Lessons from a Unicorn Digital Marketing Assistant Who Actually Does the Work
There’s one question that I always get asked by new virtual assistants and unicorn digital marketing assistants. “How do I get clients when I’m brand new and don’t have the experience yet?”
Here’s my number one suggestion to get started: build your virtual assistant portfolio!
A good portfolio can help you attract HIGHER LEVEL clients, too.
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Resumes Are Out – Digital Portfolios Are In!
You can always tell when a virtual assistant or freelancer is brand new to the online business space because they talk about their resumes. Although your trusty resume might have gotten you through years of traditional office jobs and climbing the corporate ladder, it’s not going to help you as much in this digital world. You’re going to stand out in all the wrong ways!
Instead, you need to build an online portfolio. A space where you can highlight your tech skills, show off your creative work, and get potential clients asking for more. Clients want to see concrete examples of what you can do and visualize how you will make your skills work for them.
Portfolios are not just for graphic designers.
You can make it work no matter what kind of digital service you offer: copywriting, email marketing, social media, content marketing, website design, etc.
Why do I need a digital services portfolio?
This is how you will get clients warmed and ready to book discovery calls with you. Your portfolio is proof you can do the work, and can repeat the work for other clients. (Especially important to have one if you’re new). They will trust you and going into the discovery call, it will make articulating your value and your fee easy.
Ultimately, clients want to know if they can trust you. Can you get them results?
I recently had a business owner peer hire someone to help them with social media posts, which included design services, and she did NOT look at her portfolio. . You know how this story ends. Turns out this freelancer was terrible at graphic design and the business owner was very disappointed.
Portfolios will help the client see if they’re the right fit with your style and atheistic. After all, writing and design are extremely subjective.
What should be in my virtual assistant portfolio?
Simple: only the projects and services you want to keep doing. There’s no point in including work that you don’t want to get hired for.
As a unicorn digital marketing assistant it can be daunting to show off everything, so be selective.
- Social media posts – graphics & writing
- Landing pages
- Copy, emails, blogs, pitches you’ve written
- Email campaigns
- Screenshots of automations, funnels, SOPs you’ve built
Screenshot and use results in your portfolio. Engagement rates, open rates, and any analytics that strengthen your work as a case study.
If you haven’t had paying client work yet, you can always do work for conceptual clients or take on a volunteer client.
Also don’t rely on linking to past client work. You never know when the client will take it down or alter it where it’s not in a state you want to present as your own work.
‘Make sure your portfolio includes a booking link or way to contact you. You want to make sure if your portfolio got in the hands of someone higher up the chain of command, they’d be able to find you on their own.
How Can I Deliver My Digital Portfolio to Prospective Clients?
You’ve got a couple of options here.
- Your website – ideal for your brand.
- Use a Canva* link – that’s right, you can design and host it right there!
Whatever you do, do NOT share it as a PDF because they are non-responsive on mobile!
First, do the groundwork.
Set yourself up for success right from the start. Make sure you’ve created a brand story of your own, with images, logos and themes that reflect your business goals. Give clients a place to find you: create a business FB page, start your IG account, and build a basic website. Use those SEO skills and practice your graphic design with your own business.
It’s so easy to sell yourself short when you’re giving all of your time to your clients. Quite often when we’re juggling client work, we neglect to do the foundational work in our own business.
So in your excitement to get started and gain your first clients, don’t forget yourself! You don’t want to deny your own digital marketing business the nurturing it needs. Take the time now to get it right, and set your foundation with your brand and your online presence. Build the portfolio!
How to Build a Digital Portfolio When You’re Brand New with Zero Client Experience
So many people get stuck on this roadblock when they’re brand new. If you’ve never had a client before, how can you show off your work? I’m asked all the time whether or not you need experience to work as a VA. And my basic answer is no…but you do have to do the foundation work.
My advice to you if you’re a brand new VA or unicorn digital marketing assistant is to just start building that portfolio. I always suggest volunteering with a local non-profit, community group, or a friend’s small business. Ask to take over their social media accounts for a couple of weeks, and track your data. Offer to create new images for their Facebook pages or blog posts and make digital copies. Build a few landing pages and start growing their email marketing lists. Work on cleaning up (or setting up) their Pinterest accounts, and take before-and-after summaries with screenshots.
Now, you do have to be careful with this strategy in the long run. Once you’re established, you’re probably going to have people constantly asking you for free advice and help with everything from image design to website content. It’s important to establish boundaries and protect your own business needs.
But when you’re just getting startied as a digital marketing assistant, volunteering is a great way to get some practice and feel like your hard work is making a difference.
