20 years ago on her way for maternity leave Tracey was questioned by her boss why not to continue supporting the company from home since Work interactions were already mainly done through email also she could come into the office once in a while for a meeting if need be.
Having assessed that this was a feasible way to work from home Tracey started her and never and basically never stopped ever since.
After a few years attempting her activity within the hospitality industry she had to come to terms with the fact that it is not easy to find paying customers in such context and therefore Tracey decided to move to the internet insert for your opportunities.
Tracey promptly discovered that her skill set perfectly fit something new for her called the Virtual Assistants Industry.
With a background in Bookkeeping and Policy Manuals she started precisely by offering such type of added value to new clients.
Having found the online business coaching industry Tracey started to take courses on several subjects like Online Marketing and Social Media (which at the time was a new thing), and over time the focus moves to online events (webinars, online seminars, other).
Working on your own business from home and not being merely self-employed
Running a business involves several office tasks (marketing, sales, bookkeeping, other), inherent to running the business while if one is merely self-employed it suffices to check the bank account for performed payments.
And in the case of marketing and networking towards achieving new clients it is vital that the momentum doesn't stop, or one can be in a “pickle” if a given client decides to change
Over time, networking online has become harder because many people are doing so which impacts the prospective clients to be resistant to such approach since some people offer services that bear quality While others not so much.
Having focused on local networking Tracey found out that afterward connecting online and establishing a continuous business relationship by transforming prospects into clients becomes much easier since there was an initial face-to-face interaction.
Every small business owner needs support because people focus on their area of specialty and if you are a business owner there are loads of accessories still needed and required tasks that you find yourself not having the time or even the appropriate skills to accomplish.
On such meetings it is important to be noticed that the best way most times is to make a question while introducing yourself, so everybody gets to know who you are and why you are asking that question.
At these meetings, most of the small business owners exchange information with each other about all do they tackle the less core business related tasks and that is a great opportunity to get noticed.
It is likely that you end up being the target of questions from several people inquiring about what you specifically do and how you can support them with given pain points.
Although many may not be aware of what a VA can do for them, sometimes considering a VA merely like a personal assistant, it is nevertheless the best opportunity to clarify and make them have a broader horizon with regards to watching a VA can support them with.
Assessing if one is a good fit to become a VA
Although one may look at the VA activity has a sequence of tasks or jobs; the most relevant thing is to address it like a business.
Then there is the matter of motivation and being able to properly perform time management. Most clients when looking for a VA are precisely trying to get read of less value-adding tasks and that means not needing to micromanage the tasks that the VA will take care of. Therefore, being proactive and capable of appropriately managing those tasks is what makes a VA and added value for an organization, the simple attitudes of performing pre-established tasks, although may result in some cases, it is not what most small business owners need from the VA.
If you look at the VA activity as I mean to get a certain amount of money at the end of the month you are not running a business you are self-employed. Escalating and running a business implies that you are not aiming for a given specific amount of money but to develop and grow your offering within the marketplace up to the extent that the existing opportunities allow it.
You may not be tailored to become a virtual assistant however that does not mean you cannot run a VA business. There are several cases of people whom subcontract the VA activity from other people and therefore successfully run a VA business.
You can create a VA agency with several specific individual profiles out of individuals that excel in areas like Bookkeeping or Website Development, while you, as the head of the agency are basically the account manager who deals with clients and gets to transform Pro specs into new clients.
Now some people are not tailored to become a VA or even to run a business, and that is normal. In some cases, it can be learned while in other cases the barriers are just too high.
Competition from overseas, as an example the Philippines it's neither good or bad, for there are good professionals everywhere in the world as well as poor performers. The most relevant risk however, in resorting to a completely unknown support professional from overseas mostly pertains “The Vanishing Freelancer Complex”, meaning if you do not know the person or there is no way to have safeguards or a backup with regards to the Service being rendered, you may end up never hearing again from a given freelancer.
The Canadian Association of VAs was established 5 years ago, actually over a merger between two existing associations, being one more focused in the real estate market whereas the other a more generic one across Canada.
Having both founders decided to further dedicate themselves to developing their own businesses the opportunity as a rise for Tracey to buy the company and that seemed a good fit to her focus on coaching and training VAs.
CAVA aims at supporting people who want to become a virtual assistant to open their business by making relevant documentation and knowledge about processes and procedures available to them.
CAVA also advises on best-fit resources towards specific needs posed by clients given its vast portfolio of associated VAs, as well as social events and an RFP post area where clients can express their needs and receive quotes from several professionals. Plus, it makes available content and documentation to its members.
The near future implies a focus on raising the number of associated members by means of further enabling added-value information to those associated.
Opposite to Tracey's initial idea, the associates are not so much looking for RFPs or job posts, but for a community of their peers that enables them events in which they can exchange experiences and communicate face-to-face.
Tracey go is to provide a supportive context and infrastructure through the CAVA Association which enables professionals who want to start their business from home to do so in a facilitated way while within a community of their peers.