Have you ever seen Grey’s Anatomy? I’m a huge fan and have watched it from the very beginning. In the first episode, you see all the new surgical interns walk into a surgical room with dreamy eyes of what can be. As the interns are looking at their competition, you hear Dr. Webber give statistics on how many will make it through the program and how many will quit. On their first shift, Dr. Baily tells them they’re at the bottom of the surgical food chain. As a Virtual Assistant starting out, I felt just like those interns. As I joined Facebook group after Facebook group, I got to see my “competition”. My first thought was, how can I stand out when there is more experienced VAs then me? How am I going to find my first client?” I started to doubt I could be successful. After all. I’m at the bottom of the VA food chain.
Is this you? Is your journey trying to find the ever elusive first client has all the ups and downs of a primetime TV drama? Do you have networking drama?
You may be thinking, “I have been on Facebook and Instagram for months and still no clients”. You’ve read all the stories of how Facebook and Instagram are how other VAs have snagged their first client. Well, maybe for you, you need to do something unexpected; make your story different. Let me introduce you to Meetup! Meetup is a free social networking app for all sorts of interests including entrepreneurs and freelancers like yourself. These groups are local and some are very specific in their interests.
“Getting together with real people in real life makes powerful things happen. Side hustles become careers, ideas become movements, and chance encounters become lifelong connections. Meetup brings people together to create thriving communities.” – Meetup
I found my business niche being a WordPress Developer and this is my story how Meetup helped me land my first client. I simply searched on Meetup “Wordpress” and found a local group that has regular meetings at my library. Anyone from beginners to the most experienced comes to these meetings. This was the best networking opportunity for me because I could speak with someone who’s been in my shoes, ask questions, and get tips on running a successful business. The best part, it was all done face to face. No drama! Not to knock FB groups and private messaging but, I was able to meet another freelancer who just so happened to be needing someone to develop a website for their photography business! My very first WP meeting and I basically got my first client!
So, the moral of this story is to look at the more unexplored places to network to find your clients. Facebook and Instagram are still really amazing for networking and if nothing else, they’re just as good for the community as Meetup. It’s sometimes taking the road least traveled works. Just because everyone else is doing it might mean you shouldn’t. I take to heart what Alex Karev said in one of my favorite Grey’s episodes, “The expected is what keeps us steady. It’s the unexpected that changes our lives forever”.