VA Subscriptions Worth It?

rb246

New Member
I've done some reading online that subscriptions to certain websites/organizations like: Virtual Assistantville, Private FB pages (if you buy a book or something), and IVAA - can help you land clients through their value in networking.

How true is this? Starting out I'm really try to keep costs to a minimum, so unless they're bound to actually work, I don't know that I want to spend the money. Does anyone have experience with these types of things?
 

Your Virtual Wizard

Community Leader
I highly recommend Virtual Assistantville due to its economic cost, exposure and really good articles and RFPs.

I also find being here on VAF the best site for all things VA and it is free! Plus there are RFPs as well.

Take a look at the store here and the reviews for each of the products offered. All of the resources available come highly recommended.

I would take time to evaluate where you are in your business. Do you need help in social media or just need to get started setting up? You don't want to buy everything, of course but purchase those items in your budget that you need the most help with.

You can find free information here on VAF so use the key word search in the upper right corner to get started. There are categories here that breakdown each aspect of being a VA so start with the most obvious and read those threads.

I would suggest you join FB groups for VAs and ask your questions there and also here on VAF. A good way to learn is to learn from others just by asking questions.

I would say that success really depends upon how much you will put into it.

Janine
 

oofva

Member
I always like to caution new business owners from relying on online anything - networking, marketing, etc.

Get out there and network in person. Develop a solid marketing plan that includes digital marketing and social media but is not inclusive of it.
 

Christheva

New Member
You don't need to be apart of most of them to be honest. Since the VA world has exploded, so has the number of VA networking sites claiming to provide you with work if you job. However, from what I've observed, after you buy a membership the RFPs are really hit and miss. For example, many of them don't seem to really be screened. So you'll come across posts requesting a virtual assistant for under the norm. Also, RFPs aren't guaranteed on any site. Usually a PC will stumble upon one, and if you're apart of it, you'll get to see what they post.

There are too many to pick from. So if you're going to choose. Choose a couple. Virtual Assistantville makes A LOT of sense. It's the most reasonable priced one out there. You get a lot for your money. I receive a decent amount of view on my profile and click throughs from my 4.99 subscription. I also advertise of VAFs directory too. Again, its so cheap, so why not. I am also apart of IVAA, but I may not renew depending on how I feel at the time. I know there is the LeapFrogVA network and VA network and BemyVA network but I haven't joined any of those. Why? I don't want to spend the money on them.

As Denise mentioned, network in person. I haven't been able to since I am abroad in a non-English speaking country, but when I am able to, I will definitely. If you're going to invest in anything, invest in learning. I have a lynda.com subscription and currently one to theVAschool. Both really pay off.
 

latuel

New Member
I too have been wondering if some of the subscription sites are worth signing up for. I do have a membership with IVAA and feel that it was worth cost. I started looking at some of the others like Virtual Assistantville, it's good to hear the opinion of others on its value.
 

SuzannaK

New Member
I think the VA subscriptions can help but if you use them they should only be part of your plan for getting clients, not your entire plan. I am using IVAA and VirtualAssistantVille and they have been helpful. I have found that IVAA posts RFPs pretty frequently but VirtualAssistantVille not very often so I wish they would post more. But still, who knows where you will find your next client.
 

MaplewoodVA

New Member
I have memberships at several of the sites mentioned. The frequency of RFP postings varies based on how frequently prospective clients submit an RFP. This frequency is beyond the control of any membership site. I have found that the sites that market themselves as portals for prospective clients to "find" virtual assistants do attract more prospective clients who want to post their RFP on that site.

If you're in doubt, inquire with the site about how they market to prospective clients. Some do market, while others have no marketing plan to speak of.

A factor in subscribing for a membership should additionally be what other benefits can you access. This could range from the forum support to a file cabinet of docs/templates or learning webinars, etc. You get the idea.

In the beginning days I did apply to RFPs now my business has evolved into mostly referrals. I still maintain my membership subscriptions but don't rely solely on these to bring client opportunities my way. It's essential, as already pointed out, to diversify your own marketing efforts to include meeting people - in-person and online, to participate in at least one social media site regularly, and to pick one or two other types of marketing as your main streams to get in front of current and future clients.
 

Susankelly

New Member
I honestly don't think the RFP's on any site is the primary way you'll get clients, at least it wasn't for me.

I belong to all the above places mentioned above and I get a lot of benefits from them but getting clients isn't really one of them. Initially I answered every RFP that fit me and I actually got return emails on most of my proposals, however I guess I suck at phone interviews because I've rarely gotten further than a phone call or two.

