They say that there's a silver lining to every cloud. Well 2016 was full of clouds. Literally. In September, my husband and I lost our home in a flood. It was a total loss, and unfortunately, the insurance company wouldn't cover it. Not only did we lose the home and most of its contents, but because our slice of heaven included a small creek, we were told by governmental agencies that they didn't want us rebuilding on the property. There are promises about buying the property from us, but fulfillment of those promises will take a year or longer.
Shortly after the flood, I received word that my job as an administrative assistant in the legal field was going away. Good news: I'm not afraid to control my own destiny. Having been self-employed for several years of my professional career, and having helped many others to start and run businesses as well, this comes easily.
So why a virtual assistant business? I'm a strong believer in dreaming, and putting those dreams down on paper. The reason being that by doing so, our minds begin working on the plan to make those dreams take shape. It's been too long since I wrote down my dream of having an income stream where I sat on a beach chair with my toes in the sand, nails clicking on a keyboard. But the dream never left me. I recently met a couple of people who do just that - both in the technology field. I felt a kindred spirit to them, and I began looking at what skills I bring to the table that would be of value to others. That's where you come in.
Running a business can be hard. You wear many hats. It can be easy to get caught up in the day-to-day operations of carrying out your business, that you forget to take time to step back, look at the lighthouse, and make sure the ship is still on course. Sometimes when you shimmy up the mast to your lookout point, you see that the ship has been taking on water. Had you maintained your perch from above, you might have seen the problem before it occurred, but as I said, it's hard when you're wearing so many hats.
It starts early on. When you first start a business, there are big-picture decisions you need to make: What's the nature of your business? Where will you locate it? How will you fund it? There are down-in-the-details things such as creating marketing materials, websites, writing press releases, and more. You have to maintain a healthy balance between making big picture decisions and handling the tiny details in order to assure success. Constantly asking yourself if a particular task is worth your time and attention or if it's better hired out, is important. Is your time more valuable in front of a potential customer or financier, or back in the office creating the storyboards that will become your website? How about the value of your time to negotiate production costs versus emailing press releases to the media and your contact list? Oh gosh! Then there's that contact list - creating one that's sortable; that will work with your website and email blast programs. The list goes on and on. If only you had another pair of hands - another person who could take care of those details while you steer the ship. Ahem. I'm right over here. Use me and pay me when you need me, and only for what I do. Don't pay me to sit around and surf my Facebook page on your dime, and then worry that I might go out on work comp if I chip a nail. I'll take that risk off your plate for you.
So you say that's all well and good, but you've already established your business and it's running full steam ahead. Great! Good for you! Are you still keeping your head above water? Are there occasional times when you or your staff are swamped with work to do, but you know that if you just had a little help for the short-term that you could get through it? Why hire another employee if your need is only short-term? But where would you find someone who would be able to take on a special project, and not require you to bring in another desk, chair, and stock another office space with supplies for the short time you need the help? Look over here. See the gal with her finger pointing down at her head? Yep. That's me.
I've been the legal assistant who needs to order medical records and medical bills for the new clients, and update them for the current ones so that those settlement brochures can be written. It's not that it's hard, it's just time-consuming. Staying on top of which records or bills you have, which ones you've ordered, and contacting providers to follow-up on the ones you haven't received yet, adds up quickly. Your assistant is much too valuable when he or she is writing your briefs for you, doing legal research, or interviewing clients. Why not email me a list of records and bills needed, a signed release, and turn me loose? I can have them sent directly to you, or once I receive them I can review and summarize them for you before dropping them off or sending them to you.
So it's up to you. I'm here for you. You have OPTIONS. And options are always a good thing. Call me. Email me. Let's brainstorm how I can support you and make your life much easier.
'til next time,
Ronnie Roll has started several businesses from the "I Have An Idea" stage to grand openings and beyond. Her passion is helping others achieve their dreams, and her art mediums are business modeling and food.