On the other hand, some new digital marketing assistants prefer to target their portfolio to a specific niche or style. In that case, you can even create a mock client. Think about what your ideal client within your favorite niche might be, and do a mockup of some of the ideas you would create for them. The sky’s the limit – show off all of your creativity. You may not be able to show off concrete data, but you can definitely highlight your strongest skills!
My Challenge to You: Make It a Priority and Make Your Freelancer Portfolio a Reality
I know this is a mental obstacle for a lot of people. New unicorn digital marketing assistants and VAs feel overwhelmed about how to get started with a digital portfolio. And that makes it even harder to pitch yourself to potential clients.
That’s why I created a 5-day challenge to help brand new and wanna-be virtual assistants. This is a kick-into-gear action plan to help you create an online digital media portfolio from scratch, even if you haven’t had your first client yet.
So if you need the motivation to just do it and build your confidence, join the challenge waitlist! I’ll let you know the next time I run it.
Need the In-Demand Hard Skills to Build Your Online Portfolio?
I’ve worked in the online space for years and realized that business owners need more unicorn digital marketing assistants! They need go-getters who can jump into their online worlds and become a virtual sidekick to their biz. I see job leads and VA hiring opportunities posted all the time. These clients are desperately looking for competent, confident, unicorns who can take a lead and run with it and handle multiple tasks. Does this sound like you?
You Need My Signature Course That Teaches Coveted Digital Implementation Skills.
I created my Unicorn Digital Marketing Assistant School to help go-getters and virtual assistants learn HOW to do the work. This intensive, group coaching program and course will give you everything you need to hit the ground running as a new digital marketing assistant. Plus, you’ll get the opportunity to join my inner network with job connections to put your skills into action right away with paying clients!
Get on the waitlist because the school only opens twice a year. Sign up here and you’ll be the first to know when enrollment is open.
Curious about starting your own service-based business from home?
This list is for you!
Grab my list of digital marketing-related tasks and services that online business owners are outsourcing and always need help with.
This is a goldmine of services you could be offering to your clients in your digital marketing VA business.
⚡Related Podcast Alert
Graphic Designer Aino Horsma Shares 11 Tips to a Portfolio That Attracts High-End Clients
Don’t Let Fear and Hesitation Keep You From Creating an Awesome Virtual Assistant Portfolio
Dive in TODAY and make your to-do list. Join the waitlist for the five-day challenge and commit to following it. Tackle it one step at a time. It doesn’t have to be perfect, because it’s always going to be a work in progress. But with a little intention right now, and a little effort this week, you can get a virtual assistant portfolio ready to show off to potential clients by this time next week.
And then you’ll have one giant to-do step checked off your roadmap to success!
If you’re already in my Facebook group for virtual assistants and digital marketing assistants, head over there and share your portfolio in this post and I may get my eyes on it!
I hope this article helps you finally knock out your virtual assistant portfolio.
You’ve got this!
-Emily, Digital Marketing Consultant and Implementer
Emily Reagan is a mom of four, milspouse, freelance digital marketer and Virtual Assistant coach who has helped 400 go-getters, including military spouses, stay-at-home moms, and professional women learn in-demand skills and find flexible remote work as digital marketing assistants and specialists. She’s shared 2,000+ job leads with her freelance marketers & VA community.
Ask her any questions over on Insta @emilyreaganpr
“I help smart women learn the in-demand digital marketing strategies and profitable tech skills to get hired as a unicorn digital marketing assistant.“
3 ways we can work together:
1. Do you need to acquire digital marketing implementation skills and build your workflows so you can solidly put yourself out there for work? Check out the Unicorn Digital Marketing Assistant School. (It opens twice a year so jump on the waitlist now!… I also share job leads with my students so it’s a gateway for anyone who wants to build a freelance business that gives them flexibility and meaningful work). You can also choose to go through the self-study program now. Enroll here.
2. Already doing the work and have clients? But need more clients and a better referral network? Apply for our Digital Marketer’s Workgroup. This is a tight-knit community of freelancers like you, supporting each other. Plus I’ve shared 1,600+ job opportunities with this community.
3. Need to hire a Unicorn Digital Marketing Assistant? Submit your job opportunity here. I’ll share with my workgroups totally free.
Yes, you really can work online.
Feeling overwhelmed and not sure how you can work from home and build your own online digital marketing business? Take a deep breath – you can do this. Start here with my list of 10 popular tasks that online businesses need help with the most!
These are the tasks that new clients are constantly asking for help with, and skills that they really need to find in a virtual assistant. Get access to this free download right now. Then make sure your own VA toolkit is up-to-date and relevant, and decide where you might need to invest in new growth and development for your biz.