Nowadays, a sizeable proportion of the clients I take on have worked with at least one other VA in the past.
When I ask what differences they notice between how we work and what they have experienced in the past, it is often commented on that what they like more than anything is that we work as a partnership with our clients, being proactive in their businesses and looking for opportunities for them and suggesting ideas, as opposed to those VAs that just sit and wait for work to be delegated to them.
So how do we achieve that distinction? Part of it is the mindset.
When you make the leap from being an employee to a sole trader or business owner you will quickly realise that if you sit around and wait for work to be delegated, you won't get very much of it.
At that point you learn to make yourself an active member of your clients 'team' very quickly or you will soon start to flounder.
To give a great impression straight away it's important to ask the right questions at the first meeting with your potential client, before they sign up.
You need to ascertain where you can be most useful to them.
What are their weak points? What work they have to do that they continually put off either because there is no time or because they don't enjoy it? Find out what their plans are for their business.
What do they want to achieve? Once the client has come onboard you need to maintain the momentum with scheduled meetings as an ongoing process both with regular and ad-hoc clients.
By having detailed monthly catch up meetings, either in person or by telephone, you can identify what is coming up in their calendar and how you can help them by sharing some of that workload.
For some really great documents to help you both with initial client consultations and ongoing client reviews, take a look at New Client Pack and Client Management Pack at http://www.