Sunday, May 30, 2010

Small Town or Large City… Does it Make a Difference?

Recently, someone had commented in another network on this recent post, that provoked a few thoughts in my mind. They suggested that perhaps some of the in-person networking tactics were better suited to those in larger cities where they appear to be more willing to pay more for an independent contractor.

Now, this is just my humble opinion, but I think it is a little bit of a misconception that in-person networking or marketing opportunities work better for those Virtual Assistants in “larger cities” versus smaller towns. Not everyone probably agrees with me, but I base it off my own experience.

When I started my VA business 4 years ago, I was living in a VERY small town in the middle of New Mexico. And since I had a very low budget starting out (ok, more like no budget), by using some of the in-person networking opportunities (suggested in my post) and connections I had locally, the majority of my clients came from that very small town. I didn’t even have a website yet! Some of those clients are still with me today and I have since moved many states away.

At first I was really afraid people in my small town would be apprehensive to use me because of the independent contractor rates I was charging. Some people did balk at my rates. One prospect even told me, “I could hire the neighbor girl down the street for $8/hr…”. But I kept at it and I worked hard to demonstrate my value to them. I showed them how I can I can save them a bit of money, and how much TIME I saved them from doing these tasks for them. Prospects turned into clients, who then into raving fans, and through word of mouth I signed on more clients from that very same small town.

As an aside, that person who said could hire the “neighbor girl” for $8 an hour, did so. Just few months later they came back to me and immediately signed on as client. They realized the value of my services and learned the hard way about the old saying “you get what you pay for”. They became one of my biggest fans and sent me many referrals.

Again, I base all this off of my own experience coming from a small town. Perhaps it is because I have narrowed down a niche (real estate). Some networking or marketing tactics may not work for every business, every niche, or every area. But I don’t think you should let the size of your city, township, county, etc, limit your marketing possibilities.

So I guess I what I am saying is from my own experience, I have found that in-person networking can help build your business whether you’re in a large city or small town. So I don’t you should totally count it out.

I would love to hear anyone else chime in and let me know what you think.


One Response to “Small Town or Large City… Does it Make a Difference?”
  1. Kim says:

    Thanks for posting this- I am wrestling with this issue right now. I’d love to move to a more remote area but am hesitant to give up my proximity to Manhattan.

    I think as a whole, clients benefit from the fact that we don’t need to be on site. And to be honest, I haven’t been in Manhattan a day since I started VAing!

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