This is a Virtual Assistant case study and interview with Azi Rosenblum. Azi is the Founder and CEO of the Baltimore-based Virtual Assistant firm RemSource which focuses on providing administrative and bookkeeping support to solopreneurs and small businesses. This is the story of how he became a Virtual Assistant and set up his business.
I’m always banging on about how life is way too short to not follow your dreams. It’s a big thing of mine and I’m sure you’ve heard me say a billion times how important it is not to sleepwalk through life and not do anything with it. But just in case you want to know what happens to people who do take action and who do take practical steps towards getting what they want, this post is for you.
Today I’m going to share a MASSIVE blunder that I made with my main client earlier this year just so you can see that it doesn’t matter if you make a mistake, it’s how you respond and deal with it that matters to the client. And this was a HUGE mistake!
LinkedIn is a massive part of all my Virtual Assistant training. In fact it’s so integral to getting work that many of the trainees on my DIY VA course have found clients solely through their LinkedIn profile even though they haven’t even got a website yet. Every professional knows it’s essential to be on LinkedIn but having a great LinkedIn profile is just half of it – knowing how to actually use it is vital.
I just want to let you know that I’m going to be attending the second day of the Office Show in London on the 12th May – so if you want to stop by and meet me then it would be absolutely brilliant to see you. I’ve never been to the show before but I’ve heard really good things about it so I’m going to play hookey from work on the VA day to see what all the fuss is about… and to meet some of you hopefully!
Back when I used to offer personal training, I mentioned to my boyfriend at the time that a couple of trainees had confidence issues and, although I’d given them every practical step they needed to become a VA, I didn’t have any more knowledge to impart and wasn’t sure how best to move them forward. First (and rightly) he said that I wasn’t a counsellor and then he told me if I had asked them to do a SWOT analysis.
I think it’s really important to see what it’s actually like to be a VA so I’ve set up some video interviews with new VAs for you. I want to show potential VAs what life is actually like when you work for yourself, to see that ‘regular’ people can do it and to inspire you to make the leap yourselves. I also want to give existing VAs an insight into how other freelancers work, what tasks they do, who their clients are, how they manage them, how they get them and how much they charge them.
I often meet up with another VA called Rachel Brown. I’ve known her for a few years now and our chats are always really productive. We have coffee and cake and discuss how our businesses are doing, our plans for the future and to generally find out how each other is getting on. Last year I discovered that Rachel makes an absolute killing from taking minutes at local meetings. Obviously I was intrigued and wanted to know more… loads more!
Although the types of tasks you’ll be given will obviously vary depending on what your services are and what your clients do for a living, I thought it might be a good idea to provide three different examples so you can get a basic idea of what to expect. These are not unusual tasks and cover the main areas of research, data entry, collation and attention to detail.
Aside from analysing LinkedIn profiles and groups for my clients and using LinkedIn to identify, research and qualify potential clients for my own VA business, I also used to write loads of LinkedIn profiles as part of my CV writing business – so when it comes to LinkedIn, I’ve seen it all! There are good profiles and truly dreadful profiles – here’s what a good one looks like:
People often ask me how long it takes to become a Virtual Assistant and my answer is usually “it depends”. But now I have a definitive answer: if you set aside time every day to get on and focus on the things you need to do in the right order then it should take you no more than 3 months tops. And this is exactly how you do it:
Winter can be a hard time for freelancers. If you work from home your heating bills are enormous, you freeze your butt off for three months and you’re constantly scared you’re going to slip on ice, break your wrist and put yourself out of business. Staying warm and in one piece used to be a worry for me and, although a lot of what I’m about to write may sound obvious, if you’re not used to working from home, it might not be that obvious at all.
This is a Virtual Assistant case study and interview with Nicolle French who is the owner of Nicolle French Communications; Based in London, Nicolle works full time from home and worked on bespoke ad-hoc client projects for several years before transitioning full time last year. This is the story of how she became a Virtual Assistant.
Many people have told me that they thought they needed to get an office or have a ‘proper’ desk set up before they could be a freelancer so I want to show you that this is complete and utter nonsense! Virtual Assistants can work from anywhere they like and you shouldn’t let the lack of an office prevent you from setting up your own business.
On 11th January I held a live Google Hangouts on Air interview and Q&A session with my favourite client Luan Wise. We did the interview so potential VAs could find out how we work together, what tasks she asks me to do, how I manage her expectations, what she looks for in a VA and then ask us questions about anything they liked.
On the 2nd December I held my first public Google Hangouts on Air Q&A session. I do regular private discussions with my DIY VA course trainees, but they’re in the call with me, we can all see each other and it’s very fun and cosy. This was the first time I was doing it as a broadcast – which meant I was just talking to myself!
As a freelancer you are legally required to keep accurate financial records and expenses going back over the last six years. My trainees often ask me how they should record both their own financial records as well as their client invoices, so I thought I’d show you the system I use myself.
I love a good business book but I’m reeeeally choosy about what I buy. Because I don’t want you to waste a whole load of time, money and effort picking through various reviews and descriptions, I thought I’d give you a list of the ones I like the most. I own every one of these books and know they will help your career and get you where you want to go.
People often ask me whether they should take out business insurance and, although I usually direct them to various online articles (because well, that’s why Google exists!) I thought I should cover it on the site. Most other Sole Traders I know don’t have any insurance, but here’s a summary of the different types so you can make the decision for yourself.
When my VA trainees are about to be signed off and released into the world of freelancing, we often discuss what it’s like to work for yourself, pitfalls and ways they can better manage their time once they’re working with multiple clients. I’ve learned a few time-management tricks over the years, but I also have some advice on how to make the most of freelance life in general.