Brisbane proofreaders are definitely NOT few and far between. I’m interested in identifying how an expert proofreader can stand apart in this big modern online world of ours.

Having worked in the public and private sectors for 10+ years providing administrative, writing, editing, training, project managing and finally teaching services; I decided to make the move to starting up my own virtual assistant business. I specialise in copy writing, editing and proofreading and I honestly thought I would generate business quickly. I’ve come to realise that the competition is fierce and it’s all about setting yourself apart from the crowd. But how?

Build CREDIBILITY as an expert

It’s fair to say that not all Brisbane proofreaders are experts in their field.

The first thing I’ve found is that building credibility in your niche is by far one of the most important aspects of business. How can you go about doing this?

  1. Share what you know about your expertise – write articles on your blog, write guest posts on other blogs, publish an ebook
  2. Demonstrate your experience through testimonials or work samples – ask your current and past clients (or employer if you’re new to business) for honest feedback that you can publish online
  3. Sell yourself – and this is the most difficult part if you’re not used to selling yourself (let’s face it, no one else is going to do it for you!) – your website’s “about” page is the second most visited page (apart from your home page) so make sure it’s fabulous!

So in doing my competitor research, I’ve discovered that there are a range of expert proofreaders and copy editors (based in Brisbane, that’s my target location at the moment). Some have most definitely built their credibility and demonstrate this on their website so that they stand out from the crowd. I can learn from them!

Genuine networking that builds REAL business relationships

Networking. The word fills me with dread. Why? Because I don’t know how to do it well and I’m fairly certain some of the people I’ve been in networking events with don’t do it well either. Therefore we all end up swapping business cards and running out the door as quickly as possible, trying hard not to look petrified.

I’ve learnt though that genuine networking is different. And far more advantageous in terms of helping you stand out of the crowd. Don’t network for the sake of it. Network to build real, genuine relationships. So instead of only networking with my ‘target market’ type of person (i.e. the person who requires a proofreader or copy editor), I network with someone I have something in common with, who shares my interests. I’ve found these relationships last longer and any referrals that come my way are a bonus and far more likely to convert.

Offer a product that SOLVES a problem

Most virtual assistants will offer a service that they specialise in to small business owners who might not have the skills, time nor inclination to perform the service.

I’ve found that many virtual assistants position themselves as a ‘jack of all trades’; a professional who has experience in a range of areas.

To stand out above the rest, it may be wise to really target your market (age, gender, size, location – spell it out, write it down) and identify what specific problem your service or product will actually solve for your clients. Relating to your clients on an emotional level will help highlight your services and leverage your expertise.

This doesn’t mean offer fewer services, just make them harder for your target market to resist.

A winning combination

I love what I do and I do it well. But that really isn’t enough in the world of virtual proofreading and copy editing, which seems unfair.

I’ve come to realise that if you’re committed to making a difference in your clients’ lives, then you’re on the way to a winning combination for online business.

Having credibility, being real and solving problems – these three things will help you to stand out in the virtual world.