the field and start servicing clients, catch 22), or they feel they have to narrow down their service set or skills in order to be taken seriously by clients. I'm not denying that finding your place in this extraordinary VA world, and somehow cornering a market or niche skill set is beneficial - it can be most certainly if that's what comes naturally, or you want to simplify things greatly, but it's not for everyone, and you shouldn't feel like packing it all in if you don't have that 'one' thing... Break the mould. In my experience had I not allowed myself to spread my wings a little, I never would have been able to build my business into such a diverse service or my skill set into what it is today, a) because not many people would have taken a chance on me when I knew very little and had about the same amount of experience to boot, b) because I would have been holding back my creativity through a belief that I'd only make it if people thought I mastered one trade or niche.
Clients appreciate diversity - when it's balanced in the right way: "Michelle is an extremely capable and versatile professional who is able to turn her hand (and her virtual assistant organisation) to anything I need whenever I need it."
In the early days of my business I would sometimes take a request from a client without any real idea of how I was going to accomplish it, but knowing instinctively that I had the capability, I just needed to stretch myself a little further to use that capability. I would then explain to the client that I'd certainly be willing to give it a go, and would offer a reduced rate because my experience in that particular task was minimal - but I would always specify (if it was true of course) that I had every confidence I could fulfil the requirements the client had based on the foundation I had already of knowledge and experience.
All you need to begin with is a foundation.
So let me put this into some context for you. I'm not an official trained Web designer and developer, and I haven't taken any courses on it, now I have a team, and yes I hire a professional part time Web designer and a very talented full time developer, because that's a part of my business model, that's where I've grown to, but it didn't start there.... One day in 2005 I got hold of a copy of Frontpage, and then Dreamweaver and Photoshop and started reading and practising everything I could find on the Web (for free!) on website development and HTML, and from there I began building my own website and later offering this as a service. I discovered I had a skill/talent/eye for design, now I get comments like this from my clients:
"Her design work is the best I've ever had--I've been through 6 web designers and I'd never ever go to anyone else."
My point here is, I never would have discovered this had I not been open to developing my foundation skills. I still to this day design a majority of my clients' websites and much more...
I went on to eBooks, then expanded into creating videos, podcasts, webinars, all sorts of really cool things that I knew my clients would need, and above all they appreciated the fact they had the convenience of being able to come and get these things from me. I'm not Mr. Miyagi, they know I don't claim to be the "ultimate master" of every individual service, but I do an amazing job that goes beyond their expectations. I care about my work enough to establish a 'quality boundary' which I need to meet in order for it to make the cut, and I invest my time in excellent customer service, and that's the best foundation that any good virtual assistant can have, maybe that in itself makes me a master in something - virtual assistance ;-)
So there is a solid case for going for a niche, some people have little success without a niche, and when they find one, they achieve success, and of course it's natural to assume it's because they didn't have a niche to begin with. Another scenario is they've always had a niche and they have no experience of not having one, so they advocate niche, and finally not having a niche could simply be too overwhelming for some.
But there's a crucial element that must be addressed here, and it's something that took me several years to really put into practise and figure out (primarily because I refused to accept the 'niche or nothing' stance) - it's how you balance your foundation skills in the way you offer your services.
Balance is essential, and it's important to note that balance can be achieved in any quantity, let's take a balance scale, if I put one chopstick on the left side and one chopstick on the right side - I have balance.
If I expand and put 20 chopsticks on the left side and 20 on the right, I still have balance.
Do this with the services you offer in your business and that's how you pull off the niche road and still make a success of your business. If you have too many chopsticks on the left and not enough on the right, you may find yourself struggling, then you'll end up thinking niche is the answer, when it could just be a balance adjustment that's required.
So the number of foundation skills you acquire doesn't matter, what matters is how you present them, how you manage and perform them and how you balance them in your business as part of your service structure. Get this right, and you have a huge amount of potential for keeping the business just as streamlined as a niche business, and just as (if not more) profitable.
ARE YOU READY TO EXPAND YOUR FOUNDATION?
If the idea of offering product creation services to your clients appeals to you, but you're not sure where to start, you need to develop that core foundation of skill, from a reliable source that can guide you through these services with a plan and tutorial type step-by-step guidance, plus keep you updated when new tools and online services are available that could speed up the process or help you improve your end product, then you need to check out my latest series of courses in the Roadmap on product creation. They provide the absolute essentials on foundation product creation for your virtual assistant business that could immediately open up new possibilities for your clients, and new income opportunities for you! The Examiner (for digital download skills), Entertainer (for digital multimedia skills) and Educator (for digital membership site skills).
BUY BEFORE AUGUST 12TH FOR A FREE BALANCE ASSESSMENT
If you purchase the one time fee option on the product bundle (all 3 courses) by August 12th 2015, you'll also receive a FREE Balance assessment from me after the courses go 'live' where I'll send you a questionnaire to complete, I'll take a look at your website (if you have one) and your services and based on the foundation skills I share in the courses and your ideas on where you'd like to take the skills and services offered in your business, I'll provide an assessment with suggestions on how to balance your business (if it's currently looking out of balance) and if it's in balance, you'll have piece of mind that you're on the path to prosper!