When I left the corporate world my aim was to start up a Typing business from home. I had no idea how to do this. The Internet was new, I had dial up and later converted to ADSL and now keeping up with technology I have moved to Fibre, I started out way back in 2001. The first paying job I did was typing up a thesis for a group of students. Everyone who starts out has no idea what to do, but you and your business grow as you go along and you learn how to run a business. A misconception that VAs have when starting out is, they are new, YES, you are new but your skills and experience are not, so why must you drop your rates because you are new starting out. You are only new at running a business.
I started out by researching Typing Services and stumbled across ‘Virtual Assistant’, so I started to look at the various websites advertised under this, I came across Joan Masterson (South Africa) and Kathie Thomas (Australia) https://www.vadirectory.net/, I checked out their websites, joined Joan’s group and read up about Kathie and realised if Kathie could do this, then I could do it too. She was my inspiration to start.
I found a free EBook online (How to be a VA), read up on everything and then put the steps into place and started advertising. Way back then advertising was free on the Internet, so I spent weeks, months advertising everywhere I could, including classified sections, directories, search engine submissions etc.
Joan offered me a website and I advertised this everywhere. Today it is my advertising tool and most of my clients but for one or two client has come via my website (https://amftyping.co.za/). I have advertised my website, local and global. I spend time daily updating it somewhere on the site, sometimes I do blog articles and others just update a word or two here and there. But I keep it updated to keep it ranked higher.
After reading this Ebook I started to put the steps into place to run a business. I had completed a Secretarial CPA course and part of it was about setting up a business re business plan etc, so I just followed the steps in setting up. Worked out how much I was going to charge, wrote up the services I wanted to offer that I had experience in and put a price next to each service and that was my beginning.
I work completely virtual. Clients come to my home office, setting up appointments to come and see me. I don’t go out to clients. Clients contact me via WhatsApp, Cell or Email and they send me work via WhatsApp or email, I return it the same way. Regular clients pay me monthly others as I finish the work. I have had a few clients that do not pay but I think every business has been through clients like this, you win some you lose some, it’s part of running a business, I feel, especially with a small business like mine. I enjoy working with my clients and I am always willing to assist. I always aim to contact new clients asap, if I miss their call, I answer the emails as I receive.
I have gained enough experience to know what work I enjoy doing and the types of clients I like to work with. I have had tough times and easy times. I try to stay as positive as I can, especially when I do networking, advertising and marketing, I feel positivity pays off, responding fast and providing a quality client service works for me. I learn about my clients businesses and show an interest in what they are doing and how I can help them. I can say that being a VA is a non stop learning experience, I have never stopped learning.
The rest is history, 17 years later and still going, so I must be doing something right and there is a call still for the services I offer, even in today’s world of technology.
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