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Old 04-26-2012
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Default Veni, vidi, VA
Hi! I've been reading these forums at times for a couple years. Now I'm trying to feel my way as to whether there's a place for me somewhere in the VA spectrum. I have no experience doing administrative work, so I do hesitate, but there are some services that seem pretty straight forward. To start with I'm ruling out the real admin stuff, things that involve organizing and scheduling and arranging and all the efficiencies that an assistant develops. For the tasks that I am interested in, I intend to ask for specifics about what you do when you do them- what knowledge and skills and software are really needed.

I can't think of much of note to say about myself, other than that I am a man, which seems pretty rare on this forum. I'm wondering if that might turn out to be a hindrance, or perhaps in some ways an advantage.
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Old 04-26-2012
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Default Re: Veni, vidi, VA
Welcome to the forum Hewitt. I don't think the fact you are a man is a negative. However, before setting up a VA business I think you have to be clear on the type of services you are going to offer, who your target clients are and whether you are qualified to provide the services. Even though it is possible to offer a range of services that are not necessarily "admin", as a business owner you still have to have some of those qualities anyway for your own business to succeed (organization, scheduling, your own admin and bookkeeping).

You've come to the right place to research your business idea and to ask other successful VAs for advice etc so good luck with your venture.
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Old 04-26-2012
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Default Re: Veni, vidi, VA
I hope you find what you're looking for here. I think you'll develop your niche soon.

Anyway, welcome!
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Old 04-26-2012
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Default Re: Veni, vidi, VA
Yes, I would like to find out what's really involved so I can offer services I'm confident in, and know how to connect with the people who can use them. And find out what else I need to learn to round out the niche. But I need to figure out how much preparation is needed, and whether intermediate steps are required (like an internship). I tend to get stalled in too much preparation. I have already had my own business, in a basic way, as a requirement for a couple jobs I had.

Thanks for the welcome!
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Old 05-01-2012
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Default Re: Veni, vidi, VA
Hi Hewitt, welcome to the forums! There is actually a growing number of men in the industry, but you're in great company here either way

Don't let yourself get bogged down in the little details - yes it IS important to plan and know where you're taking your business, who you're marketing to, and how you plan to organize your work schedule, etc. BUT don't let too many of the little pieces of the puzzle stop you from moving forward.

When I was first starting out I worked first on the 'fun' things (coming up with a business name, thinking about the services I would offer and drafting a services menu, working out fees, etc.) and once the momentum had built up a bit I spent time on the things that seemed less fun to me but are no less important (researching and registering my business in my state and city, learning about taxes, writing my contracts and policies, etc.)

Even with the work that went into all of that, I still found myself adding policies and procedures, updating contracts, and learning new things through exposure and experience that changed the direction of my business many, many times. So don't be too rigid with yourself and know that your business will grow as you do and as you learn more about who you enjoy working with, what you enjoy working on, and as you learn new skills, etc.

Wishing you much success!
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Old 05-02-2012
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Default Re: Veni, vidi, VA
Hi Tess,

I do get bogged down easily, but in this case I don't know which of the things that I am most attracted to I can actually do professionally, how to get up to speed with them, or whether I should branch out in directions I wouldn't think of considering normally. Just the need to market myself in this business pushes me way beyond what I think my aptitudes are. And if VA were all I'm thinking of, I'd probably give up. But however far I get with it, is bound to be good for something; I might find a career with the things I learn, or start some other kind of business, who knows.

So I expect that my experience will be like yours, with clarification at each step. I'd prefer to jump right in with some projects actually, but I haven't done any of this stuff in previous jobs, and it's been a while since school. That's the main sticking point; all the business plan stuff I will gladly put off.
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Old 07-06-2012
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Default Re: Veni, vidi, VA
Hey Hewitt,

As a fellow minority on this forum (a man), just wanted to wish you luck. It is easy to get bogged down, but I find that if I make myself a list of what I need to get done, I can keep myself moving in the right direction.
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Old 07-06-2012
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Default Re: Veni, vidi, VA
So Hewitt, let ask you. What is it that you think you'd at least like to start off with offering as your service(s)? I know you're not sure about a few things, but do you at least have something in mind that you think you might enjoy?
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Old 07-06-2012
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Default Re: Veni, vidi, VA
Hi Hewitt,

What are those things you speak of that you are most attracted to do?

Thanks,

Janine
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Old 07-07-2012
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Default Re: Veni, vidi, VA
Hi Hewitt just to say you're not alone in being a man in the VA world but we are the minority!!

My only advise is think "outside the box". I didn't realise i knew so much about helping others run small businesses until my sister pointed out that I had been working in a small family business for 8 yrs and had been help her and her other half run a window cleaning company for over 5 yrs!! Think about what you have done in your life and how those skills can help others!

Feel free to drop me a line - maybe we should create a group for male VAs??
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Old 07-20-2012
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Default Re: Veni, vidi, VA
Hi everyone, I haven't replied and for that I'm sorry. I didn't really have any answers, I've been somewhat more confused than usual.

I was thinking mostly in terms of Excel and Access when I first looked into VA. I'm most comfortable working with things that are cut and dried, either right or wrong. I would prefer to be able to do more creative stuff, but I know I haven't got the ability. Later I started thinking about doing sites with WordPress, but really, it's the creative side of that I'm interested in, the technical stuff does not appeal even though it's comparatively simple.

Now I'm back to Excel and Access. I'm comfortable with the kind of work but I haven't done actual work with them and have to mostly relearn them. I'm fine with starting off slow and easy. Getting work is another thing. I'm not good at marketing myself. Someone was recently posting about becoming an Excel subcontractor, that sounds like a good route, but since I got the idea from them I don't want to be trying to take work that they would be doing.

When it comes to thinking outside the box, the only thing I think of is that I took accounting a long time ago. I got half way through the program then ran into tax laws. But I wonder if I could learn Quickbooks- it sounds like it would make things easier. But I wonder how much of a chance there is of becoming liable due to a mistake.
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Old 07-22-2012
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Default Re: Veni, vidi, VA
Hewitt,

I'm not sure what you're funds look like and if you could afford any coaching or mentoring at this stage but it sounds like you could benefit from a little mentoring right now. It is really quite common not to know where or how to get started and it is often difficult to think outside the box at first. Marketing yourself is also the trickiest thing to market I think, but with time all these things will become more clear. But you will never know any of it until you step out of your comfort zone and just take some action.

If you feel you might be comfortable with Excel and Access then perhaps that is a good place to start and then build on that as you begin to gain confidence and clients.

Best of luck!
Rhonda
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