It’s interesting how people describe themselves.

You might call yourself a director, founder or business owner. You might say you run a company or that you’re an entrepreneur. You might describe yourself as a sole trader, freelance or self-employed.

Perhaps the description or label is something else.

Whatever the term or phrase, if you’re out doing something for yourself (as opposed to being an employee) then you are running a business. Whether you like it or not.

And if you’re running a business, at some point you’ll need to do some form of marketing. Otherwise, how will anyone know you exist or what you do? Are you getting these in the wrong order?

Even if you start out by helping a few connections, once you’ve worked through your contacts book there’ll come a time when you have to do more than sit at your computer and wait for enquiries to arrive in your inbox.

It Fills Some People with Fear

But just the word marketing can fill some people with dread, fear or confusion.

They can feel as if there is some elite group of gurus – and it is only they who have the keys to success.

Such emotions are understandable. After all, you probably set up in business or went self-employed because you wanted to help others – and in doing so, change your own life.

You had sufficient knowledge, experience and skills to be able to do the delivery side – your products and services. But chances are you didn’t really have any marketing background. The whole caboodle was, and perhaps still is, a bit of a mystery to you.

Some of the approaches VA’s and other professional assistants are taking do demonstrate that there is a lot of confusion out there.

Many begin by using social media and picking a channel or two to use. They focus on the medium first. Then they think about their audience and their message.

That’s Getting Things in the Wrong Order…

The correct way to approach it is this:

1. Market – Who is your audience? This is your niche, your target market, your tribe, your ideal client.

2. Message – What is your message to your audience? What do you do? How do you help people? What difference do you make to their lives or business? What outcomes and results do you get for people? What is so different about you? Why you and not somebody else?

3. Medium – This is where you think about social media and other marketing methods. Where does your ideal client ‘hang out’? Where are they looking for your services? That might be Facebook. It might be LinkedIn. It could be both, of course. Then there’s Twitter or Instagram.

Are you getting these in the wrong order?Get the order right and it will help you to reach the people you want to reach, with the right message.

Being a VA requires an office, organisational and productivity skills, of course. That’s why being up to speed with your Microsoft 365 training is important.

But there’s also the marketing side…

You’ll want to consider this aspect, especially if you’re serious about wanting to grow your business (and make this self-employed thing more sustainable than a ‘nice little hobby’).

It’s why on Virtually Amazing – The Podcast, Jo and I invite guest experts on to talk about topics to help with the business side of being a VA.

Already, we have enjoyed hearing from some wonderful people who know their stuff about different aspects of marketing.

Each one shares great tips which will be of value to any VA who is wanting to get to grips with how to promote themselves, how to create great content for social media, and how to make their website stand out.

A Fantastic Line-Up

Here are just some of the experts who have shared with us some brilliant advice around marketing:

  • In Episode 3, Jennifer Corcoran reveals how to network effectively on LinkedIn.
  • Simon Graves, ‘The ‘WordPress Guy’ describes how to build a strong VA website.
  • Copywriter Gary Spinks gives us five fab tips for what to write for a website – and how to approach getting our words down and message across.
  • That leads nicely to another super writer, Sara Bussandri, a content writer and blogger who shares how to write better blogs.
  • Charlotte Wibberley, of the Association of Professional Virtual Assistants, talks about how she got started and we also get into a marketing chat around funnels and automation.
  • You can learn a lot about PR from Carrie Eddins, and there is more advice about content marketing and ideal clients in our chat with Sarah Arrow.

And these are just some of the experts and marketing topics featured in my podcast.

Find Us and Follow Us

You can find the Virtually Amazing podcast on my website, the usual platforms like iTunes and Spotify, and (if you like to watch as well as listen) you can also find us on YouTube.

Make a point of following and subscribing to Virtually Amazing. That way you’ll always be up to date with what’s available.

Sometimes one gem of a tip, piece of advice or an answer to a question is all it takes to have an ‘Aha’ moment or create a breakthrough in your VA business.

And, of course, should you need to know the essentials of MS Office or how to master Microsoft 365, including Teams, there’s a course for you in my course directory.

Shelley Fishel