Anyone care to help me brainstorm? Strengths, focus, niche etc

MsAahzz

New Member
Hi all!
When I've been able to take a breath from all the ebooks I've been getting from wowio, I've been browsing the forum, taking notes, making lists etc.

I'm having a tough time pulling everything together to determine what I can do for whom. I don't want to be all things to all people or even all things to a few people but my admin skills are pretty all over the place. Maybe not though. I'm hoping you guys can offer a new perspective and pull things out of my brain that I'm not seeing LOL!

I suppose a little background would help and bear with me because this is almost like a stream of consciousness, peek into my brain, hehe!

I started my 1st job as a temp receptionist for a manufacturing company and was quickly hired on. I moved onto customer service/order entry while training to take on claims (order discrepancy resolution). Eventually I also took on managing key accounts and became the go-to girl for proofreading pre-print marketing material (found that I have very strong proofreading skills, not always evidenced in my posts!) I stayed on for over 5 years before giving birth to my first child. I decided to become a SAHM and after about a year was asked to come back PT by one of the owners. I was able to work 1 -2 days a week on my terms (invoiced them as an independent contractor, chose my hours/days) and that worked out very nicely for about a year. We decided while I was pregnant with my 2nd to move 800 miles away. I've had quite a few temp admin jobs and really enjoyed the 8 week assignment I had as a conference assistant which entailed working with MS content management, updating speaker bios & session summaries, calling speakers to ask for missing info, proofreading the program etc. It was project work and I loved it!! Didn't hurt that my "boss" and I really clicked.

In the meantime, I had also grown my soap/candlemaking hobby into a business, but veeeerry casually over the past 10 years, meaning no biz/marketing plan, no direction etc. Sad to say I'm still lacking in that area today even though I have a customer email list of over 150. This is something I plan on attacking this year.

I've also had the opportunity to design & develop a fellow crafter's website: thesnugglebag.com, as well as my own (soyshine.com, though recently redesigned by me and moved to a temp server at mazbo.com/soyshine) Sometimes I enjoy designing my labels & website more than making my own products!

I am certainly not lacking in determination or self-confidence. I'm just looking for a little help with determining/narrowing/focusing my strengths and how or if they would benefit my possible target markets. I'm thinking larger crafters like the snuggle bag, as well as nutritionists since I have a strong interest in health & nutrition. Any other input on target markets would be appreciated.

OK, sorry for the novel guys. Thanks for reading & providing insight!!
 

Tess

Administrator
Staff member
Hi there :) It's great that you know what you like to do - and actually, it sounds to me like you do know already who you want to work with and what you want to offer those clients...it's just a matter now of deciding that's where you're going to focus your marketing efforts and going for it.

Honestly, I think once you start interacting with these markets you've mentioned you'll find yourself naturally discovering other avenues that you might be interested in marketing to.

Your strengths as a jack of all trades will benefit any client population you decide to work with - and as a business owner you get to decide just what services you'll offer in relation to those strengths. Small biz clients always need web work and admin services, I offer the same hodge podge of services and it works really well for me and for my clients.

It really does sound to me as if the question isn't so much about which markets/which strengths but about which direction to take your marketing and how to get that going - how to reach those clients and sell those strengths - but if I'm missing something please let me know! ;)
 

kathiemt

New Member
I'd point you to a couple of blog posts I've written about this particular topic but mySQL on my server has crashed and my blogs are down - waiting on my support guy to look at it and it's a Sunday afternoon where I am so not sure how quickly they'll be back up again.

I encourage you to look at what you enjoy doing and who you feel you would enjoy working with, and go from there. Niche markets have become obvious to me over time but at the start I just wanted to get clients and get paid work.

These days the VA industry is fairly well established and people start to look at their niche targets much earlier in the piece but you may find that after a couple of years your interests change and your skills grow and develop.

Be prepared to adjust as time passes but start with what you enjoy and know and connect with whomever you can. You may find that your 'target niche' will make itself known to you and you may start to attract more clients in one area than in others without realising it.
 

MsAahzz

New Member
You're right Tess and thanks for the feedback. It does seem like I've answered my own question. I guess I needed to throw it all out there and really say, "ok, this is how far I've gotten so far, where am I now and what's next?"

Kathie, I look forward to reading your blog - I'll check back over the next few days :) Thanks for your reply.
 

virtual writing

New Member
I think it was Dawn (vainparadise) who revealed the secret to me: you target in your marketing, but your marketing can be directed at different niches. If you make sure your marketing efforts show specifically how you'll help the potential client, you're targeting a niche. So your cover letter or email needs to be personalized, you can have a few different versions of a brochure, etc. And then you take whatever jobs come your way that are interesting to you.
Seems like Tess always emphasizes getting a clear picture of your ideal client. As you've already experienced, ideal clients can be found in different industries. So regardless of what niche you target, the ultimate goal is to find the right people, whatever niche they happen to occupy.
Have I misquoted anyone here? Hope not.
 

kimhughes

New Member
Another way to determine what you enjoy doing and who your ideal client would be, you might try sub-contracting to other VAs so you can get your feel wet and see what it is you really enjoy and then you can focus on that niche!

All the best to you.
 
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