Have you heard the term “Virtual Assistant” being thrown around in conversation? Are you interested in finding out more about what they offer? How do Virtual Assistants use the digital world to optimise their business? This blog will not only give you all of the information you are looking for but also give you the contact details of a highly successful Virtual Assistant based in Shropshire!
We interviewed Sarah Platt from All Virtually Done who is also the Network Leader for two South Shropshire BizMums groups. Typically for her although she is very happy to attend face to face meetings, this interview was held via Skype!
So Sarah, thank you for giving up your time today! Can you explain what is a Virtual Assistant / VA and what line of work do you cover?
In terms of services I offer, the answer is that I can turn my hand to pretty much anything! This doesn’t mean that I am a jack of all trades/master of none, rather that, if I take on something e.g. an App that I am not that familiar with, I will take the time required to fully understand it and how it can best be used to benefit that particular customer in their business.
So, what are the key services you offer at the moment?
I like to breakdown my work into two key areas: Online presence and Executive PA responsibilities.
To break this down further:
*Social media posting package – e.g. scheduling 1 post per day on each of your specified platforms, responding to comments, and tracking engagement trends. Also posting offers and events, and sharing these to groups.
*Social media 1 hour strategy planning session – includes a 1-page written summary of your strategy & a 3-12 month plan for how to deliver it
*Uploading large numbers of products to websites including photos, descriptions and personalisation options
*Setting up weekly e-newsletters & automated email marketing funnels to follow up your leads and prospects
PA / Representative
*Event planning & organising, including hosting & pre-event admin & delegate contact
*Suggesting travel options & booking tickets, then uploading the details to your online diary
*Paying your company invoices via online banking
*Acting as first point of contact with solicitors, accountants, and other professionals,
*Procuring documents to set up an non-EU branch of a Ltd company, including research & liaising with relevant authorities e.g. HMRC / Companies House etc.
*Researching e.g. schools and entry requirements, double tax treaties between UK and other countries, or finding out what business insurance you might need to cover a foreign branch office.
I am also excited to be working on a new venture which will see me branching out into offering more education and “Done With You” courses so that business owners can pick up skills and knowledge for life, rather than just “Done For You” work. It is a mix of webinars, online courses, and in-person group courses.
What Sarah doesn’t mention is that key to her success is her warm, friendly yet competent nature. She obviously loves her line of work and this enthusiasm exudes from her.
So Sarah, are all of your clients local?
No, not at all, that’s the great thing about being a Virtual Assistant. I’ve met many of my customers through internet forums so my customers are located not only within Shropshire but within the UK and Europe, & I can even win bids from further afield. I use Skype a lot and prospective clients can then see that the person they have read about on my website is the same person they are talking to! It is essential to keep my website up-to-date and especially update my testimonials.
Do you use social media at all to promote yourself?
Yes, I use this for all lines of work and it is invaluable for not only building your own network but for also tapping into other networks.
Where is your office locate? Are you a mobile / agile worker?
My office can be anywhere I like as long as I’ve got access to broadband when necessary! I am an agile worker. I can base myself in coffee shops, work from home and I sometimes even work in the car! It isn’t necessary to be based in an office any more, I even find it more inspiring to be working out and about as I don’t get the typical office interruptions. I need to have reliable technology with me but also still enjoy working with a pen and paper!
That sounds great Sarah and I can see you have a very flexible approach to your work which must be essential… Has that affected your work life balance at all?
Yes, becoming a Virtual Assistant has definitely improved my work life balance! A more flexible approach enables me to carry out work throughout the day at the same time as doing a few jobs around the house. I love how organised I feel. There doesn’t seem to be any kind of build-up of work anymore, I just deal with it as and when necessary. Not only has it improved my work life balance but that is what I offer to my clients too!
Has that increased your productivity too then?
Yes, definitely… because I can deal with work immediately and when I have time, I have found I can take more on. Sometimes I’ll work until late in the evening as I have access to broadband and can work at any given time. If a client needs work at short notice, I will occasionally work at the weekend and have a day off during the week. I think it’s the most effective way to run a business today, and I think this is just the future of how a business should run.
Has this had an impact on the environment? Have you saved any carbon footprints?
Most definitely, I am passionate about this subject and the fact that I’m not driving to the office every day saves on the environment. There is an obvious saving in emissions and commuting costs.
Thanks Sarah, that’s been really interesting. So to summarise, what would you say are your key strengths?
That’s another good question, I focus on:
*Harmony – seeking common ground and agreement
*Responsibility – I take ownership for anything I commit to & follow it through doggedly to completion
*Discipline – I create order from chaos, focusing on timelines and deadlines and create a structured plan to achieve goals
*Maximising – I enjoy making good things great and strive for excellence in all that I do
*Focus – I am able to keep myself and others on the road to success so they don’t get side-tracked.
Sarah and I carried on chatting for a little longer and then it was time to thank her once again for answering our questions for us.
If you would like to contact this Virtual Assistant, Sarah, from All Virtually Done, please get in touch with her via: