Jim Pagiamtzis asked me 2 questions…

Not long ago, Jim Pagiamtzis asked me to think about two questions:

  1. What got me involved in the VA industry? and
  2. How can a VA benefit different businesses?

Well, the first is easy.  I got fired; I got fired by a church.  Fortunately for me (not for them), it was wrongful dismissal and I walked away with a mitt full of money.   Now a friend of mine had, years before, done a program through the government called the Self Employment Assistance Program and I before that, I had tried to start my own secretarial service.  The two sounded like they might connect so I decided to check it out.

Horror of horrors, one of the things I had to do to qualify for the program was stand in front of a room full of other hopefuls and explain what my idea was and why I was ideally suited to start a VA business.  Like most people, I would rather have walked down the street naked – okay, well maybe not naked – than talk to a room full of people.  On top of that, one of the other hopefuls told me my idea was “stupid” – in a heavy Russian accent.  I have no idea how I got through that day, but I was accepted into the program in 2003 (and so was the Russian guy) and I have never looked back.

The trickier question is how can a VA benefit various businesses; tricky because there are so many answers to that question.  As Michael Gerber states in The E-Myth Revisited, most new start ups fail in the first 5 years because they try to do everything themselves, not just whatever it was that got them into business in the first place.

One of the ways a VA can assist almost any entrepreneur is by doing customer service:  this happens to be what I enjoy the most.  This can take the form of answering the phone (receptionist), booking appointments/calendar management (admin assistant) and trouble shooting (tickets or customer service desk).

There are numerous other tasks that a VA can do including research, project management, presentation preparation, invoicing, collecting on outstanding invoices (some do the entire bookkeeping gig).  I have prepared documents, edited/proof read web pages, manuscripts, documents, Powerpoint presentations; called client’s customers and elicited testimonials for the client and then written the testimonial for the customer to sign; mass mailings, mass e-mailings and acted as gatekeeper.  One of the strangest things I’ve ever done was babysit some documents in the basement of a law office…for 3 days!

The real benefit of using a VA for any of the above tasks or others, limited only by your imagination, is that the VA can do one, two or many of the tasks.  A VA can be hired for a specific task, for a specific period (May), or a block of time (5 hours).

The only limit is your imagination.

Published by J. Liz Saunders

With over 30 years of experience, J. Liz Saunders delivers exceptional office and sales support to a wide range of businesses. More importantly, she does so with creativity. Her ‘can do’, ‘can solve’, ‘can source’ attitude results in the most efficient and effective completion of her clients’ requirements every time. Upon first meeting, Liz’ her most notable quality is her energy. When preparing for and running the Toronto marathon in 2004, Liz channelled this energy with discipline and determination. She uses those same qualities when organizing her many clients and delivering high quality support services in a timely manner. As a virtual assistant, Liz cold calls and generates leads for sales people; researches sites for meetings; schedules appointments and provides client support; offers transcription services, manages broadcast emails, arranges printing, handles basic bookkeeping; writes correspondence, proposals, quotes and invoices for clients; and acts as a call centre taking registrations for seminars. Liz is a certified Virtual Assistant with extensive experience in Microsoft Office. She has a BA from the University of Toronto and studied Fundraising Management at Ryerson University. She has experience in legal services, construction, insurance, real estate and facilities management. Liz builds her business based on trust, quality and a commitment to exceptional results.

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