From time to time we feature businesses and services that we love - people whom we genuinely think our readers will benefit from knowing about. This interview isn't sponsored or paid for in any way; it's a 100% authentic shout-out to a person we think is actually amazing!
Confession: for the longest time, when other online business owners talked about having a 'VA' we just smiled and nodded along. We assumed a VA (voice actor? value adder?) was a special kind of employee needed by only the initiated few - big-time bloggers and online business whizzes who were much cooler than us.
As it turns out, a VA (that's a virtual assistant, for those still too shy to ask) can be used by almost any kind of business owner or entrepreneur. And it's probably cheaper, faster and more convenient than the admin support you have in place right now!
Korryn from Encore Admin Consulting recently hit us up to write some copy for her. She was completely fantastic to work with, and as we wrote about her services we realised that what she offers is brilliant. So we asked her if she'd come on the blog and share some more about herself, and about what a VA actually does.
Here's our interview with Korryn:
While working with you we found out that your love of music is a massive part of who you are. So tell us - if you were going to live on a desert island for the rest of your life, which three albums would you take with you?
Just three? Oh man.... ok, Pink - The Truth About Love. Lynyrd Skynyrd - The Last Rebel (I also love the old old Lynyrd Skynyrd albums but this one takes me back to time I spent with my Dad growing up). And.... don't hold it against me, Delta Goodrem - Innocent Eyes - there was a reason that album did so well, it was hit after hit after hit in the songwriting. And the inspiration for my business name came from one of Delta Goodrem's songs.
You’re a virtual assistant and a mum to a young toddler (and you wear other hats too). Talk us quickly through a typical ‘week in the life’ for you.
Uncontrolled chaos... No, actually Monday/Tuesdays are my days I spend with my toddler, swimming lessons, being a Mum, being a housewife (with sneaky work bits and pieces thrown in here and there while my little man is having his nap). Then Wednesday/Thursday/Fridays are his daycare days so it's down to business over those three days. I have a number of clients who I am looking after their consistent week to week tasks so I have dedicated times for each of my clients tasks to be completed. Then in between those tasks I fit some smaller adhoc tasks that come my way from other clients. And in amongst that I try to attend some daytime networking events to get myself away from the desk and out in amongst fellow small businesses because sometimes working virtually can be a little lonely. Then wherever possible Saturday/Sundays are my family days.
For those of us who don’t really know how the whole ‘virtual assistant’ thing works but are too afraid to ask - who can use a VA? What kind of stuff can your clients expect you to do for them, and how does it work when you’re not physically working out of the same office?
Absolutely any solo operator or small business can use the services of a Virtual Assistant. I had the pleasure of attending the Australian Virtual Assistant's Conference in Melbourne and the amount of talent and skills that Virtual Assistants have that they can bring to businesses is phenomenal. The biggest key to successfully using a Virtual Assistant is for business owners to be ready to do so, it is a bit of a mindset shift for many people who are used to doing everything themselves.
Some of the tasks (and this list by no means covers everything) that a Virtual Assistant can help business owners with are social media management (posts scheduling, content planning, content sourcing), email management (sorting, filing, responses), transcription, research, receptionist duties (answering phone calls), travel bookings, reporting and data entry. All of these tasks are able to be managed remotely by a virtual assistant if you have the right systems in place (for example you use cloud based software and file management systems) or if you would like to move in this direction a Virtual Assistant is able to help you set these systems up too. There are fantastic software options out there for facilitating virtual assistance such as LastPass (for sharing your password securely, without actually giving out your passwords), Teamviewer (for sharing your systems with a virtual assistant so that they can login to your computer/files) along with a wide myriad of software packages that enable a virtual assistant to be able to support businesses without being physically located within their offices.
Tell us about the type of work where you feel like you’re really in your zone of awesome. Do you have a favourite kind of client or industry you love to work in?
Having come from an administration support background and having a Marketing degree I find myself doing high fives with myself when I'm doing things like document formatting (making things look schmick and professional), putting together posts for social media using the content my clients have given me then adding the graphics and making them look awesome, creating information packs for sales and marketing activities. I have had such a wide range of industries that I have worked within over my career that I haven't completely pinpointed a particular industry yet, I enjoy seeing what works across industries and bringing the skills I have used elsewhere and applying them to other industries and watching them take flight there too.
What are some of your personal values and personality traits, that are reflected in your work and the way you do business?
Life's too short to take too seriously so I enjoy having a laugh with my clients and the work I do (to a point) I like to think reflects that. And I am honest to a fault - I am completely honest with myself and clients if things aren't going the way they should or if I think I may not be able to deliver something 100%. Sometimes that costs me but I would much rather have a client who is completely happy with the result (if it has to be done by another VA, then that is completely fine) and retain a good working relationship than trying to deliver something that is undercooked and doesn't meet my client's expectations.
Did working with us as copywriters impact the way you thought about yourself and your business? Talk us through what it was like to reflect on your own brand story.
It was a business coaching session and brand story session in one! I have spent so much time in my own head building my business that having to sit and explain my story to We Write You who aren't in my industry and who have a completely neutral stand on my business was incredibly therapeutic and had me truly reflecting on where I have been and where I want to go with my business. Vocalising what I do and why to someone makes you really think about what you want to say and what your message is for your business; I'm incredibly glad I have done it.
What's the hardest thing, and what's the most rewarding thing, about having your own small business?
The hardest thing is not being able to let my brain switch off properly, having your own small business is like having another child, there's always something that pops up when you're doing something else and having to rein that in is hard for a doer like me. The most rewarding thing is having feedback from my clients and having them tell me I'm doing a great job. In the corporate world, as an administration assistant, I very rarely had that - and also seeing my clients kick goals in their businesses because of my input and support is incredibly rewarding too.
For other people who are starting a small business venture of their own, what are the best resources or networks you’ve come across for education and support? Hit us with your recommendations for websites, Facebook groups you love to hang out in or anything else you’d love people to have their ears and eyes on.
One of the first Facebook groups I joined when I started my business was Brisbane Small Business and I have made some fantastic connections and contacts through that group, it has been a really fabulous resource for information for me as a complete newbie. And this is more for the ladies but I have been a member of Business Chicks for a long long time, I joined back when I was working in the corporate world, but being a member of such a supportive group of women has really helped me along in my career and personally.
Another thing I can highly recommend when you are starting your business is to join the association for your industry you are working within. I joined the Australian Virtual Assistants Association and as I mentioned recently attended this year's conference and the relationships I formed with some of my fellow VAs there are invaluable, it's better to look at yourself as working in collaboration not competition. There's so much opportunity out there and everyone has their own unique way of doing things and some clients will love how you do things and some won't but they do like how your competitors do things. That's just the way things are, and embracing that rather than running yourself ragged trying to keep up to everyone else is really exhausting.
If you need ad hoc admin support without the hassle of full-time employees, we wholeheartedly recommend Korryn. She's incredibly thorough and communicative, she's fun, she's switched on and she'll 'get' what needs to happen in your business - you can just leave it with her, and get on with doing what you do best.
You can contact Korryn on her website or follow her on instagram or facebook.
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