1. How did you first become interested in setting up your own business as a virtual assistant?
I naturally helped entrepreneurs prior to being paid for it. I remember wondering why people that barely knew me would ask me to look at their resume and see if there were any tips I could offer. Friends and family members starting a new business would ask my opinion about crucial decisions. I think that what I do now has always been my calling even before I was even aware of it. I happened to stumble across a description of the industry reading a book in the library and could not rest! I knew from the moment I read the description that not only could I do it; I would be successful at it. I begin to do my research on how I could make that business work for me, and the rest is history!
2. You offer a diversity of services, including specific services for people in real estate. How did you decide what services to offer to clients?
I started off offering anything I knew how to do! So I have an extensive background in the real estate field, and I knew that support in that field is something that I wanted to offer. I have background in project management, so I knew that I wanted to offer strategic and management support. As time passed, I begin to call on experts about things that I was not a subject matter expert in and pull them into my projects, and from there my company has evolved to what it is today.
3. What are some of the challenges of working with people remotely, and what are some tools and techniques you use to communicate/share effectively with clients?
Sometimes when you have a presentation, you want to walk someone through it in person. But it is the technology age, so by utilizing software like GoToMeeting and LogMeIn, I am able to have a very close comparison to an-in person meeting when I meet with my clients.
4. What are some common misconceptions you see about the costs, services, etc involved in hiring a virtual assistant?
Some people believe virtual assistants are too expensive. However, unlike temporary staff and employees, hiring virtual assistants does not incur traditional human resource expenses such as insurance, taxes, and vacation or sick leave. What's more, virtual assistants function independently, without the business owner having to provide an office, equipment, or relevant training. As for remuneration, virtual assistants are paid only in respect of the number of hours or projects for which the business owner requires their services. If you only need 15 hours of assistance a month, that is exactly what you pay for. In essence, you are removing the wasted costs of paying for idle time, which translates into 100 percent productivity!
5. If you were talking to someone who runs a small business--maybe even a solo project!--what advice would you offer in terms of how a virtual assistant could help their business grow?
Big business is successful for many reasons, but one of those reasons is because it has assigned departments and responsibilities: human resources, marketing, admin support, etc.
As a small business owner or entrepreneur, it is your job to be all these things, and if you are waking up and just reacting to deliverables instead of being proactive to the bigger picture, this can hinder your forward motion. Hiring a virtual assistant allows you to distribute tasks to ensure that you can handle all aspects of your endeavors and aspirations that are required to reach your maximum potential. If being tied up responding to calls and emails prevents you from marketing and/or training to learn new skills, you need to assign the calls and emails to someone else. You need a strategic mind to help with marketing; you need a trusted partner to research and find you the best training that is cost effective--this is where my company comes in and does it for a fraction of the cost of what most people think!