The biggest learning curve was at the age of 25, I was asked to implement a Quality Management System into a Printing company. I knew nothing about QA, nothing about business and nothing about printing but I thought, ‘What the heck, what have I got to lose?’ The program was successfully implemented and the company gained ISO 9002 accreditation a year later. From this I learnt, just get in and have a go.
For the purpose of this article I will focus on where I’m at now and the success I have experienced during the time as a small business owner.
With more than 20 years experience in business administration at senior management level, I knew long ago that most small business owners would prefer to develop a strong relationship with one service provider they could call on to fill their temporary administration and business support requirements.
To fill that gap, at the end of 2005, Interim Business Solutions was founded. A Business Support and Virtual Assistant ‘one-stop-shop’, providing both virtual and onsite support to the small business owner and solopreneur. Based in Melbourne, Australia, Interim Business Solutions provides a long list of administration services including general administration and social media support.
During the early days of my business and before it became a predominately virtual business, I found a simple free but highly successful method in gaining clients was to simply email local businesses an introduction of who I was, what my business had to offer, together with a PDF of my business brochure. From this, I gained two long-term clients. One in particular was offering 30hrs/week onsite and this continued for three years until the Global Financial Crisis hit the building sector and my client downsized considerably. The other was a virtual client for nearly two years, however the hours increased once they knew I was more available after finishing off with the onsite client! This is when the virtual assistant offering really took off.
The core business services remain much the same now, as they did when the doors first opened. However, with the changes in technology, the internet, the online connections I’ve made, a team being established, together with professional development, Interim Business Solutions now offers an array of services in the social media and internet realm to meet client’s requirements.
I joined the Social Media movement at various stages for my own business but didn’t get actively involved until I discovered Twitter, which made Facebook & LinkedIn make more sense. This was during the end of 2008. Social Media created exposure for me and my business that I didn’t realise was possible and has had, and continues to have, amazing consequences.
During 2009, I commenced putting together a ‘Social Media Package for Small Business’ and we set the small business owner up on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. I then found the clients were coming back to me with numerous questions about how to do various things, so the ‘Social Media Support Guide’ was created. This service and shared knowledge, allows the client to get social media ready more quickly, than if they were to nut out the mechanics of it all on their own!
The Packages continue to sell well and the ‘Social Media Guides’ are available as a downloadable e-book from my website. These too are selling well and I’ve learnt quite a bit about online marketing and e-commerce. Another small success!
I then undertook an online course via the VA Classroom in Canada, titled the ‘Social Media Marketing VA Specialist’. I passed this to gain accreditation and have the relevant badge displayed on my website and Facebook Business Page, which confirms I know my social media stuff!During 2011 I was a Telstra Business Awards Nominee and a Thomas Leonard International Virtual Assistant of Distinction Award Nominee. I am proud to add, I am now a 2012 Telstra Business Award Nominee after receiving 3 nominations! You can cast your VOTE for Interim Business Solutions in the People’s Choice Awards – it only takes a second!
I am also proud to be part of the Steering Committee for the ‘Alliance for Virtual Businesses – Australian Chapter‘ and to offer all Australian virtual assistants a body who is there to support them grow and develop. A4VB is determined to raise the profile of business owners who operate virtually here in Australia and the number continues to grow.
I am constantly learning and trying new things and reaping the rewards when success comes my way. So you too, can be successful just by having a go and you might just surprise yourself where it takes you!