In this case study, Kerry discusses how she got started with very little capital and advises newcomers to do their research.
Business: Moxie Business Services & Mobile Services at a Click Time as a virtual assistant: 9 months
What circumstances made you look at becoming a virtual assistant?
Looking at the long-term employment options I decided it was time to put my skills and training towards my own business. I was also tired of contracts which did not provide long-term options.
What challenges did you face before you started?
Not a lot of cash to back a business startup. Having the courage to step out of being an employee and into being a business owner.
What was/were your biggest fear/s?
Earning sufficient income to maintain my commitments.
Did any of the above become a reality?
Still struggling to earn sufficient income, but it’s a new business and I know it takes a good twelve months or more to get established.
What is your advice to people who are thinking of starting up as a virtual assistant?
Look first of all at your skills set and decide if these are suited to VA work
Decide on what services you can offer
Decide on your target market
Get all your ducks in a row – ABN, Bank Account, Office Infrastructure
Get a mentor and/or join 121 Temps or similar (121 is best of course)
What attracted you most about becoming a virtual assistant?
The ability to work from home
Having control over my working future
Learning new skills and developing myself further as a business owner rather than as an adviser/consultant to businesses working for someone else.
How did you get started and what was the first thing that you did?
I was referred to 121 Temps by a friend to knew about this type of work but was not involved at the time. So I checked out 121 Temps, joined and went from there.
Tell me about some options you considered but rejected.
I considered starting out as a consultancy offering, predominantly my consulting services in general small business advice and in particular, skills analysis and sourcing appropriate training for small businesses – owners and their employees. I still offer those services.
I have also formed a business with another VA which has occupied most of my time recently – that is one reason I haven’t pursued that service. Another reason is, at the time, I felt it would be very expensive for me to get set up in that role.
Becoming a VA has given me loads of information about ways to do things inexpensively and for myself and on occasion, for free. So it was ‘doable’ from the get-go.
What would you do differently if you had to set up now?
Utilize my mentoring sessions better than I do
Make more time for self-education, including 121 Temps courses and other self-learning.
If I had done this sooner, I would have succeeded more quickly and not experienced ‘overwhelm’ that I still on occasion do. This is because I find I am now trying to do everything at the same time – drum up business, service customers, self-education, etc. etc. with an urgency to it that makes each day a little stressful.
What has been your biggest success to date?
Forming a Partnership in a new business that operates Australia wide and which is beginning to show movement in the right direction.
How has being a virtual assistant changed your life or circumstances?
Having some autonomy to work flexible hours. I am the closest family member to an aging Mum and my grown Son and his family live approximately 3 hrs away – so I can take a ‘long weekend’ sometimes to visit or when they visit me. I would also and equally say, having control over my future – it is hard to value one higher than the other.
What is your goal for the future?
I have several goals – again, hard to separate some of these:
achieve financial freedom and independence
build a business with many return customers due to the quality of service offered, which will in turn, generate more customers
work in a way that provides me with constant opportunity for personal and professional growth and development
enjoy my work and feel as excited in 5 years time about my job as I do now
take some holidays (LOL) !!
If you had one piece of advice to give other virtual assistants, what would it be?
My advice is to find out everything you need to get started. Then do research, research and research some more. Get a mentor or work with someone else who is experienced. Be prepared to work alone – it can be very isolating if you don’t organize yourself properly.
Organizing, planning, research – these three things are a must!!!