Your location IS important, but not for the reasons you might think.
This topic came up through some correspondence I was having with someone who had submitted her listing to the ACA Administrative Consultant Directory.
This person was concerned that being listed in one location would limit her to clients from that one geographic area. She felt that “the whole reason for being a “virtual assistant” is to allow you to work from home for anyone, anywhere in the world,” and that “listing by location restricts the Virtual Assistant’s ability to expand her boundaries of business to other places.”
She’s failed to understand her ownership role and control over the content of her own website and how that content should be properly educating clients.
Here’s what you need to understand…
Location doesn’t have anything to do with how folks get clients or where they are from. It has more to do with instilling trust and credibility in prospective clients. Knowing the city, state and country where someone actually lives and operates makes clients feel safer and more comfortable with that business.
And in some cases, geographic location actually is important, either to the Administrative Consultant or to the client.
For example, I work with attorneys, but I work strictly with attorneys in my own state because I know the ropes better here. With the exception of the IP attorney I work with (which is federal), I have no interest in trying to learn all the ins and outs of court structures, rules, filing methods and all those other idiosyncrasies in other states.
For the same reason, I have no interest in international clients either. It’s often too much work trying to navigate between the language and cultural differences.
My business and work are MUCH simpler and easier that way–which also gives me more time for life outside my business.
Sometimes, whether we like it or not, clients just like to have someone in their own state. It’s just a human, emotional thing. That doesn’t mean we stop working virtually. Just because someone is local to you, whether that’s the same city, state or whatever, doesn’t mean you work or consult with them any differently than you would with any other client anywhere else in the world.
Also, because administrative support is a relationship between people, as well as a niche and specialty all its own, it is a category of business/profession unto itself. Using geographic locations helps break things up for clients in the directory, making it visually and mentally easier for them to peruse listings.
It certainly isn’t going to preclude anyone from finding clients in other areas or from clients in other geographic locations from being drawn to you and the solution you offer–at least if you know how to market yourself and create your own pipelines.
Because you aren’t marketing a location. You are marketing a solution to your market’s administrative problems. Your location is simply about being upfront, honest and transparent about your business–and thereby helping instill trust and comfort in clients–which is even more important for online, “virtual” businesses.