In early 2008 we noticed a trend developing when it came to online based business owners who were looking for Virtual Assistants. Many needed help with the 'typical' types of services that VAs help with. But others wanted additional, more advanced support. The problem was not many VAs were trained, skilled and able to support these areas.

Here are some of the specialty areas I'm referring to:

• affiliate management

• video and podcasting

• blog customization

Should you specialize? Depending on who your target market is should help you determine if and what you services you should offer.

So thinking back to who your target market is.... List the top 10 areas that they need help with (their challenges) and confirm the services you want to offer (the solutions to their challenges). Now put a star next to the ones that you can see as specialty areas.

It can be difficult to determine where to specialize - if you force it. When you don't force it, it will often come to you quite naturally.

One point I want to make sure I make is this - if you new to the VA industry, Do NOT feel that you need to specialize in a specific area right away. I would identify your services as per what you know, have expertise in and who your target market is and work within those areas. Over time, as you work with more clients, you will learn new things, become more efficient in some areas and also identify other areas that you really enjoy doing, as well as areas that your clients do need as specialty areas.

When I started my VA business, I offered all different 'general' type services. I learned a LOT... new technology, new processes, new strategies - it was great. The one thing I got 'thrown in to' was using and managing my client's shopping cart. At the time I had no idea what to do... I learned on my own (through trial and error!)

Soon I found people were contacting me regularly to support them in setting up and managing their shopping cart. And the best thing about it was that I loved working in the cart. I found all kinds of ways to manipulate the system so it would do what I wanted it to do (with reason of course) and my clients were thrilled. Just naturally I came into an area that I specialized in. I gave up all kinds of other services and focused mostly on the shopping cart, creating products and helping my clients sell those clients.

You may decide you don't want to specialize and that's ok too. But keep yourself informed and up-to-date so that you can make the decision that works best for you.

Author's Bio: 

Cindy Greenway, author of 'Virtually Successful: 8 Simple Ways for Virtual Assistants to Find (and Keep) Clients", is the Co-Founder of VirtuallySuccessful.com and also lead trainer at HotSkillsVATraining.com. Since starting her business in 2003, Cindy has worked with highly respected and successful online entrepreneurs. She is most passionate about training and mentoring within the Virtual Assistant community. Get Cindy's "The 10 Critical Skills for a Thriving Virtual Assistant Practice" free report at http://www.GrowYourVABiz.com