The modern professional assistant is a genuine asset to their clients and organisations.
That is not always fully appreciated. It is also something that should be said more in marketing and communications.
Whether you are a VA, PA or EA, how you position yourself matters.
It impacts your career or business. So, what’s it all about?
What is Positioning?
Positioning is about how you are perceived by others.
At work, that could be your boss, your colleagues and visitors. In business, that could be your clients, prospects or market audience.
Positioning is a marketing job. It’s also a messaging job.
If you choose not to position yourself in the organisation or the marketplace, others will do it for you.
Why does Positioning Matter?
Today’s VA faces more competition than ever before. It is a service that more and more people are looking for – and there is plenty of choice around the globe.
The very benefit of operating ‘virtually’ also presents a challenge. It means clients can pick an assistant from any part of the world.
For the PA and EA, you want to be valued by your employer. You want your boss(es) and colleagues to recognise the value your work delivers.
That’s good for your career path, your earnings and your potential to go it alone further down the line if that’s what you’re aiming for.
Other professional assistants are in the same boat. They will also be thinking about how they can market themselves and position themselves.
Just because you do nothing does not mean others will not.
The Battle of the Mind
It helps if you’re the first in your field. If not the first, you can still position yourself by being the first to describe yourself in a certain way.
For many years I was dubbed ‘The Queen of Microsoft Office training’. I’m now known as ‘the MS Office Maestro’.
The label helps people to place me and what I do in their minds.
In other words, it is part of my positioning.
Professional assistants can take a similar approach, whether for formal marketing of the business or using an informal ‘nickname’ at work.
Helen becomes “The PowerPoint Genie” – every time she opens a presentation it’s like a magic show.
Judy gets known as “The Teams Master” – she’s the one who knows how to set up group calls and help people use the application for better collaboration.
Anne is “The White Paper Wizard” – she’s able to produce reports of exceptional quality in double-quick time.
Those are just simple examples of how positioning can begin.
A name. A nickname. A tagline.
Getting into Position
The first rule of business (and work) is you cannot serve everybody.
You have to narrow it down. And, thankfully, that’s part of the positioning approach.
Are you a leader in your field? Are you a newbie? Are you somewhere in between?
Knowing your starting point can help you work out how best to position yourself, within the marketplace or the organisation.
One place to begin is with your audience – that is, the people who you help.
Who do You Help?
As a PA or EA, this will be a boss or executive. It may be several leaders you serve.
As a VA running your own business, you could have any kind of audience. You get to choose and shape that audience.
Do you help small business owners? Medium-sized businesses?
Do you support coaches, trainers, consultants or other ‘helping others’ people?
Do you work solely with female entrepreneurs? With socially conscious organisations? With environmentally friendly businesses?
When you choose a niche, you are positioning yourself.
Different Ways to Niche
Picking a segment of the market audience is one way to niche and position yourself.
There are other ways to differentiate yourself.
Whatever type or level of assistant you are, you can position yourself by your services and your skillset.
What are your strengths?
Do you excel at Excel and spreadsheets? Are you an organisational expert? Does your power lie in creating perfect presentations? Is report writing your forte? Do you lead in the world of lead magnet creation?
With great skills, you can promote yourself as a specialist. If you need to upgrade your competency or confidence in one or more applications, get some good quality step-by-step training.
You can find a course for any aspect of Microsoft Office. My latest programme was released in March and is structured a little differently to suit different styles so there’s no excuse for not being your best.
Position your skills. Position your services.
You can also position ‘you’.
Who are you? What are you? How would you define yourself? Can you sum yourself up in one concept or idea?
Are you the first? The best? The fastest? The cheapest?
Are you about excellence, quality and premium services?
Are you an organiser, a leader, a self-starter – or all of those things?
Make it known to people.
Some Final Thoughts on Positioning
Positioning is about the perception of you (that you can create) in people’s minds.
It involves an element of psychology. It involves the smart use of words.
How you connect and communicate is so important. Understanding – and having empathy for – people is vital.
Positioning also requires vision and courage. It is not about ‘playing safe’ and there will always be those willing to try to ‘shoot you down’ if you place your head above the parapet.
Whilst it is important to believe in yourself, it’s also important to be objective. Understand your strengths and your weaknesses.
Keep things simple. Make your messages clear. Keep your eyes open to the world and the change around it.
Do that and you’re on the path to strong positioning and a greater likelihood of success.
How do you position yourself?