The only one that I've gotten jobs from is my area VA Association (New England) it's a small group and I think many of the VA's in it are not looking for new clients. At least a few times with the other 2 sites mentioned above I've gotten replies back from the prospective client that said something to the effect of: "I've cut off talking to VA's because I've had over 70 replies." Yikes, so for sure you should order Janine's book on how to reply to RFP so you can stand out of the crowd.
 

LeeDrozak

Community Leader
If you are subscribing just for access to the RFPs then no member site is worth it. However, if you look at what else they offer then some are. IVAA does get a good amount of RFPs but they also have tons who respond to them.

Like others have said this should only be part of your plan. I am a referral business, but I still find many new clients by participating in groups on FB. I never (EVER) sell to them. I answer questions, start conversations and be as helpful as possible.

Many of my groups are into slow marketing. Meaning it's about building the relationship first and then finding matches in those networks.

I would join some groups that are from your market and strike up conversations with them, give them tips and let them know you are the go-to person.
 

Your Virtual Wizard

Community Leader
As I mention in my eBook, 'The RFP Transformation', RFPs are a PART of an entire marketing plan. In fact no one marketing plan should be exclusive and should be part of an overall strategy encompassing a number of opportunities.

Networking is a key strategy and that can take the form of social media discussions, blogging, offering advice and expertise to other VAs on various sites as well as volunteering services, subcontracting with other VAs, writing a newsletter and ensuring that your website meets the needs of the audience with whom you are trying to connect.

RFPs are part of that overall marketing strategy and they can be very effective if done well. It has been my experience that those that complain about RFPs do not do enough to customize their proposals and take time to follow-up effectively. In fact, I devote one chapter on following up with RFP potential clients in more than one way eventually adding them to the VA's network. In some cases, this can lead to a contract even when the initial response did not appear to do so.

Some do not believe RFPs are screened which is not the case at all.

Most reputable VA-centered websites do screen RFPs from potential clients, including Virtual Assistantville and here on VAF to ensure that the opportunity has a minimum base VA fee and does not ask for a resume as in an employee-employer situation.

Janine
 

Tess

Administrator
Staff member
I'd like to add that for any site that aims to draw clients in to post RFPs, or similar, you have to look at what the site is doing to get their URL out there to people. Virtual Assistantville (full disclosure: is my site) I've put out an eBook in both PDF and Kindle specifically for clients interested in working with VAs. The eBook is out there for sale but is more often than not given away in special promotions - hundreds at a time.
The eBook has also been posted at numerous high profile sites (for free) - so there is work going on specifically to get exposure for the site.

The thing about Virtual Assistantville that's different than other RFP sites is that it's designed first as a premium directory (with awesome SEO) - so oftentimes the listings in the directory show up higher in Google search results than the business owner's own VA website.

I set it up this way knowing that it's relatively difficult to get people to submit RFPs on a regular basis. With that said, if you check the RFPs page on the site you can see the frequency at which they come in.

RFPs at the site are only screened to a reasonable degree - I'm not trying to provide a VA/client matchmaking service, just trying to help connect clients looking for VAs and the VAs who are looking for clients. I send back RFPs all the time based on the rate offered or the language of the RFP. Often the client will resubmit based on that feedback, sometimes not.

In any case, I get emails on a regular basis from Virtual Assistantville members letting me know they landed a new client through the site which is awesome and fun.
I also get emails from VAF members telling me that clients have hired them straight off the forums just based on the posts they were writing here that made it clear they knew their stuff.

Hope that helps! :)
 

Tess

Administrator
Staff member
I just got the most awesome email from a member of the Virtual Assistantville directory and wanted to follow up here to share it - I get this type of email from time to time and it's always fun to read!

I cannot believe it, I have not even been on your directory for 2 weeks (I think), and I already picked up a new client!!! I was skeptical, but thought 'it's not that much money', and I needed additional clients, so let's try it'. I am so glad that I did. I saw an RFP come in one evening, it sounded like it could work, but I was talking myself out of it. Then the next morning I saw it again and said, 'well they probably already have someone', but that little something kept nagging me, so I sent him an introductory email. I was shocked, because, within hours he was on the phone with me! I am sending him a contract later today. Thank you for having the available for us.
Tammy
President - Tammy's Office Solutions
 

alannahmvw

New Member
if it's worth an investment and very useful then it's worth to subscribe. There are a lot of other Virtual Assistant subscription but it all boils down on how are you gonna utilize and help you in your terms and case to case scenario.
 
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