Business Planning and Development

Not sure where to ask questions about starting and growing your virtual assistant business? Post here.

Forum Sponsor (Advertise with us)
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
    #1 (permalink)  
Old 12-01-2008
virtual writing's Avatar
Resident Member
Company name: Virtual Writing and Communications
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Alamance County, NC
Posts: 1,428
Blog Entries: 1
Follow this virtual assistant on Twitter Contact this virtual assistant on LinkedIn
Default Interview with Deirdre Shockley of Deirdre's Virtual Office


Deirdre Shockley will be recognized as one of VA Forums' more generous contributors. She lives near Elizabethtown, KY, and is wife to Tim since 1993 and the mother of 3 children: daughter 19, son 8, and son 6. The family has recently moved to Diedre's grandparents' farm and built a house.

Deirdre's background includes work in a pharmacy, physician’s office, hospice, state government agencies, church offices and more. Find out more about her at http://dvirtualoffice.com/about.html.

Please feel free to respond to Diedre with questions, comments, etc., within this thread.



Please tell us your history as a VA. When did you start, what motivated you to open a VA business, and how has your progress been?
In 1997 I bought a book about beginning a home word processing business but didn’t have the motivation to do what it took to start my own business, which was probably a good thing because I began working and increasing my skills. When 2007 rolled around I realized I had waited long enough and told my husband that I was going to start my business. He was very supportive as I began my quest for information. I spent hours reading and researching about Virtual Assistance. In April 2007 I bought my domain name, got my business license and opened my virtual doors. It was at this time that I stumbled upon OIVAC (Online International Virtual Assistant Convention). The presenters for this conference were incredible. I took away so much knowledge and gained more confidence.

My progress as a Virtual Assistant has been perfect. I, of course, wanted people to be knocking down my door, but found it was a good thing it was a gradual progression. I started out with some small jobs and then things started happening. I did a little task with Ros Null, The Edge VA, and when her business started to grow she asked me to help with some clients. Then Kylie Short of Tilda Virtual Services asked me to assist her with some projects. I then responded to an RFP from Julie Ensor and began working with her business. And from a promotion that you’ll read about later on, I am working as Erin Blaskie’s Project Manager.

What's your typical work day like?
Of course the first thing I do is check my email. I categorize everything in Outlook for my tasks. I then begin with my Project Management client to make sure everything is set for everyone. Then I tackle the projects one by one. I really try to focus on one client at a time. It’s really hard for me to ignore email when it comes in, so sometimes I have to close my email program while I work on a project so I don’t get distracted.

What kinds of clients do you most enjoy serving?
I enjoy working with coaches and I love my project management tasks.

How did you come to focus exclusively on the VA market, and what do you like about working this way?
For a while I was focusing on providing assistance for churches, but they're a hard niche to crack. I was working with one church a bit but now no longer work with them. I think the problem is that the VA would have to convince the entire or at least a good portion of the congregation. And again this is where my poor marketing skills come into play. I’m not aggressive enough to go knocking on the doors of the churches to promote my business. Maybe one day I’ll have what it takes. But for right now I’m very content to do what I’m doing.

I find it very difficult to promote myself. I found it was very hard for me to separate my business from myself. I do not enjoy marketing so I am very happy to let the other VAs do the marketing and let me do the work.

What is the hardest part about being a VA, for you? What's the easiest?
I think time management is the hardest part of Virtual Assistance. I have to learn when to close the doors for work. The easiest part is not having to “go” to work. I love being at home, so this is perfect.

In learning about the VA world, have your run across any really great tools/books/resources you'd recommend to other VAs?
I think the most valuable resource has been the forums. I did purchase Diana Ennen’s book and I also took the course that Kathie Thomas has for new VAs.

Which parts of your work do you enjoy the most? What do you like about them? Are there some things you dislike doing?
I like working with blogs and websites, and project management.

I dislike article marketing.

What methods do you rely on most to bring in new business? What marketing tips can you share?
My clients are other Virtual Assistants and their clients, and my advice to the VA if you want to subcontract is to actively participate in the forums. Use good grammar and punctuation when you reply to messages. I participated in Erin Blaskie’s, So You Think You Can Sub promotion this past summer, and received several interviews and signed contracts with 2 VAs.

You have a great website. Tell us a little about the evolution of your site to this point. What advice do you have for VAs regarding their sites?
Thank you! My website is a template that I found, I picked one and with trial and error I made it work. Until my website, I had not had any experience with html. My advice is to find a nice free template so the site has a more professional look.

What is your opinion regarding VA certification?
I personally don’t feel it is necessary. If one has certification that is great but I gained most of my knowledge by experience and sometimes feel that life is a better teacher than some schools. We don’t all fit into the same mold.

How's your business holding up in these difficult economic times?
My business is actually doing quite well.

One of your service areas is Genealogy. Readers may be interested to know more about your work in that area: how did you decide to focus there, and are you finding many clients?
I started doing some genealogy research for my own family years ago. I found the thrill of finding that one little piece of information was worth the hours of research. I found clients by placing an ad at the state genealogy library. I don’t do very much genealogy research anymore.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I am a member of my local Homemakers group and a Quilting Guild. We just moved to a farm and plan to raise chickens and possibly turkeys in the spring. In fact I’ve asked my family to buy me the necessary equipment for Christmas so I’ll be ready for spring!

You're a longtime member of these forums. Please tell us what keeps you coming back here.
I love the friendships that develop from chatting with one another. When I first started reading the forums I was amazed at the friendliness of everyone. Everyone was very quick to share whatever they could. The VA community is a very giving group!
__________________
Mary H. Ruth/Virtual Writing & Communications
http://www.writingVA.com
Reply With Quote
    #2 (permalink)  
Old 12-01-2008
Tess's Avatar
Founder, Virtual Assistant Forums
Company name: Virtual Assistant Forums
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 9,759
Blog Entries: 25
Follow this virtual assistant on Twitter Find this virtual assistant on Facebook Contact this virtual assistant on LinkedIn Find this virtual assistant on Google+
Default Re: 12/2008 Interview with Deirdre Shockley of Deirdre's Virtual Office
Deirdre, I had no idea you were working with Erin (that must be a lot of fun, she's a great VA and a wonderful person to boot) - it's so great to learn so many new facts about you! Thanks for sharing

What a great interview - you're an inspiration to us all!
__________________
Is your website as beautiful and professional as you are?
Register now for our new ON DEMAND Awesome WordPress Website course by Lee Drozak!
Reply With Quote
    #3 (permalink)  
Old 12-01-2008
Contributing Member
Company name: Henry's Virtual Assistant Services
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Opelousas, LA
Posts: 114
Send a message via Yahoo to Melissa~HVAS Send a message via Skype™ to Melissa~HVAS
Follow this virtual assistant on Twitter Contact this virtual assistant on LinkedIn
Default Re: 12/2008 Interview with Deirdre Shockley of Deirdre's Virtual Office
Hi Dierdre! Congrats on a wonderful & thought-provoking interview! You are a prime example of how one can soar to great heights within this industry. I remember reading some of your posts on another forum & took great interest in your niche at the time with churches. One of the greatest things about being a VA is that we aren't confined to one area. We are able to expand on our knowledge base continuously, making our opportunities endless!

Thanks for taking the time to give us a "peek" into your world.

