Virtual Assistant

I was attending a Workshop recently to learn about Marketing on a shoestring.  The attendees were from different backgrounds and a variety start-up businesses.

We were told about marketing – to get 10 clients we need to contact 100 (just an example).  You would start with 100 and at each stage you would lose some prospective clients, until the last 10 who required or wanted your services.

There were a number of ideas about how to get the “attention” of prospective clients, not all suitable for a Virtual Assistant (VA) start-up.  The best place to get this information is from other VAs.  Those who already have a successful business or ones who are rising quickly in their field.

At the end the question arose “What is your business?”  I replied “I’m a Virtual Assistant.”  “Oh.  So you are in a call centre, that sort of thing?” was the reaction.

There are many misconceptions about what a VA is and this is one of them.  I know very few people that manage other people’s calls and messages – not saying there aren’t those who do.  A VA is someone who can make your life easier in YOUR business, saving you time to devote to promoting your own business and assistance to your clients.

A VA can be found in many different fields.  You may never meet them, just talk to them over the phone.  You can meet on Skype or other similar mediums because you live and work in different countries.  A VA is global!

Very rarely would you find a VA who was offering “all-rounder” services unless they had a team.  Most have a niche they specialise in to give you the best service.  These niches include (to name a few):  web design; transcription; social media management; call centres; marketing; coaching/training; small business admin; book-keeping; online courses; and the list goes on.

A company or sole trader may utilise the services of a few different VAs, who are not employees, but entrepreneurs in their own right.  They may be needed a few hours a week or for the duration of  a specific project.

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It’s never too late to learn

I’m trying to start-up a Virtual Assistant business and there are so many things to learn.  I’ve learned I need to join VA Networking sites – done; LinkedIn – done; set up a Twitter account – done; an office with a laptop and WiFi – done; most importantly create a website – ongoing; learn from videos and webinars created by established VAs – ongoing; find my niche – ongoing.  You wonder is there enough hours in the day?  And yes, there are if you manage your time efficiently.

My work career has spanned two countries, Australia and England, in a variety of fields.  The question I ask myself is, “do I want to focus on transcription and formatting or utilise the skills I have acquired as an Executive Assistant?”

Working as a temporary employee gave me the confidence to believe in my ability to accomplish any task required of me.  It is a wonderful confidence boost, to be asked back by the companies that have employed you as a temp.  Working with senior management reinforced my understanding and utilisation of confidentiality.  As an FOI Officer, research and drafting replies, I had to communicate with applicants and staff for an honest and legal response.

Studying through the University of Tasmania from last year doing an “Introduction to Family History” which honed my research skills; followed by “Writing Family History” improving my writing skills.  I have found I’m loving doing something I hated as a child and teenager – study!

This brings me to “where to from here?”  I have a lot to offer and deciding on which skill to focus on and not making a wrong decision isn’t easy.  A lot depends on the potential client’s needs – why say “I’ll do accounts” when they need someone to arrange their appointments?

The night is late and not the right time to make a decision.  Let us see what the morning brings.