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How I built my business – a lesson for all VAs to-be

Posted 04-22-2011 at 12:21 AM by bridiej  
Bridie’s Typing Services was created around 1992.

I’d helped a few friends with their CVs and other bits and bobs and decided to start a little business for myself. A few local postcards in shop windows were as far as my advertising budget would stretch and, needless to say, it didn’t exactly take off!

Fast forward 10 years. I was working fulltime at a local travel-based company when a broken ankle just two days after I was married led to extended time off work. When I returned it all seemed too much so I handed in my notice and, for the first time in my life, was unemployed. By chance a friend of mine mentioned she took on work from a local transcription agency and so - remembering how much I’d always enjoyed “audio typing” as it was called back in the early ‘90s – I gave them a call. After a couple of test transcripts I became one of their regular transcribers.

Then I noticed a gap in the market. There were plenty of small businesses in our local area who needed secretarial assistance and the only alternatives were either employing someone or using temps. So, 10 years after its original conception, Bridie’s Typing Services was brought back into service – this time with a website and a lovely ad in the local Yellow Pages. It didn’t take long for clients to start trickling in and, thanks to my YP ad and several word of mouth recommendations, I soon had enough work to keep me occupied fulltime.

In 2005 we emigrated to Australia – which was an amazing and daunting experience. My husband didn’t have a job lined up so I’d purchased a laptop to enable me to continue working for my UK-based clients when we arrived. Although he landed a job just a few days after arriving, it was great to have something to keep me occupied – living in a foreign land with no friends is a very lonely experience!

We soon settled in, bought some land, built a house, had our first child, sold our house to move onto acreage and had our second child in 2010. All the while I was able to keep my business ticking over with the existing client base until, finally, towards the end of last year I decided it was time to get things moving again.

But boy, things had certainly changed in a few short years!

Yellow Pages had gone from the directory you simply had to be in, to pretty much a doorstop or recycling bin fodder. Social media was all the rage and Google was the only place that mattered and so began a quick and intensive education on all things twitter, Facebook and search engine optimisation.

After a few pretty lame attempts at creating my own website I took the plunge and ordered a bespoke site, new logo and enlisted a copywriter to create the main web page copy - since that investment my business has gone from strength to strength.

These days I blog regularly, submit articles to HubPages and spend a couple of hours each day keeping up to date with Facebook, LinkedIn and twitter as well as contributing to several small business and VA-related discussion forums.

I guess the point of all this is to let you know that it doesn’t all happen overnight – building a successful VA business takes time and there’s a lot of learning to do along the way.

If at first you don’t succeed - try again!
Total Comments 3


Hello Bridie, thanks for sharing your story. Just wondering..where you find time to spend a couple of hours a day on social networking? and does it actually pay off in business or clientele?
Posted 04-28-2011 at 05:06 PM by Success Success is offline
Very inspiring Bridie. It does take time and hard work but it definitely pays off and you have shown it.
Posted 04-30-2011 at 07:25 PM by Nancy's Virtual Office Nancy's Virtual Office is offline
Thanks for sharing your experiences. I just got my business started and am waiting on my website to be complete. And I guess it's normal to want things to happen right away, but I know it doesn't and it's encouraging to read such posts because I know it will all pay off one day. Thanks again!
Posted 06-08-2011 at 01:38 PM by Malaika Malaika is offline
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