This month sees the fifth birthday of my business.
What a journey it's been!
When I started out five years ago, I was at a bit of a turning point in my career, and I had a somewhat 'now or never' moment when I realised that through my skillset and vast experience in office administration, I could offer great value to small business owners, allowing them to concentrate on fee-earning work and providing a better service to their clients if they weren't so side-tracked by their back office operations.
Initially, I offered admin support to clients on a freelance basis, working not just virtually but from their own premises too, if appropriate. Building on my career as a PA in the property industry, I had clients in this sector for whom I carried out viewings and inspections as well as property listings and other associated admin.
However, long before the pandemic, I changed my business model to working completely virtually – I like to think of us virtual assistants as trailblazers in this respect! I think recent events have proved how efficiently people can work when not in the same location, and it will be a popular model going forward as employers cut down on office space and overheads and take up the flexible model a virtual assistant can provide.
I've recently rebranded to Lummus Virtual Solutions, as I feel this better reflects the direction in which I've taken the business and the range of services I now offer.
As a result of the pandemic, so many businesses have turned to online meetings and training sessions which has led to one of my newer services – Zoom hosting support. This encompasses helping the meeting host by looking after the waiting room, setting up breakout rooms, screensharing, monitoring the chat and helping participants with any technical issues. I've supported sessions with participants from around the globe, many of whom wouldn't have had the funds or been able to access the training had it not been held virtually. Keeping the participants engaged during online meetings or training sessions can be tricky, but I've supported sessions where we've used the technology available to us to its full extent and come up with some pretty snazzy stuff!
I also help clients, often coaches and trainers, prepare documents for their events, and I'm even starting to see a demand for making travel arrangements for face to face events again, which is encouraging.
My proofreading and formatting of documents is also a popular service. I proof mainly web copy and reports, but since becoming qualified last year, I've also done a couple of books (one fiction, the other non-fiction) which I've loved.
Helping clients manage their diaries and emails is, as always, a popular service too.
Five years on, I've never been busier and feel it's a great time to look back and reflect on my business journey.
I feel it's important to be authentic, stick to your values and not be too concerned about what your competitors are doing – just concentrate on what you know you do best. There have been some tough times, in particular when the pandemic first hit. However, I had the strength and determination to battle through. A little self-belief goes a long way.
I'm very grateful for the unwavering support I've received from family, friends, fellow business owners I've met along the way and, of course, some wonderful clients. My thanks go to you all.