Wishing you continued success,
Reply With Quote
    #4 (permalink)  
Old 12-02-2008
Resident Member
Company name: Virtual Business Services
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Oklahoma, USA
Posts: 1,118
Send a message via Skype™ to Rebecka Melson
Contact this virtual assistant on LinkedIn
Default Re: 12/2008 Interview with Deirdre Shockley of Deirdre's Virtual Office
Great interview Deirdre! I love hearing about other VA businesses. It always amazes me how different we all are.
Reply With Quote
    #5 (permalink)  
Old 12-02-2008
LeeDrozak's Avatar
Community Leader
Company name: My Office Assistant
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Western Pennsylvania
Posts: 3,293
Blog Entries: 13
Send a message via Skype™ to LeeDrozak
Follow this virtual assistant on Twitter Find this virtual assistant on Facebook Contact this virtual assistant on LinkedIn Find this virtual assistant on Google+ Find this virtual assistant on YouTube
Default Re: 12/2008 Interview with Deirdre Shockley of Deirdre's Virtual Office
Deirdre, loved the interview. It is great to see how one got started and continues to succeed. I also liked how you shared your dislikes as well as your likes.
__________________
Lee Drozak
WHY GO IT ALONE?... I am here to help you get unstuck.
Reply With Quote
    #6 (permalink)  
Old 12-02-2008
Contributing Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Altoona, Iowa
Posts: 232
Send a message via Skype™ to MaryH
Follow this virtual assistant on Twitter Contact this virtual assistant on LinkedIn
Default Re: 12/2008 Interview with Deirdre Shockley of Deirdre's Virtual Office
Great interview, Deirdre! It's neat to see how you've progressed in your business and the success you've had.
Reply With Quote
    #7 (permalink)  
Old 12-02-2008
misssjean's Avatar
Contributing Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Central Illinois
Posts: 108
Send a message via Yahoo to misssjean Send a message via Skype™ to misssjean
Follow this virtual assistant on Twitter Contact this virtual assistant on LinkedIn
Default Re: 12/2008 Interview with Deirdre Shockley of Deirdre's Virtual Office
Hi Deirdre:

What a pretty and unique name! I definitely enjoyed reading your interview and it amazes me that I wasn't the only one who purchased a home word processing business book LOL

Also, I can definitely relate to you when it comes to email. I'm the type that as soon as it shows up or you see the pop-up window on the lower right corner of your screen - I stop what I'm doing and check it. Thanks for the tip of closing the program. I'll add that to my daily goal for this week and manage to get more hours in =)
__________________
Aspiring Virtual Assistant - Jean
Reply With Quote
    #8 (permalink)  
Old 12-02-2008
Resident Member
Company name: Modern Marketing Support
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 1,246
Default Re: 12/2008 Interview with Deirdre Shockley of Deirdre's Virtual Office
This is a great interview Deirdre. I feel like I've watched you succeed right from the start. It's very exciting. Best wishes for continued success.
Reply With Quote
    #9 (permalink)  
Old 12-02-2008
VBSOnDemand's Avatar
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 471
Follow this virtual assistant on Twitter Find this virtual assistant on Facebook Contact this virtual assistant on LinkedIn
Default Re: 12/2008 Interview with Deirdre Shockley of Deirdre's Virtual Office
What a great interview!!! Congrats Deidre! You are obviously very successful and are a great role model for the VA industry. I too need to smarten up and stop checking my emails so much. i spend more time on emails then anything else in a day!!! lol
Reply With Quote
    #10 (permalink)  
Old 12-02-2008
DeirdreS's Avatar
Junior Member
Company name: Deirdre's Virtual Office
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 290
Send a message via Skype™ to DeirdreS
Follow this virtual assistant on Twitter Find this virtual assistant on Facebook Contact this virtual assistant on LinkedIn
Default Re: 12/2008 Interview with Deirdre Shockley of Deirdre's Virtual Office
Thanks everyone. I sometimes have to pinch myself to realize that I'm doing what I've always wanted to do. And I credit all success to God and my wonderful VA friends who are ALWAYS willing to help no matter what.

Kind Regards,
Deirdre
__________________
Deirdre's Virtual Office
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Interview with Lanel Taylor of Taylored Office Solutions virtual writing Business Planning and Development 55 03-20-2011 06:46 PM
Interview with Lee Drozak of My Office Assistant VAF Newsbot Business Planning and Development 39 10-12-2010 06:43 PM
Interview with Kimberly LeRiche of JK Virtual Office Resources NZVAs Business Planning and Development 23 10-09-2010 08:56 AM
Interview with Margie Gibson of MG Virtual Office Solutions VAF Newsbot Business Planning and Development 11 07-19-2010 02:09 PM
Interview with Cindy Bruce of Essential Office Solutions VAF Admin Business Planning and Development 26 07-07-2010 09:04 PM


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 05:51 AM.

Work from Home | Become A Virtual Assistant
Virtual Assistant Directory
Virtual Assistant Contracts
Virtual Assistant Forums Advertising
Social Media Marketing eBook

© Virtual Assistant Forums 2014 Content and images protected under copyright law.
Google+ - Facebook - Twitter