As I stated in last week’s post, I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing several virtual assistants with varying degrees of experience and I am sharing those interviews here. My purpose in sharing them is to help those of us who sometimes feel alone in the challenges of running our own virtual assistant business.
This week my interview was with Jeannine Clontz of Accurate Business Services.
HOW: How long have you been a virtual assistant?
Jeannine: Eleven Years
HOW: What first drew you to become a VA?
Jeannine : By accident - I was looking for a business opportunity for my husband - just worked out to be a better option for me
HOW : What did you find to be the biggest challenge when starting your virtual assistant business?
Jeannine : If I could do it all again I would wait until I had about 2-years of my former corporate salary tucked away to keep us going while the business was growing.
HOW : How long did it take you to sign your first client?
Jeannine : I had a client - or did a sizeable project, prior to starting my business. Once I opened my business I immediately joined a BNI group - so it was less than 30-days before I had several clients and prospects.
HOW : What did you find was the most effective way to market your virtual assistant business?
Jeannine : Word of mouth - networking and referrals
HOW : What do you feel is your biggest challenge in marketing your business?
Jeannine : Initially I made a HUGE mistake and invested a large chunk of my marketing budget on Yellow Pages ads - it took me lots of classes and trial and error before I developed a marketing plan that really worked.
HOW : What do you find to be your biggest client related challenge?
Jeannine: None now - my message is very focused and I’m pretty picky about who I work with - I would say probably collections as people are taking a lot longer to pay.
HOW : What type of changes, if any, have you made to your business since start-up?
Jeannine : Oodles - I went from a generalist to specializing in one niche - now have two niches and several additional options since utilizing sub-contractors.
HOW : What is the one thing you wish you knew before you started your business?
Jeannine : Nothing really - I think I learned more by making all the mistakes I did - now I use those past mistakes to help other budding and established VAs through my coaching programs.
HOW : What do you envision your business being like in 5 years?
Jeannine : I have been doing a lot more coaching and professional speaking - so I see my business (the VA practice) being more and more focused on sub-contractors doing all the work and me continuing to develop and grow the client base - then I’ll have plenty of time for the coaching and speaking part which I find I’m quite passionate about.
I want to thank Jeannine for sharing with us and being a part of our interview series here at Home Office Warrior. We appreciate you sharing what you’ve learned over eleven years in the VA industry. For those of you that want to learn more about Jeannine and her business, be sure to head over to Accurate Business Services.
Jeannine can also be found at VA Business Coaching.
Next week we’ll share the insights of another virtual assistant in our Interview